Kayaks have been around for over 4000 years with some of the oldest kayaks from 1577 still on display in museums today. The original kayaks were made for fishing and traveling. The kayak has gone through many evolution’s throughout it’s time it has gone from a hull being made out of any materials available at the time with animal hides stretched over it all the way to the sophisticated kayaks we see today. Most people from their century would not have imagined all of the advancements including the advancement of the modern pedal kayak. We have spent hours researching the best pedal kayaks available and have copiled this guide which will hopefully help you in making your decision on which is best for you.
When you’re choosing a pedal kayak, it’s important to know the different brands available. Though there are a number of different pedal kayak types, currently, the two most significant names in the marketplace are the Native Watercraft pedal kayaks and the Hobie Mirage pedal kayaks.
Hobie is known as one of the most innovative kayak manufacturers in the marketplace. For their pedal kayaks, they have developed something called Mirage Drive technology which gives people the ability to use their legs to move the kayak along. Hobie is known for the different kayaks they produce but also for the different types of devices such as motors, anchors, sails, and for our purposes the Mirage Drive.
Native watercraft is also a veteran in the kayaking space. They have many products kayaking and accessories which are not pedal related and have shown through reviews and time that they are one of the top players in the market as well as being on of the best pedal kayak manufacturers around.
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Hobie Mirage Outback Pedal Kayak
Specifications for the Hobie Mirage Outback pedal kayak. The Hobie kayak comes in at 12 foot 1, it measures 33 inches and has a fitted hull of 88 pounds. Its overall weight capacity goes up to 400 pounds.
The Hobie comes with a large bowel hatch and a detachable clip; it uses the Mirage Drive 180 technology with a mesh side pocket for storage. It has Vantage CT seating and comes with a two-piece paddle. It also comes with the rear cargo area and has an 8 inch rear twist and seal hatch. The kayak has an 8-inch twist and seal made hatch as well.
The Native Watercraft Titan Propel 13.5 pedal kayak
This is one of the only pedal kayaks with the capability to reverse.
Specifications. The titan propel has a length of 13’6” or 4.11 m the width is 41.5 inches. The fitted hull weighs 154 pounds or 70 kg and fully rigged you can expect it to be about 178 pounds or 80.1 kg. The capacity is 550 pounds or 250 kg.
The kayak comes installed with a full-length seat sliding track and has a rod area that contains dual power pole mounts. The pedal kayak has split paddle storage and comes with a handsewn seat. It has fitted anti-slip standing pads, and it’s equipped with group tracks. The pedal kayak has a transducer mounting plate and is equipped with a big deck storage area. There is also a floor hatch for extra storage.
Which ones best for me?
When it comes down to control and fishing which many use these pedal kayaks for one of the most important things is stability while standup fishing most people know that the bigger the hull size, the more balance the kayak has because of its area. Going by that concept, the Titan Propel 13.5 pedal kayak has a hull size of 154 pounds and controls and has better stability compared to its competition the Mirage Outback pedal kayak which has a hull size of 88 pounds. However, you should also keep in consideration the type of water that you’re going to be fishing from. For instance, in calm waters, a wide flat hole such as the native watercraft pedal kayak will be an ideal choice.
Speed is not a huge concern when it comes to fishing, however, some people prefer quicker kayaks, and in this category, the Native Watercraft pedal kayak comes in first because of its pedal drive system it has a better push forward power compared to its counterpart the Mirage pedal kayak.
Due to it’s fitted Mirage pedal system the Mirage pedal kayak has better maneuverability in shallow water compared to the Titan.
Push pedals versus rotational pedals
When you’re choosing a pedal kayak, you learn that there are two types of pedals that are both equally easy to use. These are the rotational pedals and the push pedals. They both demand the use of your lower body but call on different lower body motions.
The push pedal
Kayaks that are propelled by the push pedal move forward by the act of you pushing your feet forward. The most significant issue here is the lack of momentum when you stop pushing since when you stop pushing the kayak comes to a complete stop you need to exert a somewhat more significant amount of force then you would with rotational paddles.
Rotational kayak paddle
With rotational kayak pedals, one moves the kayak as if you are in a walking motion. This calls for engagement of the legs entirely in a continuous motion created by the rotational paddle which helps in building momentum even if you decide to stop pedaling. When you finish pedaling the kayak will still maintain a particular speed and if or when you choose not to continue the kayak will continue gliding for a short amount of time. The most prominent downside of this is although you get increased speed and efficiency you do however have to sacrifice space.
Launching and beaching in a pedal kayak
The pedal kayak or the paddle kayak are similar when it comes to launching and beaching. However, there are some subtle differences as you might imagine with the extra gear coming out from the bottom of the pedal kayak. One of the great things about the new models of pedal kayaks is that the pedal system can be lifted out of the kayak while you’re transporting it to avoid being banged up on some flat regions. It can then be adjusted and put in when you’re ready to launch, and you can quickly get it into the water without scraping the bottom of the surface.
Advantages of a pedal kayak versus a paddle kayak
Compared to the paddle kayak the pedal-powered kayak has several advantages such as increased speed, and superior back support fitted seats. One of the best benefits is the fact that you can have a full body workout while in the kayak which includes your legs rather than just your upper body this will make you healthier overall. Another benefit is your ability to cover more distance with less fatigue since the leg muscles are much stronger than your upper body muscles you can probably pedal farther than you would be able to paddle and in combination with a paddle you can cover double the distance which means being able to get to those faraway fishing holes.
However, all these positives do not mean that pedal kayaks do not have drawbacks. Some of the disadvantages include reduced storage space, not great for shallow waters and high maintenance requirements. A lot of times the pedal kayaks come with extended warranties in the case that anything happens but there are many cases of constant issues with the pedal system, and you have to look for spare parts or continuously ordered new parts as your pedal system becomes damaged. A lot of these maintenance concerns can be avoided by making sure you are very careful when you’re launching the kayak and also making sure that you’re very careful when you go through shallow waters. The next issue is the fact that a lot of these pedal kayaks do tend to weigh more than their counterparts because of the extra parts.
A pedal kayak is a delightful way to enjoy the water it gives you the comfort of having a hands-free moment to do things such as fishing. As a rule, you should always be informed of different things when going on your kayaking trips like the weather, your trip distance, and the surrounding environment to keep safe. We hope this guide has helped you in getting a bit of a better overview of what a pedal kayak is and how to make the best decision on ordering one, happy kayaking!