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Best Kayaks at REI

Before hopping in the car to head to your local REI dealer, you might ask yourself a few questions like:

  • What type of kayak am I looking for? Sit inside? Sit on top?
  • Do I want a solo or tandem?
  • Would I consider an inflatable kayak?
  • Oh what about pedal drive? I could be hands-free!
  • And I wonder what my fellow paddling comrades would say about each of these boats?

If you've even asked yourself any of these sorts of questions, you're a few steps ahead in the process of finding the best kayak for you. It can be hard to navigate all of the options and understand the tradeoffs between two boats, so it's good to do some research ahead of time. Fortunately for you, your fellow paddlers have been paddling, testing, and sharing their experiences long before you were in the market!

Below we'll break out the best available kayaks at REI by type of kayak. Read reviews for each, compare specs, and narrow down until you've found the best boat for you.

Best Sit Inside Kayaks at REI

11' 9"
Length
24"
Width (in)
35
Weight (lb)
$1,429
MSRP

The Rio is designed for the smaller-framed paddler looking for a recreational style kayak with spirited performance and nimble handling. At just under 12 feet in length and only 35 pounds, the Rio combines comfortable stability with a playful and efficient hull. While ready for the first time paddler, the Rio will soon tempt you to experiment with more advanced paddle strokes.

  • Structure: Rigid / Hard Shell
  • Cockpit Type: Sit Inside
  • Seating Configuration: Solo
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Smaller Adult/Child, Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Smaller Adult/Child, Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Rio Reviews

5 out of 5 stars
(20 Consumer Reviews)

the Eddyline Rio kayak is…

the Eddyline Rio kayak is perfect for my use on flatwater. it steers well, moves fast and a joy to paddle. i will get another. highly recommend for flat water paddling.

My wife has an all white Rio…

My wife has an all white Rio which she love! I have and Eddyline Equinox which is a nice kayak, but I cannot for the life of me keep up to her. It doesn't take her much effor… read full review

This ride is the hotrod of…

This ride is the hotrod of kayaks. I leave the hubby in the dust (or water). Not ony does it glide thru the water with little effort, for a little old 60 year like myself, I … read full review

Best Sit On Top Kayaks at REI

The Catch 100

10'
Length
34"
Width (in)
58
Weight (lb)
$719.99
MSRP

The CATCH 100 is made for the more advanced angler looking for a kayak packed with convenient and comfortable features for the ultimate fishing experience. All of Pelican's boats have been thoughtfully designed with the most convenient and comfortable features to suit each paddler’s specific needs. The outdoors is now within your reach with the perfect boat waiting for you.

  • Structure: Rigid / Hard Shell
  • Cockpit Type: Sit on Top / Open Cockpit
  • Seating Configuration: Solo
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced

Additional Attributes

  • Tunnel Hull offers maximum stability giving you a secure and steady ride
  • Ergocast G2 Dual Position Seating System
  • Many pockets located on the chair provide more space to store your gear and fishing tools
  • Packed with the most convenient features and storage compartments
  • Four flush mount rod holders, accessory eyelets, an angler ruler and 4 in. rigging tracks to install your favorite accessories
  • Additional flotation inside the hull of all of our sit-on-tops meets or surpasses ABYC Standards
  • Exceptionally durable high molecular density polyethylene means less material is needed to produce each boat

The Catch 100 Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
(10 Consumer Reviews)

This is a great fishing…

This is a great fishing kayak. I had a FeelFree Lure 11.5 a fine kayak, but a beast to haul and paddle in choppy conditions. The Catch has more than enough storage space and … read full review

I have had the Catch 100 for…

I have had the Catch 100 for a little over a year now and love it. 95% of the time its used for fishing. I tried it on the Mulberry River in Arkansas and went through some cl… read full review

I bought the kayak a month or…

I bought the kayak a month or so ago and have taken it out twice already. The kayak is pretty light and I can toss it on top of my SUV without any problems. First trip I went… read full review

Tarpon 120

12' 3"
Length
30"
Width (in)
63
Weight (lb)
$1,099
MSRP

The most popular Tarpon because of its manageable size. Efficient layout leaves plenty of room for paddlers and their gear, with features to accommodate a variety of hobbies.

  • Structure: Rigid / Hard Shell
  • Cockpit Type: Sit on Top / Open Cockpit
  • Seating Configuration: Solo
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Tarpon 120 Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
(111 Consumer Reviews)

Bought my Tarpon 120 in the…

Bought my Tarpon 120 in the spring of 2021. I have 2 inflatable kayaks, and I have rented several hard shell kayaks. I belong to a paddling group and we all test drive each o… read full review

I bought the new updated…

I bought the new updated Tarpon 120 in 2021. The new sit on top has a lower weight capacity than the older Tarpon 120. I weigh 245 lbs and a little water comes in the scupper… read full review

Wife has a Tarpon 12 for 2…

Wife has a Tarpon 12 for 2 years the 2019 model She is 140lbs and a perfect fit. Boat handles wonderful, lots of room for storage or packing. The seat is one of the most comf… read full review

Ouassou

by TAHE
8' 6"
Length
31"
Width (in)
39
Weight (lb)
$379.95
MSRP

The Ouassou is designed as a versatile and maneuverable kayak ideal for beach fun. The stern handles let you hang on and swim and allow easy access on board. The Ouassou also handles surf and waves comfortably. The ‘spatula’ shaped hull is derived from surf longboards and rodeo kayaks. The slight keel and lateral rail design provide directional stability and excellent tracking. The Ouassou’s optional knee-strap system also allows you to secure your body to the cockpit when you are looking for greater control in waves or whitewater.

BIC Sport is now TAHE! New Brand, Same Great Company and Products – Learn More

  • Structure: Rigid / Hard Shell
  • Cockpit Type: Sit on Top / Open Cockpit
  • Seating Configuration: Solo
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Additional Attributes

  • A fun and versatile beach kayak
  • Wide, spatula hull shape
  • Bow, stern and hull mounted carry handles
  • Single-seater
  • Ergonomic, anti-slip seats
  • 100% Recyclable
  • Wide rear area
  • Triple-level moulded foot rests
  • Removable fins (optional)
  • Tough TST thermoformed construction
  • 100% made in France

Ouassou Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
(2 Consumer Reviews)

The Ouassou is a fun kayak,…

The Ouassou is a fun kayak, very stable to the ocean, you can easily to surf on waves and correct you curses. you can handle l with one hand, but for flat water is not his en… read full review

This is an awesome kayak. It…

This is an awesome kayak. It is designed as a kayak that you would take to the beach and surf in the waves and jump off with. The bottom is flat and curves up in the front… read full review

Best Inflatable Kayaks at REI

AdvancedFrame

10' 5"
Length
32"
Width (in)
36
Weight (lb)
$539.99
MSRP

The AdvancedFrame® is a hybrid of a folding frame kayak and an inflatable kayak. Utilizing built-in aluminum ribs in the bow and stern, it slices through water like a knife and rivals the trackability of hard-shell kayaks. The stern acts as a skeg, increasing the tracking performance. It uses extremely durable materials in a 3-layer construction and features many high-end components. There is plenty of on-board storage room for extended trips. It sets up in just a few minutes and is compact enough to take along on a weekend adventure.

  • Structure: Inflatable
  • Cockpit Type: Sit Inside
  • Seating Configuration: Solo
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

AdvancedFrame Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
(47 Consumer Reviews)

One thing I haven't seen…

One thing I haven't seen mentioned much is how this kayak is perfect size and weight to take on a plane. I try to take an airline that allows the first two bags at no additio… read full review

Good: Easy to set up - takes…

Good: Easy to set up - takes about 10 minutes tops. Not too heavy - I feel the average person would have no problem lugging this 50 yards to a drop in or for a portage. … read full review

I have the two man Advance…

I have the two man Advance Frame Kayak with the drop-stitch floor. I believe the drop stitch floor is a necessary upgrade because the stiffness of the kayak is exponentially … read full review

Best Tandem Kayaks at REI

Chinook 120 XL

12' 10"
Length
36"
Width (in)
31
Weight (lb)
$499.95
MSRP

The Chinook's 120 XL (previously the Chinook XP Tandem XL) floor construction uses an inflatable chamber with Aquaglide's proprietary X-beam technology to produce a stiff, durable PVC beam floor, while the Duratex hull material is blended with rugged 600d polyester for long-life and UV protection. A stable, efficient hull form, the Chinook Series offers plenty of cockpit space and outstanding value and excellent paddling performance. Eminently versatile by design and loaded with convenient features, this kayak series is an especially popular choice for recreational paddlers looking to enjoy a great time on the water.

The Chinook’s floor construction uses an inflatable chamber with Aquaglide's proprietary X-beam Technology to produce a stiff, durable PVC beam floor, while the Duratex™ hull material is blended with rugged 600d polyester for long-life and UV protection. The multiple accessory straps let you haul all the gear you want for easy stowage, while sturdy molded handles around the entire kayak let you board comfortably and easily so you can get on your way quickly. The finishing touch includes our Comfortable Core seats that include a high backrest, mesh storage pocket, integrated fishing-rod holders, forward-only seat straps and an infinite adjustment system for convenience. The fin system includes stiff, durable, foiled fin with unique quick-release for easy setup, and the convenient storage bag lets you pack out with ease. Pump sold separately.

  • Structure: Inflatable
  • Cockpit Type: Sit on Top / Open Cockpit
  • Seating Configuration: Tandem
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Additional Attributes

  • Comfortable Core™ seats that include a high backrest
  • Mesh storage pocket
  • Integrated fishing-rod holders
  • Forward-only seat straps and an infinite adjustment system
  • Fin system includes stiff, durable, foiled fin with unique quick-release for easy setup
  • Convenient storage bag included
  • Pump sold separately

Chinook 120 XL Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
(5 Consumer Reviews)

Wonderful kayak! Tracks well…

Wonderful kayak! Tracks well in water, especially with the fin attached. Easy to inflate/set-up. We've only used it on flat-water, but it has been lots of fun. Comfortably se… read full review

Great Kayak

Paddled the Chinook XP on a number of occasions and conditions. It's a great stable boat for beginners, as a platform to fish from, to do light touring (eg overnight), and ge… read full review

Love, love, love this kayak!…

Love, love, love this kayak! It is easily portable, easy to set up, lightweight and very comfortable. The best part is that it is extremely stable. We have used it in lakes a… read full review

Argo 136XP Tandem

13' 6"
Length
31.75"
Width (in)
66
Weight (lb)
$829.99
MSRP

The ARGO 136XP recreational kayak is versatile, fun and ideal for paddlers looking for a stable and relaxing experience on lakes, slow moving rivers and calm waters. All of Pelican's boats have been thoughtfully designed with the most convenient and comfortable features to suit each paddler’s specific needs. The outdoors is now within your reach with the perfect boat waiting for you.

  • Structure: Rigid / Hard Shell
  • Cockpit Type: Sit Inside
  • Seating Configuration: Tandem
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Smaller Adult/Child, Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Smaller Adult/Child, Average Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Additional Attributes

  • Adjustable Ergofit G2 seating system is specially designed with thicker ergonomic padding
  • Packed with the most convenient features and storage compartments
  • Keel extension helps your kayak go straighter as you paddle along
  • Floating blocks on each side of the kayak along with a flatter hull type ensures your safety and peace of mind during your ride
  • Multichine Flat Bottom Hull offers a maximum stability giving you a secure and steady ride
  • Exceptionally durable high molecular density polyethylene means less material is needed to produce each boat

Argo 136XP Tandem Reviews

5 out of 5 stars
(2 Consumer Reviews)

Aloha! First sit in and…

Aloha! First sit in and first tandem aka Ohana kayak. Over a decade spent on a Wilderness series sit on top with rudder system and kite set up. in open water,river ways, and … read full review

If you’re going out on the…

If you’re going out on the water with a friend or partner, the Argo 136xp is the way to do it! I visited my cousin down in the bay area and we took this out to a lake up in t… read full review

Best Pedal-Drive Kayaks at REI

Getaway 100 HDII

10' 5.5"
Length
33"
Width (in)
65
Weight (lb)
$1,199.99
MSRP

The GETAWAY 110 HDII recreational pedal kayak was made for paddlers who want to relax on the most beautiful rivers. Its HyDryve II pedal system helps you navigate effortlessly and makes maneuvering in shallow water or around aquatic plants easier. You will be comfortably seated in its ERGOCAST XP™ seat, which can also be removed and used as a beach chair. Equipped with two rigging tracks on the handles to install your favorite accessories, this pedal kayak includes a rear storage platform with bungee cords, two bottle holders and accessory eyelets. With all of these convenient features at your fingertips, you can paddle with peace of mind.

  • Structure: Rigid / Hard Shell
  • Cockpit Type: Sit on Top / Open Cockpit
  • Seating Configuration: Solo
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Additional Attributes

  • Pedal System
  • Stable & Comfortable
  • Two in-handle rigging tracks
  • Stern storage platform with bungee cord
  • Two bottle holders
  • Accessory Eyelets

Getaway 100 HDII Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
(2 Consumer Reviews)

Love sitting on top in a…

Love sitting on top in a chair--finally!

just got a (1) 2nt hand and…

just got a (1) 2nt hand and I ❤️❤️❤️It

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