Last Updated on September 3rd, 2021
How to choose kayak guide
The guide on how to choose kayak is something every kayak user should know. With the number of kayaks on the market, it might be challenging to pick the most suitable kayak.
If you want to get a kayak that can serve you with the most important features and accessories, you can learn more about how to choose kayak.
While we have numerous ways to make use of kayaks because of the choice of kayaks to pick, you should understand how to pick your kayak.
Our Top Pick
How to choose kayak helps you decide on the following factors:
- Where do you want to paddle? You should consider where you want to paddle your kayak. This can help you narrow your kayak search.
- Sit-in or sit-on-top? Kayak has the sit-in or sit-on-top type. These two kayaks work differently in their manner of usage.
- Kayak weight and your budget: Some of the biggest factors to consider when you want to buy a kayak are the weight and the cost of the price.
- Shape and size considerations: The shape and size of the kayak can affect the handling and cargo space.
How to choose kayak: where will you use your kayak?
Lakes: A fair-weather allows you to paddle the kayak on a local lake. This type of lake allows you to make use of any sit-on-top kayak.
Coasts: To make use of this water world means that you should consider tides, currents, waves, wind, and more.
A sit-in touring kayak with a fixed tracking fin, a skeg, or a rudder is suitable for coast paddling.
Rivers: This does not include rapid rivers. If you want to paddle on a stable river, you need a kayak that can turn quickly.
You can make use of the recreational sit-in or sit-on-top boat or day touring sit-in kayak.
Rivers and lakes: Whether you want to paddle on still waters or flowing waters, you can make use of the short recreational sit-in or sit-on-top kayak.
This type of crossover kayak has a skeg. The setup of the kayak allows you to turn responsively when the skeg is up and track excellently when the skeg is down.
You can make use of the short boat with a rudder too.
How to choose kayak: types of kayaks
When it comes to how to choose kayak, you can consider the types of kayaks on the market. This includes how to use them, how they are built, and their structure.
Sit-on-top Vs. Traditional Sit-in Kayaks
Sit-on-tops are recreational kayaks that can suit easy-flowing rivers and lakes. You can make use of them in warm coastal waters.
Some longer sit-on-tops come with spacious storage options to take you on an overnight trip. People who are claustrophobia when they enter a cockpit can make use of sit-on kayaks.
You can consider the following if you are not sure what to use:
- A sit-on-top kayak is easy to get on, even when you are in deep water. You can easily get off, which makes it great for casual use.
- They are comfortable when the air and water are warm. However, you would always get wet.
- Scupper holes are important because they are self-draining. This means you do not need to pump out water.
- These kayaks come with deck stash spots, and hard-to-access cargo space, which is found inside the hollow hull.
- This kayak is heavier than a comparable sit-in kayak.
- The kayak is great for fishing.
Sit-in kayaks come in touring models, day touring models, and recreational boats. This boat moves swiftly and track straight.
They come with covered compartments. This means they are great for your paddling. How to choose kayak determines what you want to achieve when kayaking.
- The kayak is comfortable when water and air are cool.
- Users can add a spray skirt, however, you need a bilge pump if you get fully swamped. Those with a traditional narrow sit-in kayak need to learn how to do a wet exit.
- The position of the users’ body and multiple points of contact inside the boat, which include feet, knees, and butt give greater control.
This is great when they are in rough water or for maneuvering.
- These kayaks are more efficient to paddle than a sit-on-top.
When it comes to how to choose kayak, you should consider the hull design. The hull is the shape of the bottom of the kayak.
The hull helps with stability and performance. We have two types of stability that are:
- Primary stability or initial stability can refer to the stability of a kayak when users enter it. This means a user can less likely to flip when stepping into a kayak and sit down.
- Secondary stability refers to how stable, it is once you start paddling. This means you’re less likely to roll over as you start moving through the water.
The types of hulls to consider
- Flat Hull: The flat hulls are better at stability and maneuverability. This hull provides great primary stability.
This means the flatter your hull, the better at stability it can be. Flat hulls are ideal for recreational kayakers in flat-water conditions.
The hull is great for beginners.
- Rounded Hull: This type of hull improves speed and allow for better paddling through the water compared to a flat hull.
Rounded hull is ideal for more maneuverability and provides you more secondary stability.
- V-Shaped: The how to choose kayak guide helps you understand the usefulness of the V-shaped hull.
This type of hull can cut through the water and allow the kayak to travel in a straight line. V-shaped hulls are great for recreational paddling, touring, or long-distance trips.
However, the hull may feel a bit unstable at first because they offer the least amount of primary stability.
The v-shaped hulls provide better secondary stability.
- Pontoon: Pontoon hulls are very stable because they combine the primary stability of flat hulls and the secondary stability of rounded hulls.
However, this hull is slower.
- Chine: What does chine mean? It is the way the bottom of the kayak meets the sides in either a rounded “soft” chine or more angles and a “harder” chine.
Many kayaks fall in between and have a multi-chine hull. The softer the chine, the more secondary stability the boat will have.
How to choose kayak categories
The kayak category is important to know when considering how to choose kayak. However, you should know that not all kayak manufacturers make use of the same terms.
A brand may use the “recreational” boat, but might be comparable to another’s “day touring” boat.
General guidelines in selecting kayaks:
Recreational kayaks (sit-ins and sit-on-tops): This type of kayak is stable and affordable you can easily get in and out of it.
You can turn it with ease. These kayaks are created for measuring rivers, flat water, and not for rapids, waves, or longer trips.
Day touring kayaks (sit-ins): This type of kayak is versatile and sleeker. They are very efficient when it comes to moving, but come at a higher price.
The day touring kayaks can track straighter and offer you more control in difficult or rough water compared to recreational boats.
They come shorter than the sea kayaks. These boats are easier to handle and transport, and provide owners with a moderate amount of cargo space.
Touring kayaks (sit-in sea kayaks):
When it comes to how to choose kayak, the touring kayaks come long, and robust. They are efficient when paddling over distance.
The kayak can track well and come with a skeg or rudder to handle currents and wind. Users receive ample cargo space.
However, this is more expensive.
Specialty Kayaks : The specialty kayaks are suitable for those tight on space, who want to fish, or paddle with a partner.
Folding kayaks: The folding kayaks are great for those who live in an apartment, want to hike to a remote location, or plan to travel.
The kayak is foldable and allows you to transport it without challenge. It provides comparable storage and handling to numerous touring boats.
Inflatable kayaks: The inflatable kayaks are like folding boats. They help you save storage space.
This kayak is versatile and sturdy. They may not play go very fast, especially the recreational models.
The wide, rugged inflatables are suitable for flowing rivers. Some are created for serious touring.
Tandem kayaks: The tandem kayaks can save you money because they can accommodate up to two users.
Tandem kayaks are more stable compared to single models. They are excellent for kids who want to join in kayaking.
Pedal-powered kayaks: People who want to make use of their hands for activities such as watching with binocular, photography, or fishing can go for this kayak.
The kayak makes use of the bike-like pedals that can turn a prop or push-pedals that can power a pair of fins.
The steering of the kayak is carried out via a rudder that is handled by hand. Users sit higher that allows space for the pedaling motion.
This type of pedal kayak is wide and offers users stability in calm conditions. Users make use of their leg muscles and are able to sustain longer stretches with ease.
However, the pedal technology is expensive and requires more maintenance. Users should be mindful of the prop or fins that are seen beneath the kayak when in the shallows.
It allows you to handle rough waters or quick turns. This type of kayak is heavier than the traditional kayak.
How to choose kayak materials, weight, and price
If you are wondering how to choose kayak, you should consider the materials, price, and weight. A lightweight kayak is easier to load onto a car or carry by yourself.
When you make use of a lighter boat, it allows you to move around with more gear because it has less weight capacity.
The tradeoff is that lightweight materials can make a kayak cost significantly more.
Polyethylene plastic: This material is abrasion-resistant and inexpensive, though this material is the heaviest option.
The sun’s UV rays can degrade it after an extended time in the sun.
ABS plastic: This material is more expensive than polyethylene, and provides durability. It offers you some UV resistance.
Thermoformed ABS boats’ distinctive two-tone designs come from having the deck and hull made separately then bonded together.
Composites: Ultralight carbon fiber and lightweight fiberglass boats provide great performance and price.
The material does not suffer from UV rays, but rocks can affect it.
How to choose kayak additional kayak considerations
How to choose kayak can depend on the specifications of the boat. These boats vary in length and weight capacity.
You should check the following extra specifications for your kayak:
Weight Capacity: You have to consider the weight capacity of your kayak. What this means is the total of you, your gear, and the boat.
You cannot overload a boat above its weight capacity if you do not want to sit too low in the water. Overload can affect the paddling efficiency.
The longer boats move more efficiently when you use them. They provide spacious storage space for your touring gear.
The shorter hulls can turn faster. A few inches in length is not significant, but two feet or more will be noticeable.
Depth: The deeper the hulls, the more room for legs movements, and it has little more storage. However, the shallower hulls are less affected by wind.
Width: The wider hulls provide more initial stability, while narrower hulls can go faster.
Skegs, tracking fins, and rudders: These accessories help a boat track straighter in the wind.
- A skeg: This is a simple dropdown fin that helps prevent a side wind from blowing the boat off course.
- A tracking fin offers a similar benefit, but unlike a skeg, it cannot be retracted while you’re paddling.
This accessory is mostly seen on inflatable kayaks.
A rudder: This fin flips down from the back of a boat. This does the same thing except not fixed in one position.
The angle can be constantly readjusted via foot pedals, and more responsive to changing conditions when on the move.
Seats: A great seat can cost your kayak to be more expensive. You should go for the more adjustable, more padded, and more ergonomic seats.
Cockpit size: A small, snug cockpit gives you more control and protection in rough conditions. A large cockpit makes it easier to get in and out of the boat.
Hatches: The hatches offer users access to interior storage areas. Bigger touring boats will have two, while day touring boats and a few recreational boats will have one
How to Choose Kayak Conclusion:
Are you wondering how to choose kayak? This article has made it easier for you to make your selection.