It doesn’t matter whether you do it for recreation, for fun, or to put food on the table, if you’re going to be on the lake or river in search of fowl, you’ll want the best gear you can get.
To get around these duck infested waterways, it’s important to have a kayak you can rely on. We’re here to save you some time by highlighting the best duck hunting kayak in a number of categories.
Regardless of your price range, you’re sure to find the right kayak for your next hunting trip below.
Best Duck Hunting Kayaks
Best Budget Duck Hunting Kayak: Lifetime 10-Foot Sport Fisher
If you’re just starting out or are more budget-conscious, the Lifetime 10-foot is a capable boat that won’t break the bank.
Despite just being 10-feet long, it feels surprisingly roomy and even has a second seat so you can bring a friend along, but it’s responsive and maneuverable enough to be paddled solo too.
It features a 500-pound load capacity so there’s no issue with having to leave gear behind.
That said, there’s very little dry storage space, and with a second person on board, there’s not much room for dry bags on deck.
Outside of the adjustable seat and multiple footwells for comfort, it’s a pretty stripped-down model as far as features go.
But for the price, you get a stable boat more than capable of getting you and all your gear to your favorite hunting spots.
- Stripped down design with few extra features
- Huge load capacity
- Can be paddled solo or tandem
Best Kayak for Duck Hunting with a Dog: Malibu Kayaks X Factor Fish & Dive Package
As the name suggests, the X Factor is capable of handling a diverse array of outdoor activities.
It may not say it in the title, but this big and spacious kayak is also great for duck hunting.
The load capacity to overall weight ratio is incredible, with the X Factor able to carry up to 625 pounds but weighing just 62.
Wide and long, there’s ample room for your canine hunting buddy as you traverse the lake or river to your ideal hunting blind.
While it handles choppy water well and is relatively stable. It doesn’t make the best shooting platform and I wouldn’t recommend trying to stand up in it, especially if you have a dog onboard. Instead, use it to get all your gear and your dog to your on-land hunting area quickly and safely.
- Capable of handling choppy water
- One of the more expensive kayaks on the list
- Huge weight capacity
- Room for a trolling motor
Best Ascend Kayak for Duck Hunting: Ascend H12 Sit-In Hybrid
A versatile boat capable of more than just duck hunting, the Ascend H12 hybrid features a very stable paddling platform you can feel safe standing and shooting from.
The well designed “step-style” keel allows it to handle conditions you wouldn’t expect from a traditional fishing and hunting boat. It cuts through moderate surf and waves with ease while the 12-foot keel provides adequate tracking.
Two large storage hatches provide enough room for multi-day expeditions while the 450-pound load capacity ensures that you’ll still be riding high in the water if the weather turns.
Accessory rails allow you to customize and outfit for both hunting or fishing and it’s a comfortable boat to paddle thanks to the adjustable footrests and padded seatback.
- A little heavy for a single kayak at 76 pounds
- Customization for a versatile weekend on the water
- Stable enough to stand in
Best Kayak for Duck Hunting and Fishing: Wilderness Systems ATAK 140 Fishing Kayak
Well built and well designed, the Wilderness Systems ATAK 140 is everything you want in a hunting and fishing boat.
It’s 14-feet long, which means plenty of room for you and your gear. There’s a large watertight bow storage area complete with a drain plug.
Wilderness Systems knows it’s important to be comfortable while you’re on the water, so they’ve spent a lot of time making sure their seat is both comfortable, adjustable, and quick-drying.
For customization, an accessory track lets you outfit your kayak for both hunting and fishing.
Whether you want to install your gun scopes, a GPS, fishfinder, or all of them, you can turn your ATAK 140 into the perfect hunting or fishing platform.
If you don’t want to paddle the whole way, there’s even room for a trolling motor on the stern.
- Length and size makes it heavy at 95 pounds
- Comfortable, adjustable seat
- Lots of ways to customize it
Best Pedal Duck Hunting Kayak: Hobie Mirage Pro Angler
The ultimate in self-propelled kayaks are the pedal models. The Mirage Drive 180 provides an easy and efficient pedaling method that leaves your hands free for your fishing pole, rifle, or a snack.
The joystick-controlled rudder provides the maneuverability to squeeze into tight spaces and keeps you on the right course in windy or choppy conditions.
The seat is adjustable, not just back and forth, but up and down too. It provides maximum comfort but also allows you to improve your vantage point and get a better view for both hunting and casting.
Ample storage space and the big load capacity ensures that you’ll have everything you need for an unforgettable weekend on the water.
The only downside is the price as pedal kayaks can be substantially more expensive than traditional paddle-powered boats.
- May be too expensive for some
- Fast and efficiency pedal drive system
- 120 pounds when empty
- Tons of storage space and premier stability
Best Tandem Duck Hunting Kayak: Sevylor Coleman Colorado Inflatable
The only inflatable on this list, the Colorado from Sevylor Coleman is a multipurpose kayak that should satisfy all your hunting and fishing needs.
It’s a big and spacious boat that can fit two hunters easily while the 470-pound load capacity means the only limit to your trip length is when you have to be back for work.
While not a boat designed for speed, it’s relatively wide which gives it excellent stability and the ability to absorb any quick shifts in weight distribution as you paddle.
Easy to transport, store, and set-up, the Colorado also has a transom on the stern where a small trolling motor can be installed, freeing up your hands for your rifle or fishing pole while you travel.
- Built-in rod holders
- Double threaded Boston valves for easy inflating and deflating
- Little dry storage space
How to Choose the Best Duck Hunting Kayak
Choosing the boat with the right dimensions for you will depend a lot on what you plan to do.
Boats with a longer keel and slimmer hull shape will paddle more efficiently and go faster. Tracking will be better but they can be harder for newcomers to paddle and their maneuverability may not be as good.
Shorter, wider boats have better stability and many recreational and fishing/hunting boats fall into this category. Some are sturdy enough to stand up in while the shorter keels mean they’re easier to steer and more accessible for beginners. They won’t be as fast though and rough conditions or wind can knock them off course easier.
There are a couple of different hull-type designs used in kayaks, but for duck hunting, I’d recommend a flat hull that will maintain stability at the cost of some speed.
Once you start to cram your gear into a kayak’s storage spaces, it always seems to fill up faster than you expect.
I like kayaks that have at least one watertight storage hatch, especially if I’m going overnight and need to bring a tent and sleeping bag. Exposed storage spaces should have bungee cords spread over the top to keep them in place.
If possible, choose a boat with a dedicated storage area accessible from the cockpit to keep the essentials that you want access to while you paddle.
Check your boat’s load capacity on its specifications page. This refers to how much the boat can safely carry while maintaining stability and speed. Overloading a boat can make it unwieldy and susceptible to capsize or taking on water.
Short or Long Trips
There are a few obvious features your boat will need for longer expeditions like more storage space and a higher load capacity.
But there are a few other things to look for in a boat that aren’t as obvious.
You’ll always want a comfortable seat, but that’s especially important if you’re going to be out for a long time. Both the back and bottom should be padded, complete with an adjustable seatback, and either footwells or footpegs so you can brace and take the stress of paddling off your back.
Selecting a boat with a long keel will also help with your speed and cut down on long travel time. Kayaks aren’t fast, but even improving your speed by one mile per hour can make a world of difference.
While there aren’t a ton of kayaks that are specifically designed for duck hunting, there are a lot geared toward fishing, and they come filled with extra features that are also suitable.
Customization options known as “gear tracks” or “accessory mounts” allow you to customize your boat however you want so you can install a gun mount, GPS device, or anything else you deem necessary.
Other boats, mostly recreational boats marketed towards beginners, come with a paddle included. It may not be a great one, but it’ll be enough to get you on the water and moving.
Paddle vs. Pedal Kayak
From a performance standpoint, it’s tough to compare the two models. Pedal kayaks move faster and your legs won’t tire as quickly since they’re more efficient and the body’s largest muscles are in the legs.
Pedal kayaks tend to be larger and heavier, but their stability and load capacity are also much higher and the joystick-controlled rudder is easier to handle than a foot-controlled one on a paddle kayak.
So why is it a debate? Cost. Pedal kayaks are much more expensive than paddle kayaks and may require more maintenance to keep the pedal drive system functioning at peak efficiency.
Tandem or Single
Even if you’re a solo paddler it may be worth investing in a tandem kayak. Many two-person recreational and fishing kayaks can be paddled either solo or tandem giving you greater flexibility. If you’re on your own, you’ll have extra room for your gear and hunting dog.
They can be a little harder to paddle on your own, and I wouldn’t recommend trying to go great distances by yourself. But for shorter runs across a lake or down a river, the extra space can be valuable.
Many kayaks come in a variety of color options for you to choose from. Obviously having one in camouflage is preferred if that’s possible.
If not, I like kayaks that are brighter and stand out, especially if you’ll be traveling on congested waterways with motorized boats as you’ll be easier to spot.
No matter the trip length or water conditions, there’s a reliable hunting kayak for you.
A lot of it will depend on your price range, and if cost is no object, it’s hard to argue against a high-end pedal kayak like the Hobie Mirage.
If you’re not interested in spending that much, not to worry, there are several cheaper options like the Wilderness Systems ATAK 140 to choose from.
What do you think of our list? Got any good hunting stories to share? Let us know in the comments below.