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What is Day Touring Kayak?

The Comprehensive Guide to Day Touring Kayaks


Day touring kayaks are versatile watercrafts that are perfect for a variety of water bodies. Whether you’re exploring calm lakes or navigating through small rivers, a day touring kayak is your ideal companion. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the world of day touring kayaks, exploring different types, and providing detailed reviews of top models. We’ll also guide you on how to choose the right kayak for your needs and share some essential tips for a successful kayaking adventure.

Understanding the Variety of Day Touring Kayaks

Day touring kayaks come in a variety of types, each designed to suit specific water conditions and paddler preferences. Here are the main types you’ll encounter:

  1. Sea Kayaks: These are designed for open water conditions on lakes or oceans. They have a low, narrow shape that allows them to track in a straight line efficiently and slip easily through wind. MEC provides a great overview of sea and touring kayaks.
  2. Recreational Kayaks: These are designed for day trips or occasional overnight trips on smooth and sheltered waters. They are shorter and wider than touring or expedition boats, making them feel reassuringly stable, which is nice for new paddlers.
  3. Whitewater Kayaks: These are designed for rivers, creeks, waterfalls, rapids, or ocean surf – anywhere the water moves fast. They are shorter, and more snug-fitting than touring kayaks.
  4. Inflatable Kayaks: These offer unique advantages over hard-shell boats. They are quite seaworthy, easy to store, and you can travel to remote places with them.

Detailed Reviews of Top Day Touring Kayaks

Here are some top day touring kayaks that have received positive reviews from kayaking enthusiasts:

  1. Wilderness Systems TSUNAMI 125: This kayak is known for its stability and agility. It feels like a shrunk-down sea kayak thanks to its progressive chine and a generous yet sleek outline. More details can be found on Riot Kayaks.
  2. Delta 12S: This kayak is built for an extended expedition. It can handle slower, unobstructed rivers, but not full-on whitewater.
  3. Dagger STRATOS 145 S: This kayak is designed for rivers, creeks, waterfalls, rapids, or ocean surf – anywhere the water moves fast. It’s a boat described as a “play boat” designed to suit paddlers who want to run downriver easily and play in features like holes, standing waves, or eddies.
  4. Eddyline EQUINOX: This kayak offers a unique blend of primary and secondary stability, allowing paddlers to enjoy a comfortable and predictable paddle outing. More details can be found on Offshore Marine.

How to Choose the Right Day Touring Kayak

Choosing the right day touring kayak depends on several factors, including your skill level, the type of water you’ll be paddling on, and your physical condition. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Size and Weight: The size and weight of the kayak should match your body size and strength. A kayak that is too big or too heavy will be difficult to control and can lead to fatigue.
  2. Material: Kayaks are made from a variety of materials, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Plastic kayaks are durable and affordable, but they are heavier than fiberglass or carbon fiber kayaks, which are lighter and faster but more expensive.
  3. Type of Kayak: As mentioned earlier, there are different types of kayaks designed for different water conditions. Choose a kayak that suits the type of water you’ll be paddling on most often.
  4. Comfort: The kayak should have a comfortable seat and footrests. You should be able to sit in the kayak for extended periods without discomfort.
  5. Storage Space: If you plan on taking long trips or camping overnight, you’ll need a kayak with ample storage space for your gear.
  6. Safety Features: Look for safety features like a sturdy hull, good stability, and easy-to-reach grab handles.

Tips for Day Touring Kayaking

Here are some tips to ensure a successful and enjoyable day touring kayaking trip:

  1. Check the Weather: Always check the weather forecast before you go kayaking. Avoid going out in bad weather or when bad weather is predicted.
  2. Wear the Right Gear: Wear a personal flotation device (PFD) at all times. Dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature. Wear layers so you can adjust your clothing as needed.
  3. Pack Essentials: Pack essentials like water, snacks, a first-aid kit, a map or chart, a compass or GPS, a bilge pump or sponge, and a headlamp or flashlight.
  4. Follow Safety Rules: Always follow safety rules. Stay close to the shore, avoid high-traffic areas, and never kayak alone.
  5. Learn Basic Skills: Learn and practice basic kayaking skills like paddling, steering, and capsizing and recovery.


Day touring kayaks are versatile watercrafts that offer a unique way to explore the great outdoors. Whether you’re a seasoned paddler or a beginner, there’s a day touring kayak out there that’s perfect for you. Remember to consider factors like size, weight, material, type, comfort, storage space, and safety features when choosing a kayak. And always follow safety rules and tips to ensure a successful and enjoyable kayaking adventure.


  1. Paddling Magazine
  2. MEC
  3. Riot Kayaks
  4. Offshore Marine

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