If you’re thinking about taking up kayaking as a new hobby, you might be wondering where to begin your search for the right kayak for you. Not surprisingly, there are quite a few different models available at various price levels. Understanding the difference between the different types of kayaks should be your first step as you embark on this journey.
As a rule, wider kayaks are the most stable, making them an ideal choice for beginners since more stable kayaks are less likely to capsize. As with so many endeavors, kayaking does have a bit of a learning curve. A kayak that is more likely to stay upright is more likely to let you build your confidence more quickly. Wider kayaks are generally not ideal for fast moving water or rapids, but those conditions aren’t the best training grounds for new kayakers, either. The most stable beginner models are usually the least expensive, which is great for beginners who aren’t even sure they’ll want to stick with kayaking long term. Also, beginners are more likely to bump into a few things while they’re learning, so opting for a lower-end model can make a few dents and dings seem a little less disastrous. All of the kayak types described below are available in sit-on or sit-in and one- or two-person models. Sit-in models typically offer a little more protection from wind and cold and are also usually a little less likely to land new users in the water as they get their sea legs. If you’re more interested in solo trips, visit kayaking tips for more details about finding the best single-person model to meet your needs.
Recreational kayaks are among the most stable models available. They’re great for beginners and those who plan on sticking to calmer lakes and slower moving waterways. They’re rated for calmer waters because they are less maneuverable than more advanced models.
Touring models offer better performance than recreational kayaks, but aren’t quite as stable. They are ideal for faster moving water and handle long distances better than recreational versions.
Whitewater kayaks, as you might guess from the name, are designed for kayaking rapids. They’re the sleekest and most maneuverable, highest-performance models, but are also the least stable. Like fast-moving rapids, these kayaks are not a great choice for beginners.
Fishing models are built to accommodate fishing gear and your day’s catch. They tend to be very stable to accommodate sitting, standing, casting, and reeling in your fish. Check out bestkayaks.reviews for comparisons and pros and cons of some top-rated models designed for kayakers looking for a different type of fishing boat.
There are inflatable kayaks in all of the varieties listed above. They can be an ideal choice for those whose storage space at home is limited or those who want to bring their kayak on camping trips, but don’t want to lug a rigid kayak long distances. In the past, inflatable models were poorly built and often weren’t of much better quality than inflatable pool toys. Recently, though, better materials have been developed that make quality inflatable models much sturdier and much more reliable than in the past. There are even inflatable models that are capable of handling the toughest conditions a kayaker will face. For times when you might prefer a slightly more rigid kayak, you can find models that offer (as a separate purchase) a skeleton of sorts to provide additional, but not essential, framework.
Kayaking can be a great way to get some exercise in the great outdoors. Understanding the different types of models you’ll encounter when you begin shopping can help you narrow the field to choices that will meet your needs and could keep you from spending more than you need to for a model that’s more than you’re prepared to handle. After all, nobody needs a(nother) new hobby that ends up taking up space and collecting dust!
If you’re looking for the best sea kayak for open water, this site compares a few models, giving you pros and cons of each, in addition to more tips on choosing the right model for you.