Are you into water or wildlife photography and aiming to start kayak photography? Kayaking is a fantastic adventure that every wildlife enthusiast dreams of experiencing. As a water photographer, some challenges come with capturing the best sea shots.
For that reason, you’re left with no other choice than to try kayaking photography. But how do you get the best kayak that guarantees you the stability you need trying to capture those water photos?
Many kayak brands promise to produce the best kayaks, but it takes more than the word to know which one provides the best. I went out of my best to try out some of the best kayaks for photography. This list carries my favorite kayaks that you might want to try out.
1. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2 Person Inflatable Kayak
This Intex Explorer 2-Person Inflatable kayak is the best inflatable kayak for you if you have a partner you want to explore the waters with. The kayak is yellow, which makes it easy to spot just in case of any emergencies.
Inflatable Kayaks are highly valuable, and this kayak has excellent features that make water photography comfortable and enjoyable. Despite being inflatable, this kayak has two comfortable inflatable seats and two separate air chambers.
The sea waves and strong winds can make you get shaken shots, which is why you need a stable kayak. Thankfully, this Explorer K2 kayak features a floor made of a rigid material, and also it comes with a removable skeg that increases stability while in the water.
You need to note that this is a mid-sized sea kayak made for small water bodies like calm rivers and small seas. The best thing about purchasing the Intex Explorer 2-Person Kayak is you get free accessories you’d have paid for separately.
- Easy to use and store
- Great for kayaking armatures
- Made of a heavy-duty vinyl material
- Not suitable for high waves
2. Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak
This Lifetime Tamarack Angler Fishing Kayak is a sit-on-top kayak great choice for water photographers and wildlife explorers. This kayak is rigid, durable, and flexible and is made of quality high-density polyethylene material.
The Tamarack kayak comes with a well-padded, adjustable seat with a back cushion for comfort. Tamarack kayak includes two flush-mounted rod holders, a paddle, and a top mount fishing rod holder.
I tried this kayak, and the comfort I got made me want to make long trips with it. The most impressive feature of the Angler fishing kayak is its ample storage space and scrapper holes that help drainage. You have so much flexibility with this kayak, especially footrest positions.
Still, on flexibility, this Angler kayak is 10ft long which isn’t too small yet too big to maneuver the waters. And even though you might feel that you need something longer, this kayak gives you enough leg room to stretch your legs after a long session of taking the best photographs.
The bottom of this kayak has a sharp bow that gives it the best speed and a flat bottom hull that increases stability when you’re paddling. Sometimes it can get hard to keep the kayak in position when aiming at a specific spot. Luckily this kayak has a tracking skeg that helps you get straight to where you want to go.
- Ample storage space and leg rest area
- Adjustable seat
- Value for the price
- A bit heavy for you to handle alone
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3. Intex 68310VM Dakota K2 2-Person Heavy-Duty Vinyl Inflatable Kayak
Intex is the best kayak brand that has gone beyond ensuring you get comfortable during your kayak photography sessions. I think this is the best stable kayak I’ve tried from Intex and offers superb comfort.
This inflatable 2-person kayak has a 400 pounds capacity, so if you’re planning to take a friend with you, you’re good. It also has two seats with enough room for your accessories.
Made of vinyl material, this kayak, unlike most kayaks, is puncture-resistant, guaranteeing you safety in wild waters. Also, this kayak has three chambers, so it’s hard for it to drown.
Water photography has been made super easy by this Intex kayak, all thanks to its stability. You can easily stand inside the kayak and set up your tripod and other accessories on the kayak for photography without having to worry about shakiness.
With its removable skeg, you’ll be able to stabilize your boat in the preferred direction. You can never go wrong with this kayak because it is light making it easy for you to travel with it when deflated and placed in a carrier bag.
You get two skegs with this kayak, a long one and a short one. There are advantages to both because the short one helps take fast turns and the longer one helps keep track of your kayak.
- Two drag bags to help you store your camera equipment
- Great stability
- Easy to control
- Lightweight making it easy to transport
It becomes a bit tough to paddle under extreme conditions
4. Pelican-Maxim 100× Recreational Kayak
Pelican Maxim is also a good sit-in kayak that makes water photography from a kayak feel enjoyable. This one-person kayak is super lightweight and has so much storage space at the front hatch and the rear tank with a mesh cover to hold your things together.
Comfort is one of the things that most of us look out for when buying a kayak and this Pelican Maxim kayak has a lot of comforts to offer. This kayak has a comfortable pedal and well-cushioned seat with a padded backrest. Even if you were to kayak for a whole week, you’d still feel comfortable taking water photographs in this kayak.
The kayak has a molded footrest and a cockpit table with compartments to hold even water bottles because you need to stay hydrated.
Talking of stability, this kayak has a shallow V-chine hull that makes it easy to maneuver the kayak and even during tracking. There are floating blocks on each side of the kayak, and its flat hull design makes it much safer even in angry waters.
Being a one-person kayak, you probably want it light because you will mostly have to carry it yourself. Luckily, this kayak is made of durable and lightweight polythene material that makes it easy to carry.
- Sturdy built
- Enough leg room
- Super stable and fast
- Great water tracking
5. Intex Excursion Pro Kayak Series
The Intex Excursion Pro Kayak is a two-person kayak with removable adjustable seats, and it also carries many pro features making it the best kayak for photography.
Regarding construction, this kayak is made of a super-tough laminate PVC with high-pressure inflation that makes it super stable. Inflation of this boat is also easy, all thanks to its spring-loaded valves.
The kayak material is highly resistant to abrasions and damage, but my problem is with the seats. By the time I used this kayak for the third time, I had noticed the seats were leaking from the welded seams.
This is a huge drawback, keeping in mind that the kayak comes with a 90-day warranty. If you’re planning to use the kayak for a short-term period, it might be good because the repair of the seat is close to impossible.
However, if you genuinely don’t mind, you can purchase other seats if you notice the leaking. Overall, the kayak is good with excellent stability and has two removable skegs ideal for shallow and deep waters.
The boat also has a removable bracket mount where you can keep your camera accessories and fishing equipment. You get a carrier bag, a high output pump, and two paddles with its purchase.
- Damage resistant
- Has large storage
- Best fishing kayak
- Low-quality seats
6. Perception Flash 9.5 Sit Inside Kayak
There are many easy-to-pedal kayaks, but the Perception Flash 9.5 sit-inside kayak seems to be the best I’ve tried so far. When looking for a photography kayak, straight tracking and stability are vital.
Kayaks with large cockpits are great because they offer easy access. With this Perception Flash cockpit, you can quickly get in and out of your boat without struggle.
It doesn’t matter how tall or short you are. This kayak has adjustable foot braces that accommodate you comfortably. This kayak also features a high seat and padded ergonomic support, all for your comfort.
The Perception Flash 9.5 Kayak measures just 9.5 meters which is great when maneuvering the waters. The stability is also commendable because it has a flatter bottom.
Now to the question of if this kayak is suitable for kayak photography. I would say it’s the best for both beginners and professional bird photographers looking for a stable kayak with a large capacity.
- Large cockpit
- Easy to pedal
- Limited storage
7. Brooklyn Kayak
I tend to love bright-colored kayaks, and I can’t explain why. It could be why I fell in love with this Yellow-Orange Kayak from Brooklyn.
Apart from the color, the waterproof storage is another feature you can’t help but fall in love with. For a photographer, you want your accessories and camera dry to prevent damage.
This kayak also has hollow storage space with bungee straps at the back to keep your items in place. The Brooklyn Kayak is highly portable, and you can easily carry it alone or with the help of someone because it has four handles.
When it comes to speed, the kayak is fast enough, but the stability wasn’t that great to guarantee safety while standing in the kayak.
- Waterproof storage space
- Great storage space
8. Perception Outlaw 11.5 Sit On Top Kayak
This Perception Outlaw 11.5 Sit On Top Kayak is the best new-generation fishing kayak, and I find it helpful in kayak photography. First, this photography kayak has been designed to fit both tall and short paddlers.
Made of polyethylene material, durability is guaranteed with multiple wildlife photography sessions guaranteed while kayaking.
The kayak has an elevated removable mesh seat about 5 inches above the deck. This seat is also foldable, so you can get more storage space, create more space for tripod setup, or even stand.
The perception kayak has a replaceable skid plate, unlike some kayaks, so you don’t have to worry about the damage caused by pushing the kayak forward.
- Great kayak with superb stability
- It has a comfortable seat
- Easy to paddle
- Awesome tracking
- A bit heavy
Best Kayak For Photography: Buying Guide
Purchasing a kayak is not a walk in the park, especially if it’s your first time and you have no guidance. I compiled some essential points to check out when buying a kayak. Kindly read on to check the features to look for.
- Kayak Type
You’ve decided that you want to buy a kayak, but do you know the type of kayak you need? There are more than ten types of kayaks, and you will need to do a little research before buying one, so you don’t waste your hard-earned money.
Kayaks differ depending on the job it was created for. There are recreational kayaks, sea kayaks, fishing kayaks, solo kayaks, tandem kayaks, whitewater kayaks, sit-inside kayaks, pedal kayaks, and inflatable kayaks, among others.
Although all of them are important, I love to use sit-inside kayaks or inflatable kayaks for water and bird photography.
Now that you’ve identified the type of kayak you want to take home, the next step is checking on the material used to make the kayak. If you’re going to use the kayak in shallow waters, a light kayak is ideal.
However, you don’t need a super light kayak because it should weigh enough, so it doesn’t rattle easily.
The size of your kayak will determine two things; your comfort when kayaking and your stability during photography on the kayak.
Longer kayaks are the best for wildlife photographers because they are stable, have enough leg space and storage space to can carry camera equipment
This doesn’t mean that smaller kayaks are not good. The small kayaks are easy to maneuver within angry waters and resist the shakiness. As a photographer, the shakiness can mess up your shots, so a small kayak is also essential.
- Hull Size
Another vital feature to consider is the kayak’s hull size. The bottom surface is what determines the gravity of your kayak.
You need a kayak with a stable hull to serve you longer, which can stabilize the system even in strong waves.
Unlike boats, kayaks don’t need extra-wide hulls. You have to choose a kayak with a little bit of a wide hull, but it should be V-shaped and have an archaic design.
Sometimes kayaking is fun when you decide to take the risk and explore the waters without the seats. For a wildlife photographer, this thrill is worthless because you want the best shots not an adrenaline rush.
For that reason, you have to choose a kayak with the best seats that offer you comfort while waiting for your target to land. You might be able to stand for long hours but you’ll probably feel exhausted and need to sit.
You might find a kayak with superb features, but if the budget is beyond your reach, you might need to sit down and choose one that is within your budget. With a reasonable budget, you can find a kayak that will serve you well.
- Storage and Comfort
The comfort of any kayak highly relies on the seat and leg space. If these two are not well balanced, you will not like a kayaking experience. A lawn chair is an excellent choice because you get maximum comfort.
The seat should at least have an adjustable backrest and be well-cushioned. You might spend the whole day in the waters trying to get a clear shot of the wilderness systems and feel the need to adjust your seat. The good thing is that most top kayaks come with a padded backrest.
Another vital feature is the storage size. You will have a lot of things you need storage space for. That is why choosing a kayak with bigger storage space is an added advantage.
The worst thing that can ever happen is getting your things soaked up while kayaking. Luckily you have many options, and some have watertight storage keeping your accessories and camera dry.
Photography Tips and Tricks
- Slow and Stealthy
This is the most important trick of kayak photography. Birds are slippery creatures and getting closer to them in a rush scares them away.
- Use Polarizing Filters
Although I’m not saying that bird photographs must be filtered. You can take things a notch higher with a polarizing filter. The good thing about the filter is that it doesn’t eliminate reflections but make them look nicer.
Frequently Asked Questions: Best Kayak For Photography
Is Wildlife Photography In A Kayak Possible?
Yes. Kayaks are silent boats; thus, they are the best boats to get closer to nature without scaring away the birds and other animals.
Wildlife photography requires silent items, and I’ve tried the mentioned kayaks for water photography, and the results were terrific. You don’t want to upset the wilderness systems when taking your shots.
Another thing is that you can easily stand in a kayak and take some photographs.
In the list above, some kayaks offer little stability while others offer the stability you need to stand and take photos.
Whether you can take photographs in a kayak depends on the kayak you purchase. Not only that, but you will also need a kayak with decent tracking.
Luckily most kayaks covered in this article have superb tracking, so you won’t have to worry.
How Do I Keep My Gear And Camera Dry While Kayaking?
If your camera and lenses are not waterproof, then you will need a camera dry bag and a dry case cover for your accessories. Kayaking involves water, so you don’t want to take any chances with your gear.
If you already own waterproof gear and a camera, it’s good for you, but if not, you have to invest in a good case that keeps water away. Some kayaks come with a good deck and stability.
What Type Of Kayak Is The Best For Wildlife Photography?
Sit-on-top kayaks and inflatable kayaks are the best for wildlife photography. Inflatable kayaks offer better stability and are easy to carry.
For the sit-on-top kayaks, you will probably sit for long sessions during kayak photography. These types of kayaks tend to offer the best comfort needed to sit for an extended period.
Wildlife photography entails patience, and you will sit for long periods waiting for that bird to land, so that I would go for sit on top kayak or inflatable kayak any day.
Does Kayaking Help To Reduce Body Weight?
Yes. Regular kayaking will help you burn some fat because it is also a way of exercising. During kayaking, you use a lot of energy, so you might be lucky to shed off a couple of pounds.
Bird photography and wildlife photography in a kayak is a fun activity. However, you need the best kayak for this adventure to be more exciting. With the list of the best kayaks in the market above, you can confidently pick one and start nature exploration immediately
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