how to choose a kayak

How to Choose a Kayak – Tips & kayak Buying Guide

Last updated on January 3rd, 2021

When you are looking for buying the best kayak, you should know as much as possible, because once you pick a kayak, you try to more benefits from it.

There are lots of kayaks in different shapes and sizes available in the market. So, it is urgent to realize the best options. You want not only the enjoyment but also the safety while kayaking. However, I will breakdown all the essential tips to find out your desired kayak.

Key Factors To Choose The Best Kayak

To select the right kayak depends on some key factors like Where you want to kayak, types of kayaks, kayak categories, materials, weight capacity, length, width, depth, seats, etc. Let’s have a look-

Where You Want To Kayak

Before choosing the best kayak, you need to think about where you plan to kayak.

Lakes: when you decide to paddle in any nearby lake, you can enjoy your kayaking with any sit-on-top or sit-in-boat in good weather.

Coasts: A sit-in-touring boat with a rudder and fixed tracking fin will help you kayaking in coasts. But if you have no problem to swim or you like to do kayak surfing, to select a sit-on-top boat will be a smart decision.

River: Are you planning to float on a river, then you need a stable and sturdy craft. You may choose a short recreational sit-on-top or sit-in-boat.

A day touring sit-in kayak is another good alternative here.

Lake And River:

Many people want to use a single boat in both still water and flowing water. If you like to do so, no matter, go with a short recreational sit on top or sit in a boat.

Different Types of Kayaks

It can be made classification kayaks in many ways. Classification of a kayak depends on some factors like the sitting position, the way you use, their structure, even the purpose of your kayaking.


Sit-on-top is mainly a recreational boat. This kayak is suitable for lakes and the river with easy flow. It’s very easy to get on and off of this kind of boat. These kayaks are useful for casual uses.

When water and air are hot, sit on tops are comfortable for you. They have scupper holes that’s why you need not pump out water. This type of kayak is usually heavier than sit in boats.


There are different kinds of sit-in kayaks like recreational kayaks, touring models and day tours, etc.

These are better for paddling to the destination, as they can move faster, track straight and these have covered cargo compartment as well.

You should choose this kayak if you need to explore comfortably in cool air and water.

You should add a spray skirt and a bilge pump. It’s necessary to learn how to do a wet exit.

In rough water, you have to ensure great control by the good position of your body.

You can paddle this boats more effectively comparing a sit- in- top.

Boat Categories

There are a lot of kayaks in different categories, you should choose among them carefully. Let’s know about the kayak categories.

Recreational kayak

If you are looking for a boat that is stable, easy to get in and out of, and simple to turn at a reasonable price, then it will be a better option.

These are perfect for short trips in still water.

Day touring kayak(sit-ins)

These boats move faster than recreational boats These kayaks are short, easy to transport and handle. But to get these boats, you have to spend a little bit high amount of money.

Touring kayak

These long kayaks are very efficient for long distances. It has a rudder that enables you to deal with currents and wind.

Special Kayaks

Some kayak is designed for special purposes like fishing, paddling with a partner, etc. Look at the categories below.

Folding kayak

If you plan to go for a remote trip with your friends or family members, choose a folding kayak.

Inflatable Kayak

This sturdy and versatile kayak is a fine choice for moving fast. Some inflatable kayaks are designed for serious touring.

Tandem Kayak

Boating alone is risky and maybe boring for you. So, in terms of going together, Tandem kayaks are suitable.

Pedal-powered kayak

Want to focus on fishing, watching wildlife, or photography? A pedal-powered kayak will make your job easy.

Kayak Materials

Materials define the quality and cost of a kayak.

Polyethylene plastic is a little bit inexpensive but it offers you the heavier kayak.

If you want to get a more durable boat, you should buy an abs made boat. But you have to spend more than a polyethylene kayak

Lightweight fiberglass and ultra-light fiberglass boat will give you the best performance and lightweight. You know very well that to get the best quality you need to spend a good amount of money.

Better To Consider For Buying Kayak

It’s better to consider the following things-

Skegs, tracking fins and rudders

Some accessories like skegs, rudders, and fins assist a kayak track straighter in the wind.


The more good quality the seat you want, the more you have to spend. But as you need to spend a lot of hours in the seat, it is a wise option to focus on a great seat.

Cockpit size

In rough conditions, a small, snug cockpit will give you sufficient protection and control as well, while a big cockpit enables you to get in and out easily.


Hatches give access to interior storage areas. Generally, recreational kayaks have one, on the other hand, big touring kayaks have two.


Some Other Important Considerations

Weight Capacity

An overloaded kayak will sit low in the water and compromise the efficiency of your paddling.


To choose the right kayak, it is important to consider the length of the kayak. However, the longer and narrower kayak travel faster, while the wider kayak moves slower but gives more stability. Most of the people consider the on-top boat as a recreational kayak. The sit-inside kayaks are available in different shapes and sizes.


Deeper hulls will give more room that is suitable for long-legged paddlers. Wind can affect less shallow hulls.


Wider hulls will give you initial stability, while narrower hulls allow you to move faster.

Final Thoughts

I have tried to provide you with all the necessary things to select the best kayak for you. Now, it’s your turn. Hopefully, considering the factors mentioned above, you will be able to buy suitable kayak comfortably.

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