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Pelican Maxim 100X Kayak Review: Unleashing the Recreational Paddler in You

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

woman carrying pelican kayak on beach

Delving into the world of recreational paddling or simply looking to upgrade your kayak? Pelican's Maxim 100X recreational kayak might just be what you're searching for. With an impressive blend of comfort, stability, and ample storage, this vessel sets a high bar in the world of recreational kayaking. This in-depth review will explore its features, benefits, and user guide, providing a clear picture of what to expect from this impressive Pelican product.

The Unyielding Strength of the Pelican Brand

Pelican maxim 100x kayak on amazon

Renowned globally for their quality and affordable products, Pelican International prides itself on over 50 years of experience in the outdoor sports industry. The Maxim 100X recreational kayak is a perfect manifestation of their commitment to quality and affordability.

Unpacking the diverse features of the Pelican Maxim 100X kayak, we encounter a blend of functionality, safety, and comfort - all bundled in a sleek, lightweight design. This section dissects each of these features to provide a more granular understanding of how this kayak stands out from the competition.

Expansive Storage Solutions

Storage is a crucial aspect of any kayak, and the Pelican Maxim 100X does not disappoint. The kayak comes equipped with a bungee-corded front hatch and a rear tank well with mesh deck covers, granting you plenty of space to store personal items securely.

But Pelican goes beyond conventional storage with this model. The cockpit table boasts compartments for smaller items like keys or a GPS device, ensuring they remain within reach but securely stowed during your trip. Additionally, the strategically positioned bottle holder allows you to stay hydrated during your excursion without the risk of the bottle tipping over or getting in the way.

The inclusion of molded footrests is another thoughtful design choice. While not storage per se, they offer a place to comfortably rest your feet, reducing fatigue during longer rides.

Superior Stability and Performance

One of the standout features of the Maxim 100X is its shallow V-chine hull. This design significantly enhances the kayak's maneuverability and tracking ability. This means you will experience smooth, responsive handling when steering the kayak - a big plus whether you're navigating a serene lake or a river with a gentle current.

Additionally, the V-chine hull boosts the kayak's secondary stability. This form of stability refers to how the kayak performs when it's tipped to the side (for instance, during a sharp turn). The Maxim 100X will resist tipping, making it an excellent choice for recreational paddlers who value performance and safety.

Prioritizing Safety

The Maxim 100X kayak is designed with user safety at its core. Integral to this is the inclusion of floating blocks on each side and a flat hull design. This contributes to the kayak's primary stability - that is, its stability when resting flat on the water, which is particularly important for beginners or when the water is calm.

The flat hull design, combined with the floating blocks, lowers the kayak's center of gravity, helping you feel secure and balanced during your ride. Furthermore, with a maximum capacity of 275 lb, it caters to a wide range of paddlers.

Built for Comfort

A kayak can have all the performance and safety features in the world, but without comfort, it's unlikely to provide a pleasant experience. That's why Pelican's Maxim 100X kayak boasts an adjustable ERGOFORM padded backrest with an ERGOBASE seat cushion.

The adjustable backrest ensures you can find the most comfortable seating position for your body type, preventing discomfort on longer trips. On the other hand, the ERGOBASE seat cushion provides a soft, supportive base to sit on, significantly enhancing comfort during your paddle.

Overall, the Pelican Maxim 100X kayak manages to balance a variety of crucial factors, from storage and performance to safety and comfort. It stands as a testament to Pelican's dedication to providing high-quality, affordable kayaks that cater to a wide range of paddlers. Check it out for yourself here.

girl on pelican kayak in water

After evaluating various kayak models, you might want to further enhance your paddling skills by learning these 5 expert kayaking techniques that can help you paddle like a pro.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

Every product has its strengths and weaknesses, and the Maxim 100X is no exception. Below are some pros and cons to consider when deciding to purchase this kayak:


  • Lightweight and portable, making it easy to transport and store

  • High-quality construction for exceptional durability

  • Enhanced stability and safety features

  • Additional storage space for personal items

  • Comfortable seating for long paddling sessions

  • Affordable price for the features offered


  • The storage compartments are not completely waterproof

  • While it offers good stability, it may not be the best choice for rough water conditions


  • Brand: Pelican

  • Style: Sit-in

  • Weight: 36 Pounds

  • Material: Plastic

  • Length: 10ft

  • Maximum Capacity: 275 lb

  • Color: Yellow

Owning a Pelican Maxim 100X is the first step towards memorable water adventures. However, to make the most of your new kayak, you should understand its unique features and how to leverage them effectively. This guide is designed to help you navigate your first steps with the Maxim 100X, ensuring you have a comfortable, safe, and enjoyable kayaking experience right from the start.

Unpacking and Initial Inspection

After receiving your Maxim 100X, the first task is to inspect the kayak for any visible defects or shipping damage. Take your time to assess the hull integrity, seat, footrests, and storage compartments. Confirm that the bungee cords and mesh deck covers are in good condition, and all additional features like the cockpit table and bottle holder are intact.

Adjusting the Footrests

The Maxim 100X comes equipped with molded footrests designed to offer maximum comfort and efficiency while paddling. Adjusting these footrests to match your leg length is crucial to maintain a good posture and balance in the kayak.

To adjust the footrests, sit in the kayak and extend your legs along the interior. Place your feet on the footrests so your knees are slightly bent, then adjust the footrests until your legs are comfortably supported. Ensuring your legs and feet have the proper support will reduce fatigue during long paddling sessions.

Fine-Tuning the Backrest

For an optimum paddling experience, it's essential to adjust the backrest to suit your body type and comfort preference. The Maxim 100X features an adjustable ERGOFORM padded backrest, providing superior lumbar support.

Start by sitting in the kayak and lean against the backrest. Adjust the backrest so that it supports the natural curve of your lower back while you're in a paddling position. Remember, the objective is to maintain a comfortable, slightly forward-leaning posture that allows for efficient paddling.

Familiarizing Yourself with Storage Spaces

The Maxim 100X offers generous storage options, including a front hatch with a bungee cord, a rear tank well with a mesh deck cover, and a cockpit table with compartments. Take the time to familiarize yourself with these spaces.

Decide where you'll place items that you'll frequently access, like water bottles, sunscreen, or snacks, versus items that can stay secured for the duration of your trip, like extra clothing or a first-aid kit.

Checking Safety Features

Last, but certainly not least, check out the kayak's safety features. Notice the floating blocks on each side of the kayak and the flat hull design. These features enhance stability, making your ride more secure and enjoyable.

Now that you've made all the necessary adjustments and checks, your Maxim 100X is ready for the water. Remember that safety should always come first. Ensure you have a personal flotation device (PFD), understand basic kayaking safety protocols, and you're ready to launch into your new adventure.

No matter how much experience you have, safety should always be a priority when kayaking. Don't ignore these 9 essential safety rules designed to keep you safe on the water.

pelican kayak

Detailed Review Score: 92/100 Rating

In the world of recreational kayaks, the Pelican Maxim 100X stands out, earning a remarkable overall score of 92 out of 100 from our expert review panel. This score is a culmination of an in-depth evaluation of its various aspects, including its rich features, stellar performance, excellent affordability, and high user satisfaction. Let's unpack these elements to understand why the Maxim 100X received such a high rating.

The Pelican Maxim 100X is designed with an array of features that enhance your paddling experience. From ample storage options to an adjustable ERGOFORM padded backrest and molded footrests, each of these elements contributes to user convenience and comfort. It's worth noting that these features are typically found in higher-end models, making the Maxim 100X an impressive option in its category.

In terms of performance, the Maxim 100X boasts a shallow V-chine hull, offering superior maneuverability and tracking, along with secondary stability. The kayak's impressive load capacity and durability, thanks to the high molecular density polyethylene used in its construction, contribute to its overall high-performance score.

Affordability is a key strength of the Maxim 100X. Pelican has a reputation for delivering high-quality products at affordable prices, and this kayak is no exception. It provides excellent value for money considering the breadth of features, quality of construction, and overall performance.

Finally, user satisfaction plays a significant role in our review score. The Maxim 100X has garnered numerous positive user reviews and feedback, with many customers lauding its stability, generous storage space, and overall comfort.

Use Cases

The Pelican Maxim 100X has earned a reputation for being a versatile kayak, capable of catering to a range of paddling needs. Whether you're a seasoned paddler or just starting your kayaking journey, this vessel has plenty to offer. Let's delve deeper into some of the specific use cases for the Maxim 100X.

Recreational Paddling on Calm Lakes and Rivers

If you're looking for a kayak that offers a relaxing and comfortable paddling experience on calm waters, the Maxim 100X is a top choice. Its design is well-suited for casual jaunts on lakes and slow-moving rivers. The shallow V-chine hull improves maneuverability and tracking, ensuring you have a smooth and effortless ride. The ample storage spaces, including a front hatch with a bungee cord and a rear tank well with a mesh deck cover, make it easy to stow away your picnic supplies or gear for a day of exploration.

Ideal for Individuals Looking for a Lightweight and Portable Kayak

Weighing in at just 36 pounds, the Maxim 100X is a delight for those seeking a lightweight kayak that doesn't compromise on durability. Its compact 10-foot size and lightweight design make it easy to transport, whether on top of a car or carrying it to the water's edge. For city dwellers with limited storage space or people with smaller vehicles, this kayak is a practical and convenient option.

Novice Kayakers: Stability and Safety

The Maxim 100X is a perfect choice for novice kayakers, thanks to its inherent stability and safety features. The shallow V-chine hull design not only improves maneuverability but also offers excellent secondary stability, reducing the likelihood of capsizing. Furthermore, the kayak features floating blocks on each side and a flat hull type, ensuring your safety and peace of mind as you learn the ropes of kayaking.

Experienced Paddlers Seeking a Reliable and Affordable Kayak

Even seasoned paddlers can appreciate the value the Maxim 100X brings. Whether you're looking for a secondary kayak or a sturdy and reliable option for relaxed paddling sessions, this kayak delivers. With its adjustable ERGOFORM padded backrest, ERGOBASE seat cushion, and ample storage spaces, the Maxim 100X provides comfort and functionality that experienced kayakers will appreciate.

After picking your kayak, it's time to explore some fantastic locations. Don't miss out on these 5 must-visit kayaking destinations, perfect for nature lovers.

pelican kayak on the beach

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Pelican Maxim 100X kayak suitable for beginners?

Absolutely. The kayak's stability features, comfortable seating, and easy maneuverability make it an excellent choice for beginners.

Can I use the Pelican Maxim 100X in rough waters?

While it offers good stability, it's primarily designed for calm waters like lakes and slow-moving rivers.

What is the maximum weight capacity of the Pelican Maxim 100X?

It has a maximum capacity of 275 lb, accommodating a wide range of paddlers.

How durable is the Pelican Maxim 100X kayak?

Constructed with high molecular density polyethylene, the kayak is extremely durable and resistant to impact and breakage.

The Verdict

The Pelican Maxim 100X kayak is a solid investment for anyone seeking a reliable and high-performing kayak. Its affordability, coupled with its array of impressive features, truly sets it apart in the market. Whether you're a beginner or an intermediate paddler, the Pelican Maxim 100X kayak is worth considering for your next adventure on the water. So why wait? Order yours today and start making unforgettable memories on the water!

pelican kayak on amazon

Still undecided about the type of kayak suitable for you? Check out our comprehensive comparison of inflatable vs. hardshell kayaks to make the ultimate choice.

Lifeguard LI may receive a commission for purchases made through the affiliate links in this article. However, our goal is to provide unbiased advice on the best and most eco-sustainable products on the market. Our recommendations are always based on thorough research and testing, regardless of any potential affiliate relationships.


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