When shopping for a new kayak, you’ll want to be able to store you and your gear whilst remaining steady, but when you’re looking for a hunting kayak you’ll need to store even more gear and be steady enough to keep your aim.
That’s why this article exists. In this article we’ve searched the market and picked out five examples of kayaks that are suited to duck hunting and have even listed out their pros and cons so you can see why.
If you want to educate yourself on what makes a good hunting kayak, or you’ve seen the products offered below and want to go shopping for other options, we’ve included a buyers’ guide so that you can know what to look for.
There’s also an FAQ in that buyers’ guide, so maybe a question you had has already been answered.
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Why it’s Our Top Pick
We have our favorite kayak right here for if you’re in a hurry.
We chose the Brooklyn Kayak Company FK184 Angler Kayak, but we should add that it’s a one-man model and that there are better multiman options for if you prefer hunting with a pal.
See why we chose the FK184 below:
Lightweight build with aluminum paddles and four carrying handles for the kayak body itself.
Very comfortable and supportive seating positioned behind a hollowed-out cargo hatch that provides safe waterproof storage options.
Comes with an array of accessories such as fishing rod holders and elastic bungee cords that can be used as paddle parks or to hold more gear.
Best Duck Hunting Kayaks - Comparison Table
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Best Duck Hunting Kayaks - Reviews
Our first option is the BKC FK184 Angler Kayak, a nine-foot compact kayak that we’d recommend you get in the Green Camo color so that it can blend in as much as possible.
This is a model built with subtlety and portability in mind, from its compact model to its lightweight aluminum paddles that can be fixed steadily to the hull of this kayak via bungee cord paddle parks.
This means you won’t have to mess around with paddles when you take your hands off of them to grab your rifle. It also has four carry handles to be easily transported, too.
As the name of this kayak model suggests, this kayak was made with angling in mind and has built-in fishing rod holders to keep your hands free.
It has waterproof storage in a hollowed-out cargo area which keeps your fragile goods dry, like tech, snacks, or even a book, and can be used to store other hunting gear too.
It’s also a comfortable kayak thanks to its supportive-backed seating with adjustable footrests, but it should be mentioned that taller people will struggle to get comfortable with these footrests due to the compact nature of this kayak.
Our next option is the Elkton Outdoors Tandem Fishing Kayak, a twelve-foot long kayak that is the best two-man hunting kayak on the list. We’re assuming you’ll want the Camo paint job option, but there is also a neutral grey paint job for if you’re hunting in snowy or rocky climes where green isn’t so prevalent.
Its body is made via a rotomolded injection method that makes this kayak a seamless, long-lasting construct. It also helps to make it as lightweight as possible, and it’s easily transported despite its size because of its two carry handles, though you’ll probably need that second hunting companion to make this easier.
Speaking of that second hunting companion, this two-man kayak is equipped with EVA padded high-backed seats for maximum comfort during your hunt.
It comes with two paddles as well as rod holders since this is another kayak designed for fishing specifically, but it's lightweight construction and the bungee cording this kayak retails with can be used to bring duck decoys or waterproof bags stuffed with gear.
If gear is a concern, this kayak should have you covered with its two airtight storage compartments at either end of the kayak. These built-in dry storage hatches can be used by both parties on the kayak to store a lot of different amenities that you’d want to bring with you.
Our option at the midway of this list is the Wilderness Systems A.T.A.K. 140 Premium Kayak, and for this model we’d suggest the Solar paint job since its black/grey and yellow/murky green coloring is the closest to natural wilderness colors.
A.T.A.K. stands for Advanced Tactical Angling Kayak, which hints at how this model is made to be versatile and maneuverable whilst retaining stability.
It’s also compatible with Helix MD motor drives for those who’d want an extra kick, though we’d warn that this impedes how stealthy your boat can be.
It’s an open-style kayak, making it easy to customize and ensuring that it’s stable and nimbler whilst allowing you to walk on it easier.
On that deck is also a seat that’s a patented suspension-style seat that can recline and is accompanied by adjustable Keepers XL Footbraces which add support and comfort.
This model has tons of storage space since it has not just a stern hatch, but also rear and front tankwells so that every portion of the kayak has an easily accessible storage hole.
Each section of the ship, the front, the mid-way, and the rear, are fitted with SlideTrax technology that allows for the adding and removing of accessories with ease.
The next kayak is something of a surprise. The Old Town Predator XL Fishing w/Rudder (preferably in brown camo) is a very expensive option from Old Town Canoes & Kayaks with very little presence on Amazon, hence why it’s so low on this list.
Don’t let that deter you, however, as this kayak is one of the most capable on the list if you have money to spend.
The Predator XL is a high-tech model kayak that features slip-resistant Exon-Ridge decking that’s complete with rod holders and, more impressively, scupper holes so that you can automatically drain water that may be acquired on the move.
There are also ample storage options such as side-mounted paddle racks and a bow hatch for in-hull cargo storage.
Between you and any gear you can carry, the Predator XL can carry a total of 600-pound total weight capacity, more than enough for you, your gear, and any duck you’ll hopefully bring back with you.
This model also has a rudder that’s foot-controlled, so that you can keep your hands firmly on the paddles or your rifle whilst arranging a turn. The seat also has variable high and low position settings, mainly for all-day-long comfort but we’d imagine there’s some uses for rifle-aiming there too.
The paddles to this model are sold separately, which is yet another reason why this great product is here on the list as it already requires a significant investment to get your hands on in the first place.
Our last item on the list is a smaller but heavy model, the Lifetime 10-Foot Tandem Fishing Kayak.
This high-density polyethylene kayak can bear 500-pounds of weight capacity and is a modest ten-foot in length so that it can be stored and transported easier.
The only impediment to that is the aforementioned fact that this kayak can be heavy, and this heaviness also translates into a lackluster speed on waterways.
It features three fishing rod holders, but these can probably be repurposed to something else with a little elbow grease. There’s also a rear storage hatch so that you can store any other gear so that it’s safe away from the water.
This model also comes with a five-year limited warranty offered by Lifetime, that covers such things as poor handiwork.
Best Duck Hunting Kayaks - Buyers Guide
How to choose the best duck hunting kayaks
This buyers’ guide should help you to identify which kayaks are suitable for duck hunting, based upon such categories as durability, stability and maneuverability, storage, comfort, and camouflage ability.
With all of the types and brands of kayaks available on the market, it’s important to know which ones are dependable and made to a high quality.
You’re going to want a boat that’ll be dependable, and part of that dependability is how durable and long-lasting it is. You probably won’t be chasing any ducks down whitewater rapids any time soon, so instead you want a boat that can withstand the bumps, knocks, and scuffs natural when boating in shallow waters where ducks are more likely to be found.
The material that the kayak is made from factors into its durability, too, and for that we’d recommend durable polyethylene.
If you live in a particularly hot climate, it’s best if the material is treated with a UV-protecting layer such as silicon resin, so that sunlight doesn’t cause any harm to the boat hull’s look or integrity.
Stability and Maneuverability
The stability, and so the turning ability, of kayaks are often determined on their width. Larger boats tend to be more stable but, since they are loftier, are harder to turn in the water. For duck hunting you’ll need a kayak that can be allowed for maneuverability in aiming without tipping over, and especially without being affected too badly by the recoil of gunfire.
It’s about achieving a balance between stability and maneuverability when chasing and firing at ducks.
It depends on the waterways you’ll be tackling, since if your local hunting grounds are very narrow, you’ll have to go for thinner, more maneuverable kayak models that will be less stable.
Most kayaks that are low on storage space are undesirable, but a hunting kayak low on storage space is nearly useless. Waterfowl hunting, like any hunting, requires you to bring a lot of gear such as the rifle, ammunition, and perhaps the gutting equipment if you’re prepping the takes outside.
It’s difficult to get a kayak that has too much space in it, so more storage is usually a plus.
Dry storage should be a priority when considering storage space, as it’ll store your cell phones or other gadgetry you’ll want to bring. There are also rigging storage options so that you can strap bags onto the kayak. You’ll also want areas to hold fishing rods if you plan on doing some fishing at the same time.
Comfort should be a consideration with almost everything you buy, but when you’re going to be sat in or on your purchase, you’ll want enough room for you and your storage, and possibly a second duck hunter too.
This comfort can be achieved via seat padding or mesh seats that more easily dry after getting wet.
It should be obvious that a good hunting kayak is one that knows how to keep a low profile, and the best and most cost-effective way of doing that is to have a camouflage paint job. If not camouflage, a green or tan coloring can often suffice. Like when considering the stability of your kayak, you’ll also need to take note of your hunting grounds for kayaking.
If you’re going to be in a beached area, then tan will work best, whereas if you’re hunting at a forest lake, you’ll probably want green.
There are even kayak options that can turn into duck hunting blinds which work much like the land-based versions. These often push the price up, and so are better for those who are serious about duck hunting. It’s even better if the blinds can be put up and broken down so that they don’t impede the kayak in its other functions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why use a kayak for hunting?
Kayaks are quiet. We could end the answer there, since surprising your prey is more than half the battle when hunting, but there are ways that we could elaborate on that. By getting out onto water, you can get closer to the ducks whilst making as little sound as possible.
The ducks also may not be so alarmed by a passing boat if they’ve gotten used to boat traffic from other people.
Kayaks designed for hunting are often able to maneuver much easier, too, perhaps because they’re constructed to be as silent, and so as lightweight, as possible. This also makes them easy to transport to and from the hunting grounds. You also don’t have to break the bank for kayaks, and they can help you to cover as much distance as possible if your hunting area is particularly large.
How to blend a kayak into its environment?
Aside from a camouflaged paint job, there are a few other precautions you can take to become even more incognito out there on the waterways. This includes paddling instead of using a motor-powered kayak, though most hunting kayaks will have this method of propulsion by default.
Scent reducers and duck calls can be used to ingratiate yourself with the local duck populations, making it easier to lure them closer for the kill.
How do you carry decoys on a kayak?
This once again depends on the nature of the kayak itself. If you have a wider kayak with plenty of room in front of you, you can have them in with you. Otherwise you can rig them to the sides of your boat with a bungee cord so that they float alongside your kayak.
Once deployed these will trick flying passerby ducks into landing near you, allowing you to line up a perfect shot.