The 3 Best Pedal Kayaks

If you enjoy kayaking but feel like your arms could do with a break, maybe it’s time to think about a pedal kayak. Because your legs are much bigger and stronger than your arms, you can go further and faster in a pedal kayak.

A Kayak Tour Guide Recommends The Best Pedal Kayak For Fishing

We asked Robert from PDKFC – Pedal Driven Tours in Florida what’s the best pedal kayak, he says…

I use only Hobie kayaks for my guided fishing charters.

My personal guide boat is the Pro Angler 12. It allows me to store lots of gear for the trips, including up to 12 setups, fish bag, lunch and drinks for the clients.

My clients get the option of a Hobie Compass or a Hobie Outback.

Hobie Outback

kayak hobie outback
Price

$$

  • 103 lb
  • Great for beginner and intermediate
  • Features comfortable & multi-adjustable Vantage CTW chair

Hobie Pro Angler

pro 12 hobie
Price:

$$$

  • 128.5 lb
  • The best pedal driven kayak money can get!
  • Features Hobie Mirage Drive 180 + Turbo Kick Up Fins

Hobie Compass

kayak hobie compass
Price:

$

  • 87 lb
  • Ideal for beginners
  • Features Mirage Drive GT & retractable rudder system

I love both of these kayaks for clients because they give the client the comfort and stability of a Hobie without the bulk on the Pro Angler.

Bigger kayaks, like the Pro Angler can be intimidating for someone who has never kayak fished. The Compass and the Outback are easy to pedal and paddle, making it an even better all around experience for the customer.

1. Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12

Check Price of the Mirage Pro 12

Most kayaks offer very little in the way of comfortable seating. Most have nothing more than molded seats covered with foam, with very few adjustments available. This paddle kayak from Hobie takes your comfort seriously and has one of the most adjustable kayak seats around. It’s made to make kayak fishing as enjoyable and pain-free as possible.

Key features:

• Kick-up fins that won’t break if you hit a rock or log
• Three watertight storage hatches
• Six built-in rod holders
• One watertight hatch
• Retractable skeg for straighter tracking
• Four-way adjustable high vantage seat
• Paddle holder (paddle supplied)
• Forward and aft carry handles
• Bungee storage areas forward and aft
• 12 feet long x 36 inches wide
• 500 lb. capacity.
• Made from super-tough polyethylene
• Fish-finder and GPS ready
• Available in two colors

Like all pedal kayaks, this model by Hobie is stable enough to stand in so you can cast your lines further and more accurately. This added stability does come at a price – weight – and the Mirage Pro Angler 12 weighs in at whopping 128.5 lb. This means you probably won’t be able to load this kayak onto a roof rack and, instead, will need a kayak trailer.

Pros:

• Very stable, sturdy design
• Lots of storage space
• Good on rough water
• Well-equipped
• Suitable for multi-rod anglers
• Fins won’t break if you hit a rock

Cons:

• Heavy for one person to lift
• Expensive

This very well-equipped pedal kayak is ideal for enthusiast anglers. The kick-up fins mean you won’t trash your boat if you hit a rock or end up in the shallows. It’s quite a heavy craft, but that adds to its stability. All in all, this pedal kayak is a reliable, dependable performer that will give years of faithful service.

 

 

2. Hobie Compass

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Where some pedal kayaks are fitted with every conceivable whistle and bell, a lot of those features are unwanted and do nothing more than add weight to what is already a heavy craft. This pedal kayak from Hobie is stripped down and simplified, which means it’s lighter, cheaper, and easier to handle.

Key features:

• Kick-up fins that won’t break if you hit a rock or log
• Breathable mesh seat
• Twin cargo areas with bungees
• Forward and aft carry handles
• Two molded rod holders
• 12 feet long x 34 inches wide
• Weight capacity 400 lbs.
• Weight 87 lbs.
• Made from Polyethylene
• Paddle storage clips – two-piece paddle supplied
• Available in three colors
• Competitively priced

At just 87 pounds, this stripped-down pedal kayak is half the weight of many other models. That makes it faster, and it takes less energy to push it through the water. That’s very useful if you want to pedal to out-of-the-way spots and still have the energy to make it back. While this kayak is equipped for fishing, it’s not a pure fishing craft, making it ideal for recreational use and touring.

Pros:

• Sturdy, stable design
• Easy to use
• Smooth, quiet pedaling action
• Light and easy to handle

Cons:

• Not as well-equipped as some pedal kayaks

As pedal kayaks go, this model is something of a lightweight! It might not be as well-equipped as a dedicated angling kayak. Still, if you want something that you can use for a variety of purposes, including the occasional back-to-basics fishing trip, this model is highly recommended.

3. Hobie Outback

Check Price of the Outback

The Hobie Mirage Outback pedal kayak is a specialist fishing kayak designed for a wide range of angling activities. It’s fully loaded with every feature you need for a successful fishing trip. This versatile, fast, stable, but surprisingly agile craft is effortless to handle, and you’ll undoubtedly enjoy every minute you spend in it.

Key features:

• Kick-up fins and rudder that won’t break if you hit a rock or log
• Four built-in rod holders
• Multi-adjustable vantage chair
• Ample rear storage area with bungees
• Two watertight hatches
• 12 feet nine inches long x 34 inches wide
• Weight capacity 425 lbs.
• Weight 103 lbs.
• Made from Polyethylene
• Fish-finder and GPS ready
• Paddle storage clips – two-piece paddle included

At nine inches longer and two inches narrower than its big brother the Mirage Pro Angler, this kayak is a little faster and slightly less stable, but you should still have no problem standing up to cast your line or get a better view of the surrounding water. At 103 lbs. It’s over 20 lbs. lighter too, which means it will be easier to transport, and should be more agile in the water than the Pro model.

Pros:

• Very well equipped
• Stable and sturdy
• Made for serious anglers
• Fast, quiet pedaling action
• Fins and rudders won’t break if you hit a rock
• Fast, sleek design

Cons:

• Quite expensive
• Not as well equipped as the Pro model

The Hobie Mirage outback sits nicely between the fully equipped Pro model and the stripped-down Compass. It’s definitely an angling kayak, but it’s also that bit lighter and narrower so it offers a decent level of performance too. It’s an excellent choice for pedal kayakers who want the best of both worlds.

Pros And Cons Of Pedal Kayaks

Pedal kayaks leave your hands free, which is useful if you are a kayak angler or like to take photos while you paddle. Regular paddling can be hard on your shoulders, too, so a pedal kayak may be a good choice if you have any kind of upper body impairment.

Pedal kayaks tend to be broader and more stable than regular kayaks, and some even allow you to get up and move about, which is something you can’t usually do in a standard kayak. Most are fitted with a rudder system to make them easier to steer, and they tend to have built-in raised, supportive seats that give you a comfortable vantage point for scoping out the surrounding area.

While pedal kayaks do have some definite advantages, including increased space and ease of use, they can also be cumbersome and, because they have more moving parts, can be more expensive than regular kayaks. The pedal mechanisms also need regular maintenance to keep them running smoothly.

The pedal blades protrude below the bottom of the kayak, which means you have to be extra careful in shallow water. Protruding rocks and sandbanks could damage a blade. In addition, you can’t go backward in a pedal kayak, unless you carry a regular paddle and resort to using your arms.

But, despite these drawbacks, pedal kayaks are a lot of fun to use and make a great recreational craft.

Conclusion

Pedal kayaks offer several significant advantages over traditional kayaks, especially anglers and nature photographers. Most obviously, they leave your hand free, and pedaling instead of paddling means you can travel further, faster, and using less energy. Pedal kayaks are also very stable and much less likely to capsize. They are, however, bigger, heavier, and more expensive than most other types of kayak. But, in return, you get a boat that is robust, versatile, and a whole lot of fun to use. Whether you are an angler or just want an alternative to paddling, these pedal kayaks are all highly recommended.

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