Pelican Kayak Review 2023 – 6 Top Picks

As time goes by, kayaking has continued to grow in popularity. One of the main reasons for this is due to the application of technology in the design and construction of kayaks.

With the rising popularity in kayaking, the demand for high-quality kayaks has also risen, and this has led to the growth of various companies producing kayaking products.

One such brand is the Pelican brand which for close to fifty years has been associated with high-quality kayaks. Most of their products boast of being well-made while still being affordable.

Even though Pelican kayaks come from the same company, they possess differences to cater to different needs and preferences.

Our extensive Pelican kayak review aims to give you a better understanding of this brand of kayaks so that you can choose the best vessel for the job.

For instance, we shall discuss what to look out for in your search for the ideal kayak to make things easier for you. These factors include:

  • Bonus features
  • Comfort
  • Seats
  • Stability
  • Weight, among others

We have analyzed six Pelican kayaks below, which we believe are the best from the brand.

Pelican Kayak Review

Pelican Kayaks: Comparison

Below is a table of some well-made yaks from this manufacturer. We’ve discussed them in detail in the successive paragraphs.

1Pelican Maxim 100X Sit-in Recreational Kayak Kayak120 x 28 x 14 inches50 pounds
2Pelican Saber 100X Fishing Kayak120 x 30.5 x 16 inches54 pounds
3Pelican Prime 100 Recreational Kayak120 x 30.5 x 16 inches54 pounds
4Pelican Kayak Sonic 80X93 x 29 x 14 inches37 pounds
5Pelican River Gorge 130X Tandem Kayak156 x 34 x 15 inches84 pounds
6Pelican Solo Sit-On-TopN/AN/A

Here is the top 6 Pelican kayak in-depth review:

1. Pelican Maxim 100X Recreational Kayak

With the Maxim 100X kayak, you should expect a decent performance regardless of your kayaking experience. Other than that, it is highly comfortable, and this is why it is one of the highest-rated sit-in recreational kayaks.

In our analysis below, we have discussed the Maxim 100X’s outstanding features so that you can understand why we believe it would be a worthy investment for any recreational kayaker.

What We Liked About It

First, for any single-person kayak, the weight is significant as it should allow for easy carry by a solo individual. In this case, the Maxim 100X weighs only 39lbs, and this makes it very easy for a single person to carry it.

Further, the vessel features front and rear T-handles which enhance its ease of transportation.

You may also appreciate its maximum load capacity, which lies at 275lbs that gives the vessel a commendable weight to weight capacity ratio.

When it comes to storage, this Pelican kayak should not disappoint you as it features a storage hatch with a bungee cord. On top of that, there is a storage platform with a mesh deck cover that you can use for holding all you need for your trip.

Another bit with this vessel is its comfort which is guaranteed by the Ergofoam cushioned seat which also contours to your body’s shape.

What’s More?

Still on comfort, the Maxim 100X features molded footrests to keep you comfortable throughout your trip.

We are also going to discuss its impressive build quality courtesy of the Ram-X Polyethylene hull construction. This is a highly durable material that aims to ensure the vessel serves you for a long time to come.

Then, the Maxim 100X also has excellent maneuverability and responsiveness, and we could attribute this to the shallow V chine design, which also makes the vessel highly stable.

Its tracking is also impressive, and you should cover longer distances with minimum effort.

Let’s not leave out the drain plug whose intention is to prevent water infiltration into the vessel.

The vessel also features a bottle holder so that you can enjoy your favorite drink during your expedition.

What Could Have Been Better

The manufacturer could always give you different color options to choose from.


  • A very lightweight vessel
  • Decent pricing
  • Easy to maneuver


  • You may experience some difficulty in adjusting the footrest when you are afloat

2. Pelican Saber 100X Fishing Kayak

If your idea of fun involves solo kayaking, then the Saber 100X vessel is here for you. We believe it would be a worthy investment for any angler since it has all the features that aim to ensure your fishing trip is as comfortable and adventurous as possible.

From the construction to its comfort and maneuverability, the manufacturer has done his best to cover all the critical angles of an ideal fishing kayak.

To shed more light in the impressiveness of this vessel, we have done an extended analysis of its crucial features.

What We Liked About It

Let’s start with the construction, whereby the hull is crafted from Ram-X polyethylene. This material helps in making the vessel highly stable plus it also contributes to its durability so that it would be a while before it needs replacing.

The second feature is its lightweight nature. The Saber 100X weighs only 50lbs and therefore should not be difficult for a solo individual to carry it. What’s more, are the retractable handles at both ends that further enhance the ease of moving this vessel.

There is also the hull design of a multi-chine flat bottom that ensures the vessel is highly stable with excellent tracking and maneuverability.

When you go for your fishing trip with the Saber 100X, there would be no reason to leave any essential luggage behind, and we shall tell you why.

What’s More?

First is the maximum load capacity of 325lbs, which is quite impressive for a solo kayak. Then, the kayak has ample storage sections, including the front quick-lock hatch, the storage platform with a deck cover and the 4-inch deck cover with a storage bag.

The Saber 100X also comes with useful accessories such as bungee cords, paddle tie-down straps, rod holders as well as a bottle holder. All these aim to make your kayaking experience as easy and memorable as possible.

Let’s not forget the vessel’s comfort, which is enhanced by the Ergofit seating system with a padded seat cushion as well as an adjustable backrest. On top of that are the Molded-in footrests for further comfort.

Finally, the vessel has a camouflaged color that is ideal for not spooking out the fish.

What Could Have Been Better

There are complains that some vessels arrive without cup holders, so the manufacturer should pay attention to this.



  • Poor performer in windy conditions

3. Pelican Prime 100 Recreational Kayak

For those looking for a versatile kayak, it would be hard to find one that beats the Prime 100 Pelican kayak. It may be one of the priciest vessels in the market, but we could say this is necessitated by the numerous features that it comes with.

All these extras plus the obvious features needed in a kayak, combine to add to this vessel’s overall effectiveness.

If you are still not convinced to go for the Prime 100, then you should read our review of the vessel below.

What We Liked About It

To kick us off, this kayak is well-built from Ram-X thermoform. This gives you a sturdy and durable vessel that should serve you for a decent period into the future.

Then, it has a multi-chine flat bottom hull which gives it exceptional stability as well as maneuverability. This is one of the features that make it an ideal recreational vessel for beginners and pros as well.

Also, it weighs 50lbs and features two retractable handles at both ends, which ensure that a solo individual does not experience much difficulty in carrying the vessel from one point to another.

Are you worried about your gear? Well, you can relax as this aspect is adequately catered for. First, the vessel has a maximum load capacity of 325lbs, which is more than enough to accommodate you as well as all your necessary gear for the trip.

On top of that, there is adequate storage room in the form of the quick-lock hatch plus the rear tank well with a bungee lacing.

What’s More?

Comfort too should not be a problem as the Ergofit seating system featuring a padded seat cushion as well as an adjustable backrest cushion to offer support for your body.

What’s more, are the adjustable footrests to enhance your comfort further.

Let’s not leave out the bonus features which aim to give you a worthwhile kayaking experience. They include a bottle holder that makes it possible to enjoy a cold drink during the trip. There is also a bungee storage net for holding items such as crates and dry bags, which are useful when you step out of the water.

You would also appreciate the tie-down points that hold the paddles when not in use.

Lastly, it has an open cockpit design that allows for easy entry into the vessel.

What Could Have Been Better

The seat should have a sturdier construction as it wears out over time.


  • Decent load capacity
  • Retractable carry handles for easy carrying
  • Excellent maneuverability


  • Too pricey

4. Pelican Kayak Sonic 80X

Are you new to kayaking? If you are, then you ought to try out the Sonic 80X since it has all the features that ensure you focus on the fun aspect of the activity rather than the vessel’s functionality.

As a beginner, you need the smoothest welcoming that would leave you with a story to tell plus also ensures you stick around for further kayaking activities.

We have reviewed the Sonic 80X extensively to help you see its benefits more clearly.

What We Liked About It

At 25lbs, the Sonic 80X is one of the lightest vessels you may ever come across. This makes it easy to carry for anyone on a solo trip. It is also relatively short at 8ft long for easy storage.

Then it has a maximum load capacity of 225lbs. In as much as this capacity is relatively low, it should be enough for the average beginner to get going.

When it comes to the construction, this vessel is made out of Ram-X polyethylene, which should be enough assurance that it was built to last. You end up with a twin sheet thermoformed product which is also UV-resistant to last for a while.

What’s More?

Another feature is the molded seat which should provide sufficient comfort in case you intend to paddle for shorter durations. Note that you have the option of acquiring an Ergofoam backrest later on which would ensure that this kayak is comfortable when you paddle for longer hours.

The molded footrests also ensure that you can easily settle at your preferred paddling position.

What’s more, is the twin-tunnel that offers the vessel both stability and maneuverability.

An open cockpit design is crucial in ensuring that entry into and exit out of the vessel is a straightforward process.

And for the gear that you may need for your trip, the tank well with a bungee cord should provide you with sufficient storage space.

Other useful features include the bottle holder and the drain plug.

What Could Have Been Better 

The manufacturer could always improve on the load capacity, which is a little restrictive.


  • Well-priced
  • Lightweight
  • Excellent maneuverability and stability


  • Poor weight capacity

5. Pelican River Gorge 130X Tandem Kayak

If you want to share all the fun that comes with recreational kayaking, we suggest that you invest in the Tandem 130X vessel.  It is specially designed so that you could bring a friend or partner to your adventurous trip.

Even better is that the vessel is ideal for all levels of skill, so you do not need prior kayaking experience before enjoying its services.

We have discussed its outstanding features in detail below with the hope of convincing you to invest in this vessel.

What We Liked About It

Since this vessel is designed for two individuals, it is relatively long at 13ft to make it spacious enough to accommodate them comfortably. On top of that, it has a decent maximum weight capacity of 500lbs to ensure that it holds up against both your weights together with the luggage.

Further, you even have the option of adding a third smaller passenger in the vessel.

If you intend to spend long hours paddling this kayak, you can rest assured that you would be comfortable courtesy of the Ergoform cushioned seats and adjustable backrests.

Further, you also get molded footrests to help you achieve an ideal paddling position which would contribute to your overall comfort.

Do not worry about the vessel’s stability as the twin-arched multi-chine hull design should ensure that the River Gorge 130X does not overturn easily.

What’s More?

The 73lbs weight should not be too much when shared between two individuals, plus you have two retractable handles to facilitate the carrying of the vessel.

 Also, the storage of your gear should not be an issue as you have two quick-lock hatches, and a rear tank well with bungee lacing to choose from.

On top of that are the four accessory eyelets that you could use for holding extra gear on the vessel.

Lastly, with the two bottle holders, you have the option of hydrating during the trip. There are also paddle tie-downs for holding the paddles anytime you are not paddling.

What Could Have Been Better  

Although it is easy to understand why this product is so costly, this pricing has the effect of putting off potential buyers.


  • Excellent stability and maneuverability
  • Decent maximum load capacity
  • Comes with numerous useful accessories


  • Too bulky if you need to carry it solo

6. Pelican Solo Sit-On-Top: Best Pelican Kayak for Kids

Do you want to introduce your kids to kayaking? Well, the Pelican Solo kayak would be the best vessel for this task. All its features are geared towards giving the youngster a friendly introduction to kayaking.

The pricing is also decent, and you do not have to dig deep into your pockets so that your kid gets the perfect kayak.

If you still need more convincing of kayak’s suitability to your kid’s kayaking needs, you should take a look at the review that we have done below on its features.

What We Liked About It

One quality that makes this vessel ideal for kids is its 6ft length. This makes it easier for the child to maneuver it in the water. Further, it has a twin-tunnel design that gives it exceptional stability which is needed to keep the kid safely afloat.

It is also wide at 24-inches to further enhance its stability.

Another outstanding feature of this vessel is the rear deck design which allows the kid to climb back into the vessel effortlessly in case he falls into the water.

The deck also features a handle that would make it easy to climb back into the vessel from the water.

Still on safety, the vessel comes with a safety flag so that you could easily spot the kid in the water. Also, it is available in bright colors to enhance its visibility.

The vessel has a load capacity of 100lbs, which is more than perfect for a junior kayaker. What’s more, is that the vessel is capable of accommodating a lightweight adult.

What’s More?

Even though this vessel is meant for kids, it still possesses a high-quality construction out of triple-layered Ram-X polyethylene to give it durability plus makes it a strong performer.

Although the vessel does not come with a padded seat (which you could purchase separately), it still remains reasonably comfortable for the short paddling trips. The vessel features molded footrests to enable you to acquire the most comfortable paddling position.

Let’s also discuss the self-bailing design whereby there is a scupper hole in the cockpit area that drains away the water that gets into the kayak. There is also a drain plug that is easy to use.

Other handy features of this vessel include a bottle holder and the paddle park where you can place your paddle when not in use.

What Could Have Been Better

The manufacturer should consider adding more bonus features to make the kayak more appealing and easier to use by the youngster.


  • Lightweight with a decent load capacity
  • Easy to board via the rear deck
  • Affordable
  • List Element


  • Does not have a comfortable seat

Buying Guide for Pelican Kayak

As you shop for the best Pelican kayaks around, it is crucial that you focus on several factors that would ensure you end up with a high-quality product which would deliver outstanding performance.

Let’s check them out.


If you intend tom paddle for extended periods, then your comfort should be a top priority. Therefore, you should go for a vessel that features padded seats to ensure you do not finish the day with an achy backside.

You should also go for a padded backrest for added support to your body while adjustable footrests would ensure that you get your ideal paddling position effortlessly.

Bonus Features

When we mention extra features, we are talking about stuff such as bottle holders, carrying handles, paddle parks, fishing rod holders, among others. All these features enable you to carry extra items for your trip, and you would have an easy time accessing them.


An ideal kayak should guarantee you of its stability so that it does not tip over easily in case of windy conditions and strong waves. This should also be a mark of safety for the vessel.

Keep in mind that the wider the kayak, the more stable it is.


In general, short vessels are easier to maneuver, but you may have to compromise on the speed, which varies directly with the kayak’s length.

Therefore, your choice should depend on your level of experience, whereby a beginner should go for the shorter and easier to maneuver kayak. In contrast, the pro would go for a longer and faster vessel.


For the solo kayak, it should be light enough for a single individual to carry it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Pelican Kayak

Boost your knowledge of Pelican kayaks with the following queries and their responses.

Do I need a floater while kayaking with my Pelican Vessel?

Yes, you do since you are not sure that you are never going to land in the water. On top of that, some of the floatation devices have pockets that you could use for holding useful items.

How should I transport my kayak?

There are various options that you could employ. You could use a roof rack, a side carrier, or you could employ the services of a kayak trailer. Further, if you own a truck, you could simply throw it onto the truck bed.

Between Sit-in and Sit-on-Top Kayaks, which are more stable?

In this case, Sit-in kayaks are more stable since you would be sitting deeper in the vessel, resulting in a lower center of gravity.

Overall Best Pick

In the end, we have settled on the Pelican Maxim 100X Recreational Kayak as the best of them all. It is lightweight and affordable, plus is well-made to ensure that it would be years before you need a new vessel.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, all you need to know about Pelican Kayaks. So next time before you head out to look for the best Pelican kayak in the market, you should be better informed to choose an appropriate product that would give you the performance that you are looking for.

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