Is it time to shop for your very first kayak? Well, you have come to the right place because I help kayak beginners find the perfect kayak for their adventure needs. Choosing the right kayak isn’t as easy as it looks. There are so many different types out there, so many different uses for kayaks and so many different brands to choose from. If you want to ensure that your first kayak investment is on the spot and able to last you a long time then you definitely should consider the following guidelines.
The first kayak models were quite simple and general. You didn’t have a lot of options and all the kayaks consisted of the same basic features with no specifics regarding certain activities. Modern kayaks are very different. There is a wide range to choose from and many of these kayaks are specially developed to help you make the most out of your preferred water adventure type.
The first thing you need to do when looking for the best kayak is to consider what your purpose of the kayak will be. Are you going to use your kayak for casual paddling on calm waters? Is kayak fishing your dream hobby? Or are you a wild hearted sports lover that would love to take on challenging adventures? Are you planning on going with a friend? Here are the top kayak styles to consider for your exact need.
Casual recreation kayaks – Recreational kayaks are mostly for casual rowing on quiet waters like lakes, slow moving rivers and calm shores. They are also known as river kayaks. These kayaks are shorter and flat bottomed so they don’t flip over easily. They have large cockpits and are one of the safest options for family adventures. The Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 is a perfect example of one of the best recreational kayaks currently on the market.
Touring and sea exploring kayaks – You have probably seen plenty of photographs of iconic long kayaks in travel magazines and adverts. Touring and sea exploring kayaks has a much longer and narrower design so these kayaks can travel faster and through narrow streams. The kayaks usually have smaller cockpits and can be between 17’ to 22’ in length and quite light in weight since most of them are made of fiberglass. The Wilderness System Punto 140 and Necky Vector 14 are two of the best kayaks that you can consider.
Fishing, diving or snorkeling – For this type of kayak adventure you will need a bit of extra space to haul all of your gear around. Fishing, diving and snorkeling kayaks are specially designed to include mounts for fishing gear like fishing accessories, a fish finder and more and a lot of effort was put into the design in terms of balance so the kayak won’t easily tip over when you are hauling in a big catch or diving into the big blue. The KL Sun Dolphin Journey 10 is one of the best fishing kayaks to consider because it boasts with a terrific look, great comfort and plenty of space for all of your kayak fishing gear.
Surfing or whitewater adventures – These types of kayaks are usually short with raised ends that help you maneuver better in turbulence waters. The kayaks mostly have a sit-on-top style and can be used for surfing.
Are you someone that loves to take on adventures on your own or do you prefer some company on your trips? This is especially true when going fishing with a friend. It is much more affordable to invest in a tandem fishing kayak than two single seated kayaks and it saves up a lot of storage space in the garage as well. These kayaks are usually much faster thanks to the longer length and the extra paddling strength and they are great fun for couples.
This is probably the hardest choice to make when you are choosing a kayak since both rigid and inflatable kayaks have some tremendous benefits.
Rigid kayak pros – Rigid kayaks are made of polyethylene, ABS plastic or fiberglass or even a combination of materials which is quite light. You should be able to successfully maneuver your kayak all by yourself on dry land. Polyethylene kayaks are the least expensive, most popular but heaviest of the rigid kayak materials. ABS plastic kayaks are lighter and fiberglass kayaks are a lot lighter but often a lot more expensive.
Rigid kayak cons – The biggest con of these kayaks is storage and transportation. They take up a lot of space in the garage or yard and transporting these types of kayaks is always a hassle.
Inflatable kayak pros – The biggest advantage of the best inflatable kayaks is their flexibility in terms of transportation, storage and advanced features. They are deflectable and can fold into relatively small packs that are easy to transport and easy to store away. Inflatable kayaks often boast with improved sports performance thanks to their lighter weight and they are available in a much wider range of styles and designs. You can check out some inflatable kayak reviews and learn about more of the benefits of these modern kayaks.
Inflatable kayak cons – You can puncture or tear your kayak (this is rare as they are made of a very strong PVC). A lot of precaution went into the design of these kayaks to prevent sinking after a puncture especially when getting one from a well known brand. Also, you can fix moderate punctures yourself but great caution has to be taken to ensure you don’t damage your kayak.
You should also consider your preference for your kayak seating and comfort (some have better back support too). Kayaks are fashioned with two types of seating solutions. Sit-inside kayaks and sit-on-top kayaks.
Sit-inside kayaks – This type of seating enable you to stay much drier and often give you much more control over maneuvering because your lower body and legs is inside of the kayak body. Sit-inside kayaks are a bit tougher to get into, should you fall overboard but the chances of tipping over are much lower since these kayaks has a much better center of gravity. They also provide you with much more control and safety. These kayaks are perfect for water adventures like river rafting, racing and more.
Sit-on-top kayaks – These kayaks are easier to tip over and easier to get into when you tip over but you have far less control over your kayak. These types of kayaks are more for casual rowing, touring and exploring. Most recreational kayaks are designed with sit-on-top seating.
These guidelines should give you a pretty good idea of what the best kayak is for your personal needs. With the right kayak you gain a lot of functionality and you can make the utmost out of your favorite water hobby. There is just one last thing to remember while you are considering kayaks and that is that cheap prices often means that you will end up buying a new kayak way sooner than you anticipated.
It is much better to invest a little bit more in a well reputed brand and to do a bit of background research on the kayak of your choice before you make the final decision. When you choose right from the start (this includes a decent paddle), you will be able to enjoy plenty of grand adventures for many years to come.