Founded in March 1986, Lifetime is pretty much a household name, and it’s likely you own at least one of their durable, blow-molded polyethylene products.
Since 2010, they’ve been involved in the kayak industry, and they manufacture some of the most durable, budget-friendly craft on the market today.
And for anyone getting started in kayak fishing, the Tamarack Angler is a great choice for beginners, young paddlers, or anyone not quite ready to splash-the-cash on a premium boat.
Let’s take a look at it in more detail, in our Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Review.
Our Verdict on the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Kayak
For anyone just starting out in either kayak fishing or recreational water use, Lifetime Tamarack is one of the best products in its class on the market. However, if you’re looking for more comfort, storage space, fishing-friendly features, and better performance on the water – this kayak isn’t for you.
- The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Kayak Review
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The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 – What is It?
Marketed as one of the most stable kayaks available, it seems the Lifetime Tamarack Angler has been around forever.
Made from a single piece of rotomolded polyethylene, it’s a no-frills fishing kayak that’s tough, durable, and easy-to-use with a very shallow learning curve.
Not to be confused with the Lifetime Teton fishing kayak (which has improved seating and accessories), the Tamarack is a more entry-level option for new kayak anglers.
To say that this is a basic fishing kayak is an understatement, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most popular and highly-rated craft around.
And since you can catch fish from just about anything, it still has a place with more experienced anglers, many of whom don’t feel the need to spend exorbitant amounts on the latest fishing machines.
What’s it For?
With its flat, wide, super-stable hull, the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 should only ever be used on calm waters, such as slow moving rivers, glassy lakes, and ponds.
Personally, I would avoid offshore fishing in this kayak – although so long as it’s calm you should be okay, and the scupper holes will help to drain the deck if you do take on water.
But it’s certainly not rated for whitewater any higher than class II – at the absolute maximum, so don’t try taking this thing down rushing rivers.
The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Kayak Review
As mentioned, the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 is made from a single piece of rotomolded, high-density polyethylene (HDPE). It’s as tough as it comes, and built to take a beating.
The hardshell of this kayak has been treated for UV protection, so it won’t fade or crack over time, and the density of the material ensures it is impact and abrasion-resistant.
It feels and looks solid and sturdy, and you should be more than happy when you take delivery of the Tamarack, and with care, it should last a Lifetime…
And speaking of care, check out this article on kayak maintenance and storage to get the best out of your craft and improve its longevity.
At this price point, you already know you’re not going to get a world-beater when it comes to kayak performance, but the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 kayak might still hold a few surprises.
When it comes to tracking (how straight a kayak paddles), the Tamarack has a pronounced, sharp bow to help it cut through the water.
It also features a molded tracking skeg at the stern, which will also help with keeping the kayak in a straight line when traveling.
However, don’t expect either feature to come anywhere near the performance of a high-end, premium fishing kayak hull. They do the job, and that’s about it.
The pronounced bow of the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 kayak also helps with speed, but when a kayak is built like a tank, speed usually takes a back seat, anyway.
Thankfully, that’s not what anglers are looking for in a fishing kayak, as the Tamarack isn’t going to win any races.
Lifetime market their range as the “most stable sit-on-top kayaks in the world.” That’s a very bold claim, considering the products offered by the likes of Old Town, Hobie, Jackson Kayaks, Vibe Kayaks, Bonafide, and Native Watercraft.
But considering the price point, the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 does a pretty decent job at being very stable on the water, thanks to its wide, flat-bottomed hull and molded stability chine rails.
And while it is possible to stand in it – I wouldn’t recommend this practice, especially if you don’t have the most impeccable balance. There’s a strong chance you’ll fall in.
But the Tamarack has good primary stability when you’re sitting down, and that’s usually enough for most new paddlers/kayak anglers.
Check out this review of the best stand-up fishing kayaks if you’re looking for something a little more rock-solid for standing casts and reels.
As the Tamarack is a more compact kayak at just 10 feet in length, it’s actually surprisingly maneuverable, and you should be able to negotiate most obstacles and hazards without too much trouble.
Features and Accessories
As a budget-friendly, entry-level fishing kayak, the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 manages to pack in a surprising amount of useful features:
- A top-mounted articulating fishing rod holder.
- Two flush mounted fishing rod holders.
- A paddle park to keep your paddle secure.
- Scupper holes for on-deck drainage.
- Two water bottle holders.
- Basic paddle included.
Again, it’s not going to light up the community with fishing-friendly features such as accessory gear tracks, anchor points, and tackle boxes, but there’s more than enough here to get you fishing as quickly as possible.
And the Tamarack is ripe for customization, so you can add aftermarket accessories, and pimp your ride with some basic DIY at home.
But we should always take a moment to mention the paddle, as with any complete kayaking package, the paddle that’s included is going to be pretty awful.
Aside from the seating – which we’ll talk about in the next section – you should always seek to upgrade the paddle that comes with such a set as soon as possible. I wouldn’t even use it once!
Check out our review of the best kayak fishing paddles to really see the difference, and you can watch the video below to learn how one angler has fully customized his Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100.
One of the main differences between craft in this class and high-end, premium models – is the seating.
As a rule of thumb, the more money you pay, the more comfortable you’re going to be.
As such, the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 kayak leaves a lot to be desired in the seating department, and, in spite of the padded seat and backrest, it’s not going to be the most comfortable paddle you’ll ever have.
That said, the seat is still adjustable, and you should be able to find a nice paddling and angling position with a bit of practice.
It’s certainly much better than not having a seat at all – like some other molded sit-on-top recreational kayaks, and I think I’d prefer this to inflatable seating every single time.
The Tamarack also has multiple molded footrests, which aren’t as good as adjustable versions, but there should be enough legroom for most paddlers to find the sweet spot for their feet.
Aside from this, the deck is open and uncluttered, but I would seek to upgrade the seating if you really want to spend long hours out on the water.
Across its 10-foot frame, the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 has some nice storage features that should be more than enough for a new kayak fisherman or woman just starting out.
In the center and to the stern of the kayak, you’ll find two, six-inch storage hatches. They’re covered with a rubberized lid that will do a pretty good job of keeping the water out – but I don’t believe they’re 100% watertight.
However, you should be aware that they open right down into the entire hull, so if you’re looking to store small items of tackle or bottles of water, for example, you should consider adding an extra storage box or container in there to prevent items from sliding down to the bow or stern of the kayak.
At the stern, you’ll also notice a large tank well with bungee tie-down, although the lid of the storage hatch here might get in the way of the snug fit of a standard fishing cooler, for example.
You can always try this review of dedicated kayak fishing coolers to see if one will fit in this location.
At the bow of the kayak, there’s another bungee tie-down for lashing extra gear and/or clothing to the deck.
Overall, the Tamarack has room to take just enough gear and equipment for a basic – but successful fishing trip.
The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 kayak has a maximum weight capacity of 275 lbs, which should be plenty considering the size of the craft and the amount of room on board.
If you’re looking for something with a higher weight limit, I would suggest trying the tandem version, which increases this figure to 500 lbs.
And you can find it, and more of the best fishing kayaks for larger guys and girls at that link.
Weighing just 51 lbs, the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 can be carried by one person, although it does have durable bow and stern T-handles if another person is required for easier transportation.
There are also two carry handles located on the gunwales of the kayak, at almost exactly the halfway point of the craft, which makes it easy to balance when carrying.
The fact that it’s lightweight and compact ensures this kayak shouldn’t give you too many headaches when getting to and from the water, and it’s easy to lift onto the roof of a vehicle or bed of a truck.
Ease of Use
The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 will arrive at your door ready-to-go, and of all the fishing kayaks available, it has arguably the least amount of setup time required.
This is what makes it so attractive to new kayakers – as you can just get it straight to the water’s edge and just go.
No messing about with air pumps and inflation, no fiddling with all the bells and whistles. You’ll be out catching fish before anyone else has left the dock, and that’s a huge plus point for a quality, entry-level fishing kayak.
Woah! Looks like a kayak fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.
Available in olive green and tan colors, neither shade does it any favors on the aesthetic front. This is the kayak that style forgot.
If you’re looking for something that’s a little easier on the eye from the same company, check out the Teton 100 Angler, to see a chalk and cheese difference.
The Tamarack looks basic, because it is basic.
Joking aside (and it might be a little harsh, anyway), this kayak clearly doesn’t give a rat’s ass how it looks – and that’s perfectly okay.
It’ll still get the job done, and this is a fishing website, after all – not Cosmopolitan.
Designed to encourage new kayak anglers into the water, the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 is a stable boat, but in the event that it does tip, it can easily be flipped back over.
This can give additional peace-of-mind for the paddler, especially when considering much heavier models, like these pedal drive fishing kayaks.
Of course, if you still feel like you need a little extra comfort – not least when trying to land a monster catch – you could always add one of these kayak outriggers for additional stability.
The Tamarack is only available in muted colors, such as tan and olive shades, so you might want to consider adding a high-visibility kayak safety flag for paddling in low-light conditions.
I hesitated in giving maximum marks for this section, as it really depends on whatever price the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 is currently selling for.
I wouldn’t pay much more than $400 for it, but in the current climate, this is subject to change at the drop of a hat.
Still, if you can snap it up for $250-$400, there probably isn’t a more affordable hardshell for a first fishing kayak out there.
You can always go for an inflatable kayak instead, and try the Intex Excursion Pro.
But for new kayak anglers, you certainly don’t need to spend any more than this for a great little craft that will get you right out onto the water and fishing in no time.
Check out this review for more of the best fishing kayaks under $500.
The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 doesn’t seek to break the mold of fishing kayaks, and it’s never going to turn the heads of more experienced paddlers.
But for anyone just starting out in either kayak fishing or recreational water use, it’s one of the best products in its class on the market.
Easy to use, with little to no setup required, the Tamarack arguably gets you onto the water faster than any other fishing kayak out there.
And one of the best things about a kayak like this, is you can have loads of fun customizing it for your own unique setup.
However, if you’re looking for more comfort, storage space, fishing friendly features, and better performance on the water – this kayak isn’t for you.
Also, if you like taking out a lot of gear, then you’ll probably want to look elsewhere. This is a streamlined kayak that is designed for the bare bones of kayak fishing.
But if you’re thinking about dipping your toe into the sport for the first time, and you don’t want to spend a crazy amount of money on a new fishing kayak – the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 is the perfect choice.
Kayak fishing should be accessible to all, and thanks to boats like this one, more people can get out there and experience this awesome sport for themselves – without breaking the bank.
I hope you enjoyed our Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 review, and it’s helped you make a decision on your first (or next) fishing kayak.
Let us know in the comments if the Tamarack is right for you, or if you’ve decided to go in a different direction.
Stay safe out there, tight lines, and happy kayaking!