What are Clear Kayaks and why they can change kayaking experience?
Imagine floating above a coral reef or the swaying riverbed grass in shallow, sunny water. You can see the underwater world as bright fish dart beneath your hull in the clean water. It seems like the stuff of paddlers’ fantasies, but it exists.
One of the most unusual styles of kayak is the clear kayak. Outfitters in far-off places use these transparent kayaks to view tropical fish or watch bioluminescence, but clear bottom kayaks have not yet gained widespread acceptance. Maybe it is because there are not as many styles to choose from or because the materials are more expensive. Whatever the cause, if you are the first person in your neighborhood to purchase a clear kayak. This guide will help you find the best clear kayak.
Polycarbonate, a high-strength thermoplastic used to make products like safety glasses and “bulletproof” glass, is typically used to make the best clear kayak. We are unsure what will if this does not indicate how long-lasting a substance is. Although these transparent kayaks appear fragile, they are anything but.
Inflatable clear kayaks are another choice; they resemble miniature rafts with clear floors and stable pontoons. These clear bottom kayaks are best suited to leisurely floats in calm conditions because they lack the rigidity of more expensive inflatables and the durability of hard plastics.
Almost all transparent kayaks have a sit-on-top recreational design. Recreational kayaks are designed to be relaxed on calm, slow-moving waterways like smaller lakes, protected bays, and moderate rivers. These kayaks are perfect for beginners, families, photographers, and other recreational paddlers since they prioritize stability over speed.
Kayaks with a sit-on-top design do not surround the paddler. For clear kayaks, the design is typically a dugout, like a canoe, with seats built inside. Many can accommodate two paddlers; however, a solo kayaker can paddle one just as easily.
Transparent glass is incorporated into the hull right in front of the seat on some sit-inside recreational kayaks made by firms like Riot Kayaks. Suppose you want a kayak that can be used for a variety of activities and do not mind having a smaller view of the water. In that case, this type of clear bottom kayak is an excellent option. You may also buy fishing kayaks with translucent bottoms that let you see the action underwater while pursuing or battling fish.
The greatest clear kayaks on the market right now will be discussed in this post, along with reviews and suggestions for new or used clear kayak purchases.
Best clear kayaks to purchase in 2022
Our top choices for the best transparent kayaks are listed below. This list is an excellent place to begin your search for the best clear kayak available.
Transparent Tandem – Learn More
The Crystal Kayak Company
Crystal Explorer Kayak is the best clear kayak-You can buy it here
Shopping Best Clear Kayaks
If you are prepared to begin shopping, our Paddling Buyer’s Guide contains information on almost every transparent kayak available, including specifications, costs, reviews, and where to buy. To help you evaluate options and pick the best transparent kayak for your upcoming paddling trip, we have filtered clear-bottom kayaks by type, brand, and well-liked online retailers.
Looking to purchase a used clear kayak?
Cheap new clear kayaks are hard to come by. Outside of tropical tour groups and rentals, they are uncommon to see on the sea. This makes it difficult to find the best clear kayak that has been used, but if you look around, you might strike it rich. There are several particular considerations to make while purchasing a used transparent kayak.
Find out the brand first. Well-known companies do not make the clearest kayaks; ask the seller to name the brand so you can research them. Like any consumer product, some clear kayaks are constructed correctly, showing favorable user reviews, while others can be low-quality knockoffs.
Polycarbonate also used to create “bulletproof glass,” is the usual material for hard-plastic clear bottom kayaks. A single sheet of polycarbonate is heated, thermoformed, or molded into the kayak’s shape. Thus, a sturdy, impact-resistant kayak hull is produced. Make sure you buy this and not a homemade kayak-shaped engineering project fashioned from sheets of plexiglass caulked together in your garden.
As with any used kayak, look for damage before deciding to buy. Although polycarbonate is durable, it can scratch, impairing the view’s clarity through the glass shell. Look for hull cracks or areas where screws were used to install seats and other equipment.
Asking the seller to meet you where you can test paddle the kayak is the best method to search for this kind of structural problem and ensure it gives the fit, comfort, and performance you want. The leak ought to be visible if there is a sizable crack.
Ask if the sale includes bow and stern airbags in addition to the seats, which may be replaceable. Flotation bags must be used since clear kayaks built of a single polycarbonate layer are not very buoyant. In this manner, the kayak will not sink in the case of a capsize or swamping. If the airbags are broken or missing, you can get replacements for them at a paddlesports store.
The clear bottom of clear bottom kayaks built to survive severe outfitter use, such as those produced by Kiwi Clear Kayaks (previously Innovex Kayak), may be removable and replaceable thanks to modular construction. Remember that a replacement clear hull panel for one of these reliable sit-on-top kayaks costs roughly $800, or close to half the price of the kayak.
Lastly, thoroughly inflate and assemble the kayak if you are considering a used inflatable clear bottom kayak. Be vigilant in listening for air leaks at seams and valves because clear inflatable kayaks are frequently not built from the most durable materials. Once more, paddling the inflatable is the only surefire method to be certain. If it is leaking, bubbles ought to be coming out of the leak.
Clear kayak – A detailed buying guide
Are you looking for a transparent kayak? Below are a few things to ensure while choosing the best clear kayak for your paddling goals.
Almost all transparent kayaks have a sit-on-top recreational design. Recreational kayaks are designed to be relaxed on calm, slow-moving waterways like smaller lakes, protected bays, and moderate rivers. These kayaks are perfect for beginners, families, photographers, and other recreational paddlers since they prioritize stability over speed. Most transparent kayaks resemble canoes in design, with low sides and seats built inside. Many can accommodate two paddlers; however, a solo kayaker can paddle one just as easily.
The fully transparent kayak is the most popular type of clear kayak. With shallow sides and an open top like a canoe, this kayak is made entirely of polycarbonate and was constructed in a single layer. These transparent kayaks require the deployment of airbags in the bow and stern to ensure flotation should the kayak swamp or capsize because polycarbonate lacks buoyancy since paddlers are completely exposed to the elements, this clear kayak best suits warm climates.
Another choice is a clear bottom kayak, typically a sit-on-top or sit-inside recreational kayak made of non-transparent polyethylene with a window made of clear polycarbonate set in the hull between the paddler’s legs. These kayaks have the advantage of having a more seaworthy or adaptable design and smaller underwater vision.
An intriguing choice for anglers is a sit-on-top fishing kayak with a clear bottom. The Riot Intrigue is an example of a clear bottom sit-inside kayak that combines the ability to see below the boat with all the elements of a capable recreational touring kayak, including a rear hatch for dry storage and a bulkhead for buoyancy.
An inflatable clear kayak can be your best option if mobility and ease of storage are important considerations. The inflatable boats have clear floors and stable pontoons that resemble miniature rafts. These clear bottom kayaks are best suited to leisurely floats in calm conditions because they lack the rigidity of more expensive inflatables and the durability of hard plastics.
A clear folding kayak offers a sit-inside design where the paddler slides into an enclosed cockpit within the kayak, but it is significantly more expensive than its inflatable equivalents. This design enables a quicker (but somewhat less stable) shape that is slimmer and more streamlined than an inflatable. Inflatable kayaks are more portable than folding kayaks, but folding kayaks require more work to put together. This can be the best clear kayak for beginners.
Most clear kayaks do not generally focus on performance; instead, they allow paddlers to experience a different perspective by looking beneath the water’s surface. Imagine going snorkeling without getting out of your kayak.
One of the most popular groups of people to use clear kayaks in tropical areas is tour operators. Before making a purchase, try getting in touch with an outfitter familiar with these kayaks, or better yet, test one out on your upcoming family vacation. The best method to determine whether a kayak will work for your paddling objectives is to take it out on the water and give it a test run.
Wish to learn more? Here are some common queries concerning clear kayaks and their responses.
What materials are clear kayaks constructed of?
Polycarbonate, the material used to make “bulletproof glass” and safety glasses, is utilized to make transparent kayaks. A thermoplastic called polycarbonate may be heated up and molded into intricate shapes. Clear kayaks and other polycarbonate goods are frequently made using thermoforming.
Clear kayak weight restrictions
A clear kayak can hold up to a certain weight depending on the model. The manufacturer’s specs show the weight restriction for a clear kayak. Many transparent kayaks are tandem kayaks with weight capacities appropriate for two adults.
Cost of a clear kayak
A new polycarbonate clear kayak starts at roughly $1,500; however, the price of clear kayaks varies. Clear bottom inflatable kayaks are more affordable.
Where to get a transparent kayak
Purchase the best clear kayak from specialized internet merchants or straight from the manufacturer; some types are offered on Amazon. A few brick-and-mortar stores also sell clear kayaks; to discover one close to you, use the dealer locator for that brand of the clear kayak.
Reliable kayak producers
There are many kayak brands, but some of the best over the markets concerning clear kayaks are:
Driftsun, Markab Sports, Kiwi Clear Kayaks (formerly Innovex Kayak), Crystal Kayak, and Clear Blue Hawaii are well-known brands of clear kayaks. The Intrigue by Riot Kayaks is a functional recreational kayak with a clear bottom.
Learn more about best kayak brands
7 Best Kayak Brands: What to Consider Before Choosing a Brand?