Pedal kayaks have exploded in popularity over the past several years, but this hands-free technology isn’t anything new. Hobie launched the pedal kayak movement in 1997 with the release of its Mirage Drive pedal kayak. The idea was to improve on a regular kayak by making it hands-free: Instead of using a paddle, you use your feet. Pedal kayaking is not only easier, but also allows for better stability, speed, and versatility for anglers and recreational boaters alike.
Instead of using a paddle to propel and maneuver yourself like in a traditional kayak, pedal kayaks allow you to use your legs to power either moving fins or a propeller under the hull, while a rudder handle allows you to steer. The most obvious benefit is that, aside from making turns, your hands are free for fishing—a major reason why pedal kayaks are so popular among anglers of all abilities. And since our legs are generally stronger than our arms, recreational paddlers also benefit by being able to stay on the water longer and cruise with less effort.
In the past 25 years, pedal kayaks’ soaring popularity has led to the development of a wide variety of sizes, styles, and models. Nowadays you can find anything from an inflatable tandem pedal kayak to a fish-finding beast. Before choosing the best pedal kayak for you, it’s worth considering a kayak’s size, weight, pedal system, stability, and whether it’s designed for fishing or touring. Also keep in mind that pedal kayaks are generally heavier and larger than regular kayaks, so make sure you have space for storing it and a system for transporting it to the water.
No matter if you’re a diehard fisherman or a first-time kayaker, there’s a pedal kayak to suit your style. To get you pedaling, we’ve rounded up 11 of the best pedal kayaks from top brands including Hobie, Old Town, Wilderness Systems, Pelican, and more.
The Best Pedal Kayaks of 2022
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