My first kayaking experience came when I was only 12 years old. Ever since, and for the last 30 years, I have been kayaking. As such, I understand what an awesome sporting activity kayaking really is.
But like any other sport that you might go for, kayaking has the gears that make the experience far much better every other day. The most important gear when it comes to kayaking is having the right kayak.
Luckily for you, in today’s world, you can borrow a kayak, rent, buy, or simply enroll in a training institution to get one. Even so, for the sake of this post, I will give you a better approach and show you how to buy a kayak instead.
I will list and explain some of the most important factors to consider. These factors should help you to get the right kayak for your use once you read through. Let’s dig in.
Type of Kayak that Works for You
The first consideration that you’ve got to make when buying a kayak is the type of kayak that works for you. Under this, you must understand that there are several types of kayaks that you can go with. Even so, the choice that you’ll eventually end up with will depend on the following factors.
- Which discipline are you looking for?
- What type of water are you going to ride?
- How often will you use your kayak?
- What is your personal budget?
- Are there any special technologies that you require?
These questions will help you to determine your needs. Once you do that, the next step is simply to compare the types of kayaks that we have before you finally choose a model that suits your needs.
Kayak Types that You Should Know
Under the kayak types that you can go with, we’ve got several models. Here are the kayak types that you must know.
The first type is the recreational kayak. These are versatile kayaks that are designed for use on mild river trips. They are designed to keep you relaxed and to help you break off from the rough schedules.
If you want the best kayaking experience that helps you to cool off, recreational kayaks are the choice for you.
Recreational kayaks are shorter and wider than most touring kayaks. As such, recreational kayaks are easy to turn. However, this also has a disadvantage in that it makes the kayak hard to control in a straight line.
Designed for extensive wilderness exploration, touring kayaks are longer and are favored with so much stability. They have a larger carrying capacity and better weight limits. The kayaks track well and will easily travel on a straight line.
However, they don’t turn as easily as the shorter kayaks would. If you are looking for a touring kayak, you must understand this concept too.
Touring kayaks in some quarters are called sea kayaks even though they aren’t limited to use in the sea. The sea is wider and better for turning if you have a longer kayak.
Contrary to what you may think, touring kayak is best for use during the day. They have less storage space, though but offer lighter weight and better maneuverability.
Anyone who wants to tackle a rapid ride with a kayak should go for the whitewater kayak. This is the one kayak type that has top maneuverability and the best ability to tackle rapids. They are often shorter and could have rounded bottoms.
Some of them might come with flat planning hulls. The whitewater kayaks will deal better with waves, thanks to its better rocker. Unfortunately, this type of kayak is not ideal for touring or paddling in a straight line.
Certain kayaks are designed to leave you with better fishing experience. They have better storage capacity and will maximize their weight limits.
The kayaks are designed with better fishing accessories. They come with fish rod holders, space for nets, and larger storage areas for your catch.
The downriver kayaks are specially designed for the guys who love speed, fun, and a little bit of danger (adrenaline lovers). They travel quickly than any other type of kayak and, as such, are best suited for racing.
Downriver kayaks have long and narrow designs that enable them to cut through waves fast and smoothly. Unfortunately, this design also makes them easy to tip, and as such, we don’t recommend them for new kayakers.
Apart from the type of kayak, the next consideration, if you are looking for how to buy a kayak, is the size. Make sure that you get the right kayak size for your use. The kayak’s dimensions play a key role and could impact your kayaking experience in very incredible ways. Here is what to look for.
The first aspect of a kayak that determines the size is the length of the kayak. On a length, we have longer and shorter kayaks. In this case, the longer kayaks pose so many benefits, including the following.
- Easy paddling
- More stability
- Ideal for heavier loads
- Zero loss in performance
- Better and Reliable tracking
- Easy maneuverability
- Faster movement and gliding
Shorter kayaks, on the other hand, are lighter. They are less expensive and could use different materials to make. Nonetheless, they also have their advantages such as these:
- Less cumbersome
- Easier to transport
- Making quick turns
- Quite affordable
As a result, a kayaker that has a longer vessel will enjoy better efficiency while using less effort. The same cannot be said of a kayaker with a shorter model. Even so, a shorter hull is best for paddling through narrow streams.
The second aspect of the size of a kayak is the width. So what about the kayak’s width, really? Here is what we have.
The kayak’s width offers specific control to the kayak. Its main function is to offer the best stability. Even so, slimmer kayaks won’t work best under strong currents.
The extra width will provide you with better transportation capacity. However, they will need more power to paddle through.
Another important consideration to make is the type of hull that your kayak has. In this line, here is what you have to know.
Kayaks with hulls have a flat bottom and hard chines (in other words, sharp hulls with an almost right-angle edge around the meeting point of the bottom and sides) and have greater flare (which can be called better curvature of its sides to the outward) offer much better stability.
On the other hand, kayaks with round hulls, softer chines, and lesser flare offer lesser stability. Nonetheless, they are easier to roll in case they tip over.
Apart from that, a longer and skinny kayak that comes with a narrow V like shape will be faster as it slices through the water instead of piling it up to the front. Make your choice depending on what you need and your skill level.
Compare the kayak symmetry too. This means that the front half and the rear half of the kayak should have the same shape. If they do, the shape is symmetrical. If they don’t, then it’s asymmetrical.
Symmetrical kayaks move better and turn faster than their asymmetrical counterparts. Asymmetrical kayaks have their control improved, but their turning ability decreased and, as such, could prove harder for a newbie.
When it comes to how to buy a kayak, the rocker is very important. This refers to the general expansion of a kayak’s hull right from a point to the next. The rocker is determined when viewed from the kayak’s side.
Kayaks with so much rocker will turn further in as their ends will assemble higher and leave you with less resistance against the waves. Unfortunately, they don’t track well. Kayaks with less rocker will track better.
This is because they will oppose most of the rotating forces such as waves, wind, current, and inept strokes from the paddles. However, they won’t turn effortlessly if proper turning strokes are used.
This is the change between your kayak’s base and its sides. An unexpected and almost a right-angle change will be called the hard chine. The smoother curved one called the soft chine. Chine and flare (which is the slant on the outer side of the kayak from the hull) will work together for better kayak performance. Flared sides will offer the best stability but will be harder to turn over.
If you are wondering how to buy a kayak that suits your needs, this post has given you a place to start. You already have the most important considerations to make. Now determine your budget and buy a kayak that saves you some money.
Eventually, proper care and maintenance will kick in if you want your kayak to last longer. Stick with the user manual to have a better experience.