How to Choose a Kayak?

A kayak is a relatively small, narrow watercraft which usually moves by a means of a double-bladed paddle. Truly, you can be overwhelmed by the types of kayaks upon a single search on the internet. Therefore, knowing how to choose a kayak remains a considerable concern for most people. Fortunately, in this article, you will learn the best ways to choose your favorite kayak.

Ordinarily, it is not possible to state which kayak is best for you. This is because when designing kayaks, their applications matter. Hence, one kayak may be good for one person and considered bad by another person at the same time.

Where you will paddle- Do you intend to paddle in a seacoast, a lake or a river? This will assist you to begin to narrow your alternatives.

Is it a sit-on-top or a sit-in- Do you like the protection offered by a traditional sit-in or the openness of a sit-on-top? In case you are open to any of them, that is ok too.

Your budget and material- Indeed, the material has a direct influence on the price of your boat. These are the great factors in the durability and weight of your boat too.

Size and shape concerns- These influences handling as well as cargo space.

The environment you will be using the kayak

Normally, boats are not classified by the type of water. Nevertheless, in this case, it important to think about the environment you will explore prior to choosing your boat.


First, you need to note that we are talking about the local lakes rather than Lake Superior. In case the weather is favorable and the destination is near, all the options will apply. Therefore, you can go with a recreational sit-in or sit-on-top kayak without any worry.


Definitely, this is where waves, wind, tides, current and many other factors come into play. Thus, choosing a sit-in touring kayak with a skeg (a dropdown fin) or a rudder is a good idea. But, in warm conditions where you may go for kayak surfing, a sit-on-top remains a great option.


Again, this is not about technical rapids. Expectedly, that is beyond the scope of this article. If you are floating in a river, you need a steady, strong craft that turns instantly. Certainly, that could be a short steady recreational sit-on-top or day touring or sit-in kayak.

Rivers and lakes

Preferably, go for a short sit-in kayak if you intend to use it both still and flowing waters. Alternatively, you can choose a short recreational sit-on-top for the still and flowing waters. Fundamentally, these crossover kayaks have a skeg. Normally, this setup will assist you to turn quite responsively when its skeg is up. Consequently, the kayak will track efficiently while the skeg is down. More so, a short kayak with a rudder would also be a great option. However, rudders are always fit on longer kayaks.

Types of Kayaks

Types of Kayaks

How important is this in regard to kayaks?

Generally, kayaks are categorized in different ways. These include how you use them, where you sit in them and their construction. In addition to that, it can be classified according to whether they are developed for a distinct purpose.

Sit-on-top verses traditional sit-in Kayaks

Primarily, sit-on-tops are recreational kayaks for easy flowing rivers as well as lakes. Besides, you will observe them in coastal waters. Also, some longer sit-on-tops have sufficient storage for an overnight trip. In case you feel very claustrophobic inside a cockpit that indicates that you are undoubtedly a sit-on-topper. Still, if you are not certain yet, you may consider the following:

✔️Essentially, sit-on-tops are simple to get on and off of, thus, they are good for casual applications. These may include playing around close to a lakeside cabin or swimming platform or as teenager's kayak.

✔️They are suitable when water and air are warm (you will always get wet.)

✔️Scupper spaces make them self draining; implying that there no necessity to pump out water.

✔️They have hard-to-access cargo reservation (in the vain hull) and some level stash spots.

✔️Typically, they are heavier compared to similar sit-in kayaks.

Sit-in kayaks

Mostly, sit-in kayaks come in a day touring, recreational boats and touring models. Interestingly, they move quickly, track straight and have closed cargo partitions. With that in mind, they are great for navigating to a destination.

Extra considerations:

a) They are suitable when water and air are calm.

b) Actually, you can attach a spray skirt, though a bilge pump is required if you completely swamped. Furthermore, if you acquire a traditional narrow sit-in kayak, you will have to understand how to perform a wet exit.

c) The state of your body and various points of contact in the kayak will provide you with excellent control. This is especially beneficial in rough water and can be quite enjoyable for maneuvering too.

d) There are more suitable to paddle than a sit-on-top kayak.

Kayak materials, price and weight

Generally, a lighter kayak is easier to transport easier to load onto a car most importantly by yourself. Significantly, a lighter kayak also enables you to carry extra gear. This is essentially due to the fact that less of the weight capacity is absorbed by the kayak's weight. Ultimately, lightweight materials can render a kayak cost significantly more.

a) Polyethylene plastic- This is costly and resistant to abrasion, though it is the heaviest alternative. With that, the UV rays from the sun will deteriorate it after a lengthened time in the sun.

b) ABS plastic- This is a bit more costly than polyethylene but it gives comparable durability. Always, the higher the cost gives you a somewhat lower weight than polyethylene, in addition to some UV resistance.

c) Composites- Ultra light carbon-fiber and lightweight fiberglass kayaks give a massive leap in price and performance. Notably, UV rays are not a great matter with these materials. However, a major force with stones can be.


Surely, some other personal preferences like color and manufacturer might matter to some people. Still, you will agree with me that they will not add to the kayak's general performance, durability and efficiency. Consequently, every time you are not sure about how to choose a kayak, consider the factors in this article. Definitely, you will get the value for your money at the end of it.

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