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Kayaks Made in the USA (And Our Top 5 Picks)

Many kayaks are manufactured in the USA, but nearly all of them have some parts sourced from overseas. Below, you’ll find our top recommendations along with extensive details about each product and the methodology behind our picks. For all of our research, scroll to the bottom of the article and you’ll see a big list of all the brands we found that are made here and some well-known brands that aren’t.

Our Findings

During our research, we found several brands of kayaks made in America using all US-sourced materials: Crescent, Solo Skiff, Lifetime, and Long Haul Folding Kayaks. Crescent and Lifetime each have a lot of different models, so we weighed the options carefully to make our recommendations.

The Crescent Splash II Kayak is our favorite tandem kayak because it combines affordability and durability. The Lifetime Wave 60 Youth Kayak is the best choice for kids. The Solo Skiff combines the features of a stand-up paddleboard, kayak, and powered skiff. And the Crescent Splashback provides the best bang for your buck.

Top Recommendations

Best KayaksBest for:
Crescent Splash II KayakTandem Kayak
Lifetime Wave 60 Youth KayakYouth Kayak
Solo SkiffFeatures
Crescent SplashbackValue
Long Haul Folding KayaksFolding Kayak

Recommendations: Going Deeper

Below are way more details on all of our recommendations including what we liked and didn’t like about each one.

Best Tandem Kayak

Crescent Splash II

James Derbecker founded Georgia-based Crescent Kayaks in 2001. The kayak frames are made from powder-coated marine aluminum, and the textiles are milled in Georgia and hand sewn in South Carolina.

Like we said before, Crescent produces a number of different kayak models. However, the Splash II entry-level tandem stands out for a number of reasons. First, its three-seat configuration and 500-pound weight capacity means it can be enjoyed by couples, two adults and a child, or one adult and two kids with ample room for storage. Solo paddlers can sit in the middle and have even more space for their gear. The Splash II costs less than other tandem kayaks on the market, but it’s very durable. Plus, it can be used on rivers, lakes, beaches, and intracoastal waters.

This kayak is quite heavy, meaning it can be difficult for kayakers – especially solo ones — to haul it to the water.

Things we like:

  • Can carry more than one person at a time
  • Durability
  • Affordability compared to other tandem kayaks

Things we don’t like:

  • It weighs nearly 70 pounds, which can make it difficult to transport

Best Kayak for Kids

Lifetime Wave 60 Youth Kayak

Lifetime Products got its start in a garage in Riverdale, Utah, when the founder decided to build a better basketball hoop for his family. The business, which launched in 1986, has grown to include picnic tables, folding tables and chairs, sheds, and finally kayaks.

Lifetime kayaks are manufactured in Utah and Missouri, with all materials sourced from the USA.

Lifetime produces many kinds of kayaks, but we are recommending the Wave 60 Youth Kayak. It’s specifically designed for kids age 5 and up, but adults who weigh up to 130 pounds can also use it as long as they have enough leg room. (It probably won’t work if you are taller than 5’5” or 5’6.”)

These youth kayaks are an incredible value at $235 with a 5-year limited warranty. They only weigh 19 pounds and are easy to paddle.

If you have a young family but there’s too many kids to fit in the Crescent Splash II, you might want to get a few Lifetime Wave 60 Youth Kayaks as well so everyone can go kayaking together. Grandma might even be able to fit in one if she wants to come along!

Things we like:

  • Lightweight for easy transport
  • Simple enough for kids to maneuver on the water
  • Great value, especially with the limited warranty
  • Some small adults can even use it

Things we don’t like:

  • Limited features
  • Limited storage

Best Features

Solo Skiff

If you are looking for the most versatile Made in the USA kayak on the market and don’t mind shelling out the big bucks, the Solo Skiff is for you. It combines the best features of a stand-up paddleboard, kayak, and powered skiff into a hybrid fishing machine. The combination of its shallow draft design and ability to be powered by a 5hp motor means the possibilities are endless.

This kayak has a 400-pound weight capacity and lots of storage space.

Things we like:

  • Multiple capabilities, including the ability to add a motor
  • Great for fishing
  • Tons of storage space
  • Can be used in any waterway

Things we don’t like:

  • The $2,390 price tag is enough to give budget-conscious shoppers a heart attack
  • It weighs 150 pounds, far more than other kayaks we looked at

Best Value

Crescent Splashback

The Crescent Splashback provides the best overall value for your money. This $499 option, which weighs nearly 50 pounds, is great for newbies, but more experienced kayakers will enjoy the fast ride. The contoured seat provides comfort. There’s a surprising amount of storage for a kayak this size.

The weight capacity of this solo kayak is 300 pounds.

Things we like:

  • Low price
  • Well suited for beginners
  • Great speed

Things we don’t like:

  • Only built for one person, but you can get a Crescent Splash II for just $200 more

Best Folding Kayak

Long Haul Folding Kayaks

Long Haul Folding Kayaks are the cream of the crop when it comes to folding travel kayaks. They are expensive, but you get what you pay for. I had the pleasure of going out to Colorado and touring their shop, and let me tell you – Mark and team put a ton of care and customization into each kayak they produce. So, if you have the budget and are looking for a kayak that will last a lifetime and you can take anywhere in the world, definitely check out Long Haul Folding Kayaks.

They have a lot of style options to choose from. And like I said earlier, you can make some customizations too to get the boat of your dreams.

Things we like:

  • Folds up so you can take it anywhere
  • Elegant wood framing
  • Durable and lasts a lifetime

Things we don’t like:

  • Expensive, but worth it if you have the budget and use it frequently

Full List Of USA Made Kayak Brands


Factors We Considered

People look for lots of different things in a kayak. Some shoppers are on a strict budget, while others are willing to pay more for special features. A heavy kayak can be difficult to haul, but can bear more weight. Finally, storage space is critical for those who need to take a lot of gear with them.

Therefore, we took the following factors into consideration when comparing kayaks.

Value

Kayaks can be expensive, but fortunately, budget-friendly options are out there – even for tandems.

Features

Some shoppers want all the bells and whistles, and aren’t afraid of a high price tag.

Weight

This includes the weight of the kayak itself and how many pounds it can bear. A heavy craft can be difficult to haul from your vehicle to the water, especially for solo kayakers. However, the more the kayak weighs, the more you can load onto it.

Storage Space

You probably aren’t too concerned about storage space if you are just going on a short jaunt, but a fishing trip or an all-day outing on the water will require lots of room for things like poles, tackle, and coolers for your lunch and beverages.


Kayaks Not Made in the USA

  • Brooklyn Kayak Company – Made in China.
  • Vibe Kayaks — Designed and engineered in Kennesaw, Georgia, and manufactured in China.
  • Seastream Kayaks — Made in Thailand.
  • Jackson Kayak – Manufactured in Sparta Tennessee from both U.S. and foreign-sourced materials.
  • Confluence Watersports Made in Greenville, South Carolina. Some materials are sourced from overseas.
  • Eddyline Kayaks – All kayaks currently are being manufactured in Burlington, Washington, but a supplemental factory in Mexico will begin production this year to keep up with increased demand. Materials are sourced from all over the world.
  • Ascend – Manufactured in Lebanon, Missouri, with globally sourced parts and components.
  • Lincoln Canoe and Kayak – Made in Peabody, Massachusetts. Gel coats and resins are sourced locally, the fabrics are from Canada and the hardware is from Washington state and Finland.
  • Hurricane Kayaks — Made in Warsaw, North Carolina. Most of the materials are sourced in the USA, but some seat components and fasteners come from outside the U.S.
  • Bonafide – Made in Fletcher, North Carolina. Parts are sourced in the US in addition to overseas.  
  • Hobie Kayaks – Manufactured in Oceanside, California from globally sourced materials.
  • Sun Dolphin – Manufactured in Muskegon, Michigan. Most materials are sourced from the USA, but select component parts are sourced from China.
  • Andis – Most kayaks are made in Sturtevant, Wisconsin, but some are produced outside of the United States. Some parts are imported from China.

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