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Buyers Guide & Information

Pelican Kayak Reviews

Whether you are single or tandem, fishing or just out for a paddle, we have all the Pelican Kayak information you need.

by

Buyers Guide & Information

Pelican Kayak Reviews

Whether you are single or tandem, fishing or just out for a paddle, we have all the Pelican Kayak information you need.

by PITeam

by PITeam

Finding kayaks is not that easy. There are many features and considerations to keep in mind, but one thing that many experts will stress is the brand. The right brand can make a big difference, giving you a reputation to go with your kayak. However, there are many great brands, with a big foot hole in the development of kayaking technology.

In this article, we look specifically at Pelican kayak. The brand has been around a long time, spanning the better part of the last five decades. We will not only be looking at the top Pelican kayaks but also some of the features that set them apart. Now, you can find out for yourself if Pelican is the right kayak brand for your journey.

Image

Product

Length

Type

Check Price

Maxim 100X Sit-in Recreational Kayak | Pelican...

Maxim 100X 

10 Feet

Sit In

Pelican Prime 100 Sit-on-top Recreational Kayak...

Pelican Prime 100

10 Feet

Sit On Top

Pelican Solo 6 Feet Sit-on-top Youth Kayak Kids...

Pelican Solo Youth

6 Feet

Sit On Top

Pelican Kayak Sonic 80X | Sit-On-Top Recreationnal...

Pelican Sonic 80X

8 Feet

Sit On Top

Pelican Tandem Recreationnal Kayak | River Gorge...

Pelican Tandem River Gorge 130X 

13 Feet

Sit On Top

Pelican Saber 100X Angler Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak...

Pelican Saber 100x Angler 

10 Feet

Sit On Top

The Pelican Story

Pelican kayaks are a sub-division of the much larger Pelican International Inc. The company was founded in 1968 in Quebec, Canada. The company is currently co-owned by Christian and Antoine Elie, using special Ram-X and Poly-XR materials for the construction of the most durable plastic kayaks on the market today.

Pelican International is also the leading producer of plastic boats around the world. The Twin Sheet Thermoforming process used in the construction is potentially more durable and flexible than rotomolding. Additionally, Pelican also recycles 99% of the plastic that is cut off from the formed kayak when it is done.


Types Of Pelican Kayaks

Much like the top brands, Pelican is known for designing a wide variety of different kayaks. All of their kayaks have an excellent reputation for quality, but since they are all made from polyethylene, they are not designed for rigorous waters like whitewater or the ocean. Here are some of the different kayaks that Pelican International is best known for:

  • Recreational Kayaks
    The recreational kayak is one of the simplest kayaks that one can choose. The recreational kayak is the most affordable and generally allows you to sit inside and paddle. These kayaks can be used for touring, as well. They tend to be slightly broader and shorter, allowing you to paddle at a steady pace while enjoying the view.
  • Fishing Kayak
    Pelican International specializes mostly in designing the coveted fishing kayak. The fishing kayak is also wide, like the recreational kayak, to allow you to have more stability. However, you will be sitting on top. Multiple hatches are often included to ensure that you can store some of your tackle and perhaps even fish when caught.
  • Tandem Kayak
    If you have friends or family members that you would like to take out on the waters, it is good to have a tandem kayak. The tandem kayaks are larger, and they hold more weight. Since they have more seating, both users can comfortably paddle. These kayaks are available in the sit inside or sit on top style, depending on what you like.
  • Sit-In Vs. Sit on Top
    Choosing whether you would like to sit inside the kayak, or move around the top will all be about personal preferences. Pelican offers a variety of the two, but their sit on top kayaks are commonly reserved for fishing. However, many fishing kayaks are versatile, and they double down as recreational kayaks as well.
  • Kid's Kayak
    A kid's kayak is slightly smaller and more manageable than your standard kayaks. These kayaks rarely exceed 8-feet in total length, with some of the smaller options in the range of 6-feet. If you want your kid to enjoy the calm water with you, a kid's kayak can be a great investment at an affordable price.

Choosing the Best Pelican Kayak

Whether you are looking for a standard kayak or you have a brand like Pelican in mind, there is a couple of essential features to keep in mind. These features are mandatory and should be used as the criterion for judging whether you will buy the kayak or not. Here is a short description of how to choose a Pelican Kayak:

Where Is The Kayak Going To Be Used?

One of the most important considerations that will show you the type of kayak you need is where and how you intend to use it. While Pelican Kayaks do not design kayaks for the ocean or whitewater, you will be looking inland when picking a kayak. Here are some of the most common consideration for choosing a Pelican Kayak:

  • Calm Waters:
    Perhaps you plan to take a day out with the family to your local lake, or you have a river that is flowing steadily. Pelican designs great recreational kayaks that can be used for these areas. You might even consider choosing one of the tandem kayaks for more fun on the boat.
  • Larger Water Bodies:
    Large lakes are still a great place to try out your Pelican Kayak. These kayaks are specifically designed to travel distances and allow you to explore. However, larger water bodies can also be perfect for fishing, and you might need a fishing kayak for all your gear. Additionally, the fishing kayak is a great addition to storing personal belongings from getting wet.
  • Swift Rivers And Oceans:
    For these types of terrains, you might be better off steering away from Pelican towards a composite kayak made from Kevlar. However, many people believe that the Twin Sheet Thermoform Polyethylene can hold up well in these types of conditions. The risk will be yours to take and the decision yours to make.

Are You Going To Sit Inside Or Sit On Top?

Each kayak made can be divided into either a sit on top or sit inside type of kayak. Both of these have their merits, but some of the top Pelican Kayaks are designed for you to sit on top. Traditionally, the Sit On Top Kayak was reserved for fishermen, but nowadays, it can be used for recreational activities and moving around on the kayak.

Sitting inside your kayak will limit your movement, but give you more control. Most competition kayaks are designed for users to sit inside. These kayaks will keep the lower part of your body dry when you take on waves. We would recommend a kayak that allows you to sit inside when you like touring and perhaps for recreational activities.

A Solo Kayak Or A Tandem Kayak?

Another decision that will come down to personal choice is whether you would like to paddle solo or with some support. While both of them are ideal, the Solo Kayak is lighter and has fewer seats inside or on top. Many people believe that a solo kayak is shorter than the tandem kayak, but this is not the case with all brands.

If you have a family and kids that also enjoy the outdoors, the tandem kayak is a much better option for the family. However, a solo kayak allows you to travel and get away on your own without being bothered.

What Extra Features Do You Need?

Most kayaks already come with all the extras included. However, there are a few different extras that you can add to almost any kayak. The traditional Sit On Top Kayak can easily be turned into a fishing kayak with a fishing crate. You will need to look at which extras are included in the kayak when you buy them. 

Some of the most common extras include adjustable footpegs for more comfort when you are paddling. Additional seating with more adjustments needs to be looked for. However, in fishing kayaks, you should consider multiple rod holders. Having bungee cords that can steadily hold a portable fishing crate can also make a big difference.

How Much Are You Willing To Spend?

We all have a budget, and kayaks vary in prices. However, Pelican International has managed to design extremely durable and flexible kayaks at affordable prices. Most of the kayaks only vary depending on the kayak type. A fishing kayak with numerous accessories can cost you far more than a standard recreational kayak. We have noticed that the price margin for Pelican kayaks is quite close.


6 Best Pelican Kayaks Reviewed

1. Maxim 100X Sit-in Recreational Kayak

Best Sit-In Recreational Pelican Kayak

Weight of Unit

39 lbs

Type

Sit In

Length

10 Feet

Width

28 inches

Max Load Capacity

275 lbs

Body Type

Ram-X Polyethylene

One of the most popular Pelican kayaks you will see is the Maxim 100X Sit-in Recreational Kayak. This kayak not only looks comfortable but is made to give you all the comfort you need for longer trips, which is why we've rated it the best sit-in recreational Pelican kayak. It stands around 10-feet long, but only weighs 39-pounds, which is ideal for a single person to carry around without any issues.

The Maxim 100X is capable of holding 275-pounds, giving it an excellent weight to weight capacity ratio. Made from triple layered Ram-X, the kayak has three layers of plastic, ranging from recycled plastic to UV treated plastic. A shallow V Chine is perfect for maneuverability without you having to force the paddles in the water when turning.

ERGOFORM Cushioning is often not mentioned, but when you sit inside the kayak, the seat will mold to the shape of your body. These seats provide excellent comfort to allow longer stints on the water. With many kayaks of similar quality being really expensive, it is nice to see a recreational kayak like this be so affordable.

Pros

  • Ergonomic Cushioning in the seats
  • Lightweight
  • Holds 275-pounds
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Affordable

Cons

  • It can be tedious to adjust the footrest on the go

2. Pelican Prime 100

Best Sit On Top Pelican Kayak

Weight of Unit

50 lbs

Type

Sit On Top

Length

10 Feet

Width

30.5 inches

Max Load Capacity

325 lbs

Body Type

Ram-X Polyethylene

The Prime 100 Sit-on-top Recreational Kayak is one of the more versatile kayaks designed by Pelican. It features the same Ram-X materials with Twin Sheet Thermoformed construction to incorporate all the different plastics available. Much Like the Maxim, it is 10-feet long but has an adjustable seat on top for sitting.

This kayak can hold a massive 325-pounds, putting it close to the same weight capacity as many of the tandem kayaks. It is slightly heavier at 50-pounds but includes 2 retractable handles for carrying the kayak around. A multi-chine flat bottom is used in the construction to enhance stability and maneuverability.

While it is one of the expensive Pelican kayaks, it comes with a few extras that many people might like. The bottle holder is ideal for your water bottle, while the paddles can be tied down when you are drifting. At the back, you have numerous bungee cords for holding a potential fishing crate and other belongings.

Pros

  • Stable multi-chine with a flat bottom
  • Numerous accessories added
  • Adjustable seating and footrests
  • Holds 325-pounds in weight capacity
  • Two retractable carry handles added

Cons

  • The seat is not comfortable for long hours
  • It is a little heavy for one person

3. Pelican Solo Youth Kayak

Best Kids Pelican Kayak

Weight of Unit

19 lbs

Type

Sit On Top

Length

6 Feet

Width

24 inches

Max Load Capacity

100 lbs

Body Type

Ram-X Polyethylene

As mentioned, Pelican is one of the brands that cater to a variety of different markets. The Pelican Solo Youth Kayak is the best kid’s Pelican kayak. It is constructed from the same RAM-X Polyethylene as many of the adult versions but comes in slightly smaller at just 6-feet for children to use.

The kayak simulates the sit on top kayak with a cockpit that is formed into the plastic. It does not have a specific seat that can be adjusted but should be comfortable for short periods. Unfortunately, you will need to purchase the Ergoform backrest separate, which might spike the costs. However, it is only recommended if your kid is an avid kayaker.

The Pelican Solo Youth Kayak can hold 100-pounds, making it ideal for some of the younger kids or smaller adults. The rear deck is designed to allow the kid to swim and climb aboard when accidentally falling over. Additionally, you can find it at an affordable price. For kids, this can be the perfect beginner's kayak to start their journey.

Pros

  • Short 6-foot design
  • 240inches wide for decent stability
  • The rear deck allows kids to board
  • Can be used as a paddleboard
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Seating lacks comfort
  • No real extras of note included

4. Pelican Kayak Sonic 80X

Best Lightweight Pelican Kayak

Weight of Unit

25 lbs

Type

Sit On Top

Length

8 Feet

Width

29 inches

Max Load Capacity

225 lbs 

Body Type

Ram-X Polyethylene

As a beginner, you are looking for something affordable, with most of the basics that are easy to carry around. The Sonic 80X Recreational Kayak is the answer from Pelican with an 8-foot long construction made from RAM-X Polyethylene. Much like the other kayaks, it is durable and UV resistant due to the Twin Sheet Thermoformed construction method.

The kayak is the best lightweight Pelican kayak you will find for adults on the market today. The total weight is only 25-pounds, making it easy to carry around. With a molded seat, you have decent comfort, but the addition of the ERGOFORM backrest really makes the most significant difference when we are talking about long hours on the kayak.

Since it does not have a ton of features, it is also affordable for beginners to get started. It should hold the average adult, with a weight capacity of 225-pounds, but this might not be enough for some of the larger individuals. We would recommend it for beginners as one of the easiest kayaks to travel with on your vehicle.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Includes the ERGOFORM seat cushion
  • Affordable
  • Shallow V Chine for more stability

Cons

  • Lacks advanced features
  • Only holds 225-pounds

5. Pelican Tandem River Gorge 130X Kayak

Best Tandem Pelican Kayak

Weight of Unit

73 lbs

Type

Sit On Top

Length

13 Feet

Width

34 inches

Max Load Capacity

500 lbs

Body Type

Ram-X Polyethylene

Friends and family will all adore you if you are willing to take them along on your journey. The Pelican Tandem River Gorge 130X Kayak is the perfect tandem kayak for the job. It has two adjustable seats; both designed with ERGOFORM cushioning and adjustable backrests for those with specific comfort needs.

At 13-feet long, it is one of the longest kayaks you will find. However, it has many additional features to make your life easier. Aside from two waterproof latches to store all your personal belongings, the bungee cords can hold more gear. With a weight capacity of 500-pounds, you might even be able to add a third person to the kayak if needed.

The downside to having all of these features is the price. It is an expensive kayak but has enough extras to make up for the price. With an overall weight of 73-pounds, it might be a little daunting to carry on your own as well. However, it is made for two people, and even without experience, the twin-arch multi-chine hull gives you stability.

Pros

  • Stable and maneuverable
  • Holds 500-pounds
  • Includes multiple accessories (2 waterproof latches and bungee cords)
  • ERGOFORM cushioning for comfort

Cons

  • Expensive

6. Pelican Saber 100x Angler Fishing Kayak

Best Fishing Pelican Kayak

Weight of Unit

50 lbs

Type

Sit On Top

Length

10 Feet

Width

30.5 inches

Max Load Capacity

325 lbs

Body Type

Ram-X Polyethylene

Last but certainly not least, we have one of the best fishing kayaks for the solo angler. The Pelican Saber 100x Angler is a 10-foot kayak designed from durable polyethylene, but only weighs 50-pounds for the solo angler to carry. Adding to the portability is the retractable carry handles to make it easier to move around.

The unit features a waterproof latch for your personal belongings, while the bungee cords are ideal for your fishing crate. It has two rod holders mounted close to the seat for easy access. The tie-down accessory allows you to tie down the paddle, without having it in your way when you are busy with fishing gear.

Much like the other top Pelican kayaks, the ERGOFORM padding is ideal for spending long hours in the water. The kayak is also found in a camouflaged color, which is one of the best-recommended colors for your kayak when fishing. We think the price is affordable, with a couple of great features for anglers of any skill level.

Pros

  • Lightweight (Only 50-pounds)
  • Camouflaged color
  • ERGOFORM seat cushioning
  • Reasonably priced
  • Includes multiple fishing accessories

Cons

  • Unstable when windy
  • No cup holder

Pelican Kayak vs Other Kayak Brands

One thing that people like to do, but is rarely recommended, is to compare the brands of kayaks. In the modern era, technology has evolved, that many brands use the same technology, with different names. However, Pelican is a top brand, but we have done some research to see how it compares to other top brands:

Sun Dolphin

Sun Dolphin might not be as old as Pelican (opened in 1981), but they specialize in making some of the top kayaks of the modern era. While they create kayaks using a variety of materials, including rotomolded kayaks, many experts are often used to help with the construction. They are similar to Pelican when it comes to the price ranges.

Intex

Intex is designed for those looking to buy a portable kayak. Their kayaks are slighter than Pelican kayaks. However, they also lack the durability of the best Pelican Kayaks. Intex revolves more around inflatable kayaks to give you portability, but can still be a great alternative for beginners to choose as their first kayak.

Lifetime Kayaks

Much like Sun Dolphin, Lifetime Kayaks started in the 1980s with the boom of the modern kayak era. Most of these kayaks are also constructed from high-density polypropylene but have incredible durability. Lifetime kayaks are slightly more expensive than Pelican, and the ranges are not as vast for all target markets.

Sea Eagle Kayaks

Sea Eagle does not directly compete with Pelican when it comes to kayaks. They also specialize in designing inflatable kayaks at an affordable price. However, Sea Eagle caters directly to beginners, with numerous accessories that can help you get started with your first successful kayaking journey.

Vibe Kayaks

Vibe Kayaks are the newcomers to the market, only opening their doors in 2013. The brand also specializes in constructing inflatable kayaks that are easy to transport. However, the polypropylene kayaks that they use are durable, and it can take a lot of damage.

Sevylor

In terms of age, Sevylor is probably the closest competitor to Pelican. The brand is more than 65-years old and creates almost any type of kayak you can imagine. Sevylor tends to be somewhat more expensive in their polyethylene kayaks, but you get great warranties to back you up from any defects.


Essential Kayaking Accessories

A kayak is excellent on its own, but when you don't have any accessories, it can feel empty. While Pelican is one of the top brands, they are not as generous when it comes to adding free accessories. However, we have got you covered. These accessories can be used for most Pelican Kayaks, and potentially save you a couple of bucks:

  • Paddles:
    Most Pelican Kayaks will have a paddle included. However, we have seen a Pelican 10-foot kayak that does not include a paddle. The Pelican Sport Standard Aluminum Kayak Paddle is one of the top paddles. This Pelican Kayak Paddle is designed explicitly for Pelican Kayaks.
  • Anchor Trolleys:
    Many Pelican Fishing Kayaks are geared towards accessories, but some beginners find it hard to understand how the chine works. An anchor trolley makes it much easier to turn the kayak, primarily upon launch. The Canoe Anchor Trolley Kit might be from Vibe Kayaks but works just as well on a Pelican Kayak. 
  • Dry Storage:
    Dry storage is an issue on many kayaks. The pelican recreational kayaks don’t always have the dry storage latches that their fishing counterparts have. If you want versatility, you might need to look at the Wilderness Systems Kayak Konsole with Dry Hatch. It also works as a replacement, as Pelican Kayak Replacement Parts can be hard to find
  • Paddle Holders:
    Paddle holders are an essential part of a fishing kayak. While many kayaks have a paddle holder, you might come across a Pelican Fishing Kayak that does not have paddle holders. A simple and affordable paddle holder like the Yakclips Patented Clip-On Removable Kayak Paddle Holder will do the trick.
  • Rudders:
    With a multi-chine design and a low hull, most Pelican Kayaks are really easy to steer. However, currents can be hard to navigate if you are inexperienced. The Borogo Kayak Rudder works well with most Pelican Kayaks, especially the mounting. Unfortunately, we could not find a Pelican Kayak Drain Plug as well.
  • Life Vest (PFD):
    A life vest is not something you simply pick and hope for the best. Numerous standards apply for a life vest that you need to look for if you want the best safety. The ONYX Kayak Fishing Life Jacket is versatile while having multiple pockets for anglers to use. 
  • Cockpit Cover:
    A cockpit cover will help you when the weather takes a turn for the worse. It can also keep your Pelican Kayak Seat protected when you are camping. You won’t find a Pelican Kayak Cockpit Cover, but he Seals Cockpit Seal Cover is not only waterproof but UV resistant as well. 

Kayak Care And Maintenance

Pelican Kayaks are constructed from some of the most durable plastic components. They rarely need to be treated or cared for. However, it might wear down after a couple of years. You should take care to store the kayak indoors and out of the sun when you are not using it. Additionally, you can do some basic maintenance before each use.


How to Properly Store a Pelican Kayak

The storage of the kayak is just as important as the care and maintenance. If the kayak is not being used, you should follow the right storage techniques. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are storing your kayak:

  1. 1
    Store it indoors from the harsh weather conditions
  2. 2
    Store it upside down or horizontally hanging from crossbars
  3. 3
    Storing it upright can dent the kayak
  4. 4
    Never store your kayak flat on the floor
  5. 5
    Hanging the kayak from the hull might damage the hull

Frequently Asked Questions

With all of this said and done, you should have a pretty good idea of how Pelican Kayaks work and how to choose one. However, there are a few small things that we did not address that many of you might be wondering about. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions that we could not answer in the section above:

What are Pelican kayaks made of?

All Pelican Kayaks are constructed from RAM-X or Poly-XR Plastics. These forms of polypropylene make the kayaks durable and flexible.

How much weight can a Pelican kayak hold?

Not all the kayaks hold the same weight. Kid’s kayaks can hold around 100-pounds. However, the Pelican Tandem Kayaks can hold up to 500-pounds in total weight.

Do Pelican Kayaks come with warranties?

All Pelican Kayaks made from RAM-X and Poly-XR come with limited lifetime warranties. However, you need to register your warranty within 30 days of the purchase for it to be active. Pedal boats carry a 4-year limited warranty. However, vessels not made from RAM-X or Poly-XR only carry a 2-year warranty.

Can I return my Pelican kayak? Are there limitations for returning a Pelican kayak?

If it is unused, you can return the kayak within 30 days for a full refund as per Pelican Refunds and Returns Policy.

How do I contact Pelican kayaks’ customer service hotline?

The contact number can be found directly from the webpage. Keep in mind that Pelican does have excellent customer service.

Where can I find the serial number of my Pelican kayak?

The serial number is riveted on the side of the kayak. It starts with the code "ZEP." This allows you to see if the kayak is authentic and to register the kayak for the warranty to come into effect.

Can I replace or upgrade my pelican kayak seat?

Pelican seats cannot be replaced as they are molded into the construction of the kayak. However, they can be upgraded with the addition of an ERGOFORM backrest. Fortunately, most Pelican Kayaks have this backrest included upon purchase.

Where is a good place to buy Pelican Kayaks online?

Pelican Kayaks are quite easy to find. Amazon sells them in abundance, and you can find them on the Pelican Sports Webpage as well. However, Amazon Prices seem to be slightly more affordable.


Conclusion

Not all kayaks are designed as equals. Pelican is one of the leading brands with the longest history for great quality kayaks. The best Pelican Kayaks will allow you to enjoy your time out on the waters. We would recommend Pelican for beginners and intermediates. However, some of their kayaks might lack advanced features. Let us know what you think in the comment section.

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