Modular kayaks are a great alternative to traditional, one-piece kayaks because they’re much easier to transport. They also require significantly less storage space at home, which is why they’re great for those that live in apartments, RVs, travel trailers, and 5th wheels.
In terms of direct competition, the closest designs you’ll find to modular kayaks are folding kayaks and inflatable kayaks. But, generally speaking, modular kayaks tend to offer better on-water performance that’s more closely comparable to traditional, hardshell kayaks.
If you’re just learning about this type of kayak, we’re sure that you’re wondering how these kayaks really work. That’s why we’re going to address that (and much more) in these modular kayaks reviews and buyers’ guide.
For those of you that don’t have a kayak roof rack or a lot of space to store a kayak at home, a modular kayak can be an excellent choice. So let’s get into our reviews and buyer guide to help you choose a new modular kayak today!
Table of Contents
- 1 What Are Modular Kayaks?
- 2 Buyer Guide
- 3 Modular Kayaks Reviews
- 4 Our Pick – Point 65 Mercury GTX Solo
- 5 Enjoyed Modular Kayaks Reviews & Buyer Guide? Share it with your friends so they too can follow the Kayak Help journey.
What Are Modular Kayaks?
Before we explain everything you need to know about buying a modular kayak, we thought it would be nice to really define what these kayaks are. So let’s start with a brief definition of modular kayaks.
Modular kayaks feature another unique design that is meant to make them much easier to transport than standard kayaks. In terms of the closest competition, modular kayaks are mostly competing with folding kayaks and inflatable kayaks in terms of ease of storage and transportation.
As their name suggests, these kayaks come apart into pieces so that they can easily fit into the back of your vehicle or be stored in a more compact space at your house. But when you’re ready to paddle, the pieces easily snap together to provide the same watertight performance you’ll enjoy with a standard, hardshell kayak.
In terms of the number of pieces, you’ll find modular kayaks with a minimum of two pieces. Most larger modular kayaks don’t have more than three total pieces, but there are some custom designs out there that feature four or more pieces.
Modular kayaks are available in solo or tandem alignments, and some can even be adapted to your preference for added versatility. They are also available in sit on top or sit inside varieties, depending on the main type of paddling you like to do.
Because of this type of kayak’s uniqueness, there can be a bit more to consider when buying one. That being said, we’ve compiled everything you need to know to buy the right modular kayak for you in this Buyers’ Guide!
A kayak’s weight capacity is one of the first things you should consider whether you’re purchasing a modular kayak, inflatable kayak, or any other type you can think of. Simply put, it must be able to support your weight and still perform to your preference.
But considering a kayak’s weight capacity is more than just making sure that it can support your individual body weight. To be clear, we never recommend kayaking with anything in your vessel other than you and your paddle.
You’ll need to secure additional gear, snacks, safety equipment, and anything else you want to take on your kayak. Because of the need to consider this extra gear, we recommend finding a kayak that can handle at least 50 to 100 pounds more than your individual body weight.
For example, a 150-pound person should find a kayak with a maximum weight capacity between 200 and 250 pounds. Finding a kayak that can handle more weight than that isn’t necessarily a bad thing either.
Making sure to have this buffer zone between your body weight and the weight capacity of your kayak will ensure that your kayak can handle you and your gear. And as you start planning longer and longer kayaking expeditions, this buffer zone will only become more important.
Number of Sections
Modular kayaks can typically be broken down into two, three, or four sections. But, in some cases, they can be broken down into even more sections than that, which simply means you’ll need to be comfortable utilizing and storing a kayak that breaks down that much.
Generally speaking, more sections will mean a longer setup time when you’re at the beach preparing for your paddle. Conversely, it will also mean that each of those individual sections will be smaller, lighter, and easier to handle.
For example, if you know that you only have so much space in your vehicle, you can make sure the modular kayak you choose breaks down in such a way so that it always fits in your vehicle or where you need to store it at home.
Because there are so many different vehicles (and homes!) out there, we can’t tell you specifically whether two or three sections will be better for you. But some of you may be better suited a kayak that breaks down into more, smaller sections while others will be better off with a kayak that breaks down into fewer, larger sections.
Sit On Top Versus Sit Inside
The sit on top versus sit inside debate is one of the oldest arguments in the kayaking world. But the reality is that each of these unique kayak designs has its specific function and advantages over the other.
Sit on top kayaks tend to be more popular for beginners and recreational paddlers. This is one of the main reasons that you’ll primarily find sit on top kayaks as the main kayak type in the arsenal of most kayak rental companies.
These kayaks tend to be very stable for beginners to learn on and they are also more forgiving as you’re getting used to the basics of kayaking. Because sit on top kayaks feature scupper holes in the hull, they’re also easier to drain and re-enter if you happen to capsize in deep water.
That being said, the stable design of most sit on top kayaks generally makes them slower on the water. While they can be easier to maneuver quickly and turn on a dime, most sit on top kayaks can’t achieve the kinds of top speeds you can reach with a sit inside kayak.
On the other token, sit-inside kayaks are much more popular for experienced kayakers, regardless of their unique paddling style. This includes expedition-style kayaking, whitewater kayaking, and touring in less-than-ideal weather conditions.
The sit-inside design of these kayaks means that the cockpit stays drier than those of sit on top kayaks. This can be vital to your comfort if you’re paddling in heavy winds or on colder mornings and/or evenings.
That being said, sit inside kayaks tend to be narrower and less stable than their sit on top counterparts. So that makes them a little more of an initial challenge for kayakers that don’t have a lot of experience.
The bottom line is that sit on top kayaks are probably best for beginners and recreational kayakers. Sit insides, on the other hand, are better for experienced paddlers or those that are determined to learn the skills they’ll need for multi-day kayaking expeditions in the future!
The dimensions of a kayak play a major role in how it maneuvers and moves through the water. And while there are other factors that impact a kayak’s performance, we’re going to use this section to touch on how a kayak’s length and width impact your ability to maneuver and cruise on the water.
As kayaks get longer, they tend to be capable of achieving higher top-end speeds. This is one of the primary reasons that you’ll see many touring kayaks with lengths in excess of 13 or 14 feet.
At the same time, those longer kayaks also tend to be more narrow, which also impacts their straight-line performance. A kayak that’s longer and narrower will have more drag and allow you to gain (and maintain) a higher speed.
That’s why longer kayaks are better suited to kayak racing or lengthy expeditions. They are capable of covering larger distances in a shorter amount of time, but they don’t maneuver left and right as quickly as shorter kayaks.
Maneuverability is the major benefit of a shorter kayak, which is why most whitewater kayaks look extremely short and stubby. This is a great benefit for recreational kayakers in crowded areas or when you want your paddle strokes to have maximum effect on the direction of your kayak.
Additionally, a kayak’s width is going to impact its stability. As you might imagine, a wider kayak is going to be more stable than a narrower kayak, which is why kayaks for beginners and fishing kayaks tend to be the widest models out there today.
We want to start by making it clear that this is only an important consideration if you’re choosing a sit-inside kayak. Sit on top kayaks have open cockpits that tend to suit larger paddlers better than their sit-inside counterparts.
But if you’re searching for a sit-inside modular kayak, you’ll need to look at the cockpit size of each kayak you’re interested in. The dimensions of a kayak’s cockpit are broken down into length and width so that you can consider comfort on both fronts.
To help you choose a kayak with a large enough cockpit, you’ll need to start by finding a measuring tape somewhere nearby. Then you can measure the width of your body from hip-to-hip and compare that measurement to the opening width of a kayak’s cockpit.
In general, we recommend choosing a kayak that’s at least two to four inches wider than the width of your body from hip-to-hip. That gives you a little extra wiggle room for those cold-weather instances when you’re wearing a thicker wetsuit or drysuit, as well as your kayaking PFD.
In addition, you might also take a moment to make sure you can find an appropriate kayak spray skirt to fit the cockpit of your new sit-inside kayak. A spray skirt will help you stay warmer and drier when paddling in colder months, so it’s always important to make sure you have one that fits your kayak.
There are several different elements that impact the performance and stability of a kayak’s hull design. But, in this section, we’re going to focus on how the shape of the hull and its degree of rocker impact how your kayak performs on the water.
For starters, the shape of your kayak’s hull will dictate its stability, tracking ability, maneuverability, and speed. Most touring and expedition kayaks, for example, boast a V-shaped hull because it’s the best design for reducing drag and maintaining higher speeds.
Conversely, a pontoon-shaped hull is popular for recreational kayaks and fishing kayaks. This hull shape provides exceptional stability and, in some cases, it will even allow you to stand comfortably in your kayak without worrying about it tipping.
And when it comes to rocker, this is defined as the amount of curvature of the kayak’s hull from bow to stern. More rocker makes a kayak more easily maneuverable and less rocker makes a kayak track straighter and move through the water more efficiently.
Overall, the exact hull design that’s perfect for you depends on how you plan to use your kayak. Anglers, for example, should prioritize stability and maneuverability while expedition kayakers should prioritize speed and tracking ability.
There are also a number of extra features that may be more or less important to you depending on how exactly you plan to use your kayak. Some examples of these features include fishing rod holders, beverage holders, tracks for attaching accessories, and open or closed storage compartments.
It’s hard to say exactly which features you should look for because that will depend on your kayaking preferences. But it’s still important for you to make sure the kayak you choose has everything you desire or gives you the ability to add extra accessories down the line.
Modular Kayaks Reviews
The Point 65 Mercury GTX Solo modular kayak breaks down into three total pieces. It is a sit-inside kayak design with bow and stern bulkhead compartments that can be used for dry gear storage.
This kayak gives you precise steering control through the use of a stern rudder. This rudder is controlled using foot pedals that are located inside the kayak’s cockpit.
The rudder will be of great help when you are battling rough or windy conditions out on the water. Instead of having to make excessive corrections with your kayak paddle, you’ll be able to maintain a consistent paddling rhythm as you make minor adjustments using your foot pedals.
Overall, this touring kayak measures 13’6” long, 23.6” wide, and 11.8” deep. It also weighs 55 pounds and each piece weighs less than 25 pounds when you break this modular kayak down.
The cockpit of the Mercury GTX Solo measures 33 inches long by 18 inches wide and this kayak offers a maximum weight capacity of 286 pounds. In terms of storage, the bow hatch measures 9.5” by 9.5” and the stern hatch measures 17.6” by 10.4”.
Additionally, this modular kayak gives you excellent versatility because it can be converted to a tandem kayak with the purchase of an additional piece. The Point 65 Mercury GTX Mid Section will transform this solo kayak into a 17’10” tandem expedition kayak.
If you’ve ever been intrigued by the ease and convenience of a pedal-driven kayak, the Point 65 Kingfisher Solo is a really cool option. The hull of this kayak features a trimaran-style design that makes it fast and exceptionally stable.
As you might imagine from its name, this is also a great modular kayak for fishing applications. It has tracks on both gunwales for attaching your favorite kayak fishing accessories and it also features a raised kayak seat that gives you the elevated vantage point you need for more successful kayak fishing.
The Kingfisher breaks down into two pieces and each piece weighs no more than 37 pounds. In fact, this kayak’s total weight comes in at 70 pounds and it offers a maximum weight capacity of 287 pounds.
The pedal-drive system on this solo modular kayak allows you to keep your hands free to operate a fishing pole, take pictures, or do anything else you desire. But if you want to, you can easily remove the pedal-drive system and use this modular kayak as a standard fishing kayak.
Because it’s a sit on top design, you won’t have to worry about fitting into a small, snug cockpit. In fact, the raised Game Chair on this kayak is adjustable to multiple positions so that you can enjoy all-day comfort on the water.
This kayak also features a wide and stable hull design that makes it ideal for kayak anglers. It’s actually stable enough to allow you to stand in the cockpit comfortably to fish from a different position without worrying about going for an unexpected swim.
Additionally, this kayak features two large storage hatches and multiple rod holders that allow you to keep multiple rod-and-reel combinations at the ready. It also boasts dual, hand-controlled rudders to help you steer with ease from fishing hole to fishing hole.
The Point 65 Tequila! GTX Angler Solo is another modular fishing kayak but this one is available at a slightly more affordable price point than the Kingfisher. But it is also a sit on top kayak that breaks down into two pieces for easy storage and transportation.
This kayak, however, does give you the option of adding the Tequila! GTX Angler Mid Section to turn it into a 14-foot tandem fishing kayak. But when it’s set up for a single paddler, it measures 9’8” long and 29.5” wide.
To cover its other dimensions and specifications, this fishing kayak weighs just 48.5 pounds (making it the lightest of the modular kayaks on our list!) and it boasts a maximum weight capacity of 265 pounds.
To equip you for all your angling endeavors, this modular kayak comes with two integrated, flush-mounted fishing rod holders and a third swiveling, deck-mounted rod holder in front of the kayak seat.
And speaking of that AIR seat, it features a pneumatically adjustable backrest that allows you to easily adjust it to your desired reclined or upright position. The seat itself is made of EVA foam that’s combined with a mesh-like fabric for improved durability and breathability.
The Tequila! Angler GTX also includes two additional deck mounts that allow you to attach additional fishing accessories. And it offers a large, open stern storage compartment with bungee straps for securing a cooler or kayak fishing tackle crate.
Our Pick – Point 65 Mercury GTX Solo
We’ve chosen the Point 65 Mercury GTX Solo modular kayak as our pick for the best modular kayak because of its high-performance touring capabilities. This is an ideal choice for sea kayaking or anyone planning on tackling a lengthy kayaking expedition in the near future.
We also like this model because it’s adaptable to suit one or two paddlers. As is, it’s certainly a solo modular kayak, but you always retain the option to purchase the additional midsection to turn it into a high-performance tandem expedition kayak.
The MercuryGTX kayak’s Snap-Tap security system ensures that the pieces snap together in an instant. This makes setting up this modular kayak super easy and also guarantees that you hardly notice that you’re paddling a kayak that breaks into pieces once you’re on the water.
We also really appreciate that this modular kayak boasts two large dry storage hatches for all of your expedition gear. But it also features bungee rigging on the deck that allows you to attach a deck bag or other kayaking accessories.
Finally, this kayak’s integrated skeg system makes it much easier to keep your kayak tracking straighter in less-than-favorable weather conditions. But if offers a low-profile design that reduces the likelihood of damaging the skeg when paddling in shallow waters.