Fishing & Hunting Tips

Top 5 Best fishing kayaks under 500 [Review & Guide] in 2020

Life is getting so boring nowadays, isn’t it? There are enough activities in the world which can make your mind and body stressful and create a life of monotony. But is there any activity which can get you out of it and give some relaxation? Well, the answer my friend is blowing in the wind, all you have to do is catch it! Yup, I’m talking about fishing with a rod and reel in a fishing kayak.

That’s what you’re looking for right? Well, leave all the boring research job on us cause we already did it for you with our expert team and personal angling experience. Find the best fishing kayaks under 500$ in this article with a detailed buying guide below.

Best Pick: Best fishing kayaks under 500 – Reviewed by TRG Expert Team

Last updated on March 31, 2020 6:15 am

1. Sun Dolphin Journey (best beginning kayak)

SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Journey 10-Foot Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak



  • Type: sit-on-top
  • Length: 10-feet
  • Width: 30 inch  
  • Weight:  44 lbs
  • Max Capacity: 250 lbs.
  • Material: Rotomolded polyethylene

  • 2 flush mount and one swivel rod holder
  • A paddle
  • Front and rear storage option with bungee cording, cup holder, extra pockets
  • Adjustable foot brace
  • 4 Carry handle

Description: Looking for the best budget kayak for fishing? Well, you can stop looking further and have a look on Sun Dolphin Journey 10 SS, possibly the best kayak for the beginning! Over time, Sun Dolphin proved them as a brand of reliability and Sun Dolphin journey is their best to offer for beginners.

It’s a kayak meant to be fishing, that’s the reason it’s on the top of my favorite fishing kayak list. With a carrying power of 250 lbs. Sun dolphin journey is power-packed with features for fishing.

It offers you Two flush mount rod holders and One swivel rod holder along with plenty of storage compartments. The portable Accessory Carrier) can be used as extra storage and even some pockets for keeping fishing rigs.

Apart from all other features it provides, wanna know a big advantage of this kayak? Stability is a great factor in terms of kayak fishing and lemme tell you folks, the stability of this kayak is insane! Really didn’t expect that much of stability from fishing kayak under 500 bucks.

Coming to the reliability, the kayak is constructed with Rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex High-Density Polyethylene, that must answers your question right? Yup folks, as a beginner kayak, you can totally rely on Sun Dolphin 10 SS. give it a try!

  • Durable HDPE construction
  • Lightweight, easy to carry
  • Enough storage option
  • 3-rod holders and more mod option
  • Great stability
  • Gives Best value for the money
  • Doesn’t offer any paddle
  • Speed is not that great

2. Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person ( best inflatable )

Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak



  • Type: tandem inflatable 2-person
  • Length: 10’9”
  • Width: 39”
  • Max capacity- 470 lb.
  • Material: 18-gauge PVC construction

  • Six-rod holders, paddle holder
  • Mesh storage pockets
  • 2 Adjustable seats
  • Option for motor

Description: Having trouble with room for your kayak? Get an inflatable kayak and pack it into your wardrobe, problem solved! The inflatable kayaks are gaining its popularity so fast because of the great convenience they offer.

A major number of people are moving to apartments nowadays rather than a big house with a wide garage where you can store your yak. Some even have a garage space but already filled with cars and kayaks. Simply an inflatable kayak can save the day. Keeping that in mind, introducing you the Sevylor Coleman Colorado kayak, one of the best fishing kayaks under 500 $.

You will find tons of inflatable kayaks in the market which serves different purposes. But precisely for fishing, Sevylor Coleman Colorado is the best fishing kayaks under 500 bucks (inflatable section). You have my word!

Now why I’m claiming the yak as a complete fishing kayak? There are a handful of dedicated features regarding fishing.

  • Super easy storage and ease in carrying
  • Room for 2 person
  • Convenient features for smooth fishing (top mount rod holders, pockets, etc)
  • Durable construction, easy to repair if got damaged
  • Good stability
  • Doesn’t offer any paddleboard
  • No air pump included
  • Take 10 minutes to inflate (not a problem though)

3. Sun Dolphin Excursion 10-Foot

SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Aruba Sit-in Kayak (Blue, 10-Feet)



  • Type: sit-in/sit-inside
  • Length: 10 feet
  • Max capacity: 250 lbs.
  • Material: High Density Polyethylene

  • Two flush mount and One swivel rod holder
  • Adjustable padded seat
  • Storage compartment, bottle holder
  • Adjustable foot braces

Description: Let’s talk about a sit-in kayak now. If you’re not living in a tropical reason, and there are much winter activities than summer, you’re looking for the Sun Dolphin Aruba sit-in kayak. Let me tell you, folks, sit-in kayaks are a great choice for cold water, keeps you and your feet fully warm while tracking.

Let’s be honest with you guys, I’m not a big fan of the sit-in type kayaks. The only reason is, they are not that great for an activity like fishing. You can’t stand in a kayak means you are limited with sight and castability.

But then again comfort is a huge fact regarding any activity, right? Regardlessly, sun dolphin excursion will keep you warm in freezing water. And that’s the biggest advantage of it.

It’s constructed with Rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex High-Density Polyethylene, Large open cockpit with adjustable padded seat with high back support. The sits are pretty comfortable in this kayak.

It’s a 10-foot kayak comes with a very limited and minimalistic storage option. There’s gear storage with shock cord deck rigging, allows you to put some stuff there. The bright side is, it’s got Two flush mount rod holders and one swivel rod holder which proves it as a fishing kayak!

But here’s why you wanna buy this! Being a sit-in kayak, the design allows it much better speed, you can do some casual fishing with a couple of rods in cold water without getting frozen. Now that’s a valid point, isn’t it?

Lastly, it gives you great value for the money. Though it has some drawbacks in features, with quality and comfort, it didn’t compromise at all.

  • Constructed with premium HDPE
  • Keep you warm in cold water
  • 3-rod holders including one swivel rod holder
  • No paddle included

4. Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100

Lifetime Muskie Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak with Paddle, Tan, 120"



  • Type: sit-on-top
  • Length: 10-feet
  • Width: 31 inch  
  • Weight:  50 lbs
  • Max Capacity: 275 lbs.
  • Material: High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

  • Two flush mounted and One top mount fishing rod Holder
  • Two 6″ storage compartments in rear and center
  • one adult black paddle and paddle holder
  • Cup holder, foot braces

Description: Let me show you my favorite one from this list. Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 is one of the best fishing kayaks under 500$ you can get. It’s been holding almost the top position for a very long time and still dominating the kayak industry.

Let’s give you a little rundown about Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100. It’s a 10 feet long yak with a 31” widest middle part on it. We found out that it has a weight capacity of 275 lbs. And if you are even taller than 6’ the kayak will still remain comfortable for you.

I and my review team were so satisfied with the built quality of this kayak, made with uv-protected high-density Polyethylene, yup I know you heard it so many times but they really used so premium quality HDPE for lifetime durability.

There are multiple footrests, Adjustable padded seat back and seat pad for comfort. Though it doesn’t provide maximum comfort but then again it’s ok when you’re buying a budget kayak.

Moreover, it offers front and rear shock cord straps, two 6″ storage compartments in rear and center. You may think that it’s not enough storage, but you can easily set a milk crate or something tying with bungee cords in the back for more storage.

It comes with an adult black paddle with one paddle keeper. I have seen many kayaks doesn’t offer any paddle keeper which is very essential in the middle of the water. But good for you this one does.

For a smooth fishing experience, it offers two flushes mounted fishing rod holders and one top mount fishing rod Holder. Though you can customize it and add more rod holders in it. Now, lemme tell you the biggest bright side of this kayak. The stability is awesome in this one. Trust me, you will love it!

Last but not least, it covers you with a limited 5 years warranty. Considering all these facts, why not give it a try!

  • 10 feet small and wider kayak
  • Can carry up to 275 lb.
  • Sit is pretty comfortable
  • 3-rod holder including on top mount rod holder
  • 2 storage hatches
  • Options for modifying more
  • Great value for the money
  • Limited 5 years warranty
  • Plastic is not that UV ray protected, fine storage can save it from UV rays

5. Lifetime 90479 Youth 6 Feet Wave Kayak

Lifetime 90479 Youth 6 Feet Wave Kayak with Paddle, Orange



  • Type: kids surf kayak
  • Length: 6-feet
  • Weight:  18 lbs.
  • Max Capacity: 130 lbs.
  • Material: High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

  • Kayak paddle
  • Swim-up deck
  • Molded finger handles

Description: Be a super dad or super mom and buy your kid a whole new kayak which comes at a really insane price. Yup, we are talking about the lifetime 90479 youth kayak, the best kayak for a kid!

The kids are so much dependent on the virtual world nowadays rather than enjoying the nature and beauty of the real world. So, I believe introducing them to nature is very important for good mental health. And what could serves the purpose best than a kayak!

Unfortunately, it’s not a fishing kayak. It’s 6 feet long kayak that can carry weights up to 130 lbs. Note that, it’s a kayak perfect for kids above 5 years old. The design is pretty simple since it’s a kayak for the kids it’s got no storage options. And by the who needs one right? Its a kayak only for surfing in the lakes or rivers.

The kayak we are discussing is made out of High-Density Polyethylene yet so lightweight and ease in carrying. It weighs only 18 lbs. Talking about convenience, the Molded finger handles on each side are given for easy transport. Even your kid can carry it all alone. And the best thing about less weight and short length is, you can fit it easily in your car while traveling.

Again it’s a kayak for kids, so they focused so much on safety. It has multiple footrest (helps to track well) and a swim up to the deck so they can re-enter the kayak so easily. But yeah, don’t forget to get a life jacket which can be a lifesaver in certain situation.

Now what made me review the kayak is the fact that it’s got amazing stability. Consider it as a vital fact for kids, and this one will surely not disappoint you with stability.

Lifetime kayaks got one of the best customers services in the industry. Also, it covers a 5-year limited manufacturer warranty. Great isn’t it?

  • Constructed with high-quality plastic
  • Wider kayak for better stability
  • Sloped back end and swim-up step
  • Comes with a paddle
  • So lightweight
  • So affordable
  • Comes with 5 years limited warranty
  • Didn’t found any

Choose the Best fishing kayak under $500- Ultimate Buying guide

#1. Set a budget and know what are you buying on that budget

I know you did set a budget but it’s crucial to have proper knowledge about what you’re getting at that price point. Different people have different affordability for that situation and the question is asked often and often that which price point they should hit for a good kayak!

Maybe it sounds harsh but the truth is you’re getting exactly what you are paying. There are some really cheap kayaks which will eventually be exposed so fast and end up with some really bad experience. Obviously, a higher price kayak will outperform a cheaper kayak.

But then again I’m not on the side to wait for the future rather than living in the present. Buy a fishing kayak with some research with whatever budget you’ve got. Here are 3 basic level and price points of a kayak.

  • Basic: talking about a good basic fishing kayak, it starts with a price range of 250$-500$ with minimal comfort and setup. Yeah, you can’t expect much from it but I think it’s a wise decision to have a fishing kayak under 500 bucks in case you’re a beginner or want to gift it to your loved ones who just wanna start kayak fishing.
  • Intermediate: every activity should be taken to the next level after a certain time, so does kayak fishing. Once you mastered on a basic kayak with some good stability and fishing, it’s time to move to the Intermediate level and getting an intermediate level kayak.

And intermediate level kayak starts with a price range above 500$ to all the way up to 1000$. Feel free to check our latest article on best fishing kayak under 700 bucks where you will get some of the best intermediate level kayaks.

Apart from that here’s a cool hack for you, if your budget is 700-800 bucks, get a kayak in 500$ range and invest 200-250 bucks on a premium quality kayak paddle. Trust me it will be a smart move.

  • Advanced: it’s super fun to fish in an advanced level kayak. This grade kayak starts from 1000$ to anywhere you can go. It will ensure the most comfort and fishing ability you can get from a kayak, and yeah also they tend to be extremely durable because of high-quality construction.

#2. Consider these top 4 factors before affording a fishing kayak

If you are new to the kayak fishing world, you really need to know these facts I’m going to discuss now. Even I had a lot of confusion at the very beginning when I decided to afford my very first kayak. There are tons of kayak in the market but note that All are not actually fishing kayaks. There are different types such as-

  • Sports kayak
  • Fishing kayak
  • Recreational etc.

So yeah, coming to the point don’t get confused and end up buying a kayak which will not ultimately accompany you on fishing. With typical factors, a fishing kayak should have some certain criteria to fill for a smooth fishing journey. Let’s dive down to it!

Durability: Whatever you purchase, durability comes first. We don’t wanna compromise about durability right? But is a fishing kayak under 500 bucks durable enough? Well, the answer is “yes” it could be durable if you do good research. But we already did the research for you and also utilized our life experience to ensure the best fishing kayak for you, so don’t you worry!

Back to the topics, there are certain factors which determine the durability of a kayak. The core factor is the material of the kayak, what the kayak is made of! There are materials used to make kayak nowadays such as

  • Durable plastic is the least expensive option you got. Typically these are molded polyethylene material which forms a rigid system to will stand up to the hard substrates into the water body and shoreline. The more layer it got, more weight the kayak gains.

With proper storage and maintenance, a well built rotomolded polyethylene material will go for a long period of time without exposed. Please check out our article on How to store a kayak vertically where you will get complete guidance. Besides, this HPPE made kayaks are the most widely used kayaks for fishing purpose.

  • There were so many fiberglass rods in the market, but ever heard of fiberglass kayaks? Yup, they exist with a bit increased price and have both advantages and disadvantages in terms of fishing. Fiberglass kayaks are so lightweight which greatly boost the speed of the kayak and of course easy to transport.

The glossy finish helps it to cut through the water so smoothly and makes it so responsive to take quick turns. But there is a downside of it too as I said. It can’t take a massive impact of rocks in the shore or something like the HDPE kayaks can. So yeah, fiberglass kayaks have some durability issues.

  • Kevlar materials are the most expensive option you got. Though they are not for fishing really! Kevlar made kayaks are ultra light and durable. I believe this kayaks or canoes are made for sports purpose mainly.

Fishability: What’s the whole point of buying a fishing kayak if you can’t go fishing with it? Yup folks, fishability of a kayak is one of the most crucial fact to be considered.

Let’s make it real simple for you, just check these features offered or not with the kayak while buying a kayak.

  • Is there enough rod holder options?
  • Is there enough storage option available?
  • Can you fit a GPS fish finder in your kayak?
  • Can you stand-up comfortably in the kayak? (though you can fish while sitting too)
  • Is there any pocket to put your baits, lure and other equipment?

Stability: We discussed this earlier in this article but let’s emphasize on this again. Stability can literally save you from drowning! Calm water or running water, is your kayak stable enough? With the increasing width, stability depends.

Though stability can make the kayak slow, then again safety comes first. And also you can stand up with confidence in a wider kayak.

Comfort: With a comfortable yak, you can spend the longest day possible with nature. If it lacks comfort, nothing feels more disgusting than that. Afterall kayak fishing is all about mind relaxation and meditation right? So an uncomfortable kayak will increase the stress instead of eliminating it!

Comfort depends on a few factors. Let’s have a quick discussion on comfort.

  • Seat: with a comfortable seat, you can stay as long as possible in the water. You should also look for an adjustable seat. Check out what’s the seat back is made of. Something soft but firm will be a good choice. The seat influences most of the comfort level of a kayak.
    However, you don’t have much of an option your you are buying a budget kayak. With the budget increases, you will get a more advanced and comfortable seat. But yeah, you always have the option to buy a seat and then equip it.
  • Length: you may wondering how length could be a comforting fact! Yeah, it does, if you buy a short kayak but you are a tall angler, then you can’t fit yourself comfortably in the kayak. So consider the kayak length before buying one.
    Generally speaking, for a person above 6’ hight, a 10-12 foot kayak will fit good. Height below that will be fine with a shorter kayak.
  • Weight capacity: for a comfortable and confident fishing expedition, you need to consider that is your kayak able to hold your weight and all other equipment weight?

When you are looking for the best fishing kayak under 500 or a fishing kayak under 1000 bucks, you should look for the weight capacity first. Then calculate your weight and possible equipment ( fishing rod and reel, weights, bait, containers, tools, etc. ). Normally I keep the 25% weight for the equipment and 75% for me, see if it fits your requirement or not.


1. Should I get a sit-inside/sit-in or a sit-on-top kayak?

Ans: Both types of kayaks are great for different reasons, but for fishing, I would go with a sit-on-top kayak. Why is that? Cause typically sit on top kayaks are a bit more stable than sit-inside kayaks and also allow you to stand up while fishing! That’s a great facility cause you will get a better sight and can cast long distances while standing on a kayak.

Sit-on-top kayak has one more good utility, you can re-enter your Sit-On-Top from the water quickly which is a daunting task in sit-inside kayaks. Actually, it doesn’t allow you to move that much sitting inside to it’s also true that there’s less chance of falling. We anglers also can avoid the fact that usually, sit-on-top kayaks have much greater storage and fishing features that sit-inside ones.

Apart from those, sit-inside kayaks are the only choice sometimes if it’s freezing water. Also, sit-inside kayaks have a greater speed unlike most of the sit-on-top kayaks.

2. Why there are holes in the fishing kayak?

Ans: if you are a beginner, it might be scary to you see all the holes in a fishing kayak. Don’t you worry cause it’s an added safety feature in a kayak? Fishing kayaks have holes to let water out and account in cavities. If there were no holes, the kayak gets water inside and you had no way to let it out. Eventually, it will gain weight and sink down.

But having holes in it, there’s a proper mechanics to let the water out of the kayak smoothly. In running water you will need this feature but in lakes or pond (calm water) you don’t actually need it. You can use scupper plugs to seal up the holes.

3. How fast do fishing kayaks go?

Ans: simply depends on which type of kayak you’re tracking and also greatly on your skill and strength. Usually, sit-inside kayaks are better in speed because of the design and less weight but lack in maneuverability. Actually, it depends on your keel. You can go fast from one spot to another and make quick turns but of course, have to sacrifice maneuverability.

Another fact is the length of the kayak, with greater length increases the speed. And yeah, If you store a lot of thing in the kayak it will be slow.

Wrap up

It’s up to you which one you wanna buy, we tried to share our knowledge and experience with you as much as possible. Now choose one and hit the water right away. Be with nature, feel the inner peace!

Hope you found this article helpful. Please feel free to share your knowledge, advise or recommendation with us. We will be loving that. And yeah folks, Just always be safe while in the water. Enjoy the ride. 🙂

Nicholi Wyto

Hey I'm Nicholi Wyto is a professional sports fisherman and hunter, love to enjoy spending time in Michigan’s rugged northern forests. I love to explore my experience and help others who are interested in fishing and hunting.

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