Tips on Choosing a Kayak
Buying a kayak is an exciting prospect. It’s your gateway to morning workouts on the water, weekend explorations at the local lake, or an angler fishing adventure down the river. But it’s also an investment — you want to know that you’ll get your money’s worth. So how do you choose the best kayak for you? Here we provide a few things to consider:
- What’s the best kayak for where you’ll be paddling?
- Is a sit-on-top or a sit-in kayak better for you?
- What is the best kayak shape for you?
- What activity will you use your kayak for?
- Will you want a single kayak or a tandem kayak?
- What about a pedal kayak?
Here some tips on how to choose the best kayak for you and the experience you’re looking for.
What’s the best kayak for where you’ll be paddling?
Though kayaks aren’t usually classified by water type, thinking about what kind of experience you want to achieve can help you answer the other questions on this list and find the best kayak for you.
Do you envision exploring the coastline of a beach, or the quiet backwaters of a sheltered pond? Will there be wind and waves? What about sharp bends that could cause you to tip over? These questions will help determine the stability, durability, and accessibility of your kayak.
What will you use your kayak for?
Kayaks present a wealth of options for outdoor activity, so it’s helpful to narrow down how you might be using your kayak.
- Will you be fishing? Some anglers prefer to fish in a kayak so they can not only reach the tricky areas that motorboats can’t, but also because BKC kayaks feature 5 different rod holders for fishermen to choose from! Additionally, a kayak is far less expensive than a motorboat.
- Will you be exercising? Kayaking offers heart-health benefits and full body toning, making it an ideal form of exercise.
- Will you be relaxing? Many kayakers view their boat as an opportunity to de-stress and enjoy some quiet time in nature. It can also provide a chance to get out with friends or bond with other kayak enthusiasts.
Kayaks aren’t one size fits all, so it’s important to consider how you’ll be using your boat when searching for the best kayak for you.
Is a sit-on-top or sit-in kayak better for you?
Sit-on kayaks are generally considered to be the best kayaks for beginners. They’re stable, easy to get on and off, and self-draining, making them ideal for recreational use. However, be prepared for a little spray — the exposed seat means that you’ll always get wet while paddling.
Sit-in kayaks provide more protection from the elements, making them the best kayaks for longer trips and cooler temperatures. They also offer more efficient paddling and faster speeds than sit-on kayaks. However, the cockpit may flood if you capsize, making for a more difficult exit.
What is the best kayak shape for you?
The shape of your kayak will affect how fast it moves, how easy it is to turn, and how stable it is to paddle and launch. Choosing the right shape is essential to finding the best kayak for your experience level.
Kayaks with rounded hulls offer more maneuverability, making them the best kayaks for navigating tricky rivers and coastlines. The best recreational and fishing kayaks tend to be wider and shorter — you give up some speed, but they offer far more stability, perfect for casual paddling and casting a line.
Do you want a one-person single kayak or a tandem kayak?
When thinking about the best kayak for you, consider whether you’ll be paddling alone or with a partner. Tandem kayaks, which have two seats in the cockpit instead of one, are naturally the best kayaks for paddling pairs. You learn to work together and enjoy the kayaking adventure together. Tandem kayaks are a great bonding experience with your paired paddler. However, even if you wanted to kayak solo, you can still use a tandem kayak!
Single kayaks provide you the freedom and flexibility to go whenever and wherever you want. You can enjoy the serenity of the open waters alone and on your own terms. Single kayaks are typically a lighter weight kayak so loading and unloading is easier — and you can travel a bit faster if you want to paddle off some of the day’s frustrations!
What about a pedal kayak?
Pedal kayaks aren’t as common as paddle kayaks, but they’re worth considering in certain situations.
If you are kayaking for the heart-health benefits, a pedal kayak is a fabulous form of aerobic exercise!
For anglers, pedal kayaks free up your hands, allowing you to adjust your fishing line or tie on different bait. They also cover more water in a shorter time, making them ideal for long trips. If you foresee multi-day treks or kayak fishing in your future, a pedal kayak might be the best kayak for you.
Once you’ve answered these six questions, you’ll be well on your way to finding the best kayak for you. Whether it’s to fish, exercise, or just to unwind, you’ll be out on the water in no time!