How To Choose A Kayak2021-07-20T09:37:04-04:00

How To Choose The Right Kayak For You

How to Paddle Board For BeginnersKayaking is one of summer’s greatest treasures and an awesome vessel for exploring and . Although kayaks can vary in terms of their function, they all allow you to chart through waters with ease.

So whether you’re planning on paddling around the lake with friends, making your way down a cascading river, or taking in the scenic views from the ocean, a kayak is the boating vessel for you.

Although you may be eager to get the party started, choosing a kayak isn’t as simple as picking up the first kayak that you see online or in stores, it should require thoughtful answers to some important questions.

That’s why we put together a comprehensive list of features for you to consider before you take the plunge and purchase your new kayak. So without further adieu, let’s dive right in.

How To Choose A Kayak

We assembled a list of questions that will help guide your decision. If you aren’t certain about the answer to all these questions right off the bat, that’s ok! We will explore and unpack these questions further in depth later on in the article. These are merely the guiding factors to helping you choose the best boat for you.

Check Out These Kayak Choices

Where do you want to Kayak?

Are you looking to take your kayak on the ocean, down a river, or on a lake or pond? What water conditions you are expecting needs to influence your kayak selection so you get the best performance, stability, and safety while on the water. Calm days with little wind and waves on lakes and ponds are going to allow for smaller kayak designs. A longer and wider kayak will provide added stability in rough conditions and moving water.

What Type of Seat Do You Like?

Do you like the ease and elevation of a Sit-On-Top kayak seat? Or do you prefer the protection against the elements of a Sit-In kayak seat? Many of the better sit-on-top kayak designs offer incredibly comfortable folding seat designs with cooling mesh and elevated consoles. Along with great back support, these designs keep you cool in the summer sun.

How Heavy and Bulky of a Kayak Do You Care to Transport and Store?

Kayaks come in many shapes, sizes, and materials that vary in terms of weight and transportation convenience. The biggest factor to keep in mind here is that you’ll likely need to load and unload your boat from a kayak rack on the roof of your vehicle. More robust designs are going to weigh more and require more lifting power to load onto the vehicle, and transport to the water.

What’s Your Budget?

Depending on your budget, you can upgrade to better materials that will be more durable, as well as enhance comfort, and performance. But you should avoid cutting corners and rushing into choosing a kayak just based on saving a little coin. Choosing the right kayak for your needs does more than just provide added performance. For your own safety, it’s important that you choose a kayak that is designed to handle the water conditions you will be tackling.

Traditional Types of Kayak

How to Choose A Kayak

Recreational kayaks

These kayaks are typically made for charting through flat waters like lakes or ponds, offer stability table when entering or exiting the boat, and are fairly easy to turn.

They aren’t aren’t ideal for long distances, and don’t perform as well in choppy water like rivers or oceans. But for paddlers looking for straightforward entertainment and enjoyment, recreational kayaks offer everything needed to have a good time on the water.

Fishing kayaks

Fishing kayaks are far-and-away one of the most popular kayak designs you will find, and for good reason. Along with being loaded with all of the fishing-friendly features, fishing kayaks cover all the territory that recreational kayaks do while providing you with a much more versatile boat. Fishing kayaks offer the capability for a fun day of paddling, or even working the surf and lakes for Redfish and Largemouth Bass.

Touring kayaks

These kayaks can move through choppy waters easier than recreational kayaks. Not only coming in as the longest types of kayaks, touring kayaks are the most bulky. They are the most efficient when you travel long distances. They provide a smoother ride and are great for lakes, rivers, and some oceans. They typically are equipped with a rudder which will help you stay in a straight path despite obstacles like head currents and directional winds. These are great for open spaces and long distances.

Folding kayaks

Just like the name suggests these kayaks can fold down in compact sizes, and are significantly lighter than traditional kayaks. Which means that they are much easier to transport, as well as storage. If you are limited on storage space this might be the options for you.

Inflatable kayaks

These kayaks can also pack down into a more manageable size. And since the inflatable bladders are full of air, inflatable kayaks are super buoyant compared to some other hard-bodied models. Despite being inflatable, they are fairly durable and are somewhat malleable to debris and rocks. The disadvantage is that they don’t go as fast, and don’t track through water as well as traditional kayaks.

Tandem kayaks

If you want to paddle with a partner, or even want additional space to carry a lot of gear, a tandem kayak might be exactly what you need. These typically offer 2 seats but some can carry up to 4 passengers depending on the weight capacity. If you plan to take kids, or inexperienced paddlers along with you, then a tandem kayak might be the right play for you.

Pedal-powered kayaks

These offer pedal technology and can be steered with one hand. They chart through water very well, and are ideal for kayakers who want to have their hands free for holding a fishing pole or a camera.

Other Features to Consider

Weight Capacity

You’ll want to check how much weight the kayak can hold for the total weight you plan to load onto the water craft. This includes your own body weight, and any additional weighted items.


Just remember that the longer the kayak, the easier it is to chart longer distances. Keep in mind where you will store it, and how you will store and transport it.

Cockpit Size

The deeper the hull is on a kayak the more leg room one will have. On the other hand, shallow hulls offer less wind resistance.


Plane and simple narrowness allows for faster tracking, and wider kayaks will provide more balance and are harder to tip over.


Hopefully this information gave you a better idea on how you would answer those initial questions posed in the beginning of the article. The factors can be subtle, but can make all the difference when you are actually out on the water. Take your time, be thorough with your expectations and each kayak’s ability to meet those needs.