Pelican Kayaks are they any good???

I’m planning to buy my wife a kayak. But I’m sure about the Pelican brand name. I know Perception, Dagger, Riot, & etc. She’s not planning to use it a lot of times, only one or twice a week. Any suggestions.

Depends what you want from them
I bought a Pelican Pursuit 10 last summer and have not had a problem with it yet. They are priced cheap, so I would presume they provide less than par performance when compared to more expensive kayaks. I have never been in another brand of kayak so I couldn’t say.

I have used mine in small rivers, fishing in bays, cruising at lakes, and also playing in the surf at the beach and don’t have any complaints… It’s a blast. Two or so weeks ago I got a good skirt from nrs and now I have even been able to roll in it.

Think Coleman
Pelican bought the boat biz from coleman, kayaks and canoes included.

Same plastic as the coleman canoes, so its kinda soft and heavy, expect oil canning, and its going to weigh more than comparable boats. The seats that I have seen offer no padding, and if it has a hatch, it doesnt go to a bulkhead sealed compartment, just a shallow dish under the hatch.

If you dont expect alot, it will probably be fine, but a small increase in price will buy you alot more boat.

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Our first was a Pelican
We bought one for the boy when he was 10. Sure was glad when it sold. It tracked like a drunk snake. Almost ruined the idea of paddling for the boy.

If I were you I’d kick in another $100-$200 and buy a much better used boat. We upgraded him to a Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100. It opened a new world for him. He LOVES to paddle-fish now.

Pelican Esprit
My little Pelican was all I could afford at the time. I wanted a better boat and knew there was more out there, but it was a choice between ogling and actually getting on the water. What the other folks aren’t mentioning is that Pelican, while a simpler, wider boat is generally a good package. Mine came with a little car carrying kit (don’t know about you, but my local shop wants $20/piece for those foam cradles and straps aren’t cheap either. It also came with a paddle and skirt. While the paddle is the heaviest thing I’ve found, it’s a paddle none the less. The skirt’s not that bad, especially if you just want to stay warm or don’t want spray (my mom hates the spray) to hit you. Just buy a PFD and you can be in the water the same day with a Pelican. I don’t know about the tracking problems. Mine tracks beautifully. Ok, not like the Tempest but I’d never expect that. The Esprit is 10’2 and 34 lbs and frankly, I don’t see how that’s any more than other rec boats. For example, Wilderness Systems’ Pungos (various models) START at a hefty 48 pounds. If all you want is to get on the water casually, find a decent paddle and get going. If you’re progressing in the sport, Pelicans are not the way to go. But even if you outgrow it, it’s a nice loaner boat and a good stable boat for a nervous new paddler. Shouldn’t be about brand names but just getting on the water and enjoying the outdoors.

Buy a used boat…
Consider buying a better quality, designed >used< kayak. There are tons of used kayaks out there that would be considerably better than a Pelican. If you can get over the scratches on the hull of a used kayak (which you’ll get soon enough on the Pelican), you’ll greatly appreciate it in the long run.


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ain’t that the truth
the brand is SOOOO less important in the begining. Tracking is nice, but edging and efficency and secondary stability and all that are less important than getting out there.

A few hundred bucks will get a heck of a lot nicer boat, but it also may cost you a year in wait time to get out, or you will get only the cheapest paddle and PFD and not enjoy the nicer boat as much. Plus the paddle and PFD are what go with you to the next boat.

There is probably a good hint, spend $200 on on the paddle and PFD, maybe $250 if you can choose a nice paddle. Forget about the boat, it is just there to keep you and your gear out of the water. Heck once you are alright at paddling, you could just tie some drybags and float-bags together and paddle them.

In sumation, I miss my big heavy cheap first boat. I miss the feeling of freedom that $500 (total boat, PFD, paddle, Ohio registration, Girl shiloulette stickers) brought me. Just get a boat and get out there. Later you can pawn that one off in the newspaper and enjoy a boat more suited to you…after you know what it is that you like and what you need.


Boat Paddle PFD
For what its worth, thats more than what i spent for a used roof rack, kayak carrier, swifty, nice harmony paddle, and PFD on a nice sale.

Not trying to bash someones boat, just saying, for a few more dollars you can get a lot more boat.

One other thing…
Alot of people are saying that for a 100 or so bucks more a much better boat can be bought, but I think its actually gets a bit more expensive than that. A brand new pelican can be had from Academy Sports and Outdoors for 200 bucks… I have been looking for a “name brand” used kayak in good shape and havn’t found much under the 500 dollar mark. Sure there is an occasional good buy on a used boat, but for the low price pelicans can be had at I don’t think you can totally shoot the option down. You just have to understand that you are getting what you pay for…

I have to agree.
I’m just getting started myself and I looked a long time for an inexpensive way to get into the game. It seems that an awful lot of people around here are very fond of their used kayaks. And telling someone that they are better off spending just a couple of hundred bucks more is easy when it is not your couple of hundred bucks. I wound up with the Pelican Pursuit 10 and for what I am doing with it I don’t see anything wrong with it. It is light enough for me to handle. I have no difficulty paddling it in a straight line. I don’t notice any oil canning. It seems reasonably stable to me.

I have to wonder if everybody recommending against the Pelican has ever actually paddled one or are they just assuming that inexpensive automatically equals bad.


It all depends on what you want. For
the same price, you can get an Old Town Otter XT…its the one with foot braces, the basic otter doesn’t have them. Nice little kayak if your plan is to get one under 10 ft…even cheaper if you go without the foot pegs. The Swifty is a popular boata too. Some pelicans may be ok, but avoid the Apex. You may want to take a look at Mainstream too, inexpensive and ok.

If all your wife is looking to do is have fun, then a pelican is just fine. It was my first and the lack of tracking taught me how to paddle plus it is very stable. It was too much fun for the money!

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NRS spray skirt for a pursuit 100/120
Hi there, I noticed your comment about having a spray skirt for a Pelican Pursuit 100/120 that is tight enough to roll. Could you tell me exactly what skirt this is? Thanks.

Pelicans or other similar recreational style kayaks are not bad if you use them for what they’re designed for. If you want to spend a couple of hours on calm water within swimming distance from shore, then they’ll do the trick. I paddled a pelican for a while before I bought a “real” sea kayak. It got me out on the water and introduced me to kayaking without taking all my money, so I can’t say I have any regrets about buying it.

Some pros: they’re light, short enough that storage is easy, stable enough for beginners to be comfortable, and they’re cheap.

Some cons: They don’t track well and slow, which means that long distances will be difficult. They don’t have a lot of storage space, so an overnight trip gets tricky. They don’t have enough contact for proper control in rough water, and most don’t have proper bulkheads, which means rescue is difficult if you capsize. They will sink if flooded (I dragged mine off the bottom of the river a couple of times), so you stay on calm water and within swimming distance of shore.

Now I have got a pelican Catch 120, and I am satisfied with its performance specifically for fishing.

Rany R lios
Floating Kayaks