Best Fishing Kayak Under 500 – Five Cheap But Awesome Options

Many friends I know would love to be on a kayak and fish from sunrise to sundown. Unfortunately, many of us can’t afford kayaks worth $1,000 - $2,000. The good news, however, is that we have reached a time when fishing gears are sold at a cheaper price without necessarily affecting its quality. In fact, the best fishing kayak under 500 is now a reality!

My Recommendations for Fishing Kayak Under 500

Below, you will find more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices and read customer reviews on Amazon.

Sun Dolphin currently offers 2 fishing kayaks below $500 - Excursion and Journey. The main difference between the two is Excursion is a sit-in kayak while Journey is sit-on.

Thus, Excursion is recommended more for fishing in cold temperatures since it allows your lower body to keep warm within the kayak. The sitting position also protects you from water splashes thus, keeping you drier.


  • Type: Sit-In
  • Product Dimensions: 41 lbs., 13 X 30 X 120 inches, 10 ft.
  • Construction Type: Polyethylene
  • Weight Capacity: 250 lbs.
  • Material Type: Hard Shell
  • Seat Material Type: Foam

However, this kayak is not made for white water conditions. It is built for lakes. At 10 ft. long and 30 inches wide, this kayak has great stability.

It is also easy to carry from the car to the water as it only weighs 41 pounds. Tracking and paddling are not too bad either.

As for durability, this kayak is made high-density Fortiflex polyethylene and is UV-stabilized that protects it from degradation caused by long-term exposure to UV rays.

In terms of comfort, the seat is padded and adjustable. It also comes with adjustable foot braces and thigh pads for your protection.

What We Liked

  • Lots of rod holders (with center mounted swivel holder)
  • Comes with a deck storage behind the seat
  • Adjustable seat
  • Comes with a water holder
  • Stable especially for newbies
  • Comes with shock chords
  • Construction is UV-resistant, won’t dent when bouncing off logs or rocks
  • Easy to carry

What We Didn’t Like

  • Cockpit is 17-inch, thus suits medium sized individuals
  • Weight capacity is only 250 pounds
  • Cannot hold too much equipment with limited weight capacity

Sun Dolphin Excursion 10-Foot Sit-in Fishing Kayak
63 Reviews

Like the Excursion, Journey is also built with special Fortiflex high-density polyethylene and is UV-stabilized.

It also has adjustable foot braces and seat, thigh pads for protection, and 1 swivel and 2 mount rod holders.

One difference between the two though, aside from the sitting position, is that with Excursion, the portable carrier is at the rear.


  • Type: Sit-On
  • Product Dimensions: 44 lbs., 13 X 30 X 120 inches, 10 ft.
  • Construction Type: Polyethylene
  • Weight Capacity: 250 lbs.

This means you can use the carrier as storage or, if the weight goes beyond the 250-pound limit, you can simply tow it behind the kayak.

As a sit-on kayak, the cockpit is terrifically spacious for medium-sized people. At 10 feet long, 30 inches wide, and 11 inches high, this kayak is incredibly stable, which is great for beginners. It is also very light so it can be easily transported by just one person.

What We Liked

  • Very comfortable
  • Adjustable foot braces
  • 2 rod holders plus 1 extra swivel holder (on each side of the kayak)
  • Lots of compartments for equipment (with dry storage, tackle box space, and other extra compartment)
  • Very lightweight
  • Outstanding stability

What We Didn’t Like

  • Short without skeg or keel, which makes it difficult for tracking
  • Comes with scupper holes, which is not ideal for some people
  • Weight limit is low

This model from Lifetime Muskie Angler is a sit-on kayak made of high density polyethylene.

This material is buoyant enough that even if you weigh above 200 pounds, you don’t have to worry about water getting through the scupper holes.

In fact, this kayak can handle as much as 275 pounds. The kayak itself weighs 52 pounds, which is still light enough for one person to carry.

As it is heavier than other models on this list, it comes with carry handles on both the front and the rear area to help out.


  • Type: Sit-On
  • Product Dimensions: 57.5 lbs., 14.1 X 31 X 120 inches, 10 ft.
  • Construction Type: Polyethylene
  • Weight Capacity: 275 lbs.
  • Material Type: Hard Shell

It has ample space for comfortable seating arrangement with adjustable and padded seat and back rest. As for storage, the bow and stern has heaps of deck space where you can securely store your personal items.

In addition, there are two compartments, one at the rear and the other at the centre, both measuring about 6 inches.

Because of its flat hull, this is not built for speed, but it has great stability. It has quite good track thanks to its deep tracking channels and stability chine rails.

What We Liked

  • Lightweight for a single person to carry
  • Made of tough high density polyethylene (HDPE) materials
  • UV and impact resistant
  • Lots of rod holders and a 6-inch compartment
  • Roomy and comfortable
  • Paddle holders are placed at the side of the boat
  • Good tracking and excellent stability

What We Didn’t Like

  • Quite slow
  • Extra padding may be needed on the seat

As a sit-on-top kayak, this design is more stable which makes it ideal for newbies.

The seating design is quite roomy, allowing you to easily get in and out of the kayak.

Made of high density polyethylene, this model is durable but light enough to carry from your car to the water and vice versa.

Weighing only 49 pounds, you can personally drag it to the water with its handles on both the front and back side.

As far as sitting comfort is concerned, this model has a removable seat that comes with a good supporting backrest.


  • Type: Sit-On
  • Product Dimensions: 49 lbs., 120 X 36 X 14 inches, 10 ft.
  • Made in: the USA with domestic and imported materials
  • Construction Type: Polyethylene
  • Weight Capacity: 325 lbs.
  • Material Type: Hard Shell

It also has several secure and comfortable foot wells that are moulded into the boat so you can relax happily while fishing. Behind the seat is a large tank with items secured lacing.

The front area holds an additional deck space. Overall, its weight capacity is 275 pounds. However, this kayak can handle riders who weigh a bit over 300 pounds.

What We Liked

  • Durable kayak
  • Great for newbies for its balance
  • Highly comfortable
  • Spacious
  • Comes with below-deck strorage
  • Very lightweight
  • Comes with side handles for securing on vehicle

What We Didn’t Like

  • 10 ft. long without skeg. Thus, the tracks may not be pleasing to some.
  • 14 inches high making it susceptible to being blown off course or spinning with strong winds.

Two-person kayak that costs below $500 is a treat. This inflatable kayak is not flimsy at all since it is made of extremely thick nylon that is impact resistant.

It also has discrete air chambers, which makes it safe on the water since, in case of puncture, only one chamber is affected and you have the rest to make it back safely to shore.

You can also place your paddles on the holders should you need both your hands.

Approved by the NMMA, this duo kayak can handle as much as 470 pounds and can stay stable at full load while handling swells as high as 4 feet.


  • Type: 2-Person Kayak
  • Product Dimensions: 41.9 lbs., 35 X 12 X 20 inches
  • Made in: the USA with domestic and imported materials
  • Construction Type: Polyethylene
  • Weight Capacity: 470 lbs.
  • Material Type: Inflatable

Because of its weight capacity, one downside for this kayak though is that it is not built for speed. On the plus side, this kayak is quite comfortable with padded and adjustable seats so that you can remove the second seat if you wish to go solo.

Another plus is its spacious mesh storage options and 3 rod holders that allow you to adjust for the best fishing angles.

What We Liked

  • Portable
  • Easy to inflate and deflate
  • Designed with airtight system to keep the air from leaking
  • Extremely tough nylon cover construction
  • Adjustable holders and lots of compartments for gears
  • Very stable
  • Tracks well with its removable fin
  • Motor installable
  • Handles good amount of weight

What We Didn’t Like

  • Quite slow without motor
  • Comes with a rod holder in the center that gets in the way when paddling and moving

Sevylor Colorado 2-Person Kayak Combo
8 Reviews

How to Choose the Best Fishing Kayak Under 500

Unfortunately, not all of us can spend a fortune on fishing alone. If you are like me who’s all about quality, but refuse to pay thousands of dollars on a kayak, there are cheaper options to choose from. However, you do have to consider some factors when buying cheap kayaks.

1. Construction and Stability

A kayak’s construction mainly depends on what it is used for. Narrow kayaks, for instance, have less primary stability. This primary stability is the kind you need for calm waters.

On the other hand, secondary stability is preferred for moving waters, or where there are rapids or waves. Narrower kayaks have more secondary stability.

2. Positioning

A paddler can be positioned as either sit-in or sit-on. Generally, sit-on kayaks are shorter and wider. This makes them more stable than sit-in ones. The type of kayak you should go for depends on the type of water you often go fishing in.

3. Speed

I’d say this factor depends on conditions a lot. I generally prefer sit-on kayaks because I often fish in calmer waters and I have fishing spots that I frequently go to without having to go long distances.

However, if I have to travel long distances on a windy day, I’d go for sit-in and narrower kayaks for sure. Again, wider sit-on kayaks are stable, but they can be annoyingly difficult to stir especially in long distances.

These kayaks also tend to have lower rocker or curve on the underside. The lower the rocker, the slower the kayak tends to be. You’ll be thankful you went with a narrower higher rocker kayak if you have been paddling for an hour or so.

4. Tracking and Turning

These two factors refer to how easily you can manoeuvre the kayak. Again, the length, the width, and the rocker of the kayak play a big role here. Those with higher rocker are very easy to turn.

However, they are not easy when it comes to tracking. Those with lower rockers, on the other hand, are easy in tracking, but quite challenging when it comes to turning.

The good news is I have seen cheap kayaks with a combination of both. Also, you can first consider what’s important for you so you can compromise one for the other.

For example, sit-on top kayaks are difficult when it comes to turning. However, because you are on top, it is relatively easier to cast through difficult areas just by where you are located.

5. Durability

This factor should rank higher than where I placed it, but I find that at the end of the day, durability depends on how you care for it and where you are most likely to go fishing.

For example, if you go frequently in calm and open waters, you don’t need a kayak that is over-the-top durable. On the other hand, any place where the kayak is most likely going to get some beating surely requires more durability.

Most kayaks in the market today are made of polyethylene. The most durable ones are single-layer polyethylene and are created in one mold. There are triple-layered polyethylene kayaks whereby a layer of foam is placed in between to make it lighter and more buoyant on the water.

You can also find kayaks made of fiberglass, but they tend to be more expensive. I personally do not like fiberglass kayaks as well because they don’t stand a chance when they get hit by big rocks or logs.

Some kayaks are made of wood. Although this material is lightweight, they have poor durability. Finally, the most expensive material is carbon-composite.

I honestly don’t know what the buzz is with this material because I find they snap easily. At best, they are lighter than polyethylene and fiberglass, and are quite easy to repair.

6. Storage Space

Kayaks designed for fishing have areas where you can store paddles, rods, baits, and tackles. While all these additional spaces are good, I am mainly focused on the rod holders – one swivel and one stationary.

I also recommend kayaks with paddle holders that are near the cockpit. There is nothing worse than trying to secure your paddle while you are trying to fight a fish on the line. This is why you want the holder as accessible and easy to reach as possible.

The Best Fishing Kayak Under 500 Goes to…

Given the factors mentioned above, I have to say you get a good deal out of the Sun Dolphin Journey Fishing Kayak. It is well designed for fishing purposes and it has essentially all things you need to have a good time when you are out ready to catch fish. For its price, it is a pretty good deal.

It is true that more expensive kayaks have better features and materials than these cheaper options. However, I personally think the kayaks mentioned here are worth the money. They are great deals that you won’t miss out on anything.

If you find this post helpful, feel free to share it to your friends. For any contribution, not be hesitate to let your comments below.

John Morris

Hi, I’m John Morris. I’m an avid outdoorsman and fisherman, blessed with an awesome wife and 2 kids. Fishing is not my passion, it is my lifestyle. I fished before I knew how to walk! I’m obsessed with all things related to fishing, even the fishy smell. I’m always willing to extend a hand to novice anglers looking for fishing tips and tricks thus I created this blog. This blog is a collection of my experiences, knowledge, and also research from other blogs.

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