Kayaking is an excellent way to explore the water and enjoy the outdoors. For those who prefer to paddle with friends or family, a 3-person kayak is an excellent option. These kayaks are designed to accommodate three paddlers comfortably and offer a fun way to explore the waterways. But to enjoy a ride in a 3-seater kayak, important to choose the right one. In fact, as with all kayaks, the choice defines the experience. For this reason, we will list the best 3-person kayaks available in the market and things to consider when buying. Let’s begin!
Our Topmost Picks
- Best Overall: Sea Eagle 465ft FastTrack
- Most Versatile: Sea Eagle 420x Explorer
- Best Value: TAHE Beach LP3
- Best Budget: Sevylor Big Basin
- Best Hard-Shell Sit-On-Top: Ocean Kayak Malibu Two XL
- Best Hard-Shell Sit-Inside: Old Town Dirigo 155
1. Best overall; Sea Eagle 465ft FastTrack
One of the top contenders for the best kayaks for three people is the Sea Eagle 465ft FastTrack. This kayak is crafted specifically for adventurous paddlers who want to experience the best on the water. It offers a combination of performance and versatility that is hard to beat.
One of the standout features of the Sea Eagle 465ft is its floor, which utilizes drop stitch technology to increase rigidity and reduce drag. This provides greater stability when fully loaded and makes the kayak feel more like a traditional hardshell kayak than an inflatable. In addition, the high nose of the kayak ensures a dry ride, and the NeedleKnife keel helps maintain tracking even in windy conditions.
The removable, swept-back style skeg at the rear of the kayak works in conjunction with the keel to improve hull speed and stability, while the front and rear spray skirts keep you dry even in choppy waters. The kayak also features 20 D-rings for securing gear and attaching seats, making it incredibly versatile for various activities.
And when discussing durability, Sea Eagle has built this kayak using a super durable 1000D reinforced PVC fabric with quadruple overlapped seams. This construction ensures the kayak can withstand rugged use without showing wear and tear.
While the Sea Eagles 465ft FastTrack is a bit on the expensive side, its superior stability, weight capacity, durability, gear storage, and portability make it a top-notch kayak for three people that’s worth the investment. So, if you’re looking for a high-performing kayak that will make your paddling experience unforgettable, the 465ft FastTrack is an excellent choice.
• Great performance and versatility for adventurous paddlers
• Drop stitch technology floor for rigidity and stability
• Super durable 1000D reinforced PVC fabric
• Fantastic 795 lb weight capacity
• Removable skeg for improved hull speed and stability
• Fairly expensive
2. Most Versatile: Sea Eagle 420x Explorer
For the adventurous kayaker who wants a versatile 3-person inflatable kayak that can handle any water, the Sea Eagle 420x Explorer is an excellent choice. This kayak is designed to provide an unparalleled performance on flat lakes and whitewater rapids, making it one of the most versatile 3-person kayaks on the market.
So, what sets the Sea Eagle 420x Explorer apart from the rest of the pack? First, its impressive size, weight, and capacity make it a great option for those who want to bring along plenty of gear on their kayaking adventure. To be exact, the kayak measures 14 ft. (427 cm) long and 39 in. (100 cm) wide when inflated and capable of holding up to 855 lbs. (388 kg) without compromising on performance. This makes it ideal for multi-day camping trips or for those who need extra storage space.
The Sea Eagle 420x Explorer also comes with a range of features, making it one of the best three-person kayaks. For instance, the kayak has a removable skeg that improves tracking on longer trips and 16 self-bailing drain valves to ensure water doesn’t accumulate inside the kayak. In addition, the drop-stitch floor provides extra rigidity and strength, ensuring a stable and secure ride.
In addition to its performance, this kayak has plenty of storage space for all your gear. It comes with 26 D-rings which you can use to secure your equipment while on the water. And since it’s rated for Class IV rapids, it’s the perfect kayak for whitewater paddlers.
One potential downside of this kayak is its wide width, which can make it a bit more challenging to maneuver. However, this is a minor issue easily overlooked when considering the kayak’s overall performance and versatility.
• Exceptional stability due to its large tubes and drop-stitch floor
• 16 self-bailing drain valves keep the cockpit dry during use
• Impressive 855 lb weight capacity can accommodate three adult paddlers with ease
• Can handle up to Class IV rapids, making it a great option for whitewater enthusiasts
• 26 D-rings provide ample storage and gear tie-down options
• Can be challenging to maneuver because of the wide width.
3. Best Value: TAHE Beach LP3
Looking for a lightweight and easy-to-use inflatable kayak that can be used by one, two, or three people? Look no further than the TAHE Beach LP3 inflatable kayak. This kayak is designed easily and conveniently, making it perfect for beginners and experienced paddlers.
One of the standout features of the TAHE Beach LP3 is its hydrodynamic hull. Crafted from durable tarpaulin, this hull is designed to glide through the water easily, providing a smooth and stable ride. The kayak also features three air chambers, which help to ensure that the kayak remains afloat even in the event of a puncture.
In terms of comfort, the TAHE Beach LP3 does not disappoint. The kayak has removable adjustable seats that provide a comfortable and supportive sitting position. This makes it easy to spend hours on the water without experiencing any discomfort. Additionally, the kayak comes with 3-removable fins that provide superior tracking and control, helping you easily navigate the water.
That said, the kayak’s weight capacity is just 505 lbs, so there are better options than having three adults on board or carrying a lot of gear.
Overall, the TAHE Beach LP3 is an excellent choice that offers a nice blend of performance and value. Its durable construction, comfortable seating, and added tracking fins make it an excellent option at a very reasonable price point.
• Lightweight and easy to use
• Hydrodynamic hull made of durable tarpaulin
• Elevated inflatable seats for comfort
• Three removable fins for tracking and control
• Inflates in around 5 minutes
• Not suitable for rough waters
• Limited weight capacity
• Challenging maneuverability
4. Best Budget; The Sevylor Big Basin
The Sevylor Big Basin is an excellent choice for those seeking a budget-friendly 3-person kayak that’s still fun to paddle. This inflatable kayak is designed for adventurous individuals who want to explore the serene waters of a peaceful lake with friends or family.
With its heavy-duty PVC construction and tarpaulin bottom, this inflatable kayak is built to last and can handle mild to moderate water conditions. In addition, the multiple air chambers in this kayak ensure that you stay afloat even during a puncture, giving you peace of mind while on the water.
One of the best features I liked on this kayak is its adjustable seats, which provide a comfortable and customizable paddling experience for all three passengers. Additionally, the double-threaded Boston Valve allows for easy and quick inflation and deflation, making it easy to transport and store.
The Sevylor Big Basin is NMMA certified, which means it has passed rigorous safety standards. The kayak also comes with a convenient carry bag and pressure gauge, making it easy to transport and set up wherever your adventure takes you.
While the Sevylor Big Basin is a great budget option, it does have its limitations. Although it’s labeled a 3-person kayak, this kayak may only comfortably fit up to three adults. In addition, its low weight capacity of 490 lbs may not accommodate three full-grown adults and their gear, so it’s better suited for two adults and a child or pet.
But despite its limitations, the Sevylor Big Basin is still a great option for those seeking a budget-friendly 3-person kayak that is easy to transport and fun to paddle.
• Budget-friendly option for a 3-person kayak
• Heavy-duty PVC construction and tarpaulin bottom for enhanced durability
• Adjustable seats for a comfortable and customizable paddling experience
• Multiple air chambers ensure you stay afloat even in the event of a puncture
• NMMA certified and can hold up to 490 lbs.
• Not suitable for rough water conditions
• May not comfortably fit three adults
• Lacks advanced features found on higher-end kayaks.
5. Best Hard Shell Sit-on-Top: Ocean Kayak Malibu Two XL
The Malibu Two XL by Ocean Kayak is a highly popular hardshell sit-on-top kayak that offers exceptional stability and versatility for family fun. This kayak is perfect for paddlers of all sizes and abilities, and it can accommodate two adults plus a small child or pet.
The Malibu Two XL is constructed from highly durable linear Polyethylene, ensuring it will provide years of service even with frequent use. It also features an ample rocker that enhances turning and a deep keel that helps you with maneuverability on the water.
The Comfort Plus padded seats on the kayak are another standout feature. They can be adjusted for comfort and help maintain proper paddling posture, making staying out on the water easier for longer periods. The kayak also comes equipped with bungee deck rigging at the bow and stern, allowing you to securely store extra gear on board.
Additionally, a skid plate on the bottom protects the hull from wear and tear, ensuring it will last for many seasons. And finally, self-bailing scupper holes in the footwells of the kayak prevent water from pooling and ensure a dry ride. However, Scupper Stoppers are available (sold separately)
• Comfort Plus padded seats
• Bungee deck rigging and toggle carry handles
• Molded-in footwells for extra control as you paddle
• Durable and sturdy construction made from linear Polyethylene
• The center seat is not very comfortable
• Scupper plugs are sold separately
6. Best Hard Shell Sit-Inside: Old Town Dirigo 155
The Old Town Dirigo 155 stands out among sit-in kayaks thanks to its innovative and family-friendly design. While many sit-in kayaks feature cramped cockpits, this kayak flips the script with two spacious cockpit openings that comfortably fit two adults and a child, making it perfect for adventurous families.
The kayak is built in a 3-layer polyethylene Stabil-form hull design, ensuring exceptional stability and maneuverability, even in choppy or rough waters. You can also add an optional rudder system to this kayak for added control and maneuverability.
The kayak is fitted with adjustable contoured poly seats that provide exceptional comfort and support, making it possible to spend hours on the water without experiencing any discomfort or fatigue. In addition, the Glide Track foot brace system allows you to adjust the footrests to suit your height and paddling style, ensuring you maintain an efficient and comfortable paddling posture throughout your adventure.
The deck bungee and safety perimeter line ensure that your gear stays securely in place, while the retractable carry handles make transporting the kayak easily.
While this kayak’s heavyweight and price tag may not make it the best option for everyone, it’s hard to argue with the Dirigo 155’s unique and practical design. It’s a great choice for families seeking a high-performing and versatile sit-in kayak that can keep up with their growing adventures.
• Two spacious cockpits
• Optional rudder system for improved tracking
• Adjustable seats with cup holders
• Removable child-sized seat for added versatility
• Dual glide track foot brace systems and built-in paddle holders
• Two dry hatches and deck bungees for convenient gear storage
• Expensive investment
Cheap Kayak Comparative Table
|Sea Eagle 465ft FastTrack
|Sea Eagle 420x Explorer
|TAHE Beach LP3
|1, 2 or 3
|Sevylor Big Basin
|Ocean Kayak Malibu Two XL
|Old Town Dirigo 155
|1, 2 or 3
Buyers Guide to Choose a 3-seater inflatable kayak?
Consider a few characteristics to choose a 3-seater inflatable kayak. Indeed, characteristics such as size, materials, use, and even accessories are to be considered. Below is a detailed guide to help you.
Different materials are used in the construction of kayaks for three people. The choice of material influences the boat’s weight, handling, robustness, and durability.
a. Fiberglass and Carbon
Expensive kayaks are made of fiberglass, carbon, or a mixture of these materials. This material is extremely light and withstands strain for a long time. The problem with fiberglass and carbon is that kayaks made of these materials are easily damaged in a collision. Therefore, you should be careful when setting off and landing.
b. Inflatable kayaks
Inflatable kayaks are an alternative. There are already a variety of inflatable kayaks that can accommodate three people. Numerous innovations in production have resulted in inflatable shells being extremely tear-resistant and resistant to point loads. When folded, the storage cases fit into a backpack and are uncomplicated to transport.
Note that the inflatable kayaks do not resemble an “air mattress” at all, as the inflatables were initially scorned. Instead, several separate air chambers provide additional safety. Should an accident tear a hole in the outer shell, the remaining chambers will keep the kayak afloat.
Polyethylene is another option that is commonly used in the construction of rigid kayaks. The long-lasting material is strong and can withstand a few collisions without major damage. Therefore, kayaks made of Polyethylene are a good choice for beginners who need more experience handling sports equipment. Advanced kayakers, conversely, are bothered by the higher weight of these kayaks.
The length of the kayak has a major impact on handling. In general, longer kayaks are better at keeping on track but are more difficult to maneuver. Short boats are more maneuverable but less suitable for long tours. By the nature of things, three-seater kayaks are longer than average kayaks.
3. Carrying capacity
Kayaks differ in carrying capacity. The typical three-person kayak is designed for a maximum 400 to 900 pounds load. The carrying capacity determines how many people or which paddlers can be used on this boat.
You should already have this information in mind when packing your equipment. An overloaded kayak is sluggish in the water, which is no fun, especially on longer trips.
The kayaks that made our list weigh between 35 lbs and 75 lbs. The material has a big impact on the weight. For example, a polyethylene kayak can weigh twice as much as an inflatable or fiberglass and carbon kayak.
The hull type also has a great influence on handling. Three types of hulls can be distinguished.
Kayaks for beginners often have a flat bottom. This construction offers maximum stability. However, this type of hull is not well suited for waves. Kayaks with flat bottoms cannot cut through the waves.
Kayaks with rounded hulls are much faster than canoes with flat bottoms. The water resistance is lower, which is particularly beneficial for kayakers on longer trips. This type of hull is best suited for intermediate users.
It would be best to rely on a V-shaped hull for long distances and top speeds. The streamlined hull is uncompromisingly designed for speed and agility. However, this type of kayak is significantly less stable than the other two models. For this reason, these hulls are particularly suitable for experienced kayakers.
Significantly higher speeds can be achieved with two or three paddles in the water. However, grab a tandem kayak or a three-person kayak if you are looking for absolute top speeds.
Kayaks for three people are safe in the water. The wider and longer construction is the reason for the extra stability. This type of kayak is ideal for introducing children to sports. Therefore, triple kayaks are the best choice to introduce new people to kayaking. High stability also helps you with waves or in choppy waters.
8. Storage space
Due to the size of 3-person kayaks, they also offer significantly more storage space than the average solo kayak. When filling the storage space, the weight limit must be retained sight of. Anyone who wants to exhaust the carrying capacity of the kayak down to the last pound is doing themselves a disservice. A fully loaded kayak is significantly less performant.
9. Sit-on-top or sit-in three-person kayaks?
Sit-in kayaks have a low center of gravity and are lower and more stable in the water. The closed cockpits are particularly useful in cold temperatures because the legs stay much warmer. In addition, the cockpit protects against splashing water.
For beginners, sit-on-top triple kayaks are often the better choice. This type of kayak allows for easy entry and exit and does not restrict movement as much as sit-in kayak cockpits do.
However, sit-on-top kayaks offer less protection against wind and waves.
The choice of a kayak always depends on your budget. Outdoor sports are great, but they are costly too. For example, triple kayaks are more expensive than solo or tandem kayaks.
The reason for this is the size of the kayaks for three people and the resulting greater effort and need for material in production.
However, a triple kayak is much cheaper than three solo kayaks. Kayaks for three people is an exciting alternative for anyone who often travels in a group.
Sit-in kayaks are generally better for cold water touring, while sit-on-top kayaks are a better choice for warm weather.
11. A 3-seater kayak for whom?
You must also consider the three people using the inflatable kayak when choosing. For example, will your inflatable kayak be used by two adults and a child? In the case of a child, the second place will be smaller than the other two. On the other hand, if three adults use your inflatable kayak, then the three places must be the same size.
We’ve concluded our article on the best 3-person kayaks, and we hope we’ve provided enough information to help you make an informed decision. However, the Sea Eagles 465ft FastTrack and 420x Explorer are two of the top options on the market due to their exceptional performance, versatility, and durability.
But the choice of the kayak to buy ultimately comes down to your preference and specific needs. So, take the time to consider your options, weigh the pros and cons, and choose the kayak that best suits your needs and budget. Happy paddling!