Best Pedal Kayak – Top 11 Picks For Paddle-Free Kayaking

Why paddle when you can pedal? 

I’m more of a paddle guy myself, but I’m also the first one to admit that pedaling has its charms. 

Let’s face it: 

No matter how much you enjoy kayaking, sooner or later, you’ll get tired of swinging the paddle. Muscle fatigue, often targeting the arms, is the number one complaint among new paddlers, after all. 

What if I told you could ditch the paddle and put the largest muscle group – your legs – to work by opting for the best pedal kayak instead? 

Here’s everything you need to know! 

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In A Rush? The Winner After 48 Hours Of Research:

Perception Pescador Pilot 12 Kayak

Perception Pescador Pilot 12 Sit-on-Top Fishing Kayak with Pedal Drive

  • ★★★★★
  • Our Rating

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Why is it better?

  • Most value-packed pedal kayak currently available on the market 
  • Wide and spacious hull design boasts exceptional stability 
  • Features the Pilot Drive system for forward-and-reverse pedaling and a hand-controlled 360-degree rudder for steering 
  • The propellers fold up in shallow waters, and the whole unit is removable for transportation 
  • Roomy and breathable captain’s chair with on-the-fly backrest adjustments 
  • Has a 475-pound weight capacity and wide-open bow and stern tank wells 
  • Features gear tracks, small-item storage recesses, drink holders, a built-in paddle park, four molded-in rod holders, and a dedicated mounting point for an anchoring system 
  • It’s reasonably priced considering everything it offers 

Advantages Of Pedal-Powered’ Yaks: Do You Need A Pedal Kayak – And Why? 

Man in kayak with pedal fishing in lake

If you’re on the hunt for a ‘yak, you’ll be faced with a choice – opting for a conventional paddle kayak or going down the pedal-propelled route. And, clearly, there are advantages and disadvantages to both, which might make you question whether a pedal kayak would be a good fit for you. 

Now, hear me out: 

Imagine everything that makes traditional kayaks so awesome, and then add hands-free operation to the mix; that’s essentially what pedal kayaks bring to the table. 

That’s not all, though. Here are a few more advantages of pedal kayaks worth noting: 

  • Hands-Free Operation – Since the pedal system employs your lower body, you don’t have to worry about the paddle. That frees up both hands of the paddler for doing other things, like casting, reeling in your catch, or taking photos, for example. 
  • Fun Factor & Versatility – Exceptional versatility and recreational fun factor that stem from hands-free, user-friendly propulsion are some of the critical advantages of pedal-driven boats. They’re suitable for various activities, from recreational boating to wildlife photography and – most frequently – kayak fishing. 
  • Speed – You could argue that speed depends on who’s pedaling and how much effort they’re putting into it. However, you’re using some of the biggest muscles in your body here. Pedals will typically generate more thrust than paddles, contributing to a faster ride than traditional kayaks. 
  • Energy-Saving – Again, your leg muscles pack a lot more power than your arms, meaning you’ll likely experience much less fatigue. And since you’re saving some energy, you should also be able to cover longer distances than if you were paddling. 
  • Quietness – Pedal propulsion doesn’t create as many waves and splashes as paddles do, making it possible to sneak up on fish and waterfowl. The “stealthiness” makes pedal kayaks incredibly popular among anglers and hunters. 

Push Pedals Vs. Rotational Pedals: How Does A Pedal Kayak Work? 

Fishing Kayak Pedal-Drive system

I have one word for you – bicycles. 

What could a kayak possibly have in common with a bicycle?

Trust me; I know it sounds like I’m comparing apples to oranges. But a pedal-powered kayak’s mechanism is, in a way, pretty similar to the one used in bicycles

When it comes to kayak pedal systems your leg muscles are in charge of moving the pedals – that part’s pretty evident – and your hands control the rudder. The force you generate is transferred to the propeller or a pair of fins located beneath the drive system, propelling the kayak forward. 

Keep in mind that there are two types of pedal drive systems – push pedals and rotational pedals. 

Here’s a quick breakdown of both! 

Push Pedals 

This pedal system requires you to push the foot pedals forward to generate thrust and transfer it to the pair of side-moving fins located under it. It’s a simple mechanism and doesn’t require much to get the kayak going. 

However, one notable downside of push foot pedals is that they lack momentum and are generally regarded as less efficient. Your kayak will come to a halt pretty much the second you stop pushing the pedals. 

Another issue is that you’re not fully extending the legs. That, combined with the motion’s repetitiveness, can lead to leg and foot cramps, muscle strain, and even back pain. 

Rotational Pedals 

Rotational pedals work similarly to bicycles’ pedal mechanism and are generally the more popular option for pedal kayaks. 

The main reason behind this prevalence is that they are far more efficient

The power generated by the “cycling” motion is transmitted to the rotating propellers with minimal energy losses. As a result, it takes less effort to maintain speed – and you can build enough momentum to keep the kayak going even after you stop pedaling. 

More importantly, rotational pedals put less strain on the lower body as they engage the entire leg to build momentum. 

It seriously is as easy as riding a bike. 

How To Choose The Best Pedal Kayak: Everything You Need To Know

Women in Kayak with pedals

Paddle-propelled kayaks have been around for thousands of years now – but pedal kayaks? They are a relatively new trend, leaving many in the kayaking community confused about picking the best one.

The good news is that most major kayak manufacturers — such as Brooklyn Kayak Company, Ocean Kayak, Jackson Kayak, Native Watercraft and others — now offer pedal-driven kayaks. So finding one isn’t the issue!

The biggest dilemma can be summed up in a single, straight-to-the-point question: 

Should you evaluate them based on the same criteria as “regular” kayaks, or are there any specific features to keep in mind? 

And, well, it’s a little bit of both. 

Worry not; this pedal kayak buying guide has some answers! 

Hull Size & Shape 

The kayak’s shape and size play into its on-the-water performance and can often be good indicators of other aspects, including: 

  • Stability, both primary and secondary 
  • Speed, agility, and maneuverability 
  • The kayak’s weight and load capacity 
  • General functionality and versatility 

As such, the hull design is among the most important factors one should consider when choosing a kayak – pedal-powered or otherwise. 

There’s no right or wrong answer, though: 

For the most part, your choice depends on how and where you’ll be using the kayak

Speaking of hull size, don’t be too surprised by the bulkiness. Pedal-powered kayaks are designed to be noticeably wider than your average ‘yak to improve overall stability. 

Materials & Quality 

Another “standard” factor – as in, one that applies to kayaks in general – you should consider here is, of course, construction quality

A well-made kayak is a long-lasting one; I’m sure that goes without saying. And given that pedal kayaks aren’t exactly budget-friendly, you want to double-check that your investment offers the right price to quality ratio. 

Polyethylene – a type of plastic – stands out as durable, impact-resistant, and relatively UV-stable, which is why it’s often used to construct quality kayaks. 

Fiberglass and other composite materials are also worth considering, especially if you’re hoping to keep the pedal kayak’s weight as low as possible. 

Rudder Control: How Do You Steer A Pedal Kayak? 

I tend to talk about the importance of knowing how to steer a kayak relying solely on paddling techniques – such as edging, sweep, and rudder strokes – a lot. But given that ditching the paddle is the whole point of getting a pedal kayak, I’ll skip that talk for now. 

So, how are you supposed to steer your kayak without one, then? 

The answer is way more straightforward than you might expect – by using a hand-controlled rudder

Yes, rudders typically work to keep you on course and counteract various weather and water conditions that may affect your kayak, weathercocking being a common one. But don’t forget that a rudder has a pretty strong corrective component

This thin, long, fin-like blade that extends off the kayak’s stern can deflect vast amounts of water by pivoting side to side. 

So, while your legs are working on propelling the kayak forward, your hand will be in charge of the lever controlling the rudder and, in turn, setting the kayak’s course. 

It may not always feel as nimble and as responsive as using a paddle, and you won’t be making any sharp turns. However, a rudder is still going to get you to your target location – and that’s what matters the most. 

Use In Shallow Waters & Areas With Vegetation 

One of the main reasons kayaks are so popular is that they take you anywhere you want – remote areas with limited water access, hidden bays, coastlines, islands, you name it. 

Giving you the freedom to explore and get up close and personal with nature – in a way that no other watercraft can – is what kayaks do best. 

But here’s the thing: 

You might have to give some of that freedom up when you opt for a pedal-propelled kayak. 

They can be a real pain to manage in shallow waters or areas with lots of vegetation. The propellers tend to get stuck in the mud and other underwater obstacles or caught in surrounding weeds, rendering pedal kayaks unusable in shallow waters.

If you’re not careful, running ashore could destroy the pedal drive system – which, by the way, is going to be one pretty expensive mistake. 

Now, here’s the good news: 

Well-designed pedal kayaks usually allow you to lift – or even remove – the propeller system in such scenarios. 

It’s nice to have the option to switch from pedaling to good, old paddle-power whenever you encounter shallow water levels. 

Weight & Portability 

Portability is generally a concern for kayakers – even more so for those who opt for a pedal kayak. I mean, fishing kayaks aren’t exactly the definition of light and compact, to begin with, let alone with a pedal drive system and a steering rudder installed. 

Add a wider-than-usual hull to the equation, and it’s easy to see why pedal kayaks tend to fall on the heavier side, ranging from 85 to 130 pounds on average. 

The heftiness doesn’t necessarily have to be a deal-breaker, but you’ll have to think twice about how you’ll transport the kayak and whether you’ll have a helping hand. 

Also, be sure to check if the propellers can be removed for transportation; it could make things a bit more manageable. 

Best Pedal Kayaks Reviews – Top 11 Kayaks With Pedal Drive Systems

1. Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 Pedal Fishing Kayak

Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 Pedal Fishing Kayak 

  • Best Entry-Level Pedal Kayak
  • Rating: ★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★

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If you’re impressed by the performance of Old Town Predator PDL pedal kayaks, this one will blow your mind: 

Although far from budget-friendly, the Sportsman PDL 106 is, in essence, a more reasonably priced Predator PDL – lets just call it a good value pedal kayak for fishing.

It’s fitted with Old Town’s best-in-class PDL drive – a low-maintenance, easy-docking unit that can be removed for transportation. 

The 10.5-foot polyethylene hull – relatively small for a pedal kayak – weighs only 76 pounds without it. Yet somehow, it carries up to 450 pounds and is much roomier than its size might indicate. 

The 36-inch-wide Double-U hull also makes for an ultra-stable fishing platform, even while standing up, thanks to the non-slip EVA foam deck padding. 

Technical Specs 

  • Sit-on-top kayak with PDL drive system 
  • Polyethylene construction 
  • 10.5 x 3 feet 
  • 94 pounds 
  • 450-pound capacity 

Pros

  • Ultra-stable Double-U hull and stand-up fishing platform 
  • A removable, low-maintenance, easy-docking pedal system 
  • Rod holders, accessory tracks, and loads of storage 
  • Compact and lightweight for a pedal kayak

Cons

  • A somewhat expensive pedal kayak 
  • Awkward positioning of the rear carry handle 
  • The paddle is sold separately 
  • Not suitable for use in open water 

The Sportsman is an excellent entry-level option for kayak anglers who want the performance of Old Town Predator PDL pedal kayaks but don’t have the money for it.

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2. Perception Pescador Pilot 12 Sit-on-Top Fishing Kayak with Pedal Drive

Perception Pescador Pilot 12 Sit-on-Top Fishing Kayak with Pedal Drive

  • Overall Best Pedal Kayak 
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★★

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Perception Pescador Pilot 12 – a 12.4-foot sit-on-top fitted with the Pilot Drive pedal system – proves that yes, pedal kayaks can be affordable without compromising functionality or performance. 

The kayak weighs 95 pounds, but the good news is that the pedal drive system is removable for transportation. It’s also surprisingly nimble and maneuverable, with a hand-controlled 360-degree rudder in charge of steering. 

It comes with a 475-pound weight capacity, large open storage, four molded-in rod holders, gear tracks, and a fish finder console; everything you need for a day of fishing. 

My only complaint is that it doesn’t have dry storage options. 

Technical Specs 

  • Sit-on-top kayak with Pilot Drive system 
  • High-density polyethylene construction 
  • 12.4 x 2.8 feet 
  • 95 pounds 
  • 475-pound capacity 

Pros

  • Fishing-specific features and sizeable open storage 
  • A removable forward-reverse pedal system 
  • Fold-up propeller for shallow water 
  • A 360-degree single-hand-controlled rudder 
  • Spacious deck and removable captain’s chair 
  • Reasonably priced 

Cons

  • Doesn’t feature any built-in hatches for dry storage 
  • Didn’t arrive with instructions for installing the pedal drive 
  • A bit heavy when it’s fully rigged 

Who says you have to spend a fortune? Perception Pescador Pilot 12 is one heck of a pedal-powered fishing kayak at a jaw-dropping low price! 

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3. Wilderness Systems Radar 115 Pedal Kayak

Wilderness Systems Radar 115 Sit-on-Top Fishing Kayak with Pedal Drive

  • Best Pedal-Drive-Ready Kayak 
  • Rating: ★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★

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The 11.7-foot SMART hull – a blend of stability, maneuverability, acceleration, responsiveness, and tracking – makes the Radar 115 incredibly well-rounded. It’s also one of Wilderness Systems’ tri-powered kayaks. 

It weighs 85 pounds, not counting the 24.6-pound pedal drive, which isn’t ideal. The expansive, clutter-free deck, 450-pound weight capacity, and various storage options make up for it, though. 

While the Radar 115 starts reasonably priced, the costs of accessories – and the Helix PD drive, which is sold separately – add up fast. 

The pedal drive’s gear ratio feels slightly less efficient compared to some other options. However, it has some convenient features, such as three-phase positioning and an auto-raising mast. 

Technical Specs 

  • Sit-on-top kayak with Helix PD pedal drive 
  • Polyethylene construction 
  • 11.7 x 2.9 feet 
  • 85 pounds (without the pedal drive)
  • 450-pound capacity 

Pros

  • Tri-powered kayak 
  • Removable FlexPod OS console system and Flex Pod PD
  • Equipped with essential fishing features 
  • Lifts in shallows with three-phase propeller positioning 

Cons

  • The Helix PD system is sold separately 
  • The dry storage hatch could be bigger 
  • The costs of accessories add up fast 
  • No fishing rod holders 

Why choose to paddle, pedal, or go motor-powered when you can have all three – if you can afford it – with the Wilderness Systems Radar’ tri-powered Kayak

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4. Ocean Kayak Malibu Pedal Recreational Kayak

Ocean Kayak Malibu Pedal Recreational Kayak

  • Best Recreational Pedal Kayak 
  • Rating: ★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★

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What if you’re not big on fishing, though? If that’s the case, Ocean Kayak’s sit-on-top Malibu Pedal Kayak might be right up your alley. 

It strikes the right balance of quality, comfort, efficiency, and price – and it’s the type of pedal kayak you want if you’re mostly into casual weekend kayaking trips. 

There’s nothing casual about its size, though: 

Malibu is a 12-foot, 113-pound monster of a recreational kayak. That’s bound to make transportation and storage quite a hassle. 

It justifies its size by incorporating a rear kids-friendly jump seat, a pet-friendly tank well, and a 450-pound weight capacity, though. 

And Malibu’s pedal drive kayak has a top speed of 5.5 miles per hour!  

Technical Specs 

  • Sit-on-top kayak with PDL drive system
  • Polyethylene construction 
  • 12 x 2.9 feet 
  • 113 pounds 
  • 450-pound capacity 

Pros

  • Low-maintenance PDL system
  • Reaches 5.5 mph 
  • Features 8-inch accessory tracks 
  • Pet-friendly bow tank well and a stern jump seat 
  • The console doubles as storage 
  • Tip-up propeller for shallow waters 

Cons

  • You’ll have to get a paddle separately 
  • It’s rather hefty, which makes transportation and storage a hassle 
  • Quite expensive for a recreational kayak 

If all you need is a flexible, comfortable, and versatile pedal kayak for casual afternoons on the water, Ocean Kayak Malibu is the kayak for you. 

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5. Wilderness Systems Radar 135

Wilderness Systems Radar 135

  • Best Tri-Powered Fishing Kayak
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★

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Here’s another Wilderness Systems tri-powered kayak that’s worth considering – if you can afford it, that is: 

Like the Radar 115, it seems “cheap,” but that’s because the Helix PD pedal drive is sold separately. 

On the upside, the SMART hull technology, flat, clutter-free deck, and exceptional stability make this one heck of a stand-up fishing platform. 

Moreover, it has a 475-pound capacity, ample onboard storage, and an equally impressive fishing-specific rigging setup with a FlexPod OS console. 

Keep in mind that the 13.5-foot hull weighs 90 pounds – without the pedal drive – so it’s not exactly light and portable. 

Technical Specs 

  • Sit-on-top kayak with Helix PD pedal drive
  • Polyethylene construction 
  • 13.5 x 2.8 feet 
  • 90 pounds (without the pedal drive) 
  • 475-pound capacity 

Pros

  • Compatible with pedaling, paddling, and motor propulsion 
  • Stable, clutter-free deck for stand-up fishing 
  • Multiple open and dry storage options and excellent capacity 
  • Fishing-specific rigging setup 

Cons

  •  The Helix PD drive system is sold separately and is quite expensive
  • Quite bulky even without the pedal drive installed 
  • Doesn’t feature rod holders

If Wilderness System Radar 135 managed to fly under your radar, then – well, you need a new one. Seriously, this may be the ultimate Wilderness Systems tri-powered fishing kayak! 

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6. Wilderness Systems RECON 120 HD

Wilderness Systems RECON 120 HD
  • Best Fishing Pedal Kayak
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★

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Have you been waiting for the official Recon 120 HD release for over a year now? Well, then, you’ll be thrilled to know that Wilderness Systems made the announcement – the wait is over. 

It’s not budget-friendly and weighs 115 pounds with the pedal drive installed; you should know that straight away. 

But it’s a great fishing platform, nonetheless: 

The 12.2-foot SMART hull boasts an extra-wide, 3.2-foot deck, ensuring rock-solid stability all anglers can appreciate. Moreover, it combines a functional layout with a 450-pound weight capacity to give you easy-to-access storage and room for modifications. 

One thing hasn’t changed – the tried-and-true Helix PD system. It turns this tank-like fishing platform into a fast and agile kayak. 

Technical Specs 

  • Sit-on-top kayak with Helix PD pedal drive propulsion system
  • Polyethylene construction 
  • 12.2 x 3.2 feet 
  • 115 pounds 
  • 450-pound capacity 

Pros

  • Extra-wide deck with Silent Traction pads 
  • Tri-power optimized 
  • Comfortable, highly adjustable AirPro ACE seat
  • Functional, easy-access deck layout and storage options
  • Internal lines for snag-free rudder operation 

Cons

  • Weighs 115 pounds with the pedal drive installed 
  • It’s not the most budget-friendly kayak 
  • The size could lead to storage and transportation problems

Wide-open deck, rock-solid stability, tri-power optimization, highly functional, and fully customizable deck layout; the Recon 120 HD is the future of pedal kayaks for fishing 

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7. Native Watercraft Slayer 12.5 Propel MAX 2020

Native Watercraft Slayer 12.5 Propel MAX 2020
  • Best High-Capacity Pedal Kayak
  • Rating: ★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★

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The big brother to the outstanding Slayer Propel 10 but updated to the ‘Max’. Native Watercraft Slayer Propel MAX, powered by a rotational pedal drive system, is a premium, high-performance option for the experienced fisherman. 

The 12.5-foot-long hull features a rocketed bow that cuts through choppy waters and an extended rudder for improved tracking and turning. 

It features an adjustable elevated seat, a transducer recess, rod storage, and an electronics-ready panel. Moreover, with a 500-pound weight capacity and ample storage, it’s one of the best choices for longer fishing trips. 

Fair warning, though: 

It weighs a staggering 125 pounds fully rigged; you won’t be moving it alone. 

Also, while the performance justifies the cost to a degree, the price could be a deal-breaker. 

Technical Specs 

  • Sit-on-top kayak fitted with the 701 series Propel Pedal Drive System
  • Polyethylene construction 
  • 12.5 x 2.8 feet 
  • 95 – 125 pounds 
  • 500-pound capacity 

Pros

  • Electronics-ready panel and transducer recess 
  • Integrated propeller weed guard 
  • Rocketed bow for getting over chop 
  • High load capacity and ample storage 
  • Stand-up fishing platform 

Cons

  • It’s one of the most expensive pedal kayaks
  • No way to access the storage hatch when sitting 
  • Becomes quite heavy when it’s fully rigged 

Whether you’ll be tackling offshore saltwater or freshwater environments, it’s hard to go wrong with Native Watercraft’s fully-rigged, accessory-rich tank of a pedal drive fishing kayak.

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8. BKC PK13 Angler 13′ Solo Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak

BKC PK13 Angler 13' Solo Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak

  • Best Budget Pedal Kayak 
  • Rating: ★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★★

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The Brooklyn Kayak Company PK13 Angler might be one of the lightest pedal kayaks for fishing. That doesn’t sound impressive until you consider that it’s a fully-rigged 13-foot pedal kayak that weighs only 80 pounds. 

The best part is that it doesn’t compromise much to keep things light: 

You still get a sit-on-top fishing kayak that has a whooping 550-pound weight capacity, with spacious cargo areas and two waterproof hatches, a comfortable aluminum-frame seat, and built-in rod holders. 

The pedal drive and hand-operated rudder make it easy to use and control, and the adjustable foot straps are a definite plus. Although you likely won’t use it much, it includes a paddle – and can be upgraded with a trolling motor.  

Technical Specs 

  • Sit-on-top kayak with rotational pedals 
  • High-density polyethylene construction 
  • 13 x 2.8 feet 
  • 80 pounds 
  • 550-pound capacity 

Pros

  • Can be upgraded with a trolling motor 
  • Generous weight capacity and lots of onboard storage
  • Three flush-mount rod holders 
  • Comfortable seat 
  • Suitable for longer fishing trips

Cons

  • Requires a lot of storage space due to sheer size
  • You’ll have to retighten bolts and screws regularly
  • Hard to maneuver in tight waterways 

Load it up, start pedaling, and set off for an all-day fishing adventure; the Brooklyn Kayak Company PK13 is ready for it – without costing you a fortune.

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9. Hobie 2019 Mirage Outback Kayak

Hobie 2019 Mirage Outback Kayak

  • Best High-End Pedal Kayak 
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★

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Hobie Kayaks 1997 MirageDrive release revolutionized kayaking. I wouldn’t dare to overlook Hobie in the best pedal kayaks round-up – even if it’s the most expensive option out there. 

The 12.7-foot hull is squared off at the stern to maximize stability, loaded with storage options and accessory mounts, and has a 425-pound weight capacity. And coupled with the extensive deck and EVA foam pads, it makes the Outback an excellent choice for stand-up fishing. 

Outback is powered by the MirageDrive 180 Turbo system, proving that speed and stability aren’t mutually exclusive. Moreover, Hobie’s Kick-Up fins and dual-controlled rudder make it agile and easy to navigate in the shallows.

However you are limited to forward and reverse propulsion, unless you are willing to upgrade to the MirageDrive 360 pedal system, which is a luxury that comes with a premium price tag. Personally I don’t think it’s worthwell expensive unless you are serious into kayak fishing – and with that price jump you might be better off looking at other fishing kayaks, such as the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12.

It weighs 103 pounds, though, which could be a problem portability-wise. 

Technical Specs 

  • Sit-on-top kayak with MirageDrive 180 Turbo drive
  • Rotomolded polyethylene construction 
  • 12.7 x 2.8 feet 
  • 103 pounds 
  • 425-pound capacity 

Pros

  • Extra-wide, adjustable Vantage CTW seat 
  • Non-slip EVA deck pads for stand-up fishing 
  • Ample storage and rigging options 
  • Kick-Up fins raise when hitting an obstacle
  • Dual rudder controls

Cons

  • One of the most expensive pedal-powered kayaks 
  • Weighs over 100 pounds when fully rigged 
  • Can result in a wet ride in choppy waters 

The Hobie Mirage Outback, powered by the Mirage Drive 180 Turbo, can be your rigged-to-the-max, nimble, exceptionally stable fishing platform – catering to all of your fishing needs – if you have the money for it. 

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10. Hobie Mirage Oasis Tandem Kayak

Hobie Mirage Oasis Tandem Kayak

  • Best Tandem Pedal Kayak 
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Price: ★★★

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What if you’d much rather pedal in tandem? Again, Hobie has your back with the Mirage Oasis. 

It’s made for two – and it shows in every aspect of its design: 

Oasis features dual MirageDrive 180 drives with Kick-Up fins and dual rudder controls – and quickly picks up speed with both people pedaling. It also has a 550-pound weight capacity and generous storage options, including four hatches for dry storage and multiple pockets and tie-downs. 

It’s a shame it only has two rod holders, though. 

Also, the 14.5-foot-long hull weighs 127 pounds when fully rigged; it’s a good thing you’ll have a kayaking partner to help move it. 

Technical Specs 

  • Sit-on-top tandem with dual MirageDrive 180 drives
  • Rotomolded polyethylene construction
  • 14.5 x 2.8 feet 
  • 127 pounds 
  • 550-pound capacity 

Pros

  • Dual MD 180 drives with Kick-Up fins and dual steering 
  • Relatively fast with two people pedaling 
  • Four hatches and other storage options 
  • Four-way adjustable CT seats

Cons

  • The most expensive pedal kayak on this list 
  • Weighs nearly 130 pounds when fully rigged 
  • Can’t be transported single-handedly 
  • Only has two rod holders

Spacious and “stretched out” for two and powered by dual MD 180 drives, Oasis is the definition of the best tandem pedal kayak – although an insanely expensive one. 

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11. Feelfree Lure 11.5 Kayak

Feelfree Lure 11.5 Kayak

  •   Best Pedal Drive Kayak For Stand-Up Fishing
  • Rating: ★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★

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What’s your fishing style? Are you the type of kayaker who prefers fishing standing up? If so, the Feelfree’s Lure 11.5 could be the way to go.

This 11.5-foot-long kayak has an expansive, 2.8-foot deck, a standing platform reinforced with high-grade foam, and a stand-up assist strap for security. The extra-wide Gravity Seat is there when it’s time to sit back and relax. 

It weighs 87 pounds, but the patented Wheel in the Keel helps with portability. The weight is justified by the 425-pound weight capacity, ample onboard storage, and fishing-specific accessories. 

But – there’s always a “but” – the Lure 11.5 is only pedal-drive-ready: 

It doesn’t include the Overdrive unit or a paddle, so it’ll be a lawn ornament until you get it.  

Technical Specs 

  • Sit-on-top Overdrive-ready kayak 
  • Polyethylene construction 
  • 11.5 x 2.8 feet 
  • 87 pounds (without the pedal drive)
  • 425-pound capacity 

Pros

  • Wheel In The Keel feature for rolling the kayak 
  • Extra-wide, adjustable Gravity Seat 
  • Reinforced standing platform with a stand-up leash
  • Fishing-specific rigging, flush mount rod holders and ample onboard storage

Cons

  • You have to buy the Overdrive pedal-drive unit separately
  • Doesn’t come with a paddle 
  • Wheel in the Keel only works on flat terrain

A spacious deck, exceptional stability, a reinforced standing platform, and well-organized, fishing-specific features make the Feelfree Lure 11.5 an excellent pedal-drive-ready kayak for stand-up fishing. 

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Final Verdict – Best Pedal Kayaks

Hobie’s MirageDrive, first introduced in 1997, was the pedal-drive system that started it all and made kayaking easier and more fun than ever. 

Now, over two decades later, pretty much every respectable kayak manufacturer has caught up, and anyone making fishing kayaks and even those who don’t, has one or more pedal-powered kayak models in their product lineup.

That doesn’t make choosing the best pedal kayak any easier for you – but this might: 

Out of the pedal-powered kayaks I’ve tested, the Perception Pescador Pilot 12 Sit-on-Top Kayak stood out as the market’s leading contender. 

While it’s primarily designed for anglers, I believe it could make wildlife photographers – and anyone else interested in hands-free kayaking – rather pleased. Plus, it shows that functionality and performance in a pedal-powered kayak don’t necessarily need to cost a small fortune.