Last Updated on October 14, 2021
When I first started my wildlife photography, I could rarely capture an awesome grizzly bear or silverfish photo. So, naturally, I was frustrated. But then something changed my wildlife water photography for once and all.
Somehow, I started kayaking to explore the waterways in both inland and oceans. I was amazed at the photography quality and unknown world exposed in front of my camera lens. Since then, I have never stopped kayak photography.
As many people ask me about my photography setup, I decided to help them with the five best kayaks for photography reviews and the tricks and tips to use them. You have to understand that kayak photography is one of the least explored photography niches, and so, its opportunity is vast and unthinkable.
You will only need to get the right kayak and camera set up for it. Hence, I have also added a buying guide on the kayaks for photographers along with some important FAQs asked by them.
Let’s go deep into the water! Ahem-deep into the review.
This article covers
- 1 Top 6 Best Kayak For Photography List to go close to nature
- 2 1. Intex 68310VM Dakota K2 2-Person – Best Inflatable Kayak For Stability & Comfort
- 3 2. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak – Best For Rough Weather Photograpy
- 4 3. TERRAVENT Foldable – Best Lightweight Kayak For Wildlife Photography
- 5 4. BKC FK184 9′ Single – Best Sit On Top Kayak For Ocean Photograpy
- 6 5. Perception Splash Seat Back Cooler – Best For Comfortable Seating Experience
- 7 6. Pelican Recreational Performance – Best Sit-in Kayak For Fishing Photograpy
- 8 Buying Guide for The Best Kayak for Photography
- 9 Types of Kayak for Photography
- 10 How to Protect the Camera and Other Gears While Kayaking Photography?
- 11 Is Wedding Photography On a Kayak Is Possible? If Not, Then Why?
- 12 Which Type of Kayak Is Best for Photography
- 13 Recommendation for Kayak Photography
- 14 Conclusion
Top 6 Best Kayak For Photography List to go close to nature
- Best Stable Kayak ( 2 person) – Intex 68310VM Dakota K2 2-Person
- Best For Rough Weather Photograpy – Intex Explorer K2 Kayak
- Best For Wildlife Photography – TERRAVENT Foldable Lightweight Kayak
- Best For Ocean Photograpy – BKC FK184 9′ Single Sit On Top Kayak
- Best For Comfortable Seats – Perception Splash ( Cooler For Kayak )
- Best For Fishing Photograpy – Pelican Recreational Performance Sit-in Kayak
The Best Kayak for Bird, Wildlife & Nature Photography Reviews for You for Some Awesome Snaps
Your entire camera and lens setup for wildlife and water photography may be worth around $10000 or even more. Hence, most photographers fear tipping over from the kayak and losing their valuables.
I kept it in my mind and came up with five incredibly stable and durable kayaks with enough width to offer you extreme photography.
1. Intex 68310VM Dakota K2 2-Person – Best Inflatable Kayak For Stability & Comfort
The Intex K2 kayak is a crazy product on our list with superb stability, comfortable sit on the top facility, and enlarged length for two persons. Since it was made for 2 persons, it offers better stability and comfort that photographers will love.
The fact that it has 400 pounds carrying capacity, this kayak becomes a top-notch choice for anglers and photographers alike. You can easily carry your different lenses, tripods, camera, personal accessories and find enough space to fit them in the kayak storage.
It is made using reinforced vinyl and has three separate air chambers. Therefore, it is less likely to get drown even if one chamber gets damaged or punctured.
Also, the puncture-resistant and I-beam floor offer enough rigidity to withstand the harsh water conditions easily.
You will love its improved stability too. It enables you to stand and set up camera gears for some unique and eye-catchy snaps. And as you stay on the kayak, its removable skeg will stabilize the kayak better with quick directional movements.
The kayak includes two skegs. The longer one for straight tracking and the shorter skeg helps in fast turn-taking. It can be a real game-changer in birds and fish photography if you notice any species around you and need quick focusing.
The inflatable kayak is easy to carry when not inflated in a carry bag. It includes an air pump that helps you inflate the kayak in less than 2 minutes. Plus, its carry handle, along with the grab lines, will make transporting the kayak in water easier.
Last but not least, with two drag bags, you can safely store your camera equipment and beverage for a day-long photography tour. You will love when the kayak crazily moves through the deep sea and lake water to provide you awesome photography opportunities.
- Length: 10’3”
- Width: 3’
- Weight: 30.60lbs
- Capacity: 400lbs
- Suitable for: All water types
- Puncture-resistant heavy-duty kayak
- Ideal for novice photographers
- Awesome stability and controls
- Easy to transport and store with pumps
- Difficulty in paddling in extreme conditions
2. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak – Best For Rough Weather Photograpy
This yellow kayak is our next choice for the best kayak for photography, thanks to its incredible fully functional features, not only paper-based. First off, the kayak has a bright yellow color. It is highly beneficial during emergencies since it increases visibility in low-light and rough weather.
Plus, you will get two comfortable seats for two persons with enough leg space for each. The backrest offers you enhanced comfort through adjustability. On top of it, the cockpit design promises to bring one of a kind kayak experience with this incredible water vessel.
Hence, you can sit relaxed on the kayak and wait for hours to get your cherished snaps that you can sell for a handsome amount.
It comes with two removable skegs. The long skeg makes straight-line movements easy and stable, while the shorter skeg offers a quick turning facility.
Hence, you will enjoy better stability and easily stand on the kayak for the best lens focusing. As you stand and take photos, your fellow kayaker can navigate it confidently. It boosts the kayaking experience and also helps in finding rare fishes and birds for your snaps better.
The kayak has 400 pounds carrying capacity and includes two dry bags. Thus, you can easily store all camera equipment from different lenses to cameras and personal belongings.
Thanks to its sturdy and rugged design, you won’t have to worry about the kayak tipping over and losing the valuables.
It is made using reinforced vinyl with three chambers. The vinyl construction is puncture and tear-resistant for durable uses in rough conditions. Plus, its three chambers offer superior stability and durability on the water, even if one chamber gets punctured accidentally.
You can easily carry the deflated kayak to the back of the car close to your spot. It comes with a strong air pump helping inflate and deflate the kayak in less than a few minutes.
Once it is inflated, you can use its carry handle to take it down in the water and set off for the deep water.
- Length: 10’3”
- Width: 3’
- Weight: 30.60lbs
- Capacity: 400lbs
- Suitable for: Small lakes and rivers
- Yellow color increases visibility in emergencies
- Extremely rugged design for stability and durability
- Ideal photography kayak in river, lakes, and creeks
- The streamlined front makes navigation easy and stable
- Not means for sea and ocean photography
- No separate storage space
3. TERRAVENT Foldable – Best Lightweight Kayak For Wildlife Photography
If you aren’t afraid of your bank account, I recommend you to look at this TERRAVENT Kayak, which has been a top choice for most wildlife photographers. I also used to sit in this same kayak when I went fishing and photographing on Lake Minnesota.
This is a 1-person kayak that is worth it’s expensive pricing. To begin with, you can fold and unfold the kayak at least 2000 times. It should thus serve you for several years in water for photography, traveling, and relaxation. Plus, when folded, it becomes compact enough to be carried inside the car to any spot.
The kayak is made using customized polypropylene and has dual layers. The polypropylene layer is 5mm thick, easily sliding over any rocks or gravels without minimal disturbance and damages. Plus, its hull is incredibly strong too.
Therefore, you will love how this kayak elevates durability and stability on the water for some awesome and admirable snaps.
It has a heavy-duty construction. So, the kayak can easily withstand up to a gentle breeze rating of level three. Also, it reaches speed up to 7.5 MPH with an average speed of 3.5MPH.
It should be enough for photographers and relaxed kayakers to roam around and look for their favorite catch happily. Also, its performance will always remain top-notch thanks to such detailing.
Next, you will admire its easy assembly and folding facility as it’s one of the best kayaks for photography. It won’t take more than 5-7 minutes to unfold and set up the kayak for going deep into the water.
Standing at 40lbs only, carrying the folded kayak is easy too. It should fit at the back of your car or SUV easily. So, where is your next photography destination with this super-incredible kayak?
- Length: 12’8”
- Width: 25.6”
- Weight: 30.60lbs
- Capacity: 330lbs
- Suitable for: Small lakes and rivers
- Super-fast movement on the water with improved stability
- Tear, impact, and puncture-resistant for durability
- Easy and convenient control for novice kayakers even
- Hull shape is designed for comfortable navigation
- The kayak is extremely expensive for all
4. BKC FK184 9′ Single – Best Sit On Top Kayak For Ocean Photograpy
BKC is a famous name in the kayak industry, and photographers love BKC kayaks for their superior stability and steadiness even in rough weather.
Their FK184 comes with all the essential features you would want in a photography kayak. You can take it in deep water or shallow water to explore through the seas, oceans, and creeks for scenic beauty and unique snaps.
For convenience, the sit-on-top kayak includes a seat with memory foam. Hence, it will remember your seating position and offer you maximum comfort. You can adjust both the backrest and aluminum paddle for better comfort.
On top of it, this kayak is made for maximum steadiness and protection on the water. It is made of high-density polyethylene material and is more stable than most kayaks of its class.
Hence, you can explore oceans, lakes, or rivers confidently with this kayak. And for durability, the HDPE material has corrosion, UV, and puncture resistance.
Its sit-on-top facility enables you to arrange your photography gears easily and swiftly. Plus, its stable hull combines with the flat and wider bottom to offer maximum stability without any flips or unwanted turns.
Another benefit of this kayak for photography is its great storage. The large cargo area is spacious enough to accommodate supplies for daylong tours.
Plus, it also has two watertight compartments. You can use them to store the camera lenses and sensitive gears to avoid water splashes. This is particularly effective since most camera lenses and camera flashes may get damaged in water.
Also, the kayak equips with 5 fishing rod holders. So, you can also get some pretty big catches as you roam around the water for the desired shot. Hence, it offers you 2-in-1 services that bring life to the photography life. And it really works- fun and refreshing!
- Length: 9’
- Width: 32”
- Weight: 44lbs
- Capacity: 330lbs
- Suitable for: Ocean, river, and lakes
- Suitable for kayaking in all water bodies
- Vibrant yellow colors increase visibility
- Adjustable mesh seat for comfort and safety
- Two watertight chambers to store camera gears
- It won’t fit inside the car; carry it on the car roof
5. Perception Splash Seat Back Cooler – Best For Comfortable Seating Experience
This time we introduce to you not a kayak but a cooler that you will love. Yes, when you remain on water for long hours to get your dream shot, you may feel thirsty at times. At those moments, you will want your favorite beverage. But drinking it hot won’t be a good experience.
This seatback cooler will relieve you from such inconvenience. You can quickly attach it with the kayak seat and see how magically it transforms your kayaking experience into a heavenly one. Perception makes the cooler.
It is a leading manufacturer of kayak and kayak accessories. So, there’s no question about its quality.
The seatback cooler is designed to fit all the regular kayak seats featuring lawn-style chairs. Also, it will attach with most Perception Pro kayak seats. Thus, you won’t need to worry about its compatibility. You can simply buy it and attach it to the back of the seat to easily access your favorite beverage.
The cooler bag is made of premium polyethylene fabric and has D-rings and a carry handle for comfy portability. It has a bungee ball system that permits you to attach the bag quickly with the seat.
Plus, it has strong webbing loops to attach additional photography gear with it.
The zipper and internal seams, including the main fabric, are made waterproof. So, it keeps rain and splashes away. The bag is large enough to accommodate 12 cans with standard height and ice.
Also, it features ¾” thick foam to keep the bag cool even during scorching days.
- Dimension: 5 x 18 x 11.75 inches
- Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Capacity: 12 standard cans
- Suitable for: Lawn style kayak seats
- Multiple attaching points for safety and easy attachment
- The entire bag, including the seams, is waterproof
- Comfortable and rugged carry handle for easy portability
- Accommodates 12 beverage cans with enough ice
- The pricing could have been a bit lower
6. Pelican Recreational Performance – Best Sit-in Kayak For Fishing Photograpy
The Pelican sit-in kayak is known for its agility and speed in the water. Hence, photographers love it to chase speedy fish species and eagles from water. It truly elevates your kayak photography experience with such extreme speed.
But the kayak is not about speed only. The 1-person kayak is designed to offer maximum stability so you can confidently focus the camera lenses without minimum flipping and shaking. It made such stability possible thanks to its improved hull featuring Deep C Chine.
Hence, you can kayak through the turbulent water and still feel the steadiness. Plus, its high response while shifting body weight on the kayak allows you to keep everything steady and on-place. It is particularly ideal for novice photographers since they can focus better from the kayak top.
For increased tracking and navigation, the kayak comes with a keel extension. The front of the kayak has been streamlined, which also contributes to its overall speed and movement. The kayak is also highly durable.
Thankfully, its high-density polyethylene material is UV and puncture-resistant. It also has a resin cover for further protection in rocky water.
Despite being a sturdy and durable kayak, it is pretty lightweight. Standing at 41lbs, this kayak should be pretty easy to transport. Apart from portability, its lightweight also facilitates quick and convenient movements and tracking.
The sit-in seat is comfortable and won’t cause sweating during the summer days. So, you should feel comfortable inside. Also, it has enough space for all paddlers.
For storage, the kayak includes a stern bulkhead. You can easily store food and beverages in it for daylong kayaking and set off for your perfect photographic moments.
- Length: 12’
- Width: 28”
- Weight: 41lbs
- Capacity: 300lbs
- Suitable for: Creeks, river, and lakes
- The seat has a cushion for enhanced comfort
- It has bungee cords to store additional gears
- The carry handle is ergonomic and comfortable
- You can adjust the footrest for all paddlers
- Its width is limited, which confine movements
Buying Guide for The Best Kayak for Photography
I have to admit that no manufacturers buy kayaks specifically for photography. Hence, you have to be on your toes to find a kayak that supports your photography.
And I know it can be real havoc if you don’t know which factor to focus on and which to leave out for the kayaks.
Also, in most cases, you will photograph all alone, which further proves the importance of investing in the right kayak with supreme protection.
It is the ideal safety of both you and your photography kits. And make no mistake that photography kits are expensive, and you may want them to carry in the best kayak for photography.
Type of The Kayak
You may be surprised at this point and may ask, “I am going to buy a photography kayak. So, what’s the type of it? It’s already a specific type?” But that’s not true.
Kayaks mostly have two types; firstly, the sit-on-top kayaks and secondly, sit-in kayaks. Sit on top kayaks come with a seat on the kayak top. It often facilitates with adjustable seat and cushioned backrest. So, you will enjoy sitting on it.
The sit-in kayak has a seat inside the kayak. You have to enter into the kayak and sit on the seat. It is often fixed, and you might find it difficult for long hours.
Next, you also have to look at the kayak types depending on their activity. It includes fishing kayaks, whitewater kayaks, and inflatable kayaks. Inflatable kayaks are easy to transport and offer better stability.
Safety and Stability
If the kayak isn’t stable and shakes on water, your camera will tumble. Hence, you will get bad snaps, and excessive shaking may cause you to flip over from the kayak. It will result in losing the expensive camera set up, which you would definitely want to avoid.
Hence, the kayak must be stable and safe. The safety comes from its construction—for instance, kayaks with multiple air chambers.
Also, sit on top, and inflatable kayaks are the most stable and steady kayaks. Hence, you can use them with good effects for photography.
Size of Your Kayak
When you want a kayak for photography, its size will play a key factor. You would want a kayak with comfort and convenience. You must remember that a comfortable kayak will elevate the photography experience massively.
The longer kayaks with streamlined hulls are faster and offer more space for carrying photography kits. Also, these kayaks are stable.
But you can’t deny the benefits of the smaller kayaks either. If you plan to take snaps in confided places and rough water, smaller kayaks with their compatibility will be the best option for you.
And for the width of the kayak will correspond with the kayak length. But honestly speaking, the kayak’s width has nothing to play in the photography comfort and convenience.
Hull Shape and Size
Although multiple factors affect the kayak stability, you should pay special attention to the hull design. It is important because the hull shape and size are immensely responsible for the kayak stability. For this, look at the kayak bottom.
Kayak with a flatter bottom will be more stable and steady. But too thin bottom may result in punctures which can be dangerous.
I recommend you look for a flat hull with a V-shape design. It will offer you the stability to permit you even stand on the kayak for some memorable snaps.
Storage and Comfort
Kayaks must be highly comfortable. It depends on the seat and footrest mostly. So, I prefer using a lawn chair-style seat with cushioned padding.
Also, it must have an adjustable backrest so that photographers can adjust the seat to sit in different positions throughout the day. It removes fatigue and stress.
Also, you must look at the storage capacity of the kayak. A kayak with watertight compartments will allow you to store the water-sensitive camera kits safely.
Plus, it will allow you to store enough food and beverage for the daylong tour. It helps you in getting deep into the water and closer to nature for the best wildlife photography.
I have to admit that kayaks are an expensive investment. I have seen photography kayak pricing going up as much as $1000. The least priced kayaks may be gettable at $250 or more.
Hence, you need to determine the budget and choose the kayak accordingly.
Wild Life Photography From Kayak – More adventures than anyone visualizes
Importance of Enjoyment of Kayak for Photography
Photography is both a skill and a reflection of your mind. If you have a clear and sharp mind, you will find better photography moments.
Hence, you need to be more attentive and enjoy the session. I have found many photographers finding their kayak time difficult, so their photo quality has dropped drastically.
I would recommend you to enjoy the kayaking time too. It will keep you joyous and help you better focus on photography. If you put too much attention on the kayak, you will lose insightful moments.
Also, expert photographers always focus on enjoying the photography sessions no matter what the condition is. It will help you in getting better snaps.
For Which Type of Person Needs a Kayak for Photography
Kayak photography isn’t for all. If you love going close to nature and exploring deep water for some scenic beauty, I suggest you go for kayak photography.
Also, it is advised that you know about swimming, in case any accidents happen.
Plus, kayaking is an excellent way of burning fats since it requires a lot of energy. Hence, you can go on kayaking and take the camera with you to enjoy and capture the moments.
These days, many anglers also take the camera with them as they fish around oceans, rivers, lakes ad creeks. It has enabled us to see the unknown world of anglers.
Hence, I would suggest you choose kayak photography only if you want to explore the life in the water and around it. If you aren’t enthusiastic about it, you won’t find the photography joyful and may even think it a waste of time.
Also, as we plan for such a kayaking session, make sure what you want to capture and plan accordingly.
Types of Kayak for Photography
Honestly speaking, no manufacturers build kayaks only for photography. Yet, during my long career, I found a few kayak types more suitable for photographing than others.
First off, a steady sit-on-top kayak allows you to move freely. So, you can quickly focus on the fish, bird, or animal near the bank.
Next, you might choose an inflatable kayak. These kayaks are lightweight and easy to transport. Also, it has multiple air chambers at its bottom.
So, the kayak is stable and offers solid performance. Also, inflatable kayaks come with removable seats, allowing you to customize the kayak top to accommodate the camera kits.
Also, you may choose whitewater kayaks if you plan to go deep into the river where the current is strong. So, I leave it to your preference to choose the best kayak for photography.
How to Protect the Camera and Other Gears While Kayaking Photography?
Most photographers are afraid of losing their camera and lenses in the water while kayaking. Hence, I recommend you use a camera cover. These covers are mostly waterproof, and so your camera should remain safe from splashes and in shallow water too.
Also, you will get waterproof and powerful cameras. You can choose such cameras for taking photos in rough water. If you want an extra layer of protection, use a dry case to cover the camera and get your favorite wildlife shots.
You may even look at the stability of the kayak hull and deck. A stable and steady kayak is less likely to tip over, causing any inconvenience.
Is Wedding Photography On a Kayak Is Possible? If Not, Then Why?
Wedding photography refers to capturing moments of the bridals during or after their wedding. Honestly speaking, you will find it difficult to perform wedding photography on kayaks.
Not only do you have to be in the kayak, but also the couple needs to be on the water on a kayak. It could not be comforting for them.
Hence, I don’t suggest you try wedding photography on kayaks unless you are pretty adventurous and brave.
Most kayaks work almost quietly and allow you to go closest to nature. Also, you can float on the water without any noise, which will allow you to take snaps of different fishes and birds in deep water.
Plus, you may easily photograph grizzly bears, waterbucks, crocodiles, turtles, and other aqua species from the kayak.
But, the same can’t be said for wedding photography.
Which Type of Kayak Is Best for Photography
Usually, an inflatable and sit on top is the best way to go about wildlife photography. The sit-on-top kayak allows you to adjust the seating position with the backrest. Hence, you won’t feel hurt or tired during the long sessions.
It is important because wildlife photography is all about patience. You may have to wait for hours to capture the bird or grizzly bear you want.
Also, inflatable kayaks are easy to transport and have better stability. So, it will provide you incredible benefits in kayak photography.
Recommendation for Kayak Photography
Editor’s Choice: Intex Dakota K2 Inflatable Kayak
“This inflatable kayak is made for 2-persons with enough space. Also, adjustable seats and footrests will offer photographers extreme comfort. It is also stable and reasonably priced for all.”
Premium: TERRAVENT Foldable Lightweight Kayak
“The foldable kayak is streamlined for rough water with a flatter hull design. Its dual-layer design and swift movement will enable you to go deep into the water quickly with optimal stability.”
Budget-friendly: Intex Explorer K2 Kayak
“This Intex K2 kayak comes in around $200 and includes every feature you want for photography. From high visibility to the rugged design and adjustable seat, this kayak is every photographer’s dream.”
Here, we have included three top suggestions for kayaks for photography. We have looked at different aspects of the kayaks so that they fit the necessity of most photographers. Our prime focus was on stability, steadiness, durability, and comfort.
Stability is linked with the hull design, flat bottom, and construction. Also, you may look at the materials of the kayak for stability and durability.
Also, we considered the pricing of these kayaks. It is crucial since a kayak price may easily go up to $1000. But these kayaks may not be affordable for all, especially if you are a novice photographer.
So, we kept it in mind and chose mostly some affordably priced kayaks in this top list.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Which is the best kayak brand for wildlife photography?
Since a few kayak manufacturers are in the market, it is almost impossible to tag one or two specific brands as the best for photography. Hence, we have included six top-tier kayaks for wildlife and wildlife photography in the list.
These kayaks come from various brands focusing on stability, steadiness, and comfort to serve your photography requirements.
Is it worth performing wildlife photography from a kayak?
Yes, performing wildlife photography from a kayak is absolutely worth it. The kayaks operate quietly, and so, you can go closest to nature, including fish, animals, and birds deep in water.
So, you will be able to get some unique and rare wildlife photographs. Also, kayaking is an excellent way of exercise which further improves its worthiness.
Will kayaking burn my extra fat?
Yes, regular kayaking will help you in burning fat quite effectively. It is a great form of exercise and needs massive energy as you paddle through the water.
So, it not only burns fat but also provides your muscles with additional strength.
Photography is a performing art. Hence, you will want the best equipment for it. If you plan for wildlife and water photography, choosing the best kayak for photography will be your best option.
And in this regard, you can quickly select one from our list.
But you have to realize that choosing the kayak is only the tip of the iceberg of such extreme and unusual photography. You have to know the tricks as well.
It includes knowing how to wait, setting up the tripod (if you use any), horizontal and vertical camera setup, and above all, finding the right locations for the best snaps.
Since adapting to these tricky techniques is difficult, so you have to be patient. If you rush for it, you aren’t going to get any.
Plus, you have to maintain and clean the kayak properly to ensure its durable and lasting performance. It is important since kayaks for photography don’t come at a low price and aren’t any easy gear to go about for users.
However, time and money invested in these kayaks will be worth it when you get the desired wildlife snap and see it published in famous magazines.
I have been kayaking since I am young & have extensive experience with different kayak brands. During every vacation of my children, we made camping and kayaking plans. My younger boy loves fishing but he scared of kayaking. I would love to share my experience throughout this blog.