The popularity that pedal kayaks have gained has led to more companies shifting from making paddle kayaks to making pedal kayaks, a good example being Pelican International. The Pelican pedal kayak took kayak fans by storm by offering great functionalities at an affordable cost.
Pedal Kayaks have become quite popular among anglers today. When compared to paddle kayaks, they offer a wide range of benefits such as speed, stability, hands-free fishing, and beginner-friendly functionality.
In this article, we're going to provide a deep dive on Pelican Pedal kayaks. While we have reviewed dozens of kayaks here, we're excited to share more thoughts on Pelican as a brand.
You can also read our complete review of Hobie Pedal Kayaks.
The Catch 130 Hydryve
Pelican International was known for making paddle kayak, until recently when they launched their first pelican paddle kayak, The Catch 130 Hydryve. This kayak uses the push pedal system, similar to that of Hobie's MirageDrive. When you push pedals down, they move the fins underneath the kayak sideways, propelling the kayak forward.
The kayak is made out of multilayer polyethylene and resin. These materials make it sturdier, light and resilient compared to the regular polyethylene found in other kayaks. The Catch 130 Hydryve is also relatively light. Weighing about 35kg (78lbs), you can tie it on your car, or carry it around with ease.
The Hydryve fins pedal system is ideal, even in shallow waters, since you can speed through obstacles. It's also environment-friendly since you won't have to destroy water lilies or other water plants.
The Hydryve system is cleverly housed separately in case of a significant issue, such as running around at high speed. The separate housing ensures you only destroy the replaceable housing instead of the whole kayak. Of course, it's much better if you don't get in any crash with your pedal kayak!
The Catch 130 Hydryve can be purchased directly from Pelican, with a one year warranty. The Hydryve pedal system is very light, and you can install and uninstall it easily. If you are to move in reverse, all you need to do is remove the system and change its direction. The pedal system is also adjustable to different angles to ensure your ride is comfortable. You can pedal on barefoot when you want to. You just have to change the footrest to softer one.
The Catch 130 Hydryve has the features you'd find in other more expensive kayaks. These include rod holders, tackle box management system, padded carpets and rigging tracks. It also has ample storage and elastic straps to hold the items. This kayak is made in a Tunnel hull design to make sure it's stable enough to handle the torque and unstable waters. In addition, its hull has floatation to make it buoyant. This is one of the best cheap pedal kayaks available in the market today.
Pros of the Pelican Pedal Kayak
This Pelican Pedal kayak was recently launched, and we love it. Considering the affordable price, this is also a kayak that most people can afford. All the features described above work just fine. Some of the functionalities that we liked include;
- Speed and Maneuverability – The Hydryve pedal system is quite fast and efficient. It's also light; you can remove it and change the direction to move in reverse. It is possible to gain speed with less effort. The pedals are also comfortable so you can use them for a long time.
- Easy to use Rudder - The rudder system is also easy to use, making the kayak very swift even in narrow channels. It's also very responsive, making it easy to control your kayak in the comfort of your seat.
- Stability - Its tunnel hull also makes it quite maneuverable, very stable, and versatile. You can easily stand and cast on this pelican pedal kayak. They have also installed anti-slip carpets to ensure you can quickly move around on the deck when standing. It may take some practice to stand on this kayak, but eventually, you will.
- Storage – We loved the fact that this kayak has bungee cords large enough to hold all of your supplies. It also has rigging tracks on the sides where you can mount any accessories such as cameras. Besides the seat, there are bungee cords that can hold your tackle boxes or even your beverages. There are pockets behind the seat to store more stuff. At the back of the kayak, there is an 8-inch day hatch where you can store some of your gear. It also has four flush-mount rod holders.
- Comfort – We also loved the ERGOCAST G2 dual-position sitting system. The seat has pockets and straps to hold your tools. You can adjust the angle of the seat to make it more comfortable. This seat system is easy to flip back and give you more space as you stand on your kayak. The seat also has straps that you can adjust to make the seat more firm or loose.
- Easy to use pedals: The pedals are soft and easy to use. You can adjust the foot pedals position and the foot straps to make them more comfortable. The pedals are also dual-sided so that you can pedal barefoot or in your shoes.
- Maintenance - The hydryve system is enclosed in a housing that is replaceable when too much torque is applied. This system is also modular. The damaged components can be replaced easily. At the rear of the kayak there's a drain to make draining the kayak easier. It has one 2 rear carrying handles, and one at the front to make it easier to carry around.
- Light, sturdy and resilient Design – The kayak is made of three layers of molecular polyethylene, and resin. This makes it light, strong and rigid
Cons of the Pelican Pedal Kayak
The seat design could be improved by making it height-adjustable. Some anglers love a slightly raised seat for better fishing. They should consider attaching a paddle to this kayak, just in case you want a paddle too. The bungee cords should also be enhanced or couple up with tie-down holders to make them more effective in holding your cargo.
Should you get a Peilican Pedal Kayak?
Based on our perspectives of its functionalities, reviews, and price range, we would strongly recommend this kayak. It is great for fishing, exercising, and recreation. Pelican International has a great reputation in building kayaks, there's no doubt they will keep improving their pedal kayaks.
How to Choose a Pedal Kayak
We all agree that pedal kayaks are some of the best water vessels one can own. Whether you're into kayaking as a sport, recreation, or for fishing, a kayak is the best. You can use to get even closer to breathtaking sites that are invisible from the shores. However, the pedal kayaks tend to be pricey. If you want to get the best kayak, consider the following factors;
- Destination – This could be a lake, swamp, river, or an ocean.
- Sit-in or sit-on-top – You can choose to be protected as you sit in the kayak, or to sit on top of the kayak.
- Weight and cost
- Shape and size of the kayak
To ensure that you keep the cost low, consider the following tips;
- Get the basic items – most of these kayaks come with extra accessories to enhance the performance of the kayak. These extra features add to the initial cost of the kayak. You can add the extra features gradually; you can also make some for yourselves with time. Avoid raising the initial cost too much.
- Weight – Pedal kayaks are quite heavy compared to their paddle counterparts. But you need to check how heavy, and how you can transport it. Much of this weight is attributed to the drive system, but you can remove it. Don't go for a kayak with too much hull weight. If it's too heavy, you'll have to get a trailer, raising the cost of the kayak.
- Type of the kayak – As much as you're trying to minimize the cost, you need to ensure that the kayak fits the area in which it will be used. I've mentioned the Pelican pedal kayak that can be used in a variety of occasions. Narrow river channels require short kayaks while lakes and oceans require a slightly longer kayak.
- Reviews – This is a no-brainer, even when you're getting a kayak for leisure. You need to check what other buyers are saying before spending your money on a certain kayak. We did list some of the best kayaks you can get at a lower cost, and you'll find many more. Check for reviews on reputable sites, we also review some of these kayaks.
- Don't forego the necessities – Some must-haves such as water shields, lifejackets, paddles, and other necessary safety equipment should be in your budget. If you ignore them you'll incur more costs in terms of health issues, or damage to your kayak that needs to be repaired.
- Maneuverability – Pedal kayaks have always had problems sailing in shallow waters. But the fins system fairs better in areas with rids. When getting your kayak you need to know how well it can maneuver the water body you have in mind. If there are reeds, you may have to remove them all the time and this could damage your kayak. Some pedal kayaks even come with a paddle in cases where the pedal drive may not be efficient
- Maintenance – Besides purchasing a kayak, you need to factor in the maintenance of the kayak. For instance, salty water damages some parts of the kayak. You need to wash your kayak every time. It's better to pay an extra cost to get a corrosion-free kayak, than having to replace the damaged parts all the time.
Affordable kayaks options
Hobie is well known for high-quality kayaks. The Mirage Passport 10.5 is a recent model that is also quite affordable, based on the features it offers. This kayak is powered y Hobie's famous MirageDrive. All models after 2017 have the MirageDrive 180 that is reversible. This kayak also has the adjustable Vantage CT comfortable seat. The pedal crank can be adjusted to different positions based on the angler's size. Mounting tracks for your accessories are also available, as well as ample storage.
The storage area/hatch has a waterproof seal that protects items like food and electronics when the kayak is submerged in water. For an easy hands-free control, this kayak has a rudder that you can control at the comfort of your seat. It also comes with a paddle. This would come in handy when you get into areas that aren't favorable for pedaling.
This kayak is fast, you can get to specific fishing positions in no time. The polyethylene material makes it light and resilient. This way it's also cheaper to maintain the kayak since it doesn't fracture or dent easily.
You can also check out our detailed review of the Mirage Passport 10.5
This kayak is brought to you by Riot. This is one of those kayaks that you would get for a very good price. Unlike the Hobie and Pelican kayaks, this kayak is powered by the rotational pedal. Instead of fins, this type of kayak uses a propeller.
The propeller system has its perks too. You don't have to remove the drive system when you need to reverse; all you need to do is pedal in the opposite direction. When you're having trouble maneuvering shallow waters, it is easy to detach the impulse drive system and attach it when it's clear. It's quite small and is ideal for solo kayaking. It does have mounting tracks for accessories, storage hatchets, and four-rod holders. You can control the rudder from your seated position. It's one of the lightest kayaks and the seat is adjustable to the most comfortable position.
This is one of the lightest kayaks in the market. Despite being light, it's still somewhat stable and very fast. It's easy to maneuver even in the sharp corners. Due to its sheer weight, you don't need to get a trailer. You can just load it on top of your car. With effective rod holders, you can enjoy the breeze hands-free, sipping your favorite beverage.
This pedal kayak uses the push pedal propulsion system. You can move forward and reverse easily. The seat has also been designed to be as comfortable as possible. You can spend hours in the water without straining your body. It's also very quiet and stealthy; you can sneak on unsuspecting fish.
You should be warned, however, that the Native Watercraft is one of our lowest-rated pedal kayaks. The low weight of the pedal kayak makes it less stable than some of the others on this list.
You can read our detailed review of the native watercraft slayer here.
Reasons why Pedal kayaks are the best
Since they were launched, pedal kayaks have revolutionized the kayaking world. Below is a roundup of some of their benefits;
- Hands-free – Since you can propel the kayaks with your feet, your hands are free to engage in other activities such as photography, fishing, and sightseeing. Even when you need to use the rudder, you can still engage in other activities. Paddle kayaks, on the other hand, you have to juggle between controlling your kayak and fishing.
- Speed – You can gain and maintain speed with the pedal kayak. Paddle kayaks are slow and tiring, especially when your fishing area is quite far. Pedal kayaks have been designed to race even in areas that are rigged with obstacles.
- Easy to use – Unlike the paddle kayak, pedal kayaks are relatively easy to use, even for beginners. When you're in the water body, you just pedal and start moving. Paddling takes practice and time. Pedal kayaks are also ideal for the elderly, and those with weak upper bodies. You don't need much energy to control the pedal kayak.
- Health Concerns – Lately, there have been health issues raised against using a paddle for a long time, especially for endurance kayakers. Apparently, paddling does cause tearing and inflammation of the upper body muscles. This is the reason pedal kayakers come as a break to the most season, and aspiring anglers.
- Stability – Pedal kayaks are stable enough to allow you to cast during fishing. You can set-up your fishing gear while on the move. A feature not present in paddle kayaks. You can also move around on your kayak. The Pelican pedal kayak has a seat that can be removed to give you more space as you move around the deck.
- Ample storage -The kayaks listed above, such as the pelican pedal kayak, has rod holders to keep your fishing rods when you don't need them. Some have storage hatchets where you can store drinks, mounting racks for accessories. Since the pedal drive system occupies much of the space, the manufacturers are creative enough to customize the remaining space.
- Customization – Pedal kayaks aren't just plain kayaks, they can be customized for specific tasks. Fishing kayaks have rod holders and tackle boxes to make your fishing activities more fun. The seats are padded and slightly raised to make them more comfortable for hours. Some pedal kayaks even allow you to twist the seat. We understand that these features may be quite expensive, but with the time you may need to keep upgrading your kayak.
- Rudder system – The rudder is a must-have feature to ensure you have control of your kayak at all times. Most kayaks have a retractable rudder that you can deploy to specific depths at a given time. You may need to use your hands from time to time, but the rudder control is placed at your seating position. It's also highly sensitive; you don't need much effort to control the kayak.
- Quieter – Pedal kayaks are quieter since the propulsion system is submerged in water. This system also doesn't splash a lot of water that could damage your electronics or make you wet. Paddles, on the other hand, splash a lot of water which isn't good for you, or for the accessories.
Types of Pedal Kayaks
There are two main types of pedal kayaks. The push pedals and the rotational pedals. Both of these kayaks use your lower body's strength to propel the kayak. This drive system is easy to use and perfect when you need to exercise. Lower body muscles are more resilient to such movements compared to the upper body muscles.
In this type of kayaks, your feet alternate in pushing the pedals. Each pedal is attached to a fin underneath the kayak. Every push of the pedal makes the fin to move sideways. This is the pedal system you'll find in the Pelican pedal kayak. When you want to move in reverse, you remove the pedal drive and change the direction. This type of pedal drive may be quite vigorous, but it's less tiring compared to paddle kayaks.
This pedal system resembles that of a bicycle. Your legs complete a cycle each time. As you cycle, you turn the propeller underneath, propelling the kayak. This is the type of pedal system you'll find in Native Watercraft kayaks. It's a little bit easier to use. When you need to move in reverse, all you need to do is cycle in a different direction. This pedal system can gain some speed, but it's through strenuous activity.
Pedal kayaks are, by far the best kayaks to own today. They have more benefits and possibilities compared to paddle kayaks. Some of these benefits include speed, stability, easy to use, storage, being customizable, efficient rudder systems, being favorable to one's health, among others. Also, with the health concerns being raised about paddle kayaks, pedal kayaks are taking the kayak arena by storm.
However, these extra features make these kayaks quite expensive. With more and more kayak manufacturers joining the pedal game, some are doing their best to make them more affordable. A recent entry into the kayak world is the Pelican's pedal kayak, The Catch 130 Hydryve. It is relatively cheap and offers great features. These include ample storage, rod holders, Hydryve push pedal system, and a light design.
When going for a kayak on a limited budget, you need to consider factors like weight. Heavy kayaks demand an extra cost to buy a trailer. Maintenance costs should be a consideration. You need to ensure that you get the most basic functionalities in a kayak, as well as the most critical items like the safety items. Despite some of them being too costly, there is a wide range of kayaks that you can get at favorable prices and still enjoy the most essential features a kayak has to offer.
See you on the water!