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Best Touring Kayaks of 2021

If you've started planning full day-long trips, weekend trips, or multi-day trips on flat, open water, you're in the market for a touring kayak. Also known as sea kayaks or ocean kayaks, a touring kayak is typically a sit-inside kayak that has a longer, narrow design that makes it track straight and fast.

Best Touring Kayak Brands

The difficulty in selecting a touring kayak in 2021 is narrowing it down to just one. You need to be careful in selecting a touring kayak that suits your size, planned distances, water types, and experience. You can easily find yourself looking at boats 12'-18', but the right touring boat for you will be different if you are looking for a multi-hour day trip versus a week-long sea kayaking expedition. Fortunately, there are some remarkable touring kayak brands. So if you're not ready to compare model to model, you should get familiar with the best touring kayak brands like:

When a 17-year-old paddleboarder was swept out to sea, his survival depended on his cell phone and the voice on the other end of the line.

Best Touring Kayaks of 2021

  1. Fathom by Eddyline Kayaks
  2. Delta 16 by Delta Kayaks
  3. Equinox by Eddyline Kayaks
  4. Coast XT by Oru Kayak
  5. Tsunami 145 by Wilderness Systems
  6. Stellar 18' Touring Kayak (S18) by Stellar Kayaks and Surfskis
  7. Solstice GTS by Current Designs Kayaks
  8. Baffin 3 by Boreal Design
  9. NC 17 Overnighter by NC Kayaks
  10. Lynx II by AIRE
  11. Caribou by Current Designs Kayaks
  12. Explorer by Nigel Dennis Kayaks, Ltd.

1. Fathom

16' 6"
Length
22"
Width (in)
50
Weight (lb)
$2,699
MSRP

Designed for optimum efficiency and control, Eddyline's flagship Fathom touring kayak is great for long-distance adventures or playing in more adverse conditions. The Fathom sports a highly efficient hull design that is fast and nearly effortless to accelerate. Hard chines midship and a healthy degree of rocker makes turns a breeze. For medium- to large-frame paddler.

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

Additional Attributes

  • Optional installed rudder

Fathom Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
(25 Consumer Reviews)

Gorgeous, well-made boat! I…

Gorgeous, well-made boat! I owned one a couple of years ago and sadly had to give up paddling totally so I sold it. My only gripe was the seat; I found it terribly uncomforta… read full review

After five years in a rec…

After five years in a rec kayak, it was time to upgrade to a sporty kayak. It’s been a great transition and wondering why I did not do it sooner.

I purchased an Eddyline…

I purchased an Eddyline Fathom 7 years ago when I first started kayaking (primarily for exercise). The boat is sleek, stable, and easy to maneuver. I spend most of my time on… read full review

2. Delta 16

16'
Length
22"
Width (in)
48
Weight (lb)
$2,425
MSRP

Excelling in rough seas, surf and wind, the elegant Delta 16 offers a balanced combination of maneuverability and tracking. This nimble sea kayak stays the course in challenging conditions, holds a lively pace with ease and has plenty of storage capacity for multi-day exploration.

You might also look at the Delta 14 or Delta 15s. The Delta 14 is a versatile touring kayak ideal for multi-day adventures and day trips alike, whereas the Delta 15s is an ideal choice for small- and medium-sized paddlers seeking a performance kayak with great cruising speed, exceptional tracking and superior edging

With substantial rocker and a moderately concave sidewall, the Delta 16 edges with satisfying bite, and turns on a dime. At 16 feet, its performance envelope is best explored by a medium-sized paddler. Features include a low-profile front day hatch, Press-Lock hatches, our Contour II Seat System, and optional rudder or spring-loaded skeg.

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

Delta 16 Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
(12 Consumer Reviews)

I;ve owned a Delta 16 for 3…

I;ve owned a Delta 16 for 3 seasons now i consider myself a intermediate paddler. i really like this Kayak I'm 5'7 and 130lb and fit comfortably. Initial stability is pretty … read full review

Had the pleasure of paddling…

Had the pleasure of paddling a Delta 16 at Northwest Outdoor Center in Seattle last weekend. Love demoing Delta boats as they are super lightweight and track well even with … read full review

I just purchased a new Delta…

I just purchased a new Delta 16 and took it for its first outing. It was a great experience - everything I expected… I am new to kayaking but have many years canoeing… read full review

3. Equinox

14'
Length
25"
Width (in)
45
Weight (lb)
$1,799
MSRP

The Equinox melds the comfort of recreational kayaks and the performance of a true sea kayak. The efficient hull and hard chines provide stability and glide, while tracking well and turning with ease. An ample cockpit is equipped with thigh braces for excellent control and hip pads and thigh pads for comfort. An adjustable Infinity Seat helps the Equinox fit a wide range of paddlers.

Another seaworthy kayak from Eddyline is the Sitka LT. At a 13'9" length, the Sitka ST (previously the "Samba") is a lightweight, high performing day touring kayak designed to fit the small- to medium-frame paddler.

  • Structure: Rigid / Hard Shell
  • Cockpit Type: Sit Inside
  • 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

  • Optional installed rudder

Equinox Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
(35 Consumer Reviews)

My first kayak was a…

My first kayak was a Hurricane Santee 116 with a wide beam, but I knew I’d eventually outgrow it and want a boat that I could learn more advanced kayaking techniques. I spent… read full review

I have been research kayaks…

I have been research kayaks for a long time now. It was finally time to pull the trigger. By a stroke of luck, my local paddle shop had a used Equin0x for sale. I couldn't be… read full review

This kayak is a breeze to…

This kayak is a breeze to use. I love how easy it is to paddle. The 45 lb weight is manageable as well for me. I couldn’t ask for a finer kayak. I will need to replace the ba… read full review

4. Coast XT

16'
Length
25"
Width (in)
36
Weight (lb)
$2,499
MSRP

How is the Coast different from current Oru Kayaks?

It's an expedition kayak, 4 feet longer than the original 12' models, the Bay and Bay+. This makes it considerably faster and more efficient to paddle—the longer waterline helps the boat fly across the water. It also has more stability and a lot more space inside — you can pack it with enough gear for days, or just stretch your legs!

Who should paddle The Coast? Adventure is a state of mind, not a level of difficulty. The Coast is capable of serious expeditions and pro-level performance. It's also amazingly smooth, stable, fast and fun for anyone — even novice paddlers, and taller paddlers up to 6'7". It's at home in water from the Pacific Ocean to your local pond.

  • Structure: Folding
  • Cockpit Type: Sit Inside
  • 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

  • Adjustable footrest
  • Large rear bulkhead\
  • Ratchet buckles for easy assembly
  • An ergonomic seat for long paddles
  • Thigh braces for control and comfort
  • Full decklines and rigging for storage and rescues
  • A super cool folding hatch for gear storage

Coast XT Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
(13 Consumer Reviews)

This is a surprisingly…

This is a surprisingly reliable foldable kayak that allows for pretty unique possibilities. It's a touring kayak, but especially with the inlet pack, it offers some pretty in… read full review

Based on other reviews, I got…

Based on other reviews, I got lucky with my boat. I bought from REI on a slight sale at $2000, which is definitely sticker-shock level pricing. Despite how scary the price wa… read full review

I owned the original Coast…

I owned the original Coast and the newer XT. The XT assembles much quicker, is a bit more rigid, has more space and appears to glide a bit better than the original thanks to … read full review

5. Tsunami 145

14' 6"
Length
24.5"
Width (in)
56
Weight (lb)
$1,499
MSRP

Ample cockpit size and length without loss of performance make this the choice for larger paddlers desiring extra gear storage capacity.

  • Structure: Rigid / Hard Shell
  • Cockpit Type: Sit Inside
  • 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

Tsunami 145 Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
(101 Consumer Reviews)

This 59 year old has had her…

This 59 year old has had her 2006 Tsunami for 15 years, paddling in lakes and in the mudflats, oyster beds and open water of the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of rural Florida… read full review

This yak has been the answer…

This yak has been the answer to my prayers. I got a very late start into the world of kayaks. As a senior, thinking I needed an ultra light weight yak I purchased a fairly hi… read full review

This is my 3rd kayak. I…

This is my 3rd kayak. I started out with a 10' L.L.Bean Manatee back in 2008. This a great kayak for beginners. The next upgrade was a few years after was to a Wilderness Sys… read full review

6. Stellar 18' Touring Kayak (S18)

18'
Length
21.5"
Width (in)
36–50
Weight (lb)
$2,675
Base MSRP

Similar to the S16, the Stellar 18 (S18) Touring Kayak was designed for speed and stability on long distance tours. With additional length and reduced beam, this boat glides through the water. Moderate concavity along the keel of the bow and stern helps with tracking in rough conditions. For windy days and following seas, a drop-down rudder off the stern will help keep your course. Higher decks allow for a dryer paddle in rough conditions and a large stern and medium bow compartment provide ample storage for your longer tours.

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

Stellar 18' Touring Kayak (S18) Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
(5 Consumer Reviews)

I am managing a kayak club…

I am managing a kayak club with 30+ kayaks. The Stellar S18 kayak is the best kayak in our fleet of sea kayaks. Even paddlers who prefer British style kayaks with skegs have … read full review

I have owned several boats…

I have owned several boats but they have all been very stable. My favorite was and is my Tarpon 160 and I will always have it around. I started paddling with a group of pe… read full review

One word, AMAZING! This boat…

One word, AMAZING! This boat is stable and very fast. I find myself having to wait on the group. The boat is put together very well and I love how they pull in the sides wher… read full review

7. Solstice GTS

17' 7"
Length
22"
Width (in)
48–52
Weight (lb)
$3,449
Base MSRP

The Solstice GTS is for the paddler who wants a North American style kayak in a highly efficient package. This sleek hull design cuts through the water like a warm knife through butter. Plenty of foot room and the easy entry keyhole cockpit allows small to average sized paddlers to slip in comfortably while still staying true to it's sporty fit. The Solstice GTS has excellent acceleration, is highly efficient, and can hold plenty of gear in it's ample storage hatches. Great for water big and small, and trips long and short anywhere on the planet.

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

Additional Attributes

  • Composite Seam
  • Current Designs Rudder
  • Sea-lect Designs Foot Brace
  • Composite Colors

Solstice GTS Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
(39 Consumer Reviews)

we have had our current…

we have had our current design kayaks for twenty years and still love them. They still look great, no fading of color and handle like a dream. We also have two neckties and p… read full review

I purchased my first kayak in…

I purchased my first kayak in 1977, a composite whitewater model, and since then, I have owned more than 15 boats of various makes and materials. The one I plan to stay with … read full review

I'm really happy with it; it…

I'm really happy with it; it has enough room to carry everything I need for a self supported long weekend trip and is fast through the water and stable in waves. Great hatch … read full review

8. Baffin 3

17' 8"
Length
23.75"
Width (in)
47–69
Weight (lb)
$1,685.99
Base MSRP

The Baffin is built for the rigors of rough seas. Its unique hull design provides paddlers with a lively yet stable boat compared to other Greenland style kayaks. The three models in the series are well suited for a wide range of paddlers who demand immediate control and predictability. The generous sized opening of the hatch allows paddlers to load up adequate amounts of gear for up to two weeks, while the day hatch keeps your essentials handy while on the water. The Baffin comes with a full complement of deck rigging and a comfortably outed cockpit.

  • Structure: Rigid / Hard Shell
  • Cockpit Type: Sit Inside
  • Seating Configuration: Solo
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced

Baffin 3 Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
(14 Consumer Reviews)

This kayak is super fun. It…

This kayak is super fun. It is responsive yet stable in the big water. I also find it very comfy to paddle all day with convenient storage options

The Baffin has a…

The Baffin has a multi-chined hull which gives it good secondary as well as primary stability. It also has enough rocker which almost enables it to turn on a dime. Yet, with … read full review

This boat is designed for…

This boat is designed for the larger paddler - 200-300 lbs, and you can tell. Plenty of room for a larger person but with the length and lines to be fast and fairly agile. Th… read full review

9. NC 17 Overnighter

17' 2"
Length
23"
Width (in)
43–52
Weight (lb)
$3,595
MSRP

The NC17 series (pictured) or the NC19 series are extremely fast and efficient touring kayaks.

The NC17 has excellent Rough Water handling characteristics, great tracking and virtually no weathercocking. In Flat Water conditions, they are incredibly smooth and fast! It's designed for large bodies of water including Open Ocean. While still maneuverable enough for great fun on the lake. The NC17 series truly shines in Open Water.

The NC19 series is an incredibly fast touring kayak made for the paddler who wants a larger volume kayak or needs more capacity for extended trips.

  • The NC17 series best fits paddlers measuring 5'0"- 6'2" weighing between 100-240 lbs. with up to a size 13½ shoe.
  • The NC19 best fits paddlers measuring 5'6"- 6'8" weighing between 160-280 lbs. with up to a size 15½" shoe.
  • Structure: Rigid / Hard Shell
  • Cockpit Type: Sit Inside
  • Seating Configuration: Solo
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced
  • Ideal Paddler Size: Average Adult, Larger Adult
  • Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced

NC 17 Overnighter Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
(19 Consumer Reviews)

My early experience shows…

My early experience shows the NC 17 Overnighter is as advertised - a "fast and efficient touring kayak." I bought one used and have put it in four times in the first four day… read full review

I had a major issue with this…

I had a major issue with this Overnighter 17 from NC Kayaks. I compete in races with kayaks, and I was looking into faster kayaks to purchase to help get my time down. I got … read full review

Pretty boat. Well built for…

Pretty boat. Well built for the weight. Very stable I'm 6'4" 200 pounds and it is good in wind, and chop. My issue is the seat being a fixed shape and not adjustable and not … read full review

10. Lynx II

by AIRE
12' 6"
Length
39"
Width (in)
43
Weight (lb)
$1,699
MSRP

AIRE's classic inflatable river runners are nimble and maneuverable, offering incredible stability and control. Their tried and true design performs well on big water, creeks and local river sections. Lynx kayaks are all-around whitewater craft built for day-long outings and small extended trips. Paddle the Lynx II tandem or use its increased load capacity to gear up for longer trips, paddling solo.

  • 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

  • Tube Diameter: 11.5"
  • Bow Rise x Stern Rise: 15"
  • Weight: 43
  • 2" Waterline: 91
  • Aire Chambers: 3
  • AIREcell Material: Urethane
  • Fabric Denier x Material Weight: 1100 x 24/27
  • Seam Construction: Welded
  • Valve: Leafield C7
  • Warranty: 10 Year No Fault

Lynx II Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
(13 Consumer Reviews)

I have used/own several Aire…

I have used/own several Aire Inflatable kayaks for day use and multi-day float trips, e.g. the Escalante, Big Horn Canyon, and the Owyhee. My floating partner also used an A… read full review

The AIRE Lynx II is the most…

The AIRE Lynx II is the most versatile IK I have ever operated. More importantly though, is the warranty AND service I have experienced with this company. No one else can c… read full review

We bought 2 Lynx II…

We bought 2 Lynx II inflatable kayaks when our children were young. That was 20 years ago. They are still in use. People cannot believe they are that old. I have had to patch… read full review

11. Caribou

17' 3"
Length
21.5"
Width (in)
48–52
Weight (lb)
$3,499
Base MSRP

The Caribou is a classic Greenland style design that has a cult-like following of paddlers from all over the world. The hard chines on this stunning kayak gives it amazing initial stability and edge holding capabilities. Couple that with its wave catching powers and you have a great kayak that's fast, nimble, and a pure joy to paddle. Skeg, back band, and thigh braces come standard.

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

Caribou Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
(46 Consumer Reviews)

It is long, thin, fast and…

It is long, thin, fast and pretty. The speed is excellent, but this is not good around rocks. I like it for open water, and longer trips. Don't think of it for small river… read full review

I have been kayaking on and…

I have been kayaking on and off for a little while now. The sport had never really captured my full attention until I decided to pull the trigger and get myself a much more s… read full review

My wife and I both bought…

My wife and I both bought Caribou kayaks last summer. She wanted a faster boat that takes less effort than our old kayaks. These are easy to paddle, fast and lightweight. Th… read full review

12. Explorer

17' 6"
Length
21.5"
Width (in)
$4,285
Base MSRP

Designed for rough water and covering distances, the Explorer is NDK's main expedition kayak and suits the medium sized paddler. Faster than the Romany family, maneuverable and direction stable. It has a large carrying capacity and has been used on a one-month expedition to Antarctica carrying all supplies with no support. The Explorer is fitted with the High performance glass seat, unless otherwise requested. The kayak has a low rear deck for easy rolling, a keyhole cockpit that gives excellent grip, control and allows quick exit if need be. The sloping bulkhead behind the seat allows the kayak to be emptied by lifting only the bow, no x-rescue is necessary.

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

Additional Attributes

  • Front Bulkhead: Standard
  • Footrests: Yakima installed
  • Keel Strip: None
  • Skeg: Kari slider with new composite box

Explorer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
(41 Consumer Reviews)

I'm late to the party…

I'm late to the party regarding this venerable 90s design kayak. I bought a 2010 Explorer 3 months ago and have paddled in sea states that range from challenging to quite rel… read full review

Outstanding for extended…

Outstanding for extended expeditions or playing in surf. Comfortable keyhole cockpit is setup for easy access but secure fit when needed. The Explorer tracks very well, bette… read full review

The Romany Explorer still…

The Romany Explorer still stands as the model most designers have been trying to emulate. It's outstanding in rough conditions empty or full on long expeditions. Fun to surf,… read full review

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