As avid kayakers ourselves, we know just how important it is to have a reliable and durable kayak for our outdoor adventures. Unfortunately, not all kayak brands are created equal. In fact, there are some kayak brands out there that we would strongly recommend avoiding altogether.

Through our personal experiences and extensive research, we have identified five kayak brands that simply don’t live up to our expectations. From poor quality materials to subpar construction, these brands have consistently disappointed us and left us wishing we had invested in a better option. In this article, we’ll dive into the reasons why we believe these kayak brands should be avoided and provide some alternative options to consider instead.

Key Takeaways

  • Pelican, Lifetime, Sun Dolphin, and Emotion are kayak brands to avoid due to reliability and durability concerns.
  • Choosing a reputable brand with high-quality materials is crucial for a safe and enjoyable paddling experience.
  • Inflatable kayaks from Sevylor offer portability and affordability but may not be as durable as hardshell kayaks.
  • Stability, weight distribution, and tracking ability are important factors to consider when choosing a kayak. Features such as adjustable footrests and comfortable seats can enhance performance and comfort.


You don’t want to waste your hard-earned money on a Pelican kayak that’ll leave you struggling to paddle against the current and constantly tipping over. While Pelican kayaks may seem like a great budget option, they lack the durability and stability of higher-end brands. In fact, Pelican kayaks are notorious for their poor tracking and slow speed, making them a frustrating choice for anyone looking for a smooth ride.

If you’re in the market for a kayak, it’s best to avoid Pelican and instead look for alternatives from more reputable brands. For example, Old Town kayaks are known for their high-quality construction and excellent performance on the water. Or, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, Perception kayaks offer a great balance of affordability and functionality.

When comparing Pelican kayaks to their competitors, it’s clear that they fall short in several key areas. For one, Pelican kayaks are made from thinner, less durable materials that are more prone to punctures and cracks. Additionally, the design of Pelican kayaks often lacks the features necessary for optimal performance, such as adjustable footrests and comfortable seats. Overall, if you want a kayak that will last and provide a smooth, enjoyable ride, it’s best to steer clear of Pelican and look for better options.


So, let’s talk about Lifetime kayaks. We’ve seen some problems with stability when it comes to these boats, which can make them less than ideal for paddling in choppy waters or windy conditions. Additionally, we’ve heard complaints of cracking in the hull, which can be a major safety concern. Lastly, these kayaks also have limited tracking ability, which can make them difficult to maneuver and control in certain situations. Overall, while Lifetime may have some budget-friendly options, we would recommend looking elsewhere for a more reliable and stable kayak.

Problems with Stability

If you’re looking for a kayak with reliable stability, steer clear of brands like Lifetime. Their kayaks are notorious for having problems with stability, making them difficult to use in calm waters, let alone rough conditions. Even with proper technique and balance, paddlers may still struggle to stay upright, which can be frustrating and even dangerous.

Improving stability is an essential aspect of kayaking, and there are many tips and techniques to help you stay balanced on the water. However, choosing the right kayak for your stability needs is equally important. Look for kayaks with wider hulls, lower centers of gravity, and better weight distribution. Avoid kayaks with narrow hulls or high centers of gravity, as they are more prone to tipping over. Always do your research and read reviews before investing in a kayak, especially if stability is a crucial factor for you.

Complaints of Cracking

It’s important to note that there have been numerous complaints of cracking in some kayak models, which raises concerns about the durability and safety of these products. When a kayak cracks, it can lead to water seeping into the hull, which can compromise the stability of the boat and put the paddler at risk. Additionally, a cracked kayak can be difficult to repair, as the damage may be extensive and require professional help.

To avoid experiencing such issues, it’s important to choose a kayak brand that has a reputation for producing durable and reliable products. Additionally, it’s crucial to properly maintain your kayak by following kayak repair tips and regularly inspecting the hull for any signs of wear and tear. Some kayaks may also perform better in rough water conditions, so it’s worth researching and investing in the best kayaks for rough water if you plan on paddling in more challenging environments. By taking these precautions, you can ensure that your kayak provides a safe and enjoyable paddling experience.

Limited Tracking Ability

Limited tracking ability can be a frustrating issue for kayakers who want to maintain a straight course while paddling. It can cause the kayak to veer off course, making it difficult to reach your destination. Tracking is the ability of a kayak to move in a straight line without turning. Having good tracking ability enhances the kayaking experience and saves you energy in the long run.

However, some kayak brands may have limited tracking ability, which can be a major drawback for kayakers. To overcome this issue, kayakers can use different techniques to improve tracking. One technique is the use of a rudder system, which can help to steer the kayak in a straight line. Another technique is the use of a skeg, which is a fin-like structure that can be lowered into the water to improve the kayak’s tracking ability.

Limited tracking ability can be a significant issue for kayakers who want to maintain a straight course while paddling. However, there are different techniques that can be used to improve tracking, such as using a rudder system or a skeg. When choosing a kayak, it is essential to consider the tracking ability of the kayak and choose a brand that has good tracking ability.

Sun Dolphin

You may want to steer clear of Sun Dolphin kayaks if you value durability and performance on the water. From my personal experience, I’ve found that Sun Dolphin kayaks have a lot of durability concerns. The plastic used in their construction is thin and prone to cracking, which can be a major safety hazard when you’re out on the water. Additionally, the kayaks don’t hold up well in rough conditions, which can be a major problem if you’re into kayaking in more challenging environments.

On top of durability concerns, I’ve also heard a lot of negative customer service experiences from other kayakers who have purchased Sun Dolphin kayaks. Many people have reported that it’s nearly impossible to get in touch with the company when they have a problem, and even when they do manage to get through, they often don’t receive the support they need. This lack of support can be frustrating and can make it difficult to enjoy your kayaking experience to the fullest.

Overall, I would recommend avoiding Sun Dolphin kayaks if you’re looking for a reliable and durable option. There are plenty of other brands out there that offer better quality and customer service, so it’s worth doing your research before making a purchase. While Sun Dolphin kayaks may be tempting due to their lower price point, the potential safety hazards and lack of support simply aren’t worth the risk.


If you’re in the market for an inflatable kayak, Sevylor is definitely a brand worth checking out. Inflatable kayaks have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their portability and ease of use. Sevylor is one of the top inflatable kayak brands on the market, offering a wide range of models to choose from. They are perfect for those who want to enjoy water activities without the hassle of transporting a bulky hardshell kayak.

One of the biggest advantages of an inflatable kayak is its portability. Unlike hardshell kayaks, inflatable kayaks can be easily deflated and packed away in a carrying bag, making them perfect for those who want to take their kayak on the go. Sevylor offers a variety of inflatable kayaks that are perfect for camping trips, vacations, or even just a day out on the water. They are also more affordable than hardshell kayaks, making them a great option for beginners or those on a budget.

While Sevylor offers a great selection of inflatable kayaks, it’s important to note that they may not be as durable as hardshell kayaks. Inflatable kayaks are made from PVC or vinyl materials, which are not as strong as the materials used in hardshell kayaks. This means that they may be more prone to punctures or other damage, especially if they are used in rough waters. However, if you take proper care of your inflatable kayak, it can last for many years and provide you with countless hours of fun on the water.


So, we’ve been doing some research on kayaks and we’ve come across some issues with the brand Emotion. First off, there have been complaints about stability, with some users feeling like they’re constantly on the verge of tipping over. Additionally, the tracking ability of these kayaks has been described as weak, making it difficult to maintain a straight course. Finally, there have been reports of poor quality materials being used in the construction of these kayaks, which can lead to durability issues down the line.

Problems with Stability

With some kayak brands, it can feel like you’re constantly teetering on the edge, making it difficult to enjoy a relaxing day on the water. This is especially true when it comes to the stability factor, which is a crucial aspect of any kayak. Kayaks that lack stability can be dangerous, making it difficult to balance yourself and your gear while paddling.

Improving stability is essential, and there are various tips and techniques to achieve it. One of the most important aspects of stability is weight distribution. Kayaks that are loaded unevenly can be difficult to balance and control. To improve the stability of your kayak, make sure to distribute weight evenly throughout the boat. This will ensure that your kayak stays level and won’t tip over. Additionally, you can improve your stability by paddling with proper technique, such as keeping your center of gravity low and using your core muscles to balance yourself. By following these tips, you can ensure that your kayak is stable and safe, even on choppy waters.

Weak Tracking Ability

As we have previously discussed, stability is a crucial factor when choosing a kayak. However, it is not the only factor that you should consider. Another vital aspect that you should pay attention to is the tracking ability of the kayak. In simple terms, tracking refers to how straight the kayak moves in the water. If a kayak has weak tracking ability, it will tend to turn and spin on its axis, making it challenging to control and navigate.

When it comes to kayaks with weak tracking ability, there are some brands that you should avoid. These brands often use low-quality materials and do not invest in improving tracking performance and enhancing maneuverability. However, there are also some reputable brands that offer kayaks with exceptional tracking ability. These brands invest in research and development to ensure that their kayaks provide excellent performance on the water. Therefore, if you want to have a smooth and enjoyable kayaking experience, it is essential to choose a kayak from a reputable brand that prioritizes tracking performance and maneuverability.

Poor Quality Materials

You don’t want to end up stuck in the middle of the water with a kayak made of poor quality materials that could break or fail at any moment, leaving you stranded and frustrated. When it comes to kayaks, durability is key, and unfortunately, there are some brands out there that simply don’t make the cut. These kayaks may look appealing at first glance, but they often have manufacturing flaws that compromise their overall quality and performance.

One of the biggest concerns with low-quality kayaks is their tendency to crack or break. This can happen for a number of reasons, such as improper manufacturing processes or the use of subpar materials. Even minor cracks can be dangerous, as they can compromise the kayak’s structural integrity and put you at risk of capsizing or sinking. Additionally, poor quality materials can make the kayak more susceptible to wear and tear, reducing its lifespan and making it less reliable over time. All in all, it’s best to avoid kayaks from brands that have a reputation for using low-quality materials or cutting corners during the manufacturing process.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some alternative kayak brands to consider?

When considering kayak brands, it’s important to weigh pricing options and customer reviews. Some popular options include Perception, Old Town, and Pelican. It’s always wise to research and read reviews before making a purchase.

Are there any specific models from these brands that should be avoided?

Common issues with certain kayak models include poor tracking, instability, and low weight capacity. Customer reviews and expert opinions can help identify these problematic models, but factors to consider vary based on individual needs and preferences.

What is the warranty policy for each of these kayak brands?

When it comes to warranty policies, we found that many kayak brands offer similar coverage. Comparison with competitors showed that some brands offer longer warranties and better customer support. Customer reviews and feedback can also provide insight into how well a brand’s warranty policy is implemented.

Can these kayaks be used in both calm and rough waters?

When considering kayak stability, it’s important to note that weight distribution plays a significant role. Kayaks can be used in both calm and rough waters, but proper weight distribution is crucial for stability and maneuverability in any condition.

How do these brands compare in terms of durability and longevity?

When comparing kayak materials, durability and longevity are key factors. Regular maintenance and proper storage can extend the life of your kayak. Consider materials like polyethylene or fiberglass for their strength and resistance to wear.

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