Best Kayaks under $500

Looking for a concise, comprehensive, and accurate review guide on the best kayaks you can buy for under $500?

If so, I assume you’ve already done some initial research and would rather not sift through “fluff articles” to get to the meat of the content. That’s what we try to do here at KayakHelp. If you are completely new to buying a kayak, please read our kayak buying guide first to learn the basics first

Let’s get started.

Dagger Zydeco 9.0 Kayak

Dagger Zydeco 9.0 Kayak

Weight 38lbs Width 28.5"
Length 9' 1" Material Molded Polyethylene

Other Features:

  • Cockpit Dimensions (LxW): 38.5 x 21.75
  • Hull Shape: Round
  • ConTour CFS-R Seating System Thigh Brace: ConTour Knee /
  • Thigh Pad Foot Brace: SlideLock XL Foot Brace
  • System Grab Handle: Soft Touch Handles Accessory:
  • Paddle Park Accessory: Bungee Deck Rigging

Here are the main pros and cons of the Dagger Zydeco 9.0 Kayak that we’ve consistently heard about. Trust me – ask around, read around, or go into your local outdoors shop and you will hear the same thing.

Pros:

  1. Very light (38lbs) – People ages 12 – 60 can load and unload the kayak themselves in their vehicle.
  2. Excellent maneuverability – The rounded hull allows for “on a dime” turning in slow water and calm conditions.
  3. Stability – People have consistently said that is easy to get into and out of the kayak because of it’s wide base and large cockpit.

Cons:

  1. Poor Tracking – The length of the kayak and soft chine consistently affects how well the kayak is tracking through the water

It’s the little things that will affect your Kayaking experience down the line. Here are a few details about the Dagger Zydeco 9.0 Kayak that you might have overlooked.

  • Very comfortable seat – Almost all users agree that they are comfortable for hours in the ConTour CFS-R Seating Sytem.
  • Insulates well in cold temperatures.
  • Well-designed paddle park
  • Short nose causes waves to overflow over the top in choppy conditions.
  • Accelerates well but decelerates poorly. The kayak tends to be swirly when stopping.

Is this Kayak right for you?

This kayak will perform great on long trips down moderately slow rivers (below Class 2) and large calm lakes where your paddling for long periods of time. Although some use it on the ocean, we recommend using a kayak better suited for the roughness of an ocean.

Check Pricing

If you do decide to purchase this kayak we recommend buying a skeg which solves the tracking issue. Read about skegs here before purchasing.

See? Short and to the point.

Ocean Kayak Frenzy Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

 

Ocean Kayak Frenzy Sit-On-Top

Weight 44lb Width 31"
Length 9' Material Molded Polyethylene

Other features:

  • Cockpit: Sit on Top / Open Cockpit
  • Hull: Multihull
  • Cup Holder
  • Molded in Seat Well
  • Side Mounted Carrying handles
  • Threaded hull drain plug

Here are the main pros and cons of the Ocean Kayak Frenzy Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak that that we’ve consistently heard about. Trust me – ask around, read around, or go into your local outdoors shop and you will hear the same thing.

Pros:

  1. Durability and Longevity – These kayaks last for YEARS. Seriously. They are almost indestructible.
  2. Stability – Almost impossible to tip over and easy to get on if you fall off.
  3. Transportation and Storage – Lightweight and short enough to easily transport yourself.

Cons:

  1. Slow – Compared to other kayaks the Ocean Kayak isn’t that fast.
  2. Fair Tracking – The kayak has low to medium tracking which makes it hard to travel in a straight line

Remember, it’s the little things that count! Here are a few details about the Ocean Kayak Frenzy Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak that you might have overlooked.

  • Bungee Storage and the fact that it is a sit on top kayak allows for a lot of storage space but there is a possibility that your gear will get wet.
  • If you have multiple, they stack perfectly on top of each other to allow for easy storage and transportation.
  • In choppy water the kayak there tends to be a loud hull slap.

Is this kayak right for you?

This kayak is probably the best general purpose kayak out there. It’s great for the ocean surf but doesn’t do that well for long kayak tours since it is somewhat slow. The stability makes for a great general purpose kayak that the kids can play on and that you can also take out fishing.

Check Pricing

If you do decide to purchase this kayak we recommend buying a skeg which solves the tracking issue. Read about skegs here before purchasing.

Vibe Skipjack 90 Kayak

Vibe Skipjack 90 Kayak

Weight 46lb Width 32"
Length 9' Material Rotomolded Single Piece Polyethylene

Other Features:

  • Cockpit: Sit on Top / Open Cockpit
  • 2 sealed hatches for gear
  • 4 flush mount fishing rod holders
  • 4 carrying handles

Here are the main pros and cons of the Vibe Skipjack 90 Kayak that that we’ve consistently heard about. Trust me – ask around, read around, or go into your local outdoors shop and you will hear the same thing.

Pros:

  1. Excellent tracking – Even in hard paddling people have reported that this kayak glides perfectly straight.
  2. Stable – Wide base makes for great stability.

Cons:

  1. Very uncomfortable seat – If you are going to buy this Kayak try to find a bundle deal where they include an upgrade on the seat.
  2. Slow – Since this boat is mainly for fishing they did not design it for speed.

It’s the little things that will affect your Kayaking experience down the line. Here are a few details about the Vibe Skipjack 90 Kayak that you might have overlooked.

  • Dry storage for valuables and bungee storage for things you don’t mind getting wet.
  • GREAT for adding accessories onto your kayak.

Is this the right kayak for you?

This kayak is great if you have any interest in fishing. It’s a great fishing kayak that can double as a general-purpose kayak. Like the Ocean Kayak Frenzy Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak, it can be used in salt water and fresh water but is not great for long tours.

Check Pricing

Conclusion:

I’ve seen many review guides online compare five to ten kayaks and then give you their number one recommended kayak. There are so many kayaks that are similar quality but differ slightly depending on what you use them for so it’s hard for me to take other guides seriously when I come across them.

Honestly, we are confident that you will be %100 satisfied with any of the kayaks above. If you don’t believe me – ask around, read around, or go into your local outdoors shop and you will hear the same thing!

Now that we’ve narrowed it down to three kayaks, try to envision what you will use it for the most. Then compare and understand the differences between them and choose the kayak that will provide the best experience for YOU.

If you enjoyed our “no fluff” review article style – please leave a comment! We’d love to hear from you.

 

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