Lifetime Kayak Reviews [2020]: 6 Best Lifetime Kayaks

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With so many kayak companies sprouting up, it can be a slog sifting through them all to find the right boat for you.

But we’ve done the legwork for you and are taking a look at our favorite kayaks from Lifetime.

With a focus on cost-effective and durable models, Lifetime’s boats are great for weekend outings or for first-timers. 

In this article, we’ll go in detail on the best Lifetime kayaks. Whether you’re searching for a boat for you, your child, or a tandem, you’ll find them all highlighted in our Lifetime kayak reviews below.

Best Lifetime Kayaks

Best Sit-On-Top Lifetime Kayak: Lotus 80

Picture of Lifetime Lotus 80

Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with the simplest design.

The Lifetime Lotus 80 won’t blow you away, but this eight-foot kayak is light, portable, maneuverable, and a lot of fun to paddle

The short keel means it doesn’t have the speed or tracking to handle anything outside of a gentle breeze and very mild chop, but it’s more than enough if your plans are to go out for the afternoon on the local lake.

Despite its small stature, it’s comfortable for paddlers of all shapes and sizes thanks to the ergonomic and adjustable chair with multiple foot braces.

  • Checks in at just 38 pounds
  • No dry storage
  • Cost-effective and easy to transport
  • Paddle included

Best Sit-In Lifetime Kayak: Payette 98

Picture of Lifetime Payette 98

One of the cheaper sit-in kayaks, the Lifetime Payette 98 is a little slimmer than Lifetime’s sit-on-top designs giving you a more efficient top speed.

At less than ten feet long, however, tracking can be an issue with wind and waves playing havoc and limiting it to lakes, mellow rivers, or quick runs along the ocean shoreline. 

I do like the chine rails and the flat bottom which makes it plenty stable and a good introduction to sit-in kayaks that can sometimes feel “tippier” the first few times out. 

  • Tracking issues limit where it can be used
  • Paddle holder on the starboard hull
  • Roomy cockpit with multiple footrest positions

Most Comfortable Lifetime Fishing Kayak: Teton Angler

Picture of Lifetime Teton Angler

An entry-level design with a reasonable price, the Lifetime Teton Angler makes its bones as one of the most comfortable kayaks in a category filled with cushy seats.

The entire seat frame is adjustable and well-padded which, when added with the multiple foot rests, makes it the most comfortable Lifetime kayak available.

For fishing, you’ll find a pair of flush-mounted rod holders and two 12” accessory mount tracks where you can outfit your boat to your precise specifications.

Like many angling kayaks it’s also supremely stable, though I don’t think I’d be comfortable trying to stand and cast from it. 

  • Scupper plugs not included
  • Two large open-air “tankwell” storage areas
  • One of the cheaper fishing kayaks with customization options

Best Tandem Lifetime Kayak: Kokanee 106

Picture of Kokanee 106 Tandem

One of the cheapest hard-sided recreational tandems, the Lifetime Kokanee 106 has a wide 36” hull to give you and your paddle partner plenty of stability.

Most of the ten-and-a-half-foot keel has been dedicated to the cockpit so there’s plenty of room to move around and even enough space for a small third passenger.

At 76 pounds, it can be tough to carry and isn’t made any easier with just one carry handle in the bow. A small finger groove is built into the stern but when the boat is wet it can be slippery.

  • Can be paddled solo or tandem
  • Two hatches for additional storage
  • Slow top speed for a tandem

Best Lifetime Fishing Kayak: Tamarack Angler 100

Picture of Tamarack Angler 100

One of the most popular recreational fishing kayaks, the Lifetime Angler 100 merges stability and durability. 

The 31-inch beam has been coupled with chine rails to create a fantastic paddling platform that can absorb the quick shifts in body weight that come with a fish on the line.

It has a decent keel length for this category (10-feet) so you can coax a respectable top speed out of it despite the wider hull.

There isn’t much in the way of customization options, but you do get three rod holders. Two are on the sides and the third is installed in front of the cockpit for easy access while paddling or fishing.

  • Great stability
  • Load capacity of 275 pounds
  • No bulkheads in dry storage hatches
  • Paddle included

Read our full Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 review.

Best Lifetime Kayak for Kids: Wave 60 Youth

Picture of Lifetime Wave 60 Youth

The perfect introductory kayak for the younger members of your family.

The Lifetime Wave 60 is made of the same tough and durable polyethylene plastic as Lifetime’s larger models which ensures it will last long after your kids have outgrown it.

The onus has been placed on stability with additional chine rails installed to keep it upright.

It’s not a boat that should be taken into any sort of challenging water and is best served on calm, mellow lakes where young paddlers can stay close to shore.

If you want to paddle more dynamic waterways, look at investing in a double where young paddlers can ride in the bow without compromising stability.

  • Cheap and responsive enough as an entry-level kayak
  • Paddle included
  • Small size means children will outgrow it quickly
  • Performance limits it to near-shore lake paddling

Types of Kayaks Lifetime is Known For

Lifetime has made a name for themselves by producing reliable and stable kayaks. Their boats are made of tough blow-molded polyethylene plastic with UV protection. 

The majority of their boats are entry-level or recreational models that are best on lakes or calm rivers. They lack the storage capacity for longer trips and can struggle to stay on course in windy or strong tidal conditions. 

This along with their reasonable price, make them good for most day outings.

You can find models tailored to more specific activities including bigger and spacious tandem kayaks, boats designed for kids, and some of the cheaper fishing kayak designs. 

How to Choose the Right Lifetime Kayak

Where Do You Plan on Paddling?

The first question you must answer when shopping for a kayak is where you see yourself using it.

Kayaks have specialized designs, and while there is some crossover, some models can be dangerous if taken into the wrong conditions. 

If you’re considering a Lifetime kayak, you plan on spending most of your time on calm lakes and rivers where “recreational” kayaks are right at home.

For open water, “touring,” sea kayaks provide a longer keel that will track better in poor conditions and many come with a rudder to improve maneuverability. These boats are usually sit-in kayaks to protect you from the elements and provide plenty of dry storage space.

Whitewater boats look somewhat similar to recreational kayaks with shorter keels. They’re more streamlined with less stability so that they can roll and recover easily.

Sit-In Vs Sit-On-Top Kayaks

Sit-in boats have a defined cockpit that encloses your legs and lower torso.

A spray skirt can be wrapped around the cockpit’s perimeter to provide further protection against waves and rain.

This makes them the preferable kayak for paddlers in cold weather climates.

Sit-On-Top kayaks encompass most recreational and fishing models.

With no defined cockpit, you have a lot more room to stretch out and shift while you paddle.

Since there’s no protection from the elements they’re best suited for day trips or warm weather environments.

To provide a little bit of protection, the seat in a sit-on-top is placed higher above the water to keep at least some of the waves off you.

This raises your center of gravity which can make a kayak feel tippy. To counteract this, sit-on-tops have a wider hull to provide more stability. 

Solo or Tandem Kayak

Single kayaks provide more flexibility and freedom for paddlers.

A tandem requires you and your paddle partner to paddle in sync to maintain tracking and prevent your paddles from hitting which can take some practice. 

Thanks to the extra paddle and a longer keel, tandems tend to be faster and more stable than a single.

Transportation can also be easier since a roof rack will only need to hold one kayak.

Single Kayaks obviously allow you to go out on your own if you wish and tend to be more maneuverable, though with a lower top speed.

If you plan on doing more ambitious, longer trips, two singles can usually hold more gear than a tandem.

Some tandems have the ability to be paddled by one or two people.

Longer tandems will be sluggish and unresponsive if there’s just one person aboard, but this is more common with touring kayaks. Check the specifications of your tandem before paddling it on your own.

Extra Features

Many entry-level and recreational kayaks come with some of the basic necessities to get you started.

An included paddle is a common feature for these boats and many of Lifetime’s recreational and children’s models come with one.

Inflatable kayaks often include a carry bag to make transportation easier and a foot pump to help with inflating. 

Many sit-on-top kayaks have scupper hulls built into the hull to allow any water that enters the cockpit to drain. Depending on the conditions, it may be prudent to have these holes blocked and scupper plugs are sometimes included. 

In recent years, kayaks designed specifically for fishing have entered something of an arm’s race to see who can outfit their boat with the most angling gear.

Multiple rod holders are standard issue, and some designs are stable enough to let you stand and cast.

Accessory mounts or “gear tracks” may allow you to install any number of features such as extra rod holders, a GoPro, or even fish finders and depth sounders. The number of available mounts is usually listed on the kayak’s specifications page or in the description.

Lifetime Vs Other Brands

There are several other kayak brands that specialize in recreational and fishing kayaks. Many of these use plastic for their hulls, but there are some companies that sell inflatables.

Pelican Kayaks

Pelican kayaks produce a wider range of kayaks that can handle some more challenging water conditions.

They also offer recreational and fishing kayaks and their fishing models are known as some of the most stable on the market.

They do tend to be a little more expensive than Lifetime’s boats. 

Perception Kayaks

Perception kayaks share a lot of similarities with Pelican.

Perception builds both sit-in and sit-on-top kayaks with models that can cover recreational, fishing, and touring.

Child-sized boats are also available and they offer a wide variety of products in all four categories. 

Sun Dolphin Kayaks

Sun Dolphin is another company that focuses on cost-effective and easy to transport kayaks.

Their products range from short recreational models to more intricate fishing designs.

The company also designs and builds paddleboards, canoes, and pedal boats as well as replacement parts for all of their products.

Vibe Kayaks

If your main desire is to fish and you have a little extra cash, Vibe kayaks may be the company for you.

While they’re one of the newer brands, Vibe has quickly made a name for themselves with their big and feature-rich fishing kayaks.

Customization options abound and their Sea Ghost line has found the perfect sweet spot between speed and stability.

Sea Eagle & Intex Kayaks

No storage space for a hard-sided kayak?

Sea Eagle and Intex build stable and easy to set-up inflatable kayaks that are available at a reduced price.

You won’t get the same performance you would out of a hard-sided kayak, but these two companies are churning out reliable and easy to paddle models that are perfect for calm water paddling.

Conclusion

For casual and durable kayaks, Lifetime has a diverse lineup of models to meet your needs. 

I know the Tamarack is labeled as a fishing kayak, but I’d argue it’s good for a variety of activities and the stability makes it great for first-time paddlers too.

While the Kokanee 106 is a pain to carry, on the water it makes for another stable model, and having all the legroom is great for paddlers of all sizes.

What do you think of our list? Did your favorite Lifetime kayak make the cut? Who got snubbed? Let us know in the comments below.

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