What to know when buying a Kayak?

Written by Best Kayak Guide

Feb 27, 2022

February 27, 2022

Kayaking is a fun activity, and with the right equipment, you can make it even more enjoyable. However, there is some knowledge you should acquire before buying a kayak because buying your first kayak can be a little overwhelming. There are many factors to consider when choosing the best kayak for your needs, and not all of them will apply to everyone interested in learning more about the sport. This guide focuses on all the kayak characteristics you must know before making your purchase.

Simple Answer:

First, you must understand what kind of kayaker you are? A good starting point in choosing a new kayak is to figure out what type of paddler you are. There are three main types of kayakers: recreational, touring, and whitewater.

Recreational kayaking is for people who like to fish or take photographs from their kayaks. Recreational kayakers usually only go out on calm waters, which are away from any other boats. The stable design of recreational kayaks makes them excellent for beginners.

Touring kayakers go out on open waters, travelling long distances with ease. Touring kayakers are preferred for speed and tracking. Their boats usually have a narrow beam to cut through the water without much drag.

Whitewater kayaking is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world. Whitewater kayakers need to maneuver their boats through the water at a rapid pace while avoiding obstacles. Whitewater kayakers have a high degree of balance and coordination for this sport. 

Descriptive Answer:

If you want a kayak to casually paddle around on weekends, it’s not as important to know all the specific details. But if you’re looking for a more specialized kayak, like one that tracks better in open water or is more stable, then it’s important to do your research and learn about the different characteristics. Here we have brought down almost all the characteristics you can possibly find when it comes to the topic of kayaks.

Seating Types:

01. Sit-On-Top:

A sit-on-top kayak is simply a kayak in which you sit on top of the boat rather than inside it. This type of kayak is generally considered to be more beginner-friendly because it’s easier to get in and out of, and it also provides more stability than a traditional kayak.

02. Sit-In:

A sit-in kayak is a type of kayak in which the paddler sits inside the kayak with their legs and feet extending out in front of them. This type of kayak provides more protection from the elements than a sit-on-top kayak, and it’s better suited for colder climates.

Seating Capacities:

01. Solo:

A solo kayak is a kayak designed for a single person. It is narrower and has less volume than a multi-person kayak, making it more maneuverable and faster. Solo kayaks are typically made of lighter materials than other kayaks, making them easier to transport and store.

02. Tandem:

A kayak is designed for two people. Unlike a canoe, which typically accommodates three people, a tandem kayak has two separate seats/cockpits and allows each participant to paddle independently. This type of kayak can be a great option for couples or friends who want to spend time together on the water without having to compromise on their level of activity or independence.

03. Triple:

A triple kayak is a kayak that can hold three people. It’s perfect for a family outing or for taking friends out on the water. Some models even come with a built-in sunshade so that you can stay protected from the sun’s harmful rays. Triple kayaks are also great for fishing, as they provide plenty of space to store your gear.

Hull Types:

01. Flat:

A flat hull kayak is a kayak that doesn’t have the traditional V-shape bottom. Flat hull kayaks are generally wider and shallower than their counterparts, making them more stable but also slower in the water. They’re a great choice for beginners or those who are looking for a relaxing paddle, and they’re often used for fishing or touring.

02. V-Shaped:

A v-shaped hull kayak is a kayak designed with a V-shaped hull. This design provides better glide and speed than traditional kayaks, making it a popular choice for racing enthusiasts. Additionally, the V shape allows for greater stability and tracking in rough waters.

03. Pontoon:

A pontoon hull kayak is a type of kayak that has two or more inflated pontoons on either side of the boat. These pontoons provide extra stability in choppy water and make it easier for the kayaker to stay upright. Pontoon hull kayaks are also slower than other types of kayaks, but they are more forgiving and less likely to capsize.

04. Rounded:

A rounded hull kayak is a type of kayak with a more rounded bottom than a flat bottom. This design makes for a more stable kayak and is often preferred by beginner kayakers. Additionally, this type of kayak tracks better than a flat bottom kayak, making it easier to move through the water.

Hull Nature:

01. Inflatable:

An inflatable kayak is a type of kayak made out of rubber or PVC, which can be inflated with air. Since they are made out of rubber or PVC, inflatable kayaks are much lighter and easier to transport than traditional hard-shell kayaks. And since they can be inflated with air, inflatable kayaks are also much more portable than traditional kayaks. Inflatable kayaks are a great option for people who want the performance and stability of a hard-shell kayak but who don’t want to have to carry around a heavy boat.

02. Foldable:

A foldable kayak is a kayak that can be folded up for storage or transport. This makes them a great option for people who want to kayak but don’t have a lot of storage space. Foldable kayaks are made from either inflatable or rigid materials. Inflatable kayaks are made from PVC or other types of plastic and can be inflated with either air or CO2. Rigid kayaks are made from fibreglass, carbon fibre, or aluminium and can be folded up but not inflated. Foldable kayaks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so you should be able to find one that fits your needs.

03. Hard Shell:

A hard-shell kayak is a kayak with a rigid outer shell. This makes them heavier and more durable than other types of kayaks, which is why they’re often used for longer trips or in rougher waters. Hardshell kayaks also tend to be more expensive than other types of kayaks, but they offer a lot of value for the money. If you’re looking for a boat that’s going to last for many years and can handle tough conditions, then a hard-shell kayak is definitely the way to go.

Length & Width:

When it comes to the length and width of a kayak, it’s important to think about what type of paddling you’ll be doing. If you’re mostly doing recreational paddling in calm waters, then a kayak that’s shorter and wider will work well for you. But if you’re planning on doing more advanced paddling or kayaking in rougher waters, then you’ll need a longer and narrower kayak.

Width is also important to think about when choosing a kayak because it determines how stable the kayak will be. A wider kayak will be more stable than a narrower one, so if you’re new to kayaking, you’ll want to choose a wider one until you get comfortable with handling the kayak on the water.

Weight Capacity:

When buying a kayak, it’s important to think about the weight capacity. This is the maximum weight that the kayak can hold without sinking. If you exceed this weight limit, the kayak could sink, which could lead to a dangerous situation.

It’s important to remember that the weight capacity includes your weight and the weight of your gear. So make sure you add up all the weights of you and your gear to make sure you stay within the weight capacity of the kayak. If you’re unsure about what weight capacity to choose, it’s best to go with a higher capacity kayak. That way, you’ll be safe regardless of how much gear you bring along with you.

Kayak Types:

01. Recreational Kayak:

A recreational kayak is a type of kayak that is designed for casual paddling and light touring. It is generally more stable and has a wider beam than a performance kayak, making it more forgiving for beginners.

Recreational kayaks are typically made from rotomolded plastic or composite materials, which makes them lightweight and relatively affordable. They often have multiple storage compartments and may include features like built-in rod holders, Livingston [1], molded-in cup holders, and adjustable seats.

Many recreational kayaks are designed with a variety of fishing-related features, making them popular choices for anglers. Others are outfitted with mounts that allow the attachment of a variety of accessories, such as child carriers or fish finders.

02. Touring Kayak (Sea Kayaks):

A touring kayak is a type of sea kayak that is designed for extended trips and expeditions. They typically have more storage space than other types of sea kayaks and are often equipped with additional features like hatches and bulkheads that allow you to store gear securely and keep it dry.

Touring kayaks also have a longer waterline length and narrower beam than other sea kayaks, which makes them faster and easier to paddle over long distances. They are also often fitted with skegs or rudders to help you track in a straight line and maintain your course when paddling against the wind or currents.

03. Fishing Kayak:

A kayak is designed for anglers. Unlike traditional kayaks, fishing kayaks have features that make them easier to fish from, such as rod holders and anchor trolleys. They’re also often wider and longer than traditional kayaks, providing more stability in choppy waters.

Some fishing kayaks come equipped with sonar and GPS systems, which allow anglers to find fish underwater and track their movements. Others come with hatches that provide extra storage space for tackle boxes and bait supplies. Many fishing kayaks also have a built-in cooler or storage area to keep your catch fresh until home.

04. Whitewater Kayak:

A Whitewater Kayak is a type of kayak that is specifically designed for use in whitewater rapids. These kayaks are typically shorter and wider than traditional kayaks, which makes them more stable in turbulent water. They also have a higher centre of gravity, which gives them better handling in fast-moving water.

Whitewater kayaks are typically made from a tough plastic material that can withstand collisions with rocks and other obstacles in the river. They also feature a variety of attachments and accessories that allow you to secure your belongings while you’re paddling through the rapids.

Recommended Products:

01. Old Town Vapor 12XT – Recreational Kayak

The Vapor 12XT is perfect for anyone looking for a roomy cockpit and plenty of volume. It’s also extremely stable, making it great for paddlers who plan to load it up with gear. Plus, the Comfort Flex Seat and stern Quick Seal Hatch make it a breeze to spend a day on the water. Overall, its a great recreational kayak in the market.

02. Wilderness Systems Tempest 165 – Touring Kayak (Sea Kayaks)

Wilderness Systems Tempest 165 kayak is perfect for intermediate and advanced paddlers. It tracks well and is easy to maneuver, making it great for those who want to move quickly on the water. The skeg can be deployed partially to give variable resistance in a range of conditions, making this kayak versatile and fun to use. Overall, this is an awesome sea kayak and a blast to paddle!

03. Perception Outlaw 11.5 – Fishing Kayak

The Perception Outlaw 11.5 has everything you need to make the most of your fishing experience. With a wide-open deck, expansive standing platform, and seriously elevated seating, this kayak is designed for serious anglers. The Outlaw also integrates industry-firsts including a stowaway seat for complete deck walkability and space for up to a 35L cooler. So this is great to experience the best fishing ever.

04. Dagger Phantom – Whitewater Kayak

The Dagger Phantom is the latest high-performance model to join the ranks of the Mamba, The Green Boat and the Nomad. Boasting a perfect balance of tracking and maneuverability, the Phantom is designed for those who want to rapidly change direction when on edge. Volume has been optimized for both performance and fit, making this boat ideal for paddlers of all heights and sizes. So, this becomes a great whitewater kayak in many ways.

Visual Explanations:

  1. Beginner Tips:

  1. Kayak Size Guide:

  1. Select Your Paddle:

Related Matters:

01. How much should you spend on a kayak?

It depends on what you’re looking for in a kayak. Are you looking for something recreational or something more serious? Do you want a sit-in or sit-on-top kayak? How often do you plan on using it?

Generally, you should expect to spend anywhere from $300 to $1,000 on a reliable kayak. It’s best to shop around at different stores and online to find the best deal.

02. How long will a kayak last?

A kayak will last a long time if properly taken care of. Kayaks are made from durable materials and can withstand a lot of wear and tear. With proper care, a kayak can last for many years.

It is important to keep your kayak clean and free of debris. You should also check the seals and rivets regularly to make sure they are in good condition. If you take care of your kayak, an average quality kayak should last anywhere between 7 to 12 years.

What to know when buying a Kayak
What to know when buying a Kayak

Read: What is an Anchor Trolley on a Kayak??

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