Lifetime Payette 98 Kayak review

Lifetime Payette 98 kayak review: is still worth it in 2023?

The Lifetime Payette 98 is a recreational sit-down kayak that combines versatility, stability, and durability in a budget-friendly package. The tunnel hull ensures excellent straight-line stability while also allowing for tight turns. Featuring an adjustable footrest, padded seat, and spacious cockpit, it comfortably accommodates paddlers of all sizes.

Payette 98 is only 49 pounds, making it easy to carry and operate. Made of durable polyethylene, it can easily withstand bumps and scrapes. For recreational paddlers who value stability and are looking for an affordable, lightweight solo kayak, the Lifetime Payette 98 is the perfect choice.

Lifetime Payette 98 Overview

Lifetime lightweight kayak

The Payette 98 is a 9-foot, 8-inch inside-seat kayak made of high-density polyethylene plastic. It features a tunnel hull design that pursues stability and tracking stability. The kayak weighs 49 pounds and has a weight capacity of 275 pounds.

Some key features of the Payette 98 include:

  • Multiple footrest positions to accommodate paddlers of different sizes
  • Padded adjustable backrest for comfort
  • Large cockpit opening for easy entry/exit
  • Bow and stern carry handles for transport
  • Shock cord straps for gear storage
  • Rear storage compartment with cover
  • Two flush mount fishing rod holders (on angler version)

The Payette 98 is available in both a standard recreational version and an “angler” version for fishing. The fishing model includes accessories such as a fishing rod holder.

payette 98 kayak back side

Lifetime Payette 98 Kayak detail review

Here is a detailed review of Payette 98 with several tests in rivers and local lakes.

Stability and Tracking

The stability of the Payette 98 is excellent, which is to be expected from a sit-down recreational kayak of this width. It has very forgiving initial stability, making it easy to get on and off without feeling like you’re tipping over. I was able to turn around and reach the equipment behind me without any problem.

The tunnel hull allows for efficient tracking, especially for short kayaks. It goes straight forward without needing too many corrections. However, they don’t have as good tracking ability as longer kayaks. Windy weather makes it more difficult to keep the course straight.


The Payette 98 is very manoeuvrable, especially when equipped as a solo paddler with a light setup. Make turns quickly and easily with efficient swing strokes and bow draws.

Although not as maneuverable as wider recreational kayaks, it has good maneuverability for a kayak of this size. The short length makes it easy to pan and change direction in tight spaces.


The padded adjustable seat and backrest provide superior comfort for most paddling hours. I didn’t have any back pain or discomfort after driving for several hours. The thick seats are particularly comfortable.

Leg space is ok, but not noticeable. Taller paddlers over 6 feet may find it a bit cramped, so you may want to look for something longer. The footrest is fully adjustable to suit different leg lengths.

Gear Storage and Accessories

There are bungee cords at the bow and stern to secure equipment, but enclosed storage space is limited. The rear tank well is too small to hold anything more than a paddle float and a few small everyday items.

For recreational paddling, I could easily pack a day’s worth of gear with a fuel tank, deck gear, and a small dry bag attached to the back of the seat. For long tours, it is recommended to bring minimal equipment or equip an equipment basket.

These two flush mount rod holders on the Angler model are a nice bonus when fishing. Paddlers looking for more storage space for their rods should check out the Lifetime Tamarack Angler Fishing Kayak.

Durability and Construction

As you would expect from a Lifetime kayak, the polyethylene plastic hull is extremely durable and impact-resistant. It can withstand impacts from pedestrian bridges, stones, etc. Good condition with minimal wear. UV and sun damage over time is the biggest potential problem.

The overall hull design and molding are good, but we noticed some wear to the plastic around some of the step rails and other high-friction areas. It’s not a huge issue, but you’ll find that the molded plastic isn’t as durable as more expensive kayaks.

Who is the Lifetime Payette 98 Kayak Best For?

The Payette 98 is ideal for recreational paddling on lakes, bays, slow rivers, or protected coastal areas. Suitable for the following cases:

  • Beginners and casual paddlers who want the stability of a kayak that is easy to maneuver.
  • Fishing – The fishing version has a rod holder for better casting stability.
  • Budget-conscious buyers looking for a durable polyethylene kayak for under $500
  • Paddlers looking for a lightweight solo boat for everyday use or sport

Limitations to consider include a lack of enclosed storage space and a cockpit that can be cramped for larger paddlers over 6 feet. Those who enjoy paddling in rough open water may find the windy conditions lacking.

payette 98 kayak front side

Pros and Cons


  • Excellent stability makes it very beginner-friendly
  • Good value and durability for the price
  • Lightweight and easy for one person to carry and transport
  • Comfortable padded seat and backrest
  • Easy to maneuver and paddle for a recreational sit-inside kayak


  • Limited enclosed storage in the tankwell
  • Not much additional gear storage without upgrading with accessories
  • Cramped cockpit/footwell for taller paddlers
  • Hull scuffs easily and shows scratches over time
  • Lacks cargo tie downs

Overall most reviews are very positive, citing the stability, comfort, and price as major pluses. Key drawbacks are limited storage space and fit for tall paddlers.

Frequently asked questions.

How much weight can the Payette 98 hold?

The Lifetime Payette 98 has a weight capacity of 275 pounds. This is suitable for one paddler and a moderate amount of equipment. Tandem paddling is not recommended with this kayak.

What length paddle does the Payette 98 need?

A 230-240cm paddle is ideal for most paddlers in the Payette 98. Paddlers under 5’6″ may be more comfortable with a 220cm length.

How do I transport the Lifetime Payette 98 on my car?

The safest method is to use a kayak roof rack with foam blocks or J-cradle. You can also use it as a kayak trailer or store it in your SUV by removing the passenger seat. Use bow/stern lashing lines.

Where are Lifetime kayaks manufactured?

Lifetime kayaks are rotationally molded at our facilities in Utah and Idaho, USA. We use domestic and foreign polyethylene plastic.

Is the Lifetime Payette 98 stable enough for fishing?

Yes, Payette 98, which has excellent initial stability, is perfect for fishing. This fishing model features flush-mount rod holders, but can also be equipped with aftermarket brackets and gear rails.

Can I paddle the Payette 98 on ocean waves and surf?

No, this is strictly a kayak for recreational use on flat or slow-moving water. It does not have the advanced hull design or outfitting to handle ocean surf or rough seas.


Overall, I’m very happy with the Lifetime Payette 98’s performance, comfort, durability, and especially its very affordable price. An excellent recreational sit-in kayak for beginners and casual paddlers.

The stability provides peace of mind for family trips or paddling where falls are a concern. Storage space is the only major drawback, but if you pack it carefully it’s enough for a day trip.

For those looking for an affordable, durable, and stable kayak suitable for recreational use, the Lifetime Payette 98 is a great choice. If you’re on a budget and want a solo kayak for under $500, we recommend it as a great sit-in option.

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