Any fishing scenario that doesn’t necessarily need a large boat with an expensive insurance policy opens up a lot of possibilities to what can happen in the pedal kayak industry.
A pedal kayak will not only allow you to trawl a couple of lines while holding on at a constant position but you’ll also be able to easily maneuver tight spots without much fuss.
Unlike paddling kayaks, pedal drive kayaks don’t require another captain or pilot to spin the propeller while you trawl the line since you can do both activities all alone and at the same time.
Original kayaks were made for fishing and traveling, but they’ve undergone through various evolution over time to become so sophisticated as we see the today.
That said, we’ve spent months researching the best pedal kayaks that are currently available in the market and compiled this educative guide, which we hope will help you make the best decision when buying a pedal kayak.
But before dropping your paddle and jumping into pedal drive kayaks, it’s important to familiarize yourself with pedal powered kayaks and what they actually entail. So without further ado, let’s get rolling.
It’s advisable that you acquaint yourself with various brands that are available in the market before going for a pedal kayak. While there are many brands available in the market, these are some of the best brands to choose from.
A veteran in the kayaking industry, Native Watercraft is an American brand that manufactures some of the best kayaking products and accessories in the market. In terms of pedal powered kayaks, Native Watercraft is a top player and has been producing pedal drive kayaks for the last ten years.
Based in Southern California, Hobie is an iconic brand that has been an industry leader for as long as we can remember. In fact, it was Hobie that first introduced a pedal-powered kayak in the market with its Mirage Drive technology way back in 1997.
Brooklyn Kayak Company (BKC)
This is a brand that continues to show its innovativeness by bringing into the market superb models at affordable prices. This is a great brand that’s set to stay in the kayaking game for a long time if continues to set trends as it does right now.
Perhaps one of the newest brands around, Perception is changing the kayaking game by offering some great models under a series known as the Perception Pilot Pescador.
Push Pedals vs. Rotational Pedals
When looking for a pedal kayak, it’s important to keep in mind that there are two types of pedals: push pedals and rotational pedals. While they’re equally easy to use and require you to use your lower body, their differences only arise in terms of motions.
Kayaks that are powered by push pedals will require you to push your feet forward on the pedals. The power that propels such types of kayaks comes from your feet and ankles and not your entire legs. The only issue with push pedals is that they lack momentum, and the vessel will come to an almost instant stop when you stop the push motion. Using push pedals would obviously require you to use a lot more force and power than when using rotational pedals.
Almost akin to the bicycle-riding motion and unlike push pedals, rotational pedals call for the engagement of the entire legs. A kayak with rotational pedals often comes with a cockpit to afford you an extra space for your legs to move. Kayaks with rotational pedals are easier to move than those with push pedals since you use all your leg muscles to build momentum that would enable the kayak to still move even if you stop pedaling.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Pedal Kayak Vs. a Paddle Kayak
Just like every other thing in life, a pedal kayak has various advantages and disadvantages, particularly when compared to paddle kayaks. In that regard, it’s important to be armed with the pros and cons of both pedal kayaks and paddle kayaks so that you can go for the one that suits you better.
Advantages of a Paddle Kayak
ü It’s much lighter and easier to get into the water
ü It’s less expensive
ü It’s less disruptive as it has no propellers
ü It’s cheaper to maintain
Disadvantages of a Paddle Kayak
v It’s difficult to handle, especially in windy conditions and strong currents as you have to use both your hands to paddle while at the same time handle the fishing gears
v You have minimal control of what can happened to your kayak
v It’s very tiring
BOTTOM LINE: Even though a pedal kayak and a paddle kayak are both great for your fishing and kayaking adventures, pedal kayaks are more efficient than paddle kayaks and should be top of your kayaking priority list.
How to Use a Pedal Kayak
If you’ve only ever used a paddle kayak or never used one before, using a pedal kayak can be a little tricky as you’ll have to get used to the extra mechanisms that are available in a pedal kayak.
To be very honest with you, getting a pedal kayak from your car or truck is not that easy since they tend to be very heavy. Your main worry should revolve around getting your pedal kayak into the water and successfully installing the drive system without damaging it.
This is advisable in the sense that the drive system can be damaged during transportation, and so should be installed at the water point. The captain’s seat should also be installed at the water point so as not to add weight during transportation.
After successful installing the drive system without damaging it, it’s important to ensure that the captain’s seat is correctly installed and positioned to enhance your comfort during your kayaking adventure. Once you’ve correctly installed the drive system and the seat, you should be ready to set off.
Balancing is an important component of using a pedal kayak. You should make sure that your body is balanced as you start pedaling. At the beginning, you might feel a little weird as your body will move from side to side when pedaling, but you’ll get used to it with time.
Most pedal kayaks have a rudder system. You should, therefore, learn to use the rudder system, even though it’s a little tricky to master. Its main function is to assist you travel in a straight and narrow path. The rudder system is mostly operated using a handle situated next to the captain’s seat. This is to ensure that you can easily reach it with your hands and steer the kayak in whatever direction you desire.
Who Should Buy a Pedal Kayak
A pedal kayak is essentially for anybody who loves going out in the water to enjoy various water activities such as fishing and kayaking. Pedal kayaks have become so popular with individuals who want to go out fishing. These vessels make fishing a lot easier and enjoyable since they’re designed with extra fishing features such as rod holders that allow you not to worry about having to hold the paddle while still trying to cast a fishing line or making a catch.
A pedal kayak can also be a great vessel if you generally love kayaking or love getting involved in other activities such as photography and bird watching while floating in the water. That’s not all; pedal kayaks can be great if you have injuries or problems on your upper body part since you can still get out there and enjoy some pedal kayaking activities without using your upper body part or strengths.
This is because you’ll basically require your legs to drive the pedal kayak. Last but not least, pedal kayaks will be a hit with you if you’re workout-conscious hipster because you can use a pedal kayak to get an impeccable lower body workout.
Pedal Kayak Comparison Table
|Pedal Kayak||Length||Width||Weight Capacity (Pounds)||Best Use||Vessel Capacity (Pounds)|
|Perception Kayak Pescador Pilot||12’ 5”||34”||475||Flatwater Kayaking/Fishing||85|
|Brooklyn Kayak Company BKC UH-PK11||10’ 8”||34”||550||Flatwater Kayaking/Fishing||80|
Watercraft Slayer 10 Propel Pedal Fishing Kayak
|14’ 6”||2’ 9”||550||Flatwater Kayaking/Fishing||127|
|Riot Mako 12” ft. Sit on Top||12’||34’||470||Flatwater Kayaking/Fishing||68|
|Hobie 2018 Mirage Sport Pedal Kayak||9’||34’||225||Flatwater Kayaking||78|
Measuring 12 and feet long and 33 and inches wide and capable of hauling up to 475 pounds, it makes a lot of sense that this kayak is named after the word Pescador, which means fisherman in Spanish. This is a rotational pedal kayak that will enable you and your fishing gear to fit in comfortably and still make you feel like a king or a queen as it’s designed with features that will make you cruise all day long without straining or without much effort.
Features and Design
Here are some features that will lure you to the Perception Pescador Pilot:
Pilot Drive Motor
This is certainly the most important feature of the Perception Pescador Pilot. It’s this pedal drive motor that will enable you to not only cruise around effortlessly but also to cruise almost noiselessly. It’s seriously easy to operate. All you have to do is fiddle a little with the chair placement and angle and pump your feet. In essence, this pilot drive motor should enable you to navigate the waters far more efficiently than with a paddle.
The best part of this feature is that it’s so quiet that fishes would want to make friends with it, let alone the fact that you’d be able to cruise around with sleeping babies without causing a stir. The drive can also easily pull up or drop down when transitioning from land, truck or storage.
Fitting more aptly, it’s very adjustable, super comfy and is designed with a mesh that increases airflow when heat and humidity is on a high.
It has a nice sonar technology that’s crucial if you want to hook yourself so that you don’t become a victim of varied fish swimming patterns.
As you become acquainted with this kayak, you’ll find a small lever on a pivot to your left. Despite powering this kayak with your legs, this small lever acts as a rudder system to help you control the the direction of the kayak. It may feel a little strange for someone who has never operated a pedal drive kayak before, but it shouldn’t be a problem for you after a few minutes.
Located behind the seat, the four rod holders are angled so that they cross behind your back and are big enough to even hold a beer!
You’ll find two gear tracks each on you right and left. These tracks will serve you well whether you want to use them as cell phone holders, for holding your fresh bouquet of flowers, a GoPro or want to mount a tether.
One aspect of the Perception Pescador Pilot that’s not widely advertised is that you’ll have to install the drive system by yourself, which leaves room for error. It’s therefore, important to follow the instructions on the manual and install the hardware appropriately and with adequate torque so as not to either damage the drive system or hinder performance. Again, the rod holders don’t sit tightly within the kayak.
ü It’s very stable
ü Offers great maneuverability and easy movement
ü It’s spacious and has a ton of storage space
ü The captain’s chair is super comfortable
ü It’s so quiet
ü Offers great weight capacity and gear tracks
ü It’s very customizable
v You’ll have to install the drive yourself and pay close attention
v It’s not that wide
v The rudder system is not very efficient
v It’s heavy on the side
Verdict: As we’ve mentioned before, the Perception Pescador Pilot stands out for its exceptional pedal drive and can easy go either go forward or backwards. This is a kayak that holds up well thanks to a plethora of amazing features. Its stability, efficiency and quietness are some of its most important strengths and you’ll not have a problem accommodating your small child or a slightly excited dog.
You’ll however, need to get a cart wheel or the help of a pal in moving it in and out of the garage. You should also check the hardware before you head out and make sure that it’s tight and set right.
Weighing 80 pounds and measuring 10 feet and 8 inches long, and 34 inches wide, the BKC UH-PK11 is a great pedal powered kayak that provides just about everything you need to cruise the waters during your fishing or leisurely adventures. You’ll also need not break the bank as it comes at a reasonable price if you take into account the impressive features that are on offer.
Features and Design
You fall in love with the following features.
Pedal Drive System
The pedal-driven propeller system holds up well and will let you move the kayak faster than ever without having to worry about using the available paddle. This pedal drive system also gives this kayak a reverse capability that enables it to either move forward or backwards
Flat Hull Design and Weight
With a flat hull design, it’s pretty easy to see that this is one of this kayak’s most notable features. Such a flat hull, which is bow-molded and streamlined is essential in offering superior stability whether moving fast or slow in multiple water and weather conditions. This stability makes the BKC UH-PK11 a great kayak option, especially for anglers who are not fixed on traveling long
Another important feature is the weight of this kayak. At 80 pounds, BKC UH-PK11 is more lightweight than similar pedal kayak models, which often weigh over 100 pounds. This makes it easier to handle and move around as you won’t necessarily need a cart wheel or a group of friends to move in and out of the garage or on top of the car. It’s also crucial to note that its ample storage space that offers a capacity of up to 550 pounds makes it quite a good option if you’re planning to carry a packed lunch, overnight gear or if you have the day’s huge catch as your company.
The BKC UH-PK11 is designed with an adjustable ergonomic and hand-sewn seat with a backrest and various adjustment point just to offer you utmost comfort and control. The seat is also designed with a sliding track so that it can comfortably slide from one end to the other without no much fuss.
Dual Power Rods
This kayak is also designed with dual power rods that are mounted just beside the seat and the split paddle that are fitted with anti-slip standing paddles just in case your legs need some rest are of impeccable quality. This power rods also make the BKC UH-PK11 a perfect fishing kayak as they’ll help you keep you lines in the water hands-free or if you want to use the pedals to troll while using your hands to fish.
The BKC UH-PK11 may bring along a lot of options, but it’s the drive system is a bit stiffer, particularly when compared with similar models. You’ll also need an anchor if you have to fish at a constant point, otherwise you’ll spend the entire day attempting to peddle just to stay in the same area and that can be tiring.
ü The seat is adjustable and very comfortable
ü It’s very stable thanks to its flat hull design
ü It’s quite affordable
ü It’s simple to use and move as it is lightweight
ü It offers a huge storage capacity
v The pedal system is a little stiffer
Verdict: The BKC UH-PK11 is a truly great fishing kayak that will provide you with just about everything you need for an awesome fishing adventure. It’s also pretty hard to argue with its simplicity and reasonable price.
Whether you’re planning to go fishing as a way to be at peace with nature or you want to satisfy your inner carnivore, you wouldn’t be considered thoughtless if you go for the Native Waterfront Slayer 10 propel.
Features and Design
It may not be the least expensive kayak available on the market, but it stands shoulders above many models, particularly if you’re looking for something that’s easy to transport.
Having been the first company to come up with such a style of propel drive, Native Watercraft still maintains the simplicity that has always been one of its dominant features. The rotational pedal powers a propeller located underneath the hull. This power drive is totally sealed in a self-contained compartment made of stainless steel and anodized aluminum, which is essential in preventing
it from getting corroded.
This propel drive allows the kayak to go either backwards of forward by just reversing your pedal spinning direction. This is a game-changing feature that enables you to navigate between docks, tight waterways and even gives you the opportunity to pull back to put up a fierce battle with a hooked fish.
Many fishing kayaks are devoid of rails along the captain’s chair but not this Native Watercraft Slayer. These four rails are designed to help you hold on your beer, cell phone and many other accessories that will make your adventure even better.
This kayak has an ample storage capacity with a sealable bow compartment that will help you keep your lunch, beverages and clothes dry.
Size, Weight and Stability
The engineers of the Native Watercraft Slayer 10 seemed to design this kayak in a small way for a give reason. It’s designed to exactly do what it’s meant for: fishing and kayaking. You’ll therefore, not have to deal with weight issues for no good reason. That said, it’s designed with unmatched attention to detail. For instance, the mount is placed on the top of the propel drive so that it can be hooked through the Transducer scupper to make it easy for you when you’re fishing.
Weighing a little over 80 pounds, this is an unbelievably light kayak that you can personally lift to the top of your car and get going, but can still hold a capacity of 500 pounds. Despite being slimmer, this kayak is designed with a large concave section in the middle of the hull, which is not only cool but also essential in giving it increased stability.
Even though there are quite a lot of things to say about the Slayer Propel 10, it should be noted that it doesn’t track that well over long distances and can be a problem windy conditions. Its storage is also a bit shallower compared to other models.
ü The propel drive is well-constructed and sturdy
ü The Propel drive is easy to put in and take out
ü The four rails can help hold a lot of accessories
ü It’s light and easy to load and unload on top of a car
ü Its stability is impeccable for its size
ü Has additional features such as angled rod holder, drain plugs and a really cool hull design
v It doesn’t track that well over long distances
v The propel drive stretches way below the hull
v Minimal storage
Verdict: If you’re one of those individuals who like going for a solo fishing expedition, the Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 10 should stand out in your mind because it’s generally well-designed and is full of high-quality features. It’s stable to the point that you can easily stand on it without the fear of falling in the water. You’ll be very pleased to own this vessel if you aren’t planning to go over long distance since it falls short on this feature.
The Hobie Oasis may be one of the pricier plastic boats out there, but it’s uniquely designed for those looking to head out on the water with a companion. Measuring 14ft 6ins long and 2ft 9ins wide and weigh about 127 pounds, this yak is designed with superior quality and top-level craftsmanship.
Features and Design
The makers of this kayak seem to be fashion conscious and that’s why it’s loaded with numerous features in addition to seven-color range.
Dual Steering Controls
You and your companion will be able to take turns at steering the yak without the inconvenience of having to change seats. This makes it much easier to move either forward or backwards. The dual push pedals efficiently power the two fins underneath the hull and will free up your hands for fishing.
Vantage CT Seats
This kayak is designed with your comfort in mind. Both seats are designed with recline mode and three adjustable height positions. They’re also thickly padded and have inflatable lumbar to not only offer support but to ensure that you’re completely comfortable.
You’ll never be concerned with the safety of any of your expensive gadgets and clothes as you can store them in the Yak’s waterproof storage compartment. This Kayak also has a storage capacity of up to 550 pounds, and so you don’t have to worry about the Oasis carry you, your companions, you fishing tackle and other equipment.
This is of great help should you find yourself in the middle of very strong currents. The removable rudder is designed with an easy-to-grip T-shaped handles to allow you to twist the rudder on and off with much ease.
Fishing Rod Holders
Positioned on both sides of the seats, these fishing rods can be easily accessed and help in the distribution of fishing lines without any fear of entanglement.
Cup Holders and Mesh Pockets
Attached to the seats, these are extras that will help you hold on your beer while enjoying some fishing expedition.
Despite its high quality craftsmanship and superior features, its price is a setback that would block many would-be buyers. Its length and weight can be much of a problem when it comes to transportation while its drainage system is quite slow and frustrating.
ü Smooth, efficient and comfortable to use
ü The seats are designed to offer all day comfort
ü Stylish, strong and durable
ü Spacious and waterproof storage
ü Offers an easy-to-use removable rudder
v The drainage is slow and frustrating
v Quite expensive
v Heavy and long, thus difficult to transport
Verdict: If you and your companion want to combine your hobbies, say fishing and photography, the Hobie Oasis may be your obvious choice. It’s durable, stylish and made with outstanding quality and craftsmanship that will make your kayaking adventures so appealing, enjoyable and memorable. However, its price and transportation difficulty may be some setbacks that you’ll have to deal with.
Probably one of the most affordable pedal kayaks currently available on the market, the Riot Mako 12 is undoubtedly one of the best pedal drive system that will enhance your kayaking adventure without breaking the bank or your back.
Features and Design
Designed with an impulse drive system and a high chair, this kayak not only offers comfortable seating and efficient power but also the option to either pedal or paddle. This kayak is also designed with a great weight of 68 pounds and offers a capacity of up to 470 pounds that is just enough for your heavy equipment and catch.
The 4 flush mounted rod holders that are mounted at both sides of the seat and the swivel rod holder as well as the anchor trolley system are efficient in making your fishing expedition much easier and enjoyable. That’s not all; this kayak has ergonomic front handling to make it easy to transport in addition to offering superior water handling that makes it almost similar to a surfboard.
The availability of a rudder system makes tracking and maneuverability much better and enjoyable.
This may be one of the most affordable kayaks in the market, but the quality of materials used are not at par with most of the models, particularly on this list.
ü Very affordable
ü Enables both paddling and peddling
ü It has an awesome rudder and tracking system
ü Lightweight and easy to transport
ü The anchor trolley system makes anchoring it much easier
v Not made of high-quality materials
v The sitting position is not that comfortable
Verdict: This is undoubtedly one of the cheapest pedal kayaks in the market and one that you can afford without breaking the bank while still assuring you of great kayaking adventure, but not for a long time because the materials are made of questionable quality.
Weighing 78 pounds and 9 feet long, the Mirage Sport Pedal Kayak is lightweight, super compact and one of the most perfect little kayaks in the market.
Features and Design
The fact that it is small and light with a storage capacity of up to 225 pounds makes it the most suitable pedals kayak for petite paddlers. Using the Mirage Drive technology, this is a well-designed drive system that has the ability to not only reverse.
The availability of a Vantage chair that’s constructed with a durable mesh helps in keeping things breezy when the weather becomes hotter. You can adjust it in various ways to augment your comfort and save you from injuring your lumbar region.
As one of the most technologically advanced kayaks, the Mirage Sport Pedal Kayak has a Lowrance-Ready transducer mount that becomes very efficient if you want a quick escape since it provides an extra gear. Its two molded-in rear rod holders are great for holding your fishing rods in place. Lastly, its twist and stow rudder is significant in giving you an excellent directional control from the steering handle that works nicely and well once you familiarize yourself with it.
This kayak may be small and compact but its size and capacity are limiting, especially if you’ve a luggage to carry along.
ü It offers excellent stability
ü It’s utterly comfortable
ü The rudder system and steering handle is easy to use
ü It’s lightweight and easy to transport around
ü It’s fast and perfect for quick trips
v Its size is limiting
v It’s quite expensive
v The storage capacity is limited
Verdict: If you’re a kayaking fan with a big heart, the Mirage Sport Pedal Kayak might be of great help because it equally has a big heart and loves pleasure cruising. It’s one of those kayaks that will never disappoint you if you need a quick trip and up to speed. In short, everything about this kayak is perfect.
Now that you’re loaded with information in regards to what a pedal kayak is, its use, reliable brands and what to expect, you should be in a better position to know that you stand to benefit a lot more with a pedal kayak than a paddle kayak.
Again, pedal kayaks are available with either rotational pedals or push pedals. Rotational pedals are much better for long distance as they’re generally less strenuous. Another thing to look for when choosing a pedal kayak is weight and how you’d transport it since they’re generally heavy.
Nonetheless, pedal kayaks are of great importance if you want to enjoy some quality water activities such as fishing and kayaking. This is a better point to start from, and we hope you enjoy your pedal kayaking adventures!