Best Pelican Kayaks: Which Kayak Should You Buy?

For paddlers seeking a high-quality yet affordable kayak, Pelican is a top brand to consider. With a wide range of kayak models optimized for recreation, fishing, and touring, Pelican offers versatile boats packed with features. Their trademark RAM-X polyethylene hulls strike an ideal balance between durability and maneuverability.

Best Pelican Kayaks

 While keeping costs down, Pelican still equips their kayaks with comfortable seating, ample storage, and other essential extras. Whether you’re a beginner dipping a paddle for the first time or a seasoned paddler looking for your next boat, Pelican’s lineup of the best kayaks has a model sure to fit your needs and budget.

Pelican has been making boats you paddle for a long time. They started making pedal boats in 1965. The company is from Quebec, Canada. Eventually, Pelican started making kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards too. They are known for making budget-friendly recreational boats for beginners. Many Pelican kayaks are made from Ram-X plastic. This plastic is super tough and slippery, so the kayaks last a long time.

In 2019, Pelican was bought by Confluence Outdoor, a company in South Carolina that owns 8 paddle sports brands. Those brands include Wilderness Systems, Perception, Dagger, and Mad River Canoes. Pelican is the beginner brand for Confluence. You can find Pelican kayaks at big box stores across North America for discount prices.

Pelican kayaks are great for their value. Don’t expect high-performance kayaks from Pelican. They are best for casual paddlers who want a fun toy for the cottage or short trips on calm water. Pelican fishing kayaks have good accessories and designs, but again, they are best for quiet lakes, sheltered bays, and smooth rivers, not for fast-moving water.

Top Picks: Best Pelican Kayaks for 2024

1KRP11P100_TheCatch110HDII_top_LR-first_product_boats.jpgPelicanThe Catch 110 HyDryve IISHOP AT CANADIAN TIRE$ 1999.99
2Kayaks: Argo 100XP Angler by Pelican Premium - Image 4647PelicanArgo 100XP Angler
3Pelican Pulse 100X kayak with paddle in Orange, top view
PelicanPulse 100X
PelicanClipper 100X
PelicanMaxim 100X AnglerSHOP AT CANADIAN TIRE 
$ 769.99
7ccfdee3810e7c91a5a4b4760f78f54879d2ece77_1080xPelicanRiver Gorge 130XSHOP AT AMAZON 
$ 749.99
8KFF10P101_TOP_ARGO_100X_EXO_HR-first_product_boats.jpgPelicanArgo 100X EXOSHOP AT SPORT CHEK$ 549.99
9pelican-ultimate-120xPelicanUltimate 120X EXOSHOP AT AMAZON $ 529.29 
PelicanBasscreek 100 XP AnglerSHOP AT AMAZON $ 529.29 


We have given you all the information you need to pick the best Pelican kayak for your paddling goals. Pelican makes a lot of different kayaks, which can be confusing. But we have guides to help you make a good choice.

Below you will find our articles about specific types of Pelican kayaks. These articles will explain the different options so you can choose the right kayak for you. With our help, you can learn about Pelican kayaks and pick the best one.

Shopping for a used Best Pelican Kayaks?

You can find many used Pelican kayaks for sale on websites like Craigslist, Kijiji, and Facebook Marketplace. Pelican kayaks are great budget options for beginner and family kayaks. They also make good fishing kayaks. There are many different models to choose from.

The first step is to research the features of the specific Pelican model you are looking at. Our Paddling Buyer’s Guide is a great place to start. Once you find one you like, follow this advice to get a good used kayak:

Overall condition

Check the overall condition of the Pelican kayak carefully. Recreational kayaks are often stored outside. Look for sun damage and soft spots on the hull. Press firmly on all parts of the kayak to see if it feels stiff – it shouldn’t feel spongy. This will show if the kayak is still in good shape.

Inspect the deck (top) and hull (bottom) for damage. Look for big gouges more than 1/8 inch deep. 

Look for a lot of abrasion, especially worn areas a different color from the rest of the kayak. Also, look for deformities or dents – these will make the kayak harder to paddle.

Pelican kayaks are made of tough plastic that can take abuse. Some minor damage is okay as long as the shape of the kayak is still intact. Over time the hull may get wavy – this means the kayak is worn out and should be avoided.


Most Pelican kayaks have minimal features for comfort. Closely inspect things like the seat – is it padded and supportive for your body type? Footrests are key to letting you paddle efficiently but are often missing on cheap Pelican kayaks. If present, make sure they work and aren’t damaged by sand and grit – a common problem on well-used, poorly-maintained boats.

 Some sit-inside Pelican kayaks have a bulkhead, an important safety feature that keeps a flooded kayak afloat – check it’s solid. Outfitting includes the seat, backrest, thigh pads, and footrests. These often lack refinement on budget Pelicans. 

Check each part and how they work together – does it feel comfortable when you sit in the boat and paddle? If it’s uncomfortable on a quick test, how will it feel after an hour? Comfort is personal; there’s no one-size-fits-all.

Cheap Pelicans can have poor outfitting. Inspect closely and consider a pricier kayak if you’ll paddle seriously. If handy, you can modify outfitting yourself with foam, glue, and DIY – an option to save money and get a custom fit.

On the water

To know if a kayak feels good and works well for you, try it out before buying. Ask the seller to meet you where you can get on the water for a bit. Wear your usual paddling clothes and bring your paddle. If it’s a sit-inside kayak, check how easy it is to get in and out.

6 Best Pelican Kayaks For Fishing And Paddling

Add some Kayak accessories

If you’re planning to go fishing on a Pelican kayak, it’s important to have the right accessories. Some of the key accessories to consider are rod holders, gear tracks, and live wells. These features can help you store your fishing gear and keep your catch fresh.

If you’re buying a used kayak, make sure to check the condition of the personal flotation device (PFD) that comes with it. Ensure that it fits properly and is approved by the Coast Guard for the location where you’ll be kayaking.

For more tips on buying a used kayak, you can read our article on How To Buy A Used Kayak. It provides useful information on what to look for when selecting a used kayak.

Best Pelican Kayaks Buying Guide

Pelican kayaks are a popular choice for recreational paddling and are widely available across North America at box stores and sporting goods outlets. Pelican kayaks are designed to cater to a range of needs for paddlers of all sizes. The kayaks are divided by activity and user, including recreational, fishing, and day touring.

 Recreational kayaks are short and stable, making them ideal for casual use. Fishing kayaks are recreational kayaks with add-ons specific to anglers, such as rod holders and tackle storage areas. Day touring kayaks are longer recreational kayaks with storage hatches for day gear.

Pelican kayaks are available in different types, including single (one-person) kayaks, tandem (two-person) kayaks, and junior (kids’) kayaks. With so many options, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. 

However, if you’re looking for a casual kayak for recreational paddling on calm, sheltered water, there’s certainly a Pelican kayak for you. These Best Pelican Kayaks are affordable and perfect for spending an afternoon at the beach, fishing on a lazy river or calm pond, or getting out on the water at the cottage.

What Sets Pelican Kayaks Apart?

Pelican uses their special plastic called Ram-X. This polyethylene plastic makes their boats very durable. They can handle crashes and even drops when carrying.Polyethylene is heavy, making kayaks hard to carry. But Pelican’s Ram-X is lighter than other brands. This makes it easier to get the kayak from your car to the water.

Stability is Pelican’s top priority. This is very obvious in their sit-on-top models. These kayaks are made for beginners. They have extra stability built into the hull. This gives new paddlers confidence you can’t find in other designs.Many Pelican fishing kayaks are so stable you can stand up and cast. This gives an advantage when looking for fish.

For fishing kayaks, custom features are important. Pelican equips their fishing models with lots of custom spots. These let you add fishing rod holders, fish finders, and other gadgets you want on the water.

Pelican Kayak Reviews

Choosing the right Best Pelican Kayaks can be tricky, but don’t worry! This section is here to help. We’ll break down Pelican’s kayaks in simple terms, so you can find the perfect match for your paddling adventures. Think of it as a friendly kayak whisperer, guiding you to the one that’s just right.

Best Sit-Inside: Pelican Sprint 100XR

 Pelican Sprint 100XR
10′28″41 lbs300 lbs

Most Pelican kayaks are for casual paddlers and beginners. But the Sprint 100XR is different. It can still work for beginners, although the deep V-hull and high sides can make it feel more tippy and less forgiving.

The streamlined design makes the Sprint one of Pelican’s fastest kayaks. It tracks impressively, even in choppy water – rare for a kayak this short. It responds well to your body shifts, letting you change direction with hip pivots.

The Sprint’s sleek keel gives it better speed and tracking than most recreational kayaks, making for efficient paddling. But it’s best for protected water, so avoid wind and rough crossings if you can. The 300-pound capacity makes it better for day trips than long hauls. A watertight rear hatch and a smaller 4-inch hatch by the seat provide good dry storage in rain.

A comfy seat and great knee braces keep you paddling longer. The knee braces help when edging the sides in the water for sharp turns or holding course.


  • Best Pelican Kayaks Lots of dry storage space
  • Very good speed and tracking for a 10-foot kayak


  • Low load capacity means it’s best for day trips, not long hauls
  • May feel too unstable/tippy for total beginners

Best Value Sit-Inside: Pelican Argo 100X

Pelican Argo 100X
10 feet28 inches36 lbs275 lbs

The Pelican Argo 100X is a great budget kayak for beginners with its simple design and light 39 lb weight. Many kayaks under 40 lbs have issues like poor stability, bad design, or weak performance. But Pelican knows their stuff. The 100X’s twin-arched multi-chine hull gives reassuring stability for calm lakes, sheltered bays, and gentle rivers.

The short keel and narrow width make it very maneuverable and easy to squeeze into tight spots. However, tracking and speed are below higher-end Best Pelican Kayaks. So it’s a recreational kayak not meant for long trips.

The 275 lb capacity is low but typical for budget kayaks. A small watertight hatch is in the bow, and a bigger open storage area is in the stern.

The seat has a padded back and bottom made of breathable material to keep you cool. However, the low deck and narrow width can make it hard for taller paddlers or those with big feet to fit in the cockpit. If you’re tall, try to test it out before buying.


  • Best Pelican Kayaks Easy for one person to carry.
  • Simple to steer and paddle.
  • Limited space to store items.


  • Not very fast and may veer off course in wind or waves.
  • Might feel too small for larger individuals.

Best Sit-Inside for Beginners: Pelican Argo 100XR

 Pelican Argo 100XR
10 feet29 inches41 lbs300 lbs

The Argo 100XR is easily confused with its little brother the 100X since their names and specs are so similar. But the 100XR has some extra features and better performance that set it apart, making it a fantastic first sit-in kayak.

Like the 100X, the 100XR is 10 feet long. It’s an inch wider and a bit heavier but can carry 300 lbs versus the 100X’s 275 lbs capacity. Still not enough for big trips, but maybe an overnight.

The storage is a bit different, with a big watertight hatch in the stern. Unfortunately no designated bow storage, but you can shove gear by your feet, especially stuff sacks that compress.

The big differences are the 100XR’s premium features. Along with the padded seat, you get knee rests and adjustable foot braces so paddlers of any size can get comfy.

It also has a couple of rigging tracks built into the hull, usually found on fishing kayaks. These let you easily mount a GPS, GoPro, rod holders, or whatever else you need for a fun Saturday paddling trip.


  • Added features like knee rest and rigging tracks.
  • Best Pelican Kayaks has Reliable stability.
  • Good-sized waterproof stern hatch.


  • Best Pelican Kayaks is Poor tracking in wind or waves.

Best Sit-On-Top: Pelican Sentinel 100X

Pelican Sentinel 100X
10 feet30 inches40 lbs300 lbs

The Sentinel 100X is the sit-on-top version of the Argo 100X. Its stable twin-arched multi-chine hull and extra width of a sit-on-top keep it upright with ease. Despite the wider design, the Sentinel still only weighs 40 lbs. Along with the 10-foot length, this lets many paddlers carry it themselves for short distances.

 The tough plastic hull can take some dragging over sand or pebbles to the water too. For longer carries, handles at the bow and stern make tandem portaging simple.

There’s no dry storage like most sit-on-tops, but you get open-air areas at the bow and stern, with more room in the back.

There are no adjustable foot braces, but multiple footwells to brace against. Unfortunately, these can feel too cramped or far away for some paddlers. But the Sentinel’s open design makes it a good choice for bigger kayakers.

Performance is similar to the other recreational Pelicans. It’s easy to steer but not meant for big crossings or rough, windy oceans.


  • Easy to carry alone or with someone else.
  • Great maneuverability.
  • Spacious open cockpit for leg movement.
  • Ideal for peaceful and warmer waters.


  • Not suitable for rough waters or colder conditions.
  • May not offer as much protection in an open cockpit.

Best Tandem: Pelican Argo 136XP

Pelican Argo 136XP
13 feet 6 inches32 inches67 lbs500 lbs

You won’t find many tandem sit-in kayaks this light. Many feel like a burden to carry. But the Pelican Argo 136XP weighs just 67 lbs, and the solid built-in handles at the bow and stern make portaging a breeze.

The sit-in design lets the 136XP be narrower than bulky sit-on-tops. The keel extension also gives it better speed and tracking than expected for its 13.5-foot length. It handles chop better than most boats this size too. Just don’t try big crossings.

The capacity is high, but remember there are two paddlers. There’s only one storage area – a decent-sized watertight hatch in the stern. Some room to stuff gear in front of the seats too, depending on your leg length.

Pelican’s patented multi-chine hull provides excellent stability. The comfy ergo seats have plenty of padding. Like other small sit-ins, bigger or taller paddlers may feel cramped. But the 136XP’s performance and tracking make it the best Pelican tandem.


  • Excellent tracking for its size.
  • Super lightweight with competitive speed.


  • Best Pelican Kayaks has Limited storage space.
  • Uncomfortable for bigger paddlers.

Best Pelican Kayaks Comparison Table

Kayak ModelLengthWidthHeightWeightCapacitySeatingCockpit Type
Sprint 100XR10′28″14″41 lbs300 lbsSoloSit-inside
Argo 100X10′28″14″36 lbs275 lbsSoloSit-inside
Argo 100XR10′29″13″41 lbs300 lbsSoloSit-inside
Sentinel 100X10′30″13″40 lbs300 lbsSoloSit-on-top
Argo 136XP13’6″32″15″67 lbs500 lbsTandemSit-inside
Catch 12011’8″34″15″69 lbs400 lbsSoloSit-on-top
Sentinel 100X Angler9’6″30″13″44 lbs275 lbsSoloSit-on-top
Getaway 110 HDII10’5″33″11″59 lbs300 lbsSoloSit-on-top
Catch PWR 1009’9″40″16″75 lbs450 lbsSoloSit-on-top

Best Pelican Kayaks Buying Guide in Sit-Inside vs. Sit-on-Top

Best Pelican Kayaks makes the two main kayak types – sit-in and sit-on-top. Both work for different activities, but there are key differences.

Sit-ins have the classic narrow look. Their slim shape is more efficient to paddle – less water resistance means faster speed and less effort. Comfort-wise they’re more cramped since your lower body is confined under the deck. Taller paddlers may have a harder time getting comfy.

Sit-ins can feel a bit more tippy than sit-on-tops. Their initial stability isn’t as good, but secondary stability is excellent. So they tip side-to-side easier but are still hard to flip. Beginners may twitch back and forth fearing a capsize.

A sit-in is good for cold or wet areas. You can stretch a spray skirt over the cockpit combing to limit splashing in your lap. Sit-on-tops lack the sleek look but are most common now on lakes and rivers.

Their wider shape gives more room to move and get comfortable. This provides excellent initial stability, great for beginners who want to feel secure shifting around. But the width limits performance – not as fast or maneuverable as a sit-in. Most also lack dry storage.


Yes, Pelican kayaks are generally considered good, especially for beginners and recreational paddlers.

Pelican kayaks are sold through outdoor retailers like REI and Dick’s Sporting Goods. They are also available online through Amazon and other major e-commerce sites. Pelican’s wide distribution makes them easy to find both in-store and online.

Pelican offers kayaks in a wide range of sizes, from small recreational boats to larger touring and fishing kayaks. Here is an overview of Pelican kayak sizes:

  • Recreational kayaks – These are Pelican’s most compact and maneuverable models, generally 8-10 feet long and 28-32 inches wide. Good for calm lakes and rivers.
  • Fishing kayaks – Range from 10-13 feet long and 30-35 inches wide. Offer more storage and stability for fishing gear.
  • Tandem kayaks – Two-person kayaks are 12-15 feet long and 34-36 inches wide. Great for paddling with a partner.
  • Touring/expedition kayaks – Pelican’s longest kayaks at 14-16 feet long and 22-25 inches wide. Built for covering distance efficiently.

Pelican kayaks are made of fused top and bottom pieces. Unlike some brands, Pelican kayaks cannot be taken apart into separate deck and hull pieces after they are built.


 Pelican offers a wide selection of quality kayaks for recreational paddlers. Their boats strike an appealing balance between affordability and features. For casual kayaking on lakes and rivers, Pelican has a model to fit most needs. Their kayaks come in sit-inside and sit-on-top designs. 

They range from nimble solo boats to stable tandem options. Pelican uses durable Ram-X plastic but keeps weights manageable. While not for hardcore kayakers, Pelican excels at fun family boats. For those new to the sport,Best Pelican Kayaks provide a stable, enjoyable introduction.

 When choosing the right Best Pelican Kayaks, consider your size, skill level, and planned paddling environment. With sensible prices and handy accessories, Pelican removes obstacles for getting started paddling. For many, a Best Pelican Kayaks can provide years of laidback enjoyment on the water.

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