How to Choose a Kayak: Picking the Best Boat for You

A kayak is fuel for the soul. This is not only a wonderful gift to see the natural beauty, but also kayaking is the key to maintaining physical and mental health. It allows you to play on the beach with your kids and exercise in solitude. 

There are different brands of kayaks. But do you know which brand is best for you? Do you know how to choose a kayak? There are some key points that help you when you are deciding to kayak.

Select the Place To Paddle: The first thing you need to know is whether you are going kayaking, whether it is an ocean, a river or a leak. This will help you to decide what you want to do.

Sit In Or Sit On Top: In what type of kayak you should kayak, sit in or sit on top kayak? It depends on you.

Your Budget: A good kayak’s material mostly depends on the price. If you want to buy a kayak that has good material, durability and weight it must be expensive. 

Size And Shape: shape and size are matter when you prefer effective handling and storage.

Where Will You Use Your Kayaks

The boat is not built for any particular kind of water. But before kayaking it is much better to choose the environment in which you will be kayaking.

Lakes: You can choose to sit on top or sit in a kayak if you want to go for a local lake where your destination is near to you or whether it is fine. But if you want to go for superior lake or feeling whitecaps then a purely recreational kayak is overwhelmed.

Rivers: We are talking about the calm rivers where you need a recreational kayak. It doesn’t matter if you sit in or sit on top. If you are kayaking in a smooth atmosphere you need a durable, stable and strong kayak that moves frequently. We don’t fall into the category of technical rapid and white water kayaks.

Coasts: In tides, waves, wind, currents you need a sit-in kayak that is compatible with removable skeg, tracking fin and a rudder. But if you plan to go sea kayaking, for swimming and for warm water you can choose a sit-on-top.

Rivers Or Lakes: If you want to take a kayak for both still and flowing water you can choose a short kayak via si-in or sit-on-top kayak. These multi-purpose kayaks usually have a skeg. The up and down of the skeg makes your steering responsive and well-balanced. If you select a short kayak compatible with a rudder it must be a good option, but rudders are usually found in longer kayaks. 

Types Of Kayaks

Different types of kayaks are used for different purposes. Types of kayaks are as follows.

Sit-On-Top Vs Sit-In Kayaks

Sit-on-top: sit on top kayaks are used for coastal water or warm waters. These are the kayaks you are using in calm water, following rivers and for lakes. In longer sit-on-top kayaks are enough space for your cargo and gear even for overnight trips.

 if you have an extreme or irrational fear inside a cockpit, or you don’t know how to do a wet exit, if you overturn in the water, you’re a sit-on-topper, you can follow some points. 

  • Whitewater kayaks are best for casual use such as swimming, playing along the lake side as they are easy to get in and out.
  • Sit on top kayaks are self draining kayaks as they have scupper holes. Due to this you don’t even need to remove water.
  • Sit-on-top kayaks are a little bit heavier than sit-in kayaks.
  • It is difficult to access the cargo space in these kayaks as they have deck spots.
  • If you are looking for a kayak for fishing this is the best option for you.

Sit In Kayaks 

These are the recreational kayaks that are used for one day touring. These kayaks performed very well in terms of moving and tracking. Also these kayaks have efficient space for cargo. Sit in kayaks are a great choice for paddling. 

Some considerations are:

  • These kayak’s offer amazing comfort when air and water are cool. 
  • It is essential to add a bilge pump if you get flooded. Also you can add a spray skirt. However if you use a traditional sit in a kayak you should know how to wet the exit.
  • You will experience amazing control, outstanding maneuvering and be more comfortable inside the boat. These boats are perfect for use in rough waters.
  • As compared to sit-on-top kayak paddling is more comfortable than sit in kayaks.

Kayak Categories: 

Categories of kayaks are not necessary to know but as a kayaker you definitely know that not all kayaks are made with the same terms. Just as a day touring boat is different to a recreational boat. There are some key factors you need to know as follows. 

Recreational Kayak (sit-in and sit-on-top): These kayaks are for meandering rivers and flatwater. You cannot use these kayaks for waves, rapids or longer trips. Recreational kayaks are easy to move, sturdy, affordable, and easy to in and out. Less space due to compartments for some necessary items. 

Day Touring Kayak (Sit-in): Mostly these kayaks are expensive as they are more efficient as compared to recreational. They offer amazing control, straighter moving and more sleeker than a recreational kayak. These versatile kayaks are easy to handle and carry as these are shorter kayaks. Day touring kayaks offers enough space for carrying your gear.

Touring Kayaks ( Sit-in Sea Kayaks): these are the robust kayaks that are usually used for longer distances. Perform well in currents and wind. These kayaks are compatible with skeg and rudder that help them to face waves and currents. These kayaks are a little bit expensive but offer plenty of cargo space. If you plan to go for coastal kayaking and longer trips, then you should select a sea kayak to save your money. If you don’t have any idea so you can select a day touring kayak as this will be a good option as a beginner or to gain some paddling skills. 

Specialty Kayaks

These kayaks are good but they have limited space. If you want to paddling with your partner or your purpose is to do fishing.

Folding Kayaks: They are best for traveling or hiking in remote locations. These are not rugged kayaks like hard shell kayaks, but it gives amazing cargo space and maneuvering opposed to touring kayaks.

Inflatable Kayaks: These are similar to flexible kayaks that are versatile. These sturdy kayaks save storage space. Inflatable kayaks offer extra durability and comfortability. They are perfect for playing along the seashore. Inflatable kayaks are rugged and wide so they easily face obstacles. Perfect for flowing rivers and most of them meant for serious touring kayaks.

Tandem Kayaks: Tandem kayaks are the best option if you want to paddling with your partner and with your puppy. Instead of bringing two solo kayaks you can get one tandem kayak. If you are planning to take your kids for kayaking, tandem kayak is the best option. These kayaks are more stable as compared to solo kayaks.

Pedal Powered Kayaks: pedal powered kayaks are the free hand way for photography, for fishing or for enjoying wildlife with a telescope. These kayaks have an advanced pedal pressure system.  

Kayak Material Weight And Price

When you choose a lightweight kayak you get rid of this hassle: who to carry, who to handle and how to transport a kayak in your car? Even a light weight kayak is easy to transport by yourself. You can easily speed up your kayak. 

These boats enable you to carry plenty of gear due to its light weight, as it is lifted by the weight of the boat. Kayaks made of lightweight materials can cost significantly more than those made of heavier materials.

Polyethylene Plastic: This is an affordable option. This material is highly durable. It will damage after an extended period of time whenever your polyethylene material kayak keeps in the sun. you need to keep and secure it in a covered place.

ABS Plastic: This is a little bit more expensive than polyethylene. These kayaks are two tons designs and offer comparable durability. Abs plastic material kayaks are lighter weight than polyethylene and Uv resistance. 

Composites: These boats are made with lightweight fiber glass and ultralight carbon fiber. These boats perform very well in terms of performance and price. Forget the dangers of UV rays with these materials. You have to be careful of rocks. 

Additional Kayak Consideration

Below we are mentioned some specifications that are found in each kayak. You should need to consider. 

Weight Capacity: This is a major spec when you are planning for an outing. If you are planning to go for a multi day trip with your kayak or having a lot of gear with you, your kayak should be heavy weighted. If you load your kayak over this might have an effect on your paddling efficiency as it will sit down.

Length: Shorter kayaks turn quickly while longer kayaks offer amazing space for gear. Longer kayaks travel safely and efficiently. 

Depth: The kayaks that are deep are best for the kayakers that have long legs. Deeper kayaks have extra storage space comparable to others. 

Width: narrow hull kayaks cruise faster, while wider hulls are more stable.

Skeg Tracking Fins And Rudders: these are the components that enable a boat to move straightener in wind. 

  • A skeg is a fin that is used to secure a kayak from the side wind to blow a boat. 
  • A tracking fin is as similar beneficial as skeg but it is not ignorable. It is mostly commonly built in inflatable kayaks. These fins and skeg are flexible. It is on your preference whether you want to turn quickly over the capacity to stay.
  • Rudder is also similar to fin and skeg but it is not fixed at one position. It flicks down from behind the boat. You can adjust its angle using the foot pedal at any time, so it is sensible to change conditions when paddling.

Seat: By the way, the seats are already available in kayaks, but because you have to travel for hours on this seat, you need a well-made and appropriate and comfortable seat that must be expensive.

Cockpit size: If you have a large cockpit size, so you feel comfortable in and out of the boat. Small comfy cockpit offers extra control and protection in choppy conditions.

Hatches: These help us to access the interior part of the boat such as storage areas.  Recreational or day touring kayaks have one hatches and bigger touring kayaks contain 2 hatches. 

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

A kayak is small and meant for one person, while a canoe can fit more people.A kayak is small enough to only accommodate one individual. The boat rests on top of the water, but its shape allows it to move efficiently through the water with little effort. A canoe, on the other hand, is designed to carry weightier objects or multiple people for long distances. They are wider than a kayak so they float lower in the water causing less resistance when traveling through it.

The best size kayak depends mostly on the weight of the person, and secondly on their height. People who are taller or heavier can handle a larger size if they prefer because it will be more stable for them to use. They also add extra buoyancy to balance out how much less their relative surface area is from their weight when in comparison to a shorter person.

However, if you’re looking for something that’s going to be easier to carry through water and over rocks, a lighter kayaker might want a smaller boat – even one that’s pink! I would recommend going paddle-boarding with different people so you have people whose opinions you respect paddling your potential boat sizes so you can get an informed opinion too!

That depends on how long you want to paddle your kayak. First of all, a rule of thumb is that a person will weigh 80-100% more when they get wet. For instance, a 180 lb man will weigh around 280 lbs. while paddling his kayak.

If the customer wants to kayak recreationally for 4 hours, he would need to purchase the 13’6″ model because it’s less tiring and has more space than smaller models such as the 11’9″ or 12′. A 12′ would be perfect if someone is planning on paddling their kayaks for around 3 hours with moderate sweat and exertion.

A perfect question! It’s always difficult when you’re in the store and there are so many options. When buying a kayak for fun out on the water, I’d recommend one with open storage that prevents water from getting in if it rains or you take a swim.

They often have tons fewer features than neoprene kayaks but they still hold value because of the open design! If not, look for one with lots of secondary compartments to securely place your belongings.

Whatever you decide to pick up, make sure its easy enough for you to carry (i.e., it isn’t over 12 lbs.) over land before heading down any stairs/

Hi, that’s a great question! The cockpit opening should be large enough to allow your hips to slide through comfortably. The height of the opening is 3/4 of waist height for women and slightly less than waist height for men.

The best way to figure out if it’s the right size is by using these measurements as a starting point. Of course, keep in mind, you could have longer legs or shorter legs so it may measure well but feel too large or vice versa. But hopefully, this information will help you find your perfect fitting kayak to enjoy the water! 

Summary

Determine your price range. Decide what type of kayak you want: a seat on top or a traditional one with a seat in it? Sit inside and paddle to test drive them! Make sure they fit, how easy it is to get out/in if needed, take note of storage space for safety equipment and food/drink, etc., also think about legroom and kneeling ability (if that’s how you like to position yourself).

If buying online make sure there are still local stores where you can go try them out before purchasing. Remember once bought it’s yours forever so don’t rush into anything! Choose well. Take care when choosing which boat suits your needs as this will.

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