Every hunter knows how crucial having the right equipment is for hunting success. That includes ammunition, guns, camouflage gear, decoys, calls – and, according to the latest waterfowling trends, hunter kayaks.
Your goal is to go where other hunters can’t and track down birds that, again, other hunters can’t hunt down.
Getting the best duck hunting kayak makes perfect sense in such a scenario!
But is there such a thing as a specialized kayak for duck hunting, though? And if there is, what are your options?
Find the answers in this guide!
At a Glace: Our Top Picks for Best Duck Hunting Kayak
- Overall Winner: Brooklyn Kayak Company – BKC PK13
- Budget Pick: Riot Kayaks Escape 12
- Best Entry-Level: Pelican Sentinel 100X Duck Hunting Kayak
- Best Tandem: Lifetime 10 Foot Duck Hunting Kayak
- Best Inflatable: Sevylor Coleman Colorado Duck Hunting Kayak
- Best Pedal-Powered: Hobie 2020 Mirage Pro Angler 14
- Best Multi-Functional: Beavertail Final Attack – Portable Pit Blind
- Best Tri-Powered: Wilderness Systems Radar 135 Duck Hunting Kayak
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In A Rush? The Winner After 41 Hours Of Research:
Brooklyn BKC PK13 Duck Hunting Kayak
Why is it better?
- A dual-purpose sit-on-top kayak that feels right at home in fishing and hunting scenarios
- Rotomolded high-density polyethylene construction can handle tough hunting environments
- The 33.25-inch beam ensures exceptional on-the-water stability
- A camouflage paint job makes blending in easier
- Onboard storage options include two hatches, a tank well with bungee tie-downs, and accessory plates
- The 550-pound capacity is more than enough for all your hunting equipment
- Uses a pedal-drive system for quiet and hands-free propulsion
- Reasonably priced considering everything it brings to the table
Why Use A Kayak For Duck Hunting, Anyway?
As an old-school duck hunter, you might’ve grown accustomed to your gear and hunting methods – and to you, kayak hunting might feel like a passing trend. But even if that’s the case – which seems highly unlikely – there are still many reasons to give it a try.
And good ones, might I add.
Seriously, I dare you to go through some of the advantages of duck hunting kayaks over “regular” boats and tell me that’s not the case.
- Kayaks Are Lightweight And Easy To Transport – I’m not implying that hunting kayaks are lightweight, far from it. But compared to full-sized, motor-powered boats, they do have an advantage in the weight department. That, in turn, makes them easy to transport and launch pretty much anywhere.
- Kayaks Can Access Remote, Hard-To-Reach Areas – Another benefit of duck hunting kayaks that goes hand in hand with the compact and lighter design is that they can go where most other boats can’t. Whatever your favourite hunting spot is – shallow water, marshes, small coves, remote areas – there’s no limit to where you can go in search of prey.
- Kayaks Are Stealthy And Relatively Silent – Sneaking up on the ducks is half the battle. So, the next big reason for duck hunting from a kayak over a Jon boat (John Boat) is that they’re stealthy and can cut through the water while remaining virtually silent. Other than the paddle hitting the water, your duck hunting kayak won’t be making much – if any – noise.
- Kayaks Are Easier On The Wallet – a waterfowl kayak will typically cost less than the cheapest Jon boat. If you’re trying to manage a relatively tight budget here, the price will be a deciding factor for you. And no matter how you cut it, kayaks win the pocket-friendly round every time.
- Kayaks Can Be More Versatile – You can rig your kayak with your favorite gear and accessories to turn it into a duck-hunting machine; that’s the point of getting one. But you also have the option of going kayak fishing or taking the stripped-down version out for some recreational paddling, too.
Choosing The Best Kayaks for Duck Hunting: Key Features To Consider
Considering the wide range of shapes and sizes, some kayaks are better suited for hunting waterfowl than others. So, start by figuring out your needs – and we’ll see which of these kayaks meets those needs the best.
You shouldn’t necessarily limit your search to a highly specialized duck hunt kayak, though.
Dual-purpose kayaks for hunting and fishing can be every bit as outstanding as long as they have the right set of features and qualities.
Durability: Duck Hunting Kayaks Should Survive A Few Bumps & Scuffs
Durability and overall construction quality should be your top priorities when choosing the best duck hunting kayak:
Paddling through shallow waters in search of prey – and bumping into rocks, logs, and everything else the environment throws your way – is going to put your kayak through its paces.
It makes sense that a tough, dependable, long-lasting kayak capable of putting up with that abuse and coming out unharmed is a definite must.
On that note, I’d recommend high-density polyethylene construction, preferably rotomolded and with a UV-resistant layer for hull protection during those long hours on the water.
And no, that doesn’t mean that inflatable hunting kayaks are out of the question. You’d be surprised by how durable, and resilient inflatable ‘yaks are these days!
Camouflage: Up Your Hunting Game By Blending In
You’re going to have to hide from waterfowl in your plastic boat. And as utterly ridiculous as that sounded, the element of surprise is the first rule of duck hunting:
Sneaking up on unsuspecting prey and making your move without getting noticed is vital for hunting success.
So, you’re going to need a low-profile kayak that blends in with the surrounding nature.
A camouflage paint job or, at the very least, tan- or green-colored hull – depending on the environment – should be enough to get the job done. However, if you want to take your camouflage game to the next level, some kayaks can transform into an on-the-water version of duck hunting blinds.
Stability & Maneuverability: You’ll Need A Stable Shooting Platform
If you have any previous kayaking experience, I don’t have to tell you how tippy and anything-but-stable some of them can be.
Heading out on a hunting trip in a wobbly, capsizing-prone kayak is the last thing you want to do, though. Unstable kayaks are bad news for any paddler – let alone hunters in need of a stable shooting platform.
That brings me to my next point:
Stability is probably the single most important feature to look for in the best kayak for duck hunting
Keep in mind that beam width and hull shape dictate how stable – or unstable – the kayak will be. The wider and flatter the kayak’s hull, the more balanced and steady it will be; it’s that simple.
You shouldn’t give up too much of the boat’s maneuverability – a common issue in wider kayaks – but stability should still be a priority.
Onboard Storage & Weight Capacity: Think About All Your Hunting Gear
When it comes to duck hunting kayak setup, a kayak without dedicated onboard storage space won’t do you much good – or serve its purpose very well – on a waterfowl hunting trip.
I mean, a kayak without storage won’t be any good, period. But when you’re out there hunting for ducks, having the extra room for your gear – and lots of it – becomes even more crucial:
Ammunition, a gun, baits, decoys, lures – on top of personal stuff – should all have a convenient, easily accessible spot on your kayak.
Ideally, onboard storage options should include waterproof hatches, bungee deck rigging, cargo nets, gear mounts and tank wells.
It’s every bit as important to check if the kayak has the maximum load capacity to support all that extra weight. The best duck hunting kayaks can handle over 500 pounds of load, but generally speaking, anything over 350 pounds should do capacity-wise.
Best Duck Hunting Kayaks – Top 8 Options Reviewed
Best Budget Duck Hunting Kayak
Riot Kayaks Escape 12 Duck Hunting Kayak
If you want a bang-for-your-buck kayak – without too many compromises – Riot Kayaks’ Escape 12 Angler is one of your best bets. I’m sure your wallet will agree with me on this.
The rotomolded polyethylene construction combines stiffness and strength in this 12-foot-long, 68.2-pound sit on-top kayak. But despite the overall sturdiness, equally-distributed weight, and 30-inch width, Escape 12 isn’t stable enough to allow stand-up hunting.
Also, I’m not too thrilled by the 300-pound limit. It has a front hatch and rear deck rigging, but for a big, 230-pound guy like me, the capacity isn’t enough for me and my gear.
- Rotomolded polyethylene construction
- Measures 12 x 2.5 feet
- Weighs 68.2 pounds
- 300-pound capacity
- Roomy cockpit with a front storage hatch and rear bungee rigging
- A good combination of stability and performance
- Reasonably-priced option for hunters on a budget
- The 300-pound capacity might not work for bigger paddlers or those with lots of gear
- It’s not stable enough to allow standing up
- Dry storage options are limited
- Tracking can be somewhat sloppy at times
Escape 12 Angler isn’t without its issues, but it’s a decent purchase, nonetheless. It makes very little compromises quality-wise – and doesn’t cost a fortune.
Overall Best Duck Hunting Kayak
Brooklyn Kayak Company – BKC PK13 Duck Hunting Kayak
Trying to manage your paddle, decoys, and shotgun in the middle of a hunt can be challenging.
So, if you’d like to go hands-free – and full-on stealthy – the pedal-powered Brooklyn BKC PK13 is the kayak for you.
This marsh brown, camouflaged, 13-footer pedal kayak is constructed out of rotomolded high-density polyethylene, which gives it much-needed ruggedness – although it clocks in at a not-so-lightweight 80 pounds. Given the 33.25-inch-wide hull’s stability and on-deck storage area, though, the weight shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.
It features two hatches, accessory plates which are capable of supporting a gun mount, and a tank well with bungee tie-downs which can double as vegetation straps, backed by a rather impressive 550-pound weight capacity.
- Rotomolded high-density polyethylene construction
- Measures 13 x 2.8 feet
- Weighs 80 pounds
- 550-pound capacity
- Multiple storage options and 550-pound load capacity
- Performs well for hunting and fishing
- Remarkably stable hunting platform
- Pedal-drive system allows hands-free propulsion
- It’s a bit bulky, so storage and transportation may be an issue
- Maneuvering in tight spaces can be tricky due to the size
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Brooklyn BKC PK13 to anyone – from anglers and hunters. It’s reliable in every way – and a hunting enthusiast’s dream come true, indeed.
Best Entry-Level Duck Hunting Kayak
Pelican Sentinel 100X Duck Hunting Kayak
Another option versatile enough to serve as a duck hunting kayak is Pelican’s Sentinel 100X Angler – and it’s evident why right off the bat:
The RAM-X polyethylene construction keeps the kayak’s weight at a mere 44 pounds, while the 30-inch width and multi-chine flat bottom hull ensures stability.
It has decent enough storage options, including bungee rigging, removable ExoPak compartment, and a mesh deck cover. However, I’m not too thrilled about the 275-pound maximum weight capacity. WIth that sort of weight limit it’s going to be a real struggle for one person to fit all their gear – let alone if you are a big guy or heavy guy.
Given that Sentinel 100X was specifically designed as a fishing kayak, I’d say Pelican dropped the ball on this one.
- Polyethylene construction
- Measures 9.5 x 2.5 feet
- Weighs 44 pounds
- 275-pound capacity
- It’s lightweight and easy to maneuver
- The wide beam and flat-bottom hull ensure stability
- Front and rear storage areas with an ExoPak compartment
- Buildin carry handles for easy transporting to the water
- The load capacity is way too low for duck-hunting purposes – more a fishing kayak
- Doesn’t feature a waterproof storage hatch
- Not comfortable enough for longer hunting trips
If you’re getting into kayak duck hunting and want something a bit more entry-level, Pelican’s Sentinel 100X – a rigged-but-lightweight kayak – might be worth considering
Best Tandem Duck Hunting Kayak
Lifetime 10 Foot Duck Hunting Kayak
The hull’s rotomolded polyethylene construction and 36-inch beam width ensure the Lifetime 10-foot tandem kayak’s stability. You’ll have to give up some speed in return, but that shouldn’t be an issue, given that it comes with a trolling motor mount, though.
It clocks in at 73 pounds, which is surprisingly light for a tandem kayak. As for onboard storage, you’ll have a 6-inch hatch, bungee deck rigging, and a 500-pound capacity at your disposal.
It’s marsh brown colour will help the kayak blend seamlessly into its surrounding – and if paired with a quiet running trolling motor will provide ninja level stealth.
There isn’t much room for complaints; Lifetime designed one pretty solid kayak here. However, I found it a bit too cramped for two adults.
- Rotomolded polyethylene construction
- Measures 10 x 3 feet
- Weighs 73 pounds
- 500-pound capacity
- Speed can be affected due to the hull’s design
- Feels a bit cramped for two duck hunters
- It’s hard to keep in a straight line
If stability is one of your top priorities – as it should be – and you’re planning two-person duck hunting trips, check out this affordable Lifetime kayak! One of the best kayaks for shooting birds with a buddy.
Best Inflatable Duck Hunting Kayak
Sevylor Coleman Colorado Duck Hunting Kayak
I told you inflatable duck hunting kayaks are a thing, didn’t I?
Sevylor’s Coleman Colorado is a two-person inflatable duck hunting kayak that prioritizes portability and ease of use.
The 18-gauge PVC construction and multiple air chambers, coupled with a nylon cover and tarpaulin bottom, make it a Sit-On-Top kayak tough enough for hunting environments. Still, it weighs a mere 32.9 pounds.
The 39-inch width contributes to the kayak’s spaciousness and stability. However, due to the lack of rigidity, standing up to shoot in this inflatable kayak isn’t an option.
Capacity-wise, 470 pounds weight limit for an inflatable kayak seems decent – unless you’re two big guys with lots of gear, that is.
- 18-gauge PVC construction
- Measures 10.75 x 3.25 feet
- Weighs 32.9 pounds
- 470-pound capacity
- Puncture-resistant construction and multi-chamber design
- Inflatable and lightweight for portability
- Very wide relative to its length
- Can be fitted with a trolling motor
- The 470-pound capacity might not work for larger paddlers
- The floor lacks rigidity for standing up
- Not enough storage options for two people with hunting equipment
Sevylor Coleman Colorado can be a good entry-level duck hunting kayak for shooting duos searching for something lightweight, portable, and easy on the wallet.
Best Pedal-Drive Duck Hunting Kayak
Hobie 2020 Mirage Pro Angler 14 Duck Hunting Kayak
Seasoned hunters might find that entry-level kayaks aren’t getting the job done – and for them, Hobie’s Mirage Pro Angler 14 could be the ultimate duck hunting kayak:
This Sit-On-Top pedal kayak has a tough-as-nails rotomolded polyethylene construction, stability-boosting 38-inch-wide beam, and a camouflage-colored, rigged-and-ready design; this thing’s a beast. And to top it off, it features the MirageDrive 180 system for quiet, hands-free propulsion.
It’s loaded with storage options, including multiple hatches, and, more importantly, has a 600-pound weight capacity to go with it.
The kayak’s 124.5-pound weight – not counting the accessories – could be a deal-breaker for some, though.
- Rotomolded polyethylene construction
- Measures 13.6 x 3.2 feet
- Weighs 124.5 pounds
- 600-pound capacity
- Fitted with a pedal-drive system for stealthy, hands-free propulsion
- Tons of onboard storage with a weight capacity to boot
- Feels stable and reliable
- The price tag could be a potential deal-breaker
- It’s insanely heavy, especially when rigged to the max
- You’ll likely need a trailer for transportation
Need a high-performance pedal kayak that’s stable, roomy, stealthy, and equipped for successful hunting trips? Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 is your best bet!
In fact, it is one of the best kayaks on the market full stop!
Best Multi-Functional Duck Hunting Kayak
Beavertail Final Attack – Portable Pit Blind Duck Hunting Kayak
Yes, I know; this brown, lidded, coffin-like thing looks nothing like a kayak. But give the Beavertail Final Attack Pit Blind a chance to impress you with its multi-functional design:
With a low-profile design and an extra-wide 44-inch beam, the rotomolded polyethylene hull can be used on land and the water.
How’s that for blending in and versatility?
I was hesitant about the Final Attack’s 85-pound weight, but the built-in wheels contribute to easy transportation. Also, its 420-pound capacity pairs well with the available storage room. Don’t expect any dedicated storage compartments, though.
- Rotomolded polyethylene construction
- Measures 8 x 3.7 feet
- Weighs 85 pounds
- 420-pound capacity
- Multi-functional, low-profile design for use on water and land
- Built-in wheels for easier transportation
- Can be fitted with a motor
- Extra-wide deck and excellent stability
- It doesn’t feature any dedicated storage compartments
- No fitting or mourning points for hunting gear
- The extra width adds drag and makes it harder to handle
- Somewhat uncomfortable to sit in
The Beavertail Final Attack acts as a duck hunt “kayak” – and turns into a portable, land-based duck hunting blind when needed.
How’s that for a multi-functional waterfowl kayak?!
Best Tri-Powered Duck Hunting Kayak
Wilderness Systems Radar 135 Duck Hunting Kayak
Did you think I’d wrap things up without including at least one Wilderness Systems tri-powered kayak with paddle, motor, and pedal-drive compatibility?
Pedal kayak, tick. Motorized kayak, tick. Paddle kayak, tick. Short of having wings this kayak could fly!
It features a 13.5 feet long, 34-inch-wide polyethylene camo-colored sit-on-top hull and employs S.M.A.R.T. technology, focusing on stability, maneuverability, acceleration, responsiveness, and tracking. That’s a good indicator of how stable Radar 135 is as a hunting platform.
Ships with Wilderness Systems award winning AirPro Max Seating system – which will make it easy for any duck hunter to dial in their perfect shooting position.
What’s more, it’s equipped with multiple storage options, including two dry storage hatches and a large tank well, accessory rails – suitable for a gun mount, Flex Pod OS console system – and a 475-pound capacity to boot. The ideal waterfowl kayak for duck hunters with a lot of gear.
It’s far from lightweight at 90 pounds, but the outfitting somewhat justifies the bulkiness.
- Polyethylene construction
- Measures 13.5 x 2.8 feet
- Weighs 90 pounds
- 475-pound capacity
- Employs S.M.A.R.T. hull technology
- Compatible with a paddle, motor, and pedal-drive systems
- Multiple storage options with excellent capacity
- AIrPro Max Seat seamlessly transitions height position
- Roomy and exceptionally stable hunting platform
- Some may find the 90-pound weight a bit hefty
- It doesn’t feature side handles
- The center hatch is pretty much useless without the insert
Instead of choosing between paddling, pedaling, or using a motor, why not use all three with the Radar 135? With all these features there is little wonder why this high-performance hunter kayak is so popular – it’s certainly a state-of-the-art kayak all duck huntsman should consider!
Best Duck Hunting Kayak: Final Verdict
Do you still think that a waterfowl kayak can’t compete with your old, trusty Jon boat (John Boat) when it comes to duck hunting?
Yeah, I didn’t think so.
When it comes to duck hunting out of a kayak, it’s all about finding that one perfect duck boat – one that’s stable, durable, maneuverable, with lots of storage space, and load capacity to boot. And sure, pretty much every kayak you saw today fits that description, some better than others.
But only one gets the title of the best duck hunting kayak – the Brooklyn BKC PK13 Duck Hunting Kayak.
It’s tough and rugged, but ready to blend in when needed, has a 550-pound capacity, and relies on a stealthy pedal-drive system for quiet propulsion. Most importantly, it makes for an exceptionally stable hunting platform.
It has everything you need to be successful at kayak waterfowl hunting.