Kayaking can be a great sport for you and your canine best friend to enjoy together. In fact, a dog can make the perfect kayak companion since they never complain about getting wet, demand minimum equipment and their low sense of gravity is perfect for the occasion. However, before you pack up and go, it’s important to take precautions to ensure the safety and comfort of you both. The first step to guaranteeing a pleasant experience is to invest in a kayak that really meets the needs of both you and your dog, this means ensuring that the kayak can handle weight capacities but can also offer enough room for both of you to feel comfortable throughout the whole trip. Here we review the five best kayaks that make kayaking with your dog positively enjoyable!
How to choose the best kayak for you and your dog
Questions to Consider While Researching
- Do you and your pooch have a passion for white-water rafting or do you prefer sheltered bodies of water like small lakes and ponds?
- Will the kayak be exposed to waves andwind? Keep water temperature in mind
- Also, when it comes to the paddling, do you demand a kayak which is responsive or is it more important that you opt for something that is more stable and doesn’t tip over (might be significantly important with a larger dog)?
With these questions in mind, it’s time to start exploring what type of kayak suits your dog.
Types of Kayaks That Accommodate Dogs
- Sit-on-top kayaks - Sit-on-tops (SOTs) are considered the most user-friendly because they are stable and easy to get in and out of with no restriction. This offers some great benefits to dogs who can climb into position with ease. Another benefit is that sit-on-top kayaks are self-bailing, which means that water drains through holes in the kayak – this does, however, mean that you are much more likely to get wet.
- Sit-inside - Sit-inside kayaks are perfect for cooler water as they ensure that you and your pooch stay dry. The downside, however, is that these types of kayaks are more difficult for anunexperienced pooch to get into position.
- Recreational kayaks - Recreational kayaks are a great go-to for dog paddlers because they are very stable and usually enclosed (with the exception of the cockpit). However, these types of kayaks are best suited to lap dogs or dogs that are happy to sit in the enclosed storage space unless you invest in a tandem kayak which would offer your canine his own seat.
- Inflatable kayaks - Inflatable kayaks are the perfect option for fair-weather kayakers since they offer excellent solutions in terms of transport and storage. Inflatable kayaks are also loved by many dog owners because they can be stored within the home and are, therefore, familiar to the dog and won’t cause any anxiety often triggered by strange objects or smells. The downside of the inflatable kayaks is that, despite their durability, they are not suitable in choppy water conditions nor good for navigating in wind.
Types of Kayaks To Avoid When Kayaking With Dogs
- Sea kayaks - Seas kayaks are not usually recommended for dog lovers and their kayaks due to their shape. They are generally long, with pointed ends which makes them a narrower type of kayak that doesn’t leave much room for two.
- White water kayaks -White water kayaks are also not designed with a canine in mind because they rely on the user steering the kayak with their whole body. In other words, they are extremely tight fitting and do not leave any room for a dog. Not only this, these types of kayaks arelight-weight and sensitive to smallleans and changes – far too responsive to have a dog on board!
Dog-friendly Kayak Reviews
Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak - Best Kayak for Large Dogs
The lowdown - The Ocean kayak is a tandem kayak that offers two separate seating positions for you and your dog. Better still, it actually offers a middle seat position which enables kayaking with two adults and a dog. It’s the fact that this kayak offers multiple seating positions whichmakes it a popular choice for those with children and pets. In fact, the seats can be arranged for one, two or three paddlers whichmeans that the configuration can be changed without influencing balance or stability.
The benefits - Smaller than other tandem kayaks, the Oceankayak is considerably compact but is also specially designed with those who favor comfort thanks to the comfort plus seats and three molded-in seat wells. On top of this, this kayak offers ample deck space for additional storage – which is generally welcomed by those who like to partake in fishing whilst kayaking.
The tracking on the kayak is accurate and isn’t interfered with by any movement or weight re-distribution of a dog who can be seated in the second comfort plus seat, or in the middle mold-in seat well.
The downsides - One negative of this kayak is that it isn’t overly lightweight but that is generally to be expected from a kayak that offers stability for up to three users (pet included).
The verdict – The Ocean Kayak offers versatility thanks to the seat configuration which can allow for two adults and one dog. This makes it a great kayak solution for a family trip.
Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-FootSit-on top Kayak - Best Kayak for Small Dogs
The lowdown - The Sun Dolphin Bali kayak is available in a wide range of colors, which makes it a fun choice. Choose from blue, green, orange, red or even pink – for a colorful statement in the water. However, it’s not just all about decoration – the Sun Dolphin Kayak is a perfectly functional kayak which offers ample room for a solo kayaker with space for a canine up front. In fact, it’s the ample leg room at the front which makes this a perfect choice for dogs of all sizes. On top of this, the front sitting space doesn’t take away from storage space at the back which is enclosed and totally water-tight. The Sun Dolphin Bali kayak also comes with a portable accessories holder which offers additional storage in the form of a backpack or a drag along.
The benefits - As a 10-foot kayak, it offers a steady and straight tracking – even with the small movements of the dog. Although it is worth noting that the longer the kayak, the straighter the tracking – which is why Sun Dolphin also offers a 12-foot version (more below). That aside, as a10 footkayak this is lightweight and versatile. One point worth noting is that the kayak is subject to a bit of tipping particularlyon-entry. Because of this, it’s important that you are your dog practice the entry into the kayak. However, this negative is totally countered by the ease of entry for the dog – the open cockpit makes it really easy for your pet to climb into position.
The downsides - One negative is that the self-bailing drill holes are positioned very close to the seat and can cause the kayaker to get wet. One solution would be to plug these holesup, or to sit on a towel or cushion.
The verdict – The Sun Dolphin Kayak is the perfect kayak for those who demand both leg and storage space, thanks to ample room at the front as well as water-tight storage at the back (and the addition of the portable accessories holder).
The lowdown - It is generally agreed that the longer the kayak, the better its ability to stay in a straight line – particularly appreciated by dog owners whose kayak might be subject to some movements from their pet. With this in mind, Sun Dolphin offer a long version of their Sun Dolphin Kayak which is 12-foot long. With the addition of two extra feet, the kayak ensures excellent tracking which makes it a great option for beginners. Sun Dolphinhave also addressed the 10-foot model’s tendency to tip and ensured this doesn’t happen with the longer version which is much more stable.
The benefits - The same excellent features are still apparent in the longer version of the Sun Dolphin, including excellent water-tight storage space and bountiful leg room for the user and seating space forpooch.
The downsides - Unfortunately, with the addition of extra length and stability features, Sun Dolphin did not address the previous problem of the user getting wet because of the self-bailing drill holes, so a towel or plugs are still advised with this model.
The verdict – All the benefits of the Sun Dolphin model but with extra length for those who demand increased control and space.
Intex Explorer K2 Kayak - Best Inflatable Kayak for Dogs
The lowdown - The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak makes our list as the best kayaks for you and your dog because it is inflatable and, therefore, portable. This is particularly beneficial for those who have to transport their own equipment but it’s worth noting that inflatable kayaks are best kept on less chopping waters and in conditions withoutwind. That aside, this kayak is specifically designed for two adults whichmakes it perfect for one adult and one pooch, who can even have their own seat. Even when the pooch is in position, and just one person is paddling, the kayak is easy to steer and is responsive. In fact, the addition of the doggy weight actually allows for better tracking since this with a single kayaker – the sides tend to catch the air and move side to side much like a sail.
The benefits - This kayak is perfect for recreational purposes, while it cannot be compared to the functionalities of a rigid solid hull kayak, it offers exceptional advantages – like the ability to pulled out as and when needed. Better still, as an inflatable kayak, this can be stored away easily at home making it simple for you to introduce the kayak to your dog, for the purpose offamiliarisation, ahead of any kayaking trip. Also, do not fear that your dog’s claws (or teeth!) will pose a risk to this kayak since the strong vinyl construction is hard-wearing and rigid.
The downsides - One downside of this kayak, is that while the supplied paddles are perfectly functional, they do make the kayaker wet but this can be countered by upgrading the paddles.
The verdict – The Intex Explorer offers comfort for one adult and apooch, is easy to transport and inflate whilst offering comfort thanks to a reinforced vinyl construction. The perfect solution for when space or transport is a restriction.
The lowdown - The Sea Eagle is another inflatable kayak but this one offers two seat positions. Not just this but the Sea Eagle has a maximum capacity of 500 pounds which is more than many standard solid kayaks. Because of this weight capacity, it’s the ideal kayak for those with large dogs since the dog can be seated in its own seat. Also, despite its size, this kayak can be inflated in just 7 minutes (although it’s worth noting that first attempts might be up to 30 minutes but practice makes perfect!). It’s these features whichmakes the Sea Eagle one of the most popular choices amongst those who kayak with their dog.
The benefits - With inflatable kayaks, many users worry about instability with passing boats but the Sea Eagle is easy to steer in the event of waves and even manages to the absorb the shock of logs or rocks.
The downside - One negative is that each seat does seemingly offer back support, but since the supports are filled with air – the support is actually minimum and paddling is easier when leaning slightly forward. In fact, when used as a two-person kayak (without a dog) it’s worth noting that the front person has to lean a little on the back person for stability. However, when kayaking with a dog, the canine can takefront position and both kayakers can be totally stable and comfortable.
The verdict – The perfect kayak for transporting and storing, with two seats for both the user and dog – ensuring everyone’s comfort is at the forefront.
While all kayaks impressed our testers (both humans and pooches), one kayak really stood out amongst all the others and that was the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak which offers these outstanding benefits:
Easy to transport - Asinflatable kayak, the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak takes all of the stress out oftransport and, indeed, storage.
Weight capacity - This inflatable kayak certainly packs a punch with a weight capacity of 500 pounds, which ensures that even bigger dogs are accommodated.
Quick inflation – This kayak banishes all the fears associated with slow inflation by offering full inflation in just 7 minutes (with practice).
Total stability even with one paddler – while this kayak is designed with two seats, there is no pressure on your pooch to paddle. The kayak remainstotal stable and straight even with one paddler.
We are convinced that the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak offers a smooth ride for both you and your pooch and hope you will be too.
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