Best Touring Kayaks Guide for 2023

Canoes and Kayaks

If you are thinking of buying a new touring kayak or are just curious about what’s out there, this blog post is for you. In this article, we will look at some of the best touring kayaks on the market today and give you a guide to help you choose the right one for your needs. So whether you are a seasoned kayaker looking for an upgrade or a beginner just starting out, keep reading to find out more!

best touring kayaks

What is a touring kayak?

A touring kayak is a sit-in kayak designed for long-distance travel on waterways. Touring kayaks are usually longer and narrower than recreational kayaks, making them faster and more efficient for paddling over long distances. 

Touring kayaks also often have larger storage compartments for carrying camping gear or other supplies. While you can use touring kayaks on calm lakes or slow-moving rivers, they are also well suited for open water conditions such as coastal paddling or ocean touring.

What are the different types of touring kayaks available?

Touring kayaks are designed for longer adventures on day trips or multi-day excursions on the water. There are two main variations of touring kayaks – sea kayaks (also known as ocean kayaks) and day touring kayaks. 

A sea kayak is a touring kayak designed for use on open waters characterized by its long length and narrow width, making it very stable in rough conditions. In addition, sea kayaks often have a variety of storage compartments and options for attaching gear, making them ideal for longer trips. They are also very maneuverable, thanks to their slim design.

On the other hand, day touring kayaks are shorter and lighter, making them easier to maneuver and transport. As a result, they’re ideal for shorter trips on calmer waters, such as lakes and slow-moving rivers.

Whichever touring kayak you choose, ensure it’s not only comfortable but that it suits your needs for its intended use.

What to consider when choosing a Touring Kayak

Does the Touring Kayak suit its intended use?

When choosing a kayak, it’s essential to consider your intended purpose. Are you looking for a leisurely day trip on calm waters, or do you hope to tackle ocean water for an overnight trip?
For example, if you plan on making multi-day trips, then it is super important that all of your camping and cooking gear will adequately fit inside your kayak.

Is it comfortable?

Comfort is the key to paddling touring kayaks for long periods. A touring kayak should have a seat that is adjustable and supportive, allowing you to paddle for hours without getting sore. Foot pegs that you can adjust are also necessary, as they let you change your position to stay comfortable as you paddle. 

Other features that can add to the comfort of a touring kayak include thigh braces and a backrest. Considering comfort when choosing a touring kayak, you can help ensure that you’ll enjoy every minute of your time on the water.

The weight of the kayak

When choosing a touring kayak, one of the most important considerations is the weight of the kayak. A touring kayak is typically much longer and narrower than a recreational kayak, making it faster and more efficient for touring. However, this also makes them more difficult to transport and maneuver. For this reason, weight is a key factor in determining which touring kayak is right for you. 

Heavier touring kayaks are more stable and easier to keep on course, but they can be difficult to lift onto your car or carry down to the water. Lighter touring kayaks are easier to transport, but they may be less stable and more difficult to control. Ultimately, the best touring kayak for you will be the one that strikes the perfect balance between weight and performance.

Do you need a skeg or rudder?

Touring kayaks typically track straight in calm to moderate conditions without using a rudder or skeg. As a result, many touring kayaks come without either of these devices installed. However, there are some instances where a rudder or skeg can be beneficial. For example, if you frequently paddle in windy or choppy conditions, a rudder or skeg can help your kayak track straight and avoid being blown off course. Additionally, a skeg can be helpful in rivers, where it can provide extra control against strong currents.

Ultimately, the answer to the question, do I need a skeg or rudder for your touring kayak depends on the type of paddling conditions you typically encounter. If you are unsure, it is always best to err on the side of caution and opt for a kayak with one of these devices.

The Best Touring Kayaks for 20223

1. Perception Conduit 13.0 Touring Kayak

Technical Specs

  • Length: 13′ / 396 cm
  • Width: 26.5″ / 67 cm
  • Weight: 51 Lbs / 23 kg
  • Max. Weight: 295 Lbs.
  • Cockpit Length: 38″ / 97 cm
  • Cockpit Width: 21″ / 53 cm

The Perception Conduit 13.0 touring kayak is an excellent choice for new paddlers looking for a boat to grow with them. The large open cockpit makes it easy to get in and out of, and the back-friendly, fully adjustable seats make it comfortable to paddle for long periods. The boat is also stable and easy to control, making it ideal for exploring flat-water lakes, ponds, and rivers. If you’re looking for a kayak that will provide you with years of enjoyment, the Perception Conduit 13.0 is a great option.

It’s got plenty of storage space (50l and 70l, respectively), and the Tupperware-style lids should keep everything inside the bulkheads dry. This is a very stable kayak that tracks well on the water. The Perception Conduit also has an option for a rudder for better maneuverability in windy or choppy conditions.

Overall, the Perception Conduit 13.0 is a great option for touring kayakers who want a stable, spacious, easy-to-paddle boat.


  • Generous bulk head storage
  • Affordable price
  • Roomy cockpit 
  • Very stable in the water and tracks well


  • Seat adjustment can be a bit fiddly
  • Bulk heads are not completely water tight

2. Wilderness Systems Tsunami 140

Technical Specs

  • Length: 14’ / 427 cm
  • Width: 25.5″ / 65 cm
  • Weight: 53 lbs / 24 kg
  • Max. Weight: 325 lbs / 147 kg
  • Cockpit length: 35.75″ / 91 cm
  • Cockpit width: 20″ / 51 cm

The Wilderness Systems Tsunami 140 touring kayaks are a great all around kayak for use on rivers, lakes, bay’s and canals. These vessels track very well and are quite versatile and manoeuvrable if you find yourself in tight spots. Wilderness Systems also have a Tsunami 125 and Tsunami 145 model which are 12’9″ and 14’6″ in length respectively.

It features a very comfortable phase 3 Airpro seating system, adjustable padded thigh braces, and bow and deck bulkheads for added buoyancy. In addition, the fitted skid plate protects the hull when dragging the kayak, and the flared sidewalls provide greater stability. 

As a result, the Tsunami 140 is a solid choice for paddlers who want a comfortable and stable kayak for touring.


  • Adjustable thigh braces
  • Fitted skid plate
  • Comfortable seating system
  • Good stability


  • Not the cheapest kayak around
  • A rudder can be fitted but at an additional cost

3.Perception Carolina 14 Touring Kayak

Technical Specs

  • Length: 14 / 427 cm
  • Width: 24.5″ / 62 cm
  • Weight: 53 lbs / 24 kg
  • Max. Weight: 300 lbs / 136 kg
  • Cockpit length: 39.5″ / 100 cm
  • Cockpit width: 21.5″ / 55 cm

The Perception Carolina Touring Kayak 14 is very comparable to the Wilderness Systems Tsunami 140.  This vessel is a little slower in the water in the water than the Tsunami due to the larger storage capacity allowing you to take more gear if overnight camping trips are your thing. Despite not being the fastest boat on the water it is incredibly stable and tracks very well.  It’s also very roomy for a sit in kayak comfortably fitting paddlers with long legs even up to 6’5″ tall. 

The foot rests adjust easily whilst sitting in the boat and in terms of boat weight at 53lbs it shouldn’t be too difficult to getting this beauty on and off your car.

The Perception Carolina 14 is considerably cheaper to buy than the Tsunami selling on Amazon at around  $400 cheaper.


  • Good value for money
  • Large storage capacity
  • Roomy cockpit
  • Tracks well


  • No fitted skid plate
  • A rudder can be fitted but at an additional cost

4. Riot Edge 14.5 Touring Kayak

Technical Specs

  • Length: 14’6″ / 441 cm
  • Width: 22″ / 57 cm
  • Weight: 58.2 lbs / 26.4 kg
  • Max. Weight: 324 lbs / 147 kg
  • Cockpit length: 37″ / 94 cm
  • Cockpit width: 19.3″ / 49 cm

The Riot Edge Kayak 14.5 is the little brother of the Riot Brittany 16.5 and is a well rounded day touring kayak with a slender bow coupled with a slim deck line.  It features a pilot rudder system and a custom fit seating system.  Weighing in a 58 lbs it is a little heavier than its rivals sized boats in the Carolina and Tsunami.

The cockpit is quite spacious and comfortable although a little narrower than other similar boats.  If you have a larger than normal ‘bootie’, you might want to consider sitting in one of these before making your purchase.

Most importantly the Riot Edge 14.5 glides really well is and comfortable and easy to paddle non-stop for many hours.


  • Ample storage space
  • Comes with rudder included
  • Glides and tracks well 


  • Narrow width decreases stability for large paddlers
  • Heavier than many similar kayaks 

5. Old Town Castine 135 Touring Kayak

old town castine best touring kayaks
best touring kayak old town castine

Technical Specs

  • Length: 13’5″ / 409 cm
  • Width: 23″ / 58.4 cm
  • Weight: 54 lbs / 24.5 kg
  • Max. Weight: 300 lbs / 136 kg
  • Cockpit length: 36″ / 91.4 cm
  • Cockpit width: 19″ / 48.3 cm

The Old Town Castine 135 touring kayak is a good choice for day-trippers who prefer a relaxed, low-angle touring stroke. The rounded chines encourage confident edging, and the roomy retractable under-deck compartment is perfect for storing gear you don’t want to get wet, like wallet, phone, and keys. In addition, the Castine 135 kayak comes readily equipped to accept an optional rudder. However, the integrated keel is sufficient to produce fine tracking in most conditions.

It’s stable in the water, tracks nicely, and performs well in all conditions. It is also very comfortable to sit in for long periods. The Old Town Castine 135 is sure to provide a comfortable and enjoyable experience to anyone looking for a great touring kayak.


  • The quick seal hatches with cross lock
  • Adjustable foot braces
  • In deck storage for phone and wallet


  • Optional rudder is not included

Wrap up

So, what’s the best touring kayak for you? Hopefully, our guide has helped you narrow it down.

Remember to consider your needs and preferences when making your final decision – and have fun on the water!

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