Lone kayaker at sunset

Paddling the world one stroke at a time

Choosing a Kayak

How to Choose a Kayak

One of the most difficult and important decisions you will make as a kayaker is which boat to buy. There are many factors to this decision, but one of the most important is how well the boat fits you. A kayak is somewhat similar to a jacket that protects you from the elements. On long a trip, you really don't want to be wearing the wrong size jacket. Cockpit size and seat design are primary factors in the comfort level of the boat.

Today's kayaker has a very large number of manufacturers and models from which to choose their boat. So first let's try narrowing the field.

Kayak Categories

Kayaks can generally be classified into four categories, touring, sporting, recreational and whitewater. Touring kayaks are primarily used for paddling in the ocean. Recreational kayaks are designed for ponds and slow moving rivers. People who plan to paddle both big and small water can benefit from the versatility of a sport kayak. Finally, whitewater kayaks can be used for both river rapids and ocean surf.

With all of these categories except whitewater you can choose single or tandem (two person) boats.

 

Closed Hull vs. Open Hull

Additionally there are closed hull and open hull boats. Closed hull boats are generally higher performance, offer better protection against the elements, and greater storage capabilities for longer paddling trips. Open hull boats are generally far more stable. They make great platforms for fishing and diving, but provide almost no protection against the elements. If you paddle an open hull boat expect to get wet.

Post Date: 11/6/2011, Article by: Dave Carpenter