Paddling Life Kayak (and SUP) Sampler Roundup


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Yep, there are more boats out there than you can shake a paddle at. So we took the liberty of getting our mitts on a few to make the choices easier. Following are a few kayaks you’ll find on retailers’ shelves this season as well as a note on what they’re good for…

Best Kayak For…Price-point Entry IK

STAR Raven I Pro

The STAR Raven I Pro Inflatable Kayak is a playful performance IK for river running. Its pronounced, 18-inch rocker rides easily over waves, as it did on our test runs down Colorado’s Class II Yampa River, while the 10.5-inch tubes and 4-inch drop-stitch floor serve up stability and rigidity. Constructed from PVC-coated polyester for durability, with Leafield™ C7 valves to ensure trouble-free inflation and deflation. The included high-back seat secures to drain holes in the self-bailing floor, allowing paddlers to adjust its placement for a customized fit. Raven Pro package includes foot braces and thigh straps, letting paddlers charge more challenging whitewater. Features two stainless steel D-rings for attaching gear and bow and stern carry handles. Carry bag, pump, and repair kit included.

Best Kayak For…Easy storage, Rigid Performance

Advanced Elements AirVolution Inflatable Kayak

The key to hardshell-like touring performance in a kayak that deflates and stores in your studio closet: high-pressure drop-stitch layers on its floors and sides (the same tech that makes inflatable SUPs so rigid). Meanwhile an open deck and lounge-worthy high-back seat up the comfort for longer miles, and bungee deck lacing affords gear stowage. Available as a single or tandem, simply unfold, inflate and you’re off and paddling. $1,199,



Jackson Kayak AntixBest Kayak For…All-Around Whitewater

Jackson Kayaks Antix 2.0 Whitewater Kayak

One kayak to rule them all. That’s the Antix 2.0, a revamped quiver-killer blending play, river running and creeking. Its new planing hull surfs and squirts, while staying stable in rapids. Three sizes fit the whole Goldilocks gamut (7’7”, 8’, 8’5”), with the 38-lb. Medium (for paddlers 130-190 lbs.) carrying 66 gal. of volume. $1,349,

Jackson Kayaks Antix 2.0 vs. Antix 1.0 with video

Inside the Jackson Antix 2.0: An On-water Report from Demshitz’s Jesse Shimrock


Best Kayak For…Shouldering the Load

Caj Koskinen taking his Alpacka Expedition down the Grand Canyon.

Alpacka Expedition Packraft

Want to hike into a remote lake or river? Put hernias in the rearview with the Expedition, a packraft weighing just 8.1 lbs (available in small, medium and large). The one-person raft also includes thigh strap and footbrace attachments for whitewater, making it the perfect backcountry adventurer. Bonus: It’s zippered-access Cargo Fly lets you store gear inside the tubes, keeping center of gravity low and deck clean. $1,500,

Best Kayak For…Touring/Flatwater Training

Epic 14X Sea Kayak

Comfort, efficiency, responsiveness: it’s all there in the Epic 14X, a day-touring kayak with Flash Gordon speed thanks to its 39-lb. surfski-like hull. Add a Smart Track rudder, adjustable carbon footboard, and three storage hatches and you’re set for the wild blue yonder. $3,395,

Best Kayak For…Full-on Creekin’

Dagger Code

The secret’s out about the Dagger Code: With a planning hull for quickness, wide stern for stability and high-rise bow rocker for punching holes, it’ll help you step up your creeking and big water kayaking game. Add Contour outfitting for a snug fit and safety features like a vertical step-out pillar and Class V will no longer be “classified.” Available in three sizes: Small: 8’3, 74 gal.; Medium: 8’9”, 89 gal.; Large: 9’2”, 97 gal. $1,259,

Breaking Down The Code: Inside Dagger’s New Creeker


Best kayak for…Stable and Fun River Running

Pyranha Scorch

2021 Pyranha Scorch whitewater kayak paddled by Nick Hinds wearing Stohlquist PFD as he boofs on Canyon Creek of the Lewis river in WA
Photo by Luke Spencer of Clackamas River Outfitters

Available in three sizes, the Pyranha Scorch combines features from the Burn (sharp rails), 9R (volume distribution and bow rocker), and Ripper (fast, nimble planing hull). The hybrid rocker profile adds to this with the progressive bow rocker being efficient on the move, planing over even the burliest of features, while the stern kick-rocker gets the back edge of the boat out of your way on the lip of drops and ensures you skip out over whatever lies in wait below; a fine balance of length and edge carries speed and maintains precise lines, even in boily, unpredictable water; and the generous but carefully tailored volume keeps you on top of the water and gives you the capacity to carry all your essentials without blocking your paddle strokes. Consider it a dry-hair boat. $1,449,

Best SUP forAll-around Supping

Hala Straight-up

Want to make your paddleboarding adventures as easy and hassle-free as possible? Hala Gear has expertly designed their full package SUP Kits to contain everything you need to get on the water, including a travel paddle, rolling backpack, pump, and fins. The Straight Up inflatable stand up paddleboard features an All-Around Board Shape with Progressive Rocker and Tapered Square Tail. This board is stable enough for beginners, but long enough to keep speed-freaks entertained. Take this lightweight board anywhere, roll it out, and go! The Straight-Up brings to life the belief that recreational paddlers should be able to find a high-quality inflatable paddleboard with bomber construction in an affordable package. This SUP Kit includes an industry-leading Lever-Lock Adjustable Carbon Paddle, Backcountry Rolling Backpack, Fin, a hand pump and a repair kit. $1,199,

Best SUP for…Lightweight Supping

Level Six Ultralight SUP

Chalk it up to mono-Layer fusion construction—fabric is fused and laminated together rather than glued. This allows Level Six’s new Ultralight to be 30% lighter (just 22.2 lbs.) and more compact when rolled up when compared to a regular inflatable SUP. The construction also lets users raise the PSI threshold to 20 so the board is stiffer. The board also has carbon rails on the sidewalls in between the two layers for even more rigidity. Both construction techniques mean the board can carry a thickness or 4.7″ rather than the traditional 6″ to offer better handling. $1,250,

Best SUP for…Uber-light Supping 

Kokopelli Chasm

The Chasm-Lite by Kokopelli is billed as the world’s lightest and most packable stand-up paddle board, packing down to the size of a small sleeping bag and weighing only 12.9 lbs. And it packs down into a backpack, carry-on luggage, or to be thrown under a car seat.When purchasing a Chasm-Lite you will also receive a four-piece paddle (carbon shaft), single 9-inch fin, nano barrel pump, dry bag backpack to store and carry the board accessories, repair kit, and leash. The Chasm-Lite can pack down into a backpack, carry-on luggage, or be thrown under a car seat. It also comes with a four-piece paddle (carbon shaft), single 9-inch fin, nano barrel pump, dry bag backpack to store and carry the board accessories, repair kit, and leash. Kickstarter Info Here:




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