The Best Kayaks for Dogs in 2022
- The Best Kayaks for Dogs
- 1. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak
- 2. Sea Eagle Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak
- 3. Intex Excursion Pro Kayak
- 4. Sevylor Coleman Colorado Fishing Kayak
- 5. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak
- 6. Lifetime 10 Foot Tandem Fishing Kayak
- 7. Sun Dolphin Journey 10-Foot Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak
- 8. Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Recreational Kayak
So you're wanting to try kayaking with your dog, but you're not quite sure where to begin. You'll need to make sure whichever kayak you decide to go for has got a spacious cockpit or secondary space for your pup to sit in. Additionally, you want your kayak to be secure and comfortable for your four-legged friend in order to encourage them to get involved with future kayaking adventures. But finding the best kayaks for dogs can still feel like a bit of an impossible task with the sheer volume of kayaks to chose from. Fortunately, we've been able to weed out the less suitable designs, and cherry-pick those we feel would be the best choices from which to select the best dog-friendly kayak design for you and your canine companion.
The Best Kayaks for Dogs
1. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak
Includes inflatable seats with backrest
Removable SKEG added for directional stability
Cockpit designed to provide the best comfort and control
Bright yellow color helps to make kayak more visible in case of emergency
Ideally designed for small bodies of water such as lakes and mild rivers
First of all, we’re particularly like the fact that the Intext Explorer K2 has been designed in a bright, vivid yellow color. This color choice is ideal for beginners, as it can be easily spotted from a distance. Therefore providing you with an extra lifeline in case of an emergency. It has an impressive capacity of 400lbs, making it an excellent choice for any dog owner that has a large dog. You can even attach a removable skeg to provide additional navigational stability, as well as inflatable seats with backrests that can provide a little extra support.
The only downsides to this product would seem to be that a few people have suggested adding something into the bottom of it to make it more rigid, which we would recommend anyway when kayaking with a dog. Additionally, a couple of people have mentioned that the storage bag could stand to be a little bit bigger to make putting the kayak away a less laborious task.
2. Sea Eagle Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak
Suitable for anything up to Class III whitewater
Features two comfortable, moveable seats
Paddles have asymmetric blades for accuracy and aluminum shaft for strength
2 skegs on the bottom for better speed and tracking
Easy-to-use drainage valve for better inflation and deflation
The Sea Eagle 3 is designed to be able to withstand the rigor of up to class II whitewater, meaning it can take a punch. The paddles have been made with an asymmetrical blade to help the paddler navigate the water with better accuracy, as well as having a super-strong aluminum shaft. It is a very precise design for an inflatable kayak, with two skeps located on the underside to help reduce drag and improve tracking. Furthermore, it only takes around 15 minutes to fully inflate and prepare before use.
In terms of features that may require some improvement according to customer reviews, the two inflatable seats that are included with this kayak, though comfortably soft, do not offer a lot of support. They are more designed to improve the overall feel of the kayak but have a tendency to tilt when leaned back on too heavily.
3. Intex Excursion Pro Kayak
Durable, lightweight laminated PVC with a polyester core
High-pressure spring-loaded valves for easy inflation
Includes 2 removable skews to assist in shallow and deep water
Built-in adjustable mounting bracket for various accessories
Highly resistant to impact, sunlight, and abrasion damage
Not only is the Intext Excursion Pro a great inflatable option for kayakers, but it is also designed to be used for fishing as well. As a fishing kayak, it does contain fishing rod holders which could also be used to securing equipment you think you may need. It is made to fit two paddlers comfortably, which means one of the removable seats can be removed to make the perfect amount of space for your furry companion – especially if they’re a large breed. Additionally, it has high-pressure spring-loaded valves to make the setup go much more smoothly.
The only thing some customers have advised is to be mindful of using this kayak in particularly windy environments. With it being a large inflatable boat it can be carried away on the water when hit with constant strong wind, which you would have to work more to counteract. It could also cause the kayak to rock more, risking your pup falling out.
4. Sevylor Coleman Colorado Fishing Kayak
NMMA certified, constructed of 18-gauge PVC
Multiple air chambers to reduce deflation when punctured
Paddle holders built in to secure paddles out of the way
The airtight system guarantees no leaks
1000D tarpaulin bottom and 840D nylon cover provide strong protection
The Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2 kayak is an ultra-comfortable inflatable fishing kayak, made to be the ideal, smooth-gliding kayak to allow fishermen to head out into the water without causing too much of a disturbance. As a result, you can be sure that it will provide you with a smooth ride. Additionally, the rounded inflatable sides provide a comfortable resting place for your dog’s head as you paddle along. It is one of the narrower designs on our list, however, the sides to this kayak create a snug and comforting fit for your dog, helping them to feel more secure.
The main problem people seem to have had with the Sevylor Colorado 2 is the placement of the fishing accessories and rod holders, as they can be easily bumped into whilst rowing. Furthermore, there is no pump included in this package which means having to purchase one separately – adding to the overall price.
5. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Kayak
Aluminum ribs improve tracking and define the shape
Triple-layered material provides extreme puncture resistance
Preassembled on delivery, simply needs to be inflated and the seats attached
Adjustable seats padded to provide comfort and support
Three seat locations for choices between solo paddling or tandem
Vividly colored, making it easier to see from a distance, the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible is a great multi-way choice for kayaking dog owners. It is the ideal inflatable dog kayak, as you have the option of using it as a sit-inside design or a sit-on-top design. Meaning if your dog has never been kayaking before, you can test the water with each style to see which they prefer. Additionally, it contains multiple air chambers to make punctures less of a worry, and paddle holders, so you can sit back and relax with your furry companion out on the water.
Some customers have commented that the effort required to set up this kayak can be quite tiring, especially as it is made from a heavy-duty material that can be difficult to carry. Furthermore, having to pack it away, and then unpack it in order to clean it seems like an inconvenience when compared to hardshell kayaks, however, this is all personal opinion.
6. Lifetime 10 Foot Tandem Fishing Kayak
Designed for use as both a solo and tandem paddler
Compact design allows the 10-foot kayak to be easily transported
Rear storage hatch provides safe space for belongings
5-year limited warranty provided
Extra stable hull capable of holding up to 500lbs
The Lifetime tandem kayak is one of the solid shell kayaks suitable for dogs to enjoy, owing to the fact that the ergonomic design and soft material are pretty much guaranteed to create a comfortable ride. As a paddler, you will have great support and control using the footholds station along the entire body. Furthermore, this kayak features a rear storage hatch for all the necessary equipment, including dog treats – obviously. It is a shallow, compact design made to make transport as easy as possible, as well as being capable of holding up to 500 pounds of weight.
The only point we will make about this kayak, dog friendly as it is, is that it is 10-foot-long, end to end, meaning especially tall dog owners may struggle to fit comfortably alongside their furry friend. Furthermore, it is a heavy thing to lift, making it quite cumbersome and difficult for some people to have to carry up from and down to the water’s edge.
7. Sun Dolphin Journey 10-Foot Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak
Ideally designed for lakes and rivers
Lightweight with retractable carrying handles
Easy to control with maximum stability
Portable Access Carrier included
Capable of carrying up to 250lbs
Best suited for small dog breeds, the Sun Dolphin Journey hard shell kayak offers a carefully sculpted sitting area for the paddler, whilst also have an open flat surface for smaller breeds to rest on whilst they float along. Not only that, but there is a built-in storage area at the back of the kayak for storing and towels, treats, or other equipment you might need. It is a lightweight design with carrying handles to make transport easier and is capable of carrying up to 250 pounds in weight. Further confirming that this is a kayak best suited to small dogs, as opposed to large, heavy breeds.
With the Sun Dolphin Journey, you should be mindful of the fact that it is not the best kayak for dogs that need to be sat in front of their owners, as the carefully sculpted interior and bottle holder make it an unusable space. Therefore you need to ensure you can trust your dog to do as they are told whilst sat behind you.
8. Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Recreational Kayak
The ideal family kayak with a capacity of up to 425 lbs
Three seating options – bow, stern, and middle
Three molded seat wells with 2 Comfort Plus seats
Designed to be easily stacked with other kayaks
Comfortable for people of all leg lengths
Available in two colors providing you the options of subtly or loud and proud, the Ocean Kayak Malibu Two is among the top of our hard-shell recreational kayaks. With ample room to fit your dog thanks to the tandem design and a flat open surface for them to admire the view as you paddle, it’s definitely an ideal kayak for taking your dog kayaking. It can carry a hefty 425 pounds, meaning large dogs are welcome to hop aboard, as well as have three seating positions so you can squeeze right back and give your dog all the room if you like.
Just be aware that with a solid-shell kayak like this you will need to find a space to keep it when it is not in use. With it being a 12-foot long tandem kayak it can be tricky to find the room for it. Additionally, the size of it means it is quite heavy and more easily carried with two people. However, it does have handles built in to make the transition from car to water easier.
Best Kayaks for Dogs Buying Guide
Things to Consider When Buying A Kayak for Dogs
There are a few details with each dog-friendly kayak that you will need to consider when looking at which would be the best design for you:
- Size: Is the kayak big enough to comfortably fit you and your canine friend inside?
- Weight capacity: Combine your and your dog's weights, along with the average weight of any equipment you might need, and use that to figure out what capacity limit your kayak will need to have.
- Design: Do you want a tandem sit-inside kayak or a sit-on-tip kayak that will provide a more open space for you and your pooch. Additionally, you may want to consider the pros and cons of inflated and non-inflated kayaks.
- Stability: You'll need a stable kayak so as not to make them nervous or stressed whilst you travel. A good rule of thumb would be to avoid getting a narrow design.
- Durability: When looking for a kayak for dogs you need to take into account your dog's nails. A strong and durable kayak is an absolute must to prevent their claws from causing too much damage. And maybe keep your pup off any inflatable seats.
- Non-slip: Not all dog-friendly kayaks have a non-slip design, but it's definitely a bonus if they do. If not then you'll want to look at getting a non-slip mat to place inside.
Types of Kayaks for Dogs
There are two major types of kayaks. This included the sit-on-top design and the sit-in design. It depends on the breed of dog that you have as to which of these designs suits your dog best. You could also divide them into sub-categories, such as tandem kayaks or solo kayak, as well as inflatable kayaks and non-inflatable designs. But for the purpose of looking at which general design would be best for kayaking with your dog, we're going to look at the seating arrangement.
Sit-in Kayaks can be well suited to smaller dogs when kayaking with your dog. It's also a good design choice for dogs that are not overly fond of swimming. You can have dogs that love being near the water but don't massively enjoy swimming in it. Of course, you'll need to get a tandem kayak if you're going with the sit-in design, as your dog will not be able to fit into the footwell of a solo sit-in kayak. A tandem gives them their own seat, as well as ample leg room should they decide to find extra shelter during the trip.
A sit-in dog-friendly kayak provides your pup with security on all sides, as well as making it almost impossible for your dog to fall overboard. Unless of course, they decide that the water looks great and jump out of their own volition. So even if you've got a larger dog, if they're a more nervous personality that needs to feel secure in order to enjoy themselves, you should definitely look at sit-inside kayaks.
The sit-on-top kayak is pretty much a shallow and narrow rowboat in looks. They're more easily accessible for your dog, and many pet owners and dog lovers favor this design when kayaking with a dog. They're generally the best kayaks for dogs that love the water and need the freedom to jump in and out as and when they feel like it. Recreational kayaking with an open-top kayak is great for especially fluffy breeds that can use the water to cool themselves off in hot weather. It's also great for natural strong swimmers that are inclined towards the water.
The bigger the dog, the bigger the kayak. The best kayak for someone taking a large dog out with them would be something with a higher weight capacity (something capable of holding two adults would be a good choice). Smaller dogs may be fine in a solo sit-on-top kayak, so long as the weight capacity can hold them.
Kayaks to Avoid When Kayaking with Dogs
Most kayaks are fine for kayaking with canines, however, try to avoid kayaks that are especially narrow like sea kayaks. If your furry friend is a bit bigger, they may have trouble balancing their weight in a narrow kayak. As a result, there is more chance of your dog slipping overboard, or toppling out when you hit a rough patch. Most dog-friendly kayaks will have enough room for your furry friend to relax whilst you paddle. Traditional kayaks are often very narrow as well, so this would be another design to avoid.
They shouldn't feel as though they need to consciously keep their weight in one place to maintain their balance. For some dogs, sea kayaks can present this problem, especially with a large or even medium-sized dog. Both you and your dog should be equally secure whilst out and about.
Safety Tips for Kayaking With Dogs
It's not just a case of getting your dog to hop into the kayak and heading on your way. Just like with humans, you need to take certain precautions to ensure your dog's safety.
Have your dog wear a life vest: Humans have to wear life jackets, even if we know how to swim. It's common sense to take that extra precaution on the off-chance the kayak tips and you're unable to tell which direction is up. The jacket will pull you to the surface if you're unable to find it. Dogs might be naturally strong swimmers for the most part, but that doesn't protect them against losing their way in the event that you capsize. Keep a vest on them at all times. Find out more about dog life jackets here.
Stick to calm waters: Rapid water is much more high risk, especially when you've got a dog on board with you. Plot out where you will be going ahead of time and keep to calm waters. If you're new to kayaking with your dog, it would be advisable to start in shallow water as well. This will give you the chance to practice movement and balancing with an animal in the kayak.
Try to keep a repair kit with you: Especially if you're going to be using an inflatable kayak. However, having a repair kit handy is a smart move with any major equipment, just in case of emergencies. If you get any pictures or leaks you'll need to patch them up quickly to give yourself time to get the kayak back to the shore.
Be mindful of the maximum weight capacity: Ensure the combined weight of you, your dog, and your gear falls below the weight capacity of the kayak. Fishing kayaks often have high capacities owing to the need to stow gear onboard. Depending on the breed a dog can weigh similarly to a small child (or even an adult with especially large dogs.) So just be mindful of that fact and ideally have your dog weighed before looking through the best kayaks for your weight range.
Try to keep to a straight line or make gentle turns: Whilst paddling it is best to avoid any sharp changes in direction. Whilst sit-on-top kayaks may generally be the best kayaks for dogs, they are very easy for your dog to fall from if jolted. Therefore you should limit your movements to mostly straight lines and gradual turns. Which circles back round to the importance of calm water, in order to maintain proper control.
Practice loading and unloading beforehand: Before going out for the first time, you should practice getting yourself, your dog, and all your gear into the kayak. Once you're relatively confident in your technique on land, you can take it to the water. Again, do a few practice runs at the water's edge before heading out. just to ensure that if your dog decides to go for a swim, they are confident in getting back into the kayak after.
Make sure your dog will follow commands: As relaxing as it can be, recreational kayaking also has its dangers. You need to be sure your dog will listen to you when you need it to. This means ensuring it will respond to commands such as sit, lie down, and stay. That way you can paddle without the stress of worrying that they might disregard a command when they spot something in the water and potentially put themselves in danger.
Get a good traction pad for the floor: Not only will a good traction pad prevent your dog from slipping whilst you travel, but if you get a strong pad it will act as a protective layer along the bottom of the kayak. This will help to reduce the risk of damage to the kayak caused by your dog's claws. Traction pads are just an all-around smart move for wet environments.
Inflatable vs Hard Shell Kayaks
Additionally, a hard-shell kayak doesn't require any real setup - just throw it in the water, hop in, and off you go. They are generally the choice for professional kayakers, as they are designed for maximum performance, making them fast and agile. However, if you're new to the kayaking game then you don't need to think that far ahead when planning your kayaking gear. Inflatable kayaks may not be as quick, or maneuverable, but when kayaking with your dog you shouldn't be in complicated waters anyway. So it shouldn't be a problem.
In terms of durability, the inflatable kayak would be the better option. Perhaps surprisingly, they are the better of the two choices when it comes to hitting obstacles. If an inflatable kayak hits a rock, it will just bounce off. Whereas the somewhat delicate framework of a hard-shell kayak can crack or break. Furthermore, inflatable kayaks are designed to be difficult to sink, and are just more single to repair should they get damaged. Whereas a hard-shell kayak would require special repairs, or in some cases, a complete replacement, depending on the severity of the damage.
Hard-shell kayaks tend to be more expensive, owing to the fact that they are used predominantly at a professional level. Whereas inflatable kayaks have a much less eye-watering price tag, making them a better choice for beginners or casual kayakers. Furthermore, an inflatable kayak is far easier to transport, and store. Especially if you don't have a storage space designed to accommodate the long bodywork on a kayak. They may take 10-15 minutes of setup time once you're at the water's edge, but it's worth it for the convenience. The only downside, however, is the fact that it needs to be fully dried before being stored away in order to reduce the risk of mold developing.
Q: Are inflatable or hardshell kayaks better for kayaking with a dog?
It is a matter of personal preference. An inflatable kayak is easy to transport which can be good for dog parents that also need to walk their dog to the water's edge of a leash. Additionally, they tend to be more comfortable for dogs to lie in for a longer length of time. However, some dogs may prefer the stability of a hardshell kayak. Furthermore, a hardshell kayak can handle a dog's claws better.
Q: How Do You Train A Dog To Sit In A Kayak?
Lots of treats, repetition, and patience. Like any trick, dogs need to be carefully coaxed to begin with. You may need to simply let your dog explore it before trying to get them into it. Once they seem comfortable being around it you can then gently encourage them to climb inside - rewarding each small step so as to create a positive association with it. Positive reinforcement is key with training a dog, so keep telling them they're doing a good job, and eventually, they will get used to being inside a kayak.