The 5 Best Duck Hunting Kayaks in 2018 | Expert Reviews
Duck hunting has only recently become a sport which involves the kayak. When choosing the perfect kayak for duck hunting, it is important to for that kayak to meet the needs of a duck hunter. This means choosing a kayak which is camouflaged, tracks well, has good storage, is stable, and is durable.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Best Duck Hunting Kayaks in 2018
- 1.0.1 1. Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Vapor 12 Angler Fishing Kayak
- 1.0.2 Pros
- 1.0.3 Cons
- 1.0.4 2. Beavertail 400238 Phantom Marsh Brown Bird / Duck Hunting Kayak / Boat
- 1.0.5 Pros
- 1.0.6 Cons
- 1.0.7 3. Beavertail 400151 Final Attack Marsh Brown Bird Hunting Kayak
- 1.0.8 Pros
- 1.0.9 Cons
- 1.0.10 4. Lifetime 10 Foot Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak
- 1.0.11 Pros
- 1.0.12 Cons
- 1.0.13 5. NuCanoe Frontier 12 Kayak
- 1.0.14 Pros
- 1.0.15 Cons
- 1.1 How to Buy a Duck Hunting Kayak
- 1.2 Our Final Review for the Best Duck Hunting Kayaks
Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Vapor 12
Beavertail 400238 Phantom Marsh
Beavertail 400151 Final Attack Marsh
Lifetime 10 Foot Sport Fisher
NuCanoe Frontier 12 Kayak
Choosing a kayak is never an easy decision. It is often a large financial commitment, and when choosing a kayak which is for specificied activity like duck hunting, the prices can climb even higher.
The following list covers kayaks which cover a range of prices and styles. You can choose a more basic model and fit it out with the equipment you deem necessary. You can also purchase a kayak which has all the bells and whistles you can possibly imagine.
These choices are completely up to you. Regardless, ensure your kayak allows you proper stability, durability, camouflage capabilities, and ample storage.
The Best Duck Hunting Kayaks in 2018
1. Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Vapor 12 Angler Fishing Kayak
The Old Town Canoes and Kayaks Vapor 12 Angler Fishing Kayak is technically a fishing kayak, but due to the storage built for it’s angling requirements, it is an excellent hunting kayak.
Another fishing feature which may be useful for hunters is the anchor system. It is a very simple pulley system. Simple or not, should you need to hold yourself steady for an extended period of time, it is a perfect option.
This kayak has lots of storage room. There is a large stern day well just behind the main seat. This allows you to quickly any access you have in the back.
The cockpit is also very large, allowing for extra room there for storage. The only negative for both of these storage options is that they are not waterproof, however as you will need to quickly access all your gear.
Though there is a lot of storage room in this kayak, its weight capacity is only 375 pounds. While this is a lot of storage weight for hunters, it may not be the most ideal boat for larger hunters.
The Vapor 12 also has a decent beam, of 29 inches. This means that though the kayak is wide and stable, it also can track and turn well in the water.
Both of these features are advantages. You want your kayak to be well balanced and stable to shoot from. This kayak is well balanced enough that you could stand up in it very easily. However you also want to be able to twist and turn your kayak sharply in order to get the best shot.
The Vapor 12 does come in a camouflage option, making it easy to hide from your prey. It is also a very durable kayak. As it is made from polyethylene and is fairly heavy, it is very difficult to damage in any way.
Additionally, this kayak has the standard comfort features. An adjustable seat back allows you to ensure the seat does not strike your back wrong. Foot braces make sure you have the correct leverage as you paddle, and allows you to paddle more quickly.
The thigh and knee braces give you comfort as you take those sharp turns to get the best possible shot.
- Thigh Braces
- Knee Braces
- Adjustable back
- Adjustable feet braces
- Anchor system
- Great beam width
- Stern Day well
- Large cockpit
- No waterproof storage
- Not sit on top
The Beavertail is a kayak specifically designed for duck hunting. The benefit of this is that it allows the duck hunter to have precisely what is needed for the ideal hunting experience.
The negative is that many kayaks designed for specific activities like this tend to run a little more expensive than a non-specific kayak
A major perk of this kayak is its camouflage ability. Not only is it a brown kayak, but it has vegetation straps sewn on, you can top it with a blind, and on top of the blind you can even add a snow cover.
As far as storage goes, there is a rear waterproof storage compartment, which is very large. Additionally, this kayak is virtually a sit on top kayak. This means you will definitely have extra room in the cockpit.
This kayak also has the lowest weight capacity of the kayaks on this list. Coming in at 360 pounds, it could be tricky to incorporate all of your gear into that weight limit. Take note of this--it may not be the right hunting kayak for larger hunters.
If you do not add the blind or snow cover onto this kayak, you will very easily have a safe kayak. If you tip, it will be easy to escape. If you add the blind, ensure you know how to escape the kayak should it tip--this can be very difficult.
Speaking of tipping, with a beam of 32 inches, it would take decent sized waves to rock this boat. This means you should be able to stand up in it as needed.
The seat is contoured, but not adjustable. The same is true for the foot rests--they are molded foot rests. This is a perk for some, but not for others--it just depends on your kayaking preferences.
Finally, the Phantom has a 5 year warranty on it--if you should encounter any sort of durability issues, the company will repair or issue you a new kayak.
- Sit on Top Kayak
- Contoured Seat
- Foot molds
- Large storage in the rear
- Can add a blind
- Can add a snow cover
- 5 year warranty
- Seat is not adjustable
- No thigh pads
- No knee pads
Another excellent hunting kayak made by Beavertail is the Final Attack kayak. This kayak is not strictly a hunting kayak, but is actually labeled as a sneak kayak.
Sneak boats are known for being able to slip silently through the water without alerting prey. They typically, however, include a motor.
With the Final Attack, you do have the option of including a motor, but one of the greatest advantages to using a kayak for hunting is the fact that it does not use a motor, as your motor must be off in order to shoot.
Another unique feature of this boat is that it has wheels--this means it is incredibly easy to pull across land if you are dragging it from one body of water to another.
This kayak looks very different from your typical kayak, as it has a hunting blind attached to the top of it. This means it can be difficult to get in and out of.
This also means that it is not very versatile as anything other than a hunting kayak. That being said, you have lots of storage area as almost your entire kayak is covered and protected from nature. You can also purchase a cockpit cover to ensure no rain gets in.
The Final Attack also has a 420 pound weight capacity, which is decent for a hunting kayak. This allows for lots of extra gear to be carried very safely in the boat. Keep this in mind as you are considering making this your hunting kayak!
This kayak, like the other Beavertail, comes with a 5 year warranty. Even though it is not expected to have damage, if it does--you are covered.
Finally, in terms of stability, this boat is like a rock. With a beam of 44 inches wide, this boat is simply not going to tip over.
That being said, the wider kayaks like this are typically difficult to turn quickly--which means tracking is not great on this boat.
- Huge cockpit
- Blind included
- Can attach a motor
- Wide beam
- 5 year warranty
- Wheels for transporting
- Difficult to get in and out
- Difficult to turn quickly
- No comfort options
This kayak is similar to the Vapor 12, as it is a fishing kayak. However, this kayak was designed with hunters and fishermen in mind, so it has lots of features which are immensely beneficial to you.
This kayak is, first, a sit on top kayak. This means that, should the kayak tip, you do not need to perform an eskimo roll to get out of it. This also provides you extra room when shooting and allows you to stand with ease--if you should choose to stand in your kayak.
The Sport Fisher is a tandem kayak, which typically means two people are meant to ride in the cockpit. However, this kayak comfortably seats up to 3 people.
As far as storage goes, the Sport Fisher does not have much, but it does have a massive cockpit area. This means that though the kayak does not have a large specific storage place, you have storage which is easy to access right with you in the kayak. This is ideal for hunting.
Additionally, the Sport Fisher 12 has a 500 pound weight capacity. This is a huge amount of gear and prey which can be carried in the boat! This kayak is really ideal for larger hunters and kayakers.
The beam does not quite match up with the Beavertail, coming in at 36 inches. However, it is still very sturdy in the water and would be difficult to tip.
Like the Beavertail, this can make it very difficult to steer though--if you are hoping to purchase a kayak in which you can take sharp turns, this may not be your boat.
The Sport Fisher has paddles which come with it. As many hunters will use this boat for a solo kayak, this means it has two paddles--one for use and one for back up (just in case).
The paddles have clips along the side of the kayak, which is a major perk for hunters. If the paddle rests set the paddles across the kayak, this would get in the way of hunting. However, as they run the length, they are completely out of your way.
Like many sit on tops, the Sports Fisher has molded foot rests. Again, this is a completely personal preference. Some do not mind the molded foot rests, others do. If you are not sure whether you like them, you may want to rent both types of kayaks for a day and see what is comfortable for you.
Unlike both Beavertail models, this kayak has padded adjustable backrests. This means you can make sure you are completely comfortable.
Finally, there is not a camouflage option available, but the kayak itself is a dark green. This should do a decent job hiding you from your prey.
- Can fit up to 3 people
- 500 pound weight capacity
- Molded foot braces
- Adjustable seats
- Padded Seats
- Dark Green Kayak
- Paddle clips on side of the boat
- 36 inch beam
- High in price
- May be difficult to steer
- Little Storage
The Frontier is easily the most unique kayak on this list. That being said, it is also the most expensive kayak on this list.
However, by purchasing the NuCanoe Frontier 12, you will absolutely ensure that you do not need to make any modifications to your hunting kayak. It has all the features you could ask for built into the boat.
One feature which makes this kayak unique is that it has a seat which sits above the cockpit of the kayak. This is not normal and this seat can be removed. However, for long days and trying to hold still while hunting or fishing, this is a great feature which allows you maximum comfort.
Another perk of the seat is that it allows you to turn 360 degrees without having to paddle the boat. This can be ideal for staying quiet. Additionally, the Frontier comes with an anchor system, which helps you stay in one place should you choose to.
The Frontier is a camouflaged boat, which means you will be well concealed. The higher seat may make you more visible to prey, but if you are dressed appropriately, you should stay well hidden. If you feel that it is too revealing, you can remove the seat.
This boat also comes with a tug cart and its own rack pads and tie downs. Ultimately, this means transportation to and from various bodies of water should go off without a hitch.
A fiberglass paddle is also included with this kayak, and there are various length options, from 240 cm to 280 cm. Many kayaks which come with paddles simply do not have the top of the line paddles, however, this is not the case with the Frontier.
There is a small waterproof storage unit in the front of the kayak, and a day well in the stern. However, as the kayaker will be sitting on a seat, the entire cockpit of this sit on top kayak is open and available to be used for storage.
Additionally, this kayak has one of the largest weight capacities of any kayak--a whopping 650 pounds can be held in this boat. This is an excellent weight limit for any kayak, but especially for hunters who will be bringing lots of gear, and hopefully hauling lots of birds back home with them.
Finally, stability is not a question for the Frontier. With a beam of 41”, this boat will definitely stay stable in the water.
- Lots of storage
- Seat that rotates 360* which can be removed
- Wide beam
- Good tracking
- Sit on top
- Comes with paddles
- Comes with rack pads
- Comes with tie downs
- Comes with cart pull
- Comes with anchor system
- Comes with fiberglass paddle
- Very expensive
How to Buy a Duck Hunting Kayak
When purchasing a duck hunting kayak, you must make sure you choose a kayak which is durable, can be easily camouflaged, is very stable, and has good storage. All of these details are absolute necessities when spending a day, or several days, duck hunting. Ensure that whatever boat you purchase can hold up for you on your adventure.
When choosing a duck hunting kayak, it is important to keep in mind you will be using this kayak quite a bit and in difficult terrains. When duck hunting, you often stick close to the shore line. This often means that there will be more debris in the water, such as logs.
It could also mean that the lake bottom will give you issues, as it can be gravelly. Be aware of the terrain your kayak will be in and ensure your kayak bottom can withstand these varying terrains.
Additionally, your kayak simply must be able to keep you well hidden from your prey. If it cannot, you run the risk of spooking the ducks before you even have a chance to shoot them.
Make sure you choose a kayak that helps you hide well. Some kayaks designed for hunting are strictly camouflage colored. This means they are painted browns and greens--this allows them to hide well from ducks.
Other kayaks have a full hunting blind, which means the kayaker is completely hidden from view. The blinds can make it difficult to kayak smoothly, however. These blinds can be purchased with the kayak as a unit or be purchased separately and placed on top.
Both of these kayak options perform well while hunting, and it is important to know which you prefer.
Storage is another must, but different from many kayaks, you want your storage to be as accessible as possible. This means selecting a kayak with a large, preferably open cockpit so that you can keep your gear within an arm’s reach.
Sit on top kayaks are the best option storage option for duck hunting, although there are some exceptions to the rule, such as the Final Attack.
That being said, it is also important to choose a kayak which has some waterproof storage. Remember--when kayaking, you will most likely have car keys and a cell phone with you. Should your kayak tip, you want to be able to keep those valuables safe and dry. Waterproof storage, even a small 6 inch compartment, is very important to include.
Beam Width and Tracking
Beam width can completely change the way a boat handles in the water. For kayakers who hope to race or take on the ocean, a narrow beam is very important as it allows for sharp turns and handling difficult waves.
However, for those who need stability in their kayak, a wide beam is a necessity. The width of the boat prevents it from tipping when sudden movements occur. This means wide beams are necessary when bringing small children or dogs into kayaks, as well as when hunting from one!
That being said, some duck hunters prefer excellent tracking, which typically means a more narrow beam. If you hope for good tracking and excellent stability, consider the Vapor, as it is wide enough to keep you stable and narrow enough to allow for good tracking.
Our Final Review for the Best Duck Hunting Kayaks
There are many options when purchasing the best duck hunting kayak. You can choose to purchase a base model and add to it as you need. You can also choose to purchase a kayak, like the Frontier, which has all of the bells and whistles.
Ensure you are purchasing the perfect kayak for your needs. Consider the amount of camouflage you need, the width of boat you need, the amount of storage.
All of these small details can make your kayaking experience a perfect one.