Are you ready to embark on your next kayaking adventure? Whether it’s a daycation or an itinerary-driven tour, knowing how to choose a kayak is crucial for a safe experience.
With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to determine which is right for you. So here is all you need to know to make your kayaking plans the first enlisted on the to-do list.
To begin with, research how to choose a kayak before you spring into action since they are built to cater to utilitarian and capacious facets. Recreational kayaks, day touring kayaks, sit-on-top kayaks, tandem kayaks, traditional kayaks, polyethylene kayaks, racing kayaks—there is a sea of options to grasp.
1. Kayaking- A Maneuver Towards Adventure
1.1 What Makes Kayaking One Of The Most Endearing Outdoor Activities?
Following beds of lush greens adjacently paved along with the trail of calm lakes and slow-moving rivers, it uniquely unfolds to a world of picturesque views via kayaking.
Amidst the hustle and bustle, nature admirers like you and me find solace in the lap of nature—bounded by the meandering rivers, rich flora, and exquisite landscapes—and have always nestled in places that create a state of Zen.
1.2 Difference Between Rowing And Kayaking
Contrary to what many of us believe, the mechanics involved in rowing and kayaking function distinctly.
1.2.1 Leg And Hand Movements
While rowing a boat, the energy exerted from the leg movement largely pushes the water backward. On the other hand, kayaking reinforces the arms and back muscles in accelerating continued pushes.
1.2.2 Oar Vs Paddle
A boat has an attached pole with a single-sided, broad blade called an oar to row the boat. In contrast to rowing a boat, kayaking comes with a two-sided paddle detached from the vessel.
1.2.3 Mechanisms Involved
To play your cards right in choosing the right kayak for you, first things first: the narrower the hull, the better the speed.
Given these points, recreational kayaks are the slowest, followed by touring kayaks, and the fastest would be the sea kayaks.
It means that speed is indicative of compromising stability, so the greater it is, the better.
2. A Guide To Safety
2.1 Carry A Safety Store Gear
- Spray skirt in both sit-in kayak and sit-on-top kayak for extremely chilly weather conditions to keep you warm
- Float bags for unsinkable kayaking quest
- Bilge pump to drain collected water from the bottom of a kayak
2.2 Emergency Kit
For most of the emergencies, flashlights, life jackets, helmets, compasses, whistles, and duct tape will keep you covered.
2.3 Must-have Body Essentials
Leisurely or pelagic wanderings, whatever your reason for kayaking is, must-have essentials like sufficient water, extra layers of clothing, munchies, a first-aid kit, and sunscreens optimized by higher SPFs are your ultimate lifesavers.
2.4 A List Of Do’s and Don’ts
- To begin, it is always ideal to kayak in groups rather than alone, especially with novice paddlers.
- Secondly, kayaking nearby can help your peers listen to your whistle-blow to relieve any unforeseen crisis.
- Thirdly, just as any outdoor ritual commences primarily with a weather check the forecast, kayaking demands the same.
- As unruly as you may perceive your first-hand kayaking experience to end up, there’s a single mantra to ace it: a well-aligned body posture. Paddling with a laid-back body posture multiplies the possibility of flipping.
- The prior study of paddling basics has upside potential in bringing the right skills into play.
- On top of that, be mindful of the fact that getting in and out of the kayak also has some technicalities involved. By fetching reliant support from the dock, step into the kayak firmly to place yourself comfortably, and repeat the same in reverse while exiting.
- Lastly, never underestimate the weight capacity that a kayak can handle. Overfilling induces the kayak to capsize.
- Regardless of how daunting it may appear at first, most often, this is how everything initially feels, right? Dwell into the basics, and you will fall in love with kayaking, I swear!
3. How To Choose A Kayak? – The Categories
Once your understanding of the technicalities is sufficient to supplement how to choose a kayak for yourself, you will be all set to dive into this adventurous spree.
3.1 Sea Kayak
Sea kayaking is no less than an adventure. Hence, its long vessel is designed for covering vast distances. It is also mostly taken up by experienced paddlers.
Besides, its accentuated hull is an added advantage to strenuous expeditions to the open seas and lakes, granting all kinds of weather. For this reason, it offers a capacious hatch for storage.
With the possibility of capsizing in mind, its ingeniously designed vessel prevents other portions of the kayak from getting flooded except the cockpit.
3.2 Recreational Kayak
Paddling with a recreational kayak is of greater convenience since its wider cockpit openings, maximized hull, and beam make it a user-friendly, handy, and stable kayak, especially for beginner paddlers.
On the contrary, recreational kayaks do not promise safety as much as sea kayaks and fit best for paddling on calming perennial creeks and flatwater streams. To top it all, ample space in its interiors makes room for waterlogging in case of capsizing.
Since a spectrum of attributes, these are split into two variants like size and shape that determine the purpose of a kayak.
3.2.1 Sit Inside Kayak
Semi-enclosed structural sit-inside kayaks create ample space to sit with ease, providing an even larger open dry storage space.
These shorter kayaks are not meant to sail through rough waters because of their wide hull,
The sit-inside kayaks promise less stability than sit-on-top kayaks; nonetheless, they serve better for camping plans and are extensively high in performance quotient.
3.2.2 Sit On Top Kayak
As the name suggests, you can simply sit on top with an open space to spread your legs. Without an ounce of doubt, this can be ridden even by kids due to its highly stabilized presence on flat water. Manual Adjustable seats are a plus point.
Furthermore, the enormously built sit-on-top kayaks leave adequate scope for the installation of customized rod holders.
The sit-on-top is contained with vertical scupper holes placed at the bottom of the boat to drain out water.
3.3 Whitewater Kayak
An old-timer always ascends to leveling up his kayaking skills, encountering hard-hitting waves and turbulent tides.
Striving towards enigmatic sailing sprints, there is nothing better than whitewater kayaks.
The vessel appears curvy with a slightly narrowed cockpit, making it maneuverable.
3.4 Inflatable Kayak
Unlike other hefty kayaks, inflatable kayaks, also called floating kayaks, are portable, built from lightweight materials, and best for two-seaters, making them an exceptional investment for all your impromptu plans.
Featuring padded kayak seats, comfy footrests, storage spaces, detachable fins, and whatnot, this kayak is your ticket to exploration.
Inflatable kayaks are not as durable as other kayaks and must be handled with the utmost care. Nevertheless, it comes with an assurance of not sinking in case an inflatable kayak gets punctured.
3.5 Tandem Kayak
Duo kayaking under the fleeting sun-lit clouds—doesn’t that sound aesthetically pleasing?
Tandem kayaking is akin to a team sport—nothing less than a shared mutual motive and spirit under the fleeting sun-lit clouds, swiftly cutting through the fast-flowing rivers by synchronized paddling.
Indubitably, a tandem kayak tops the list as its long and broad hulls create room for sturdiness, immobility, and a larger weight allowance.
3.6 Fishing Kayak
What better than collaborating kayaking with fishing? If that’s how you want your weekends to drift by, it is equally important to devote your time to choosing a slimmer and broader kayak with a flattened hull for steadfast maneuverability.
Not to forget, fishing demands long hours of devotion, making it obvious to prioritize comforting padded seats that come with detachability.
Most often, fishing kayaks are built from a range of materials, including plastic, which is equally floaty and stable and accessorized by rod holders, built-in storage space, an adjustable footrest, and a backrest.
3.7 Pedal Kayak
Ever thought of how to choose a kayak—considering whether it should be pedal-driven or paddle-driven?
Unlike paddling, pedaling is always a joyride; alternatively, taking charge of the pedal arms with your upper body fully at rest. Hands-free kayaking gives you the freedom to capture moments of solidarity or indulge in a fishing activity.
That being said, the twists and turns where pedal kayaks can fail to reverse swiftly prove to be a major shortcoming; a matter of safety, carrying a paddle with you is a must.
3.8 Touring Kayak
As robust as a touring kayak, it possesses a V-shaped hull up to 12–16 feet long, allowing it to glide steadily on slow-moving lakes and coastal waters.
Fast-paced, better buoyancy, adjustable foot pegs, and proper backrest make it sea-worthy. Aday-touring kayak is specially designed to navigate through calm waters and execute quick turns easily. This is because of its shorter length and excellent maneuverability,
But here’s the catch: it is a narrower kayak, reserving a smaller room for the cockpit, which emphasizes more on performance rather than stability.
3.9 Folding Kayak
Imagine packing your kayak and taking it with you anywhere, even to an aircraft. Folding kayaks is a game changer—a puzzle of assemble, disassemble, and there’s your kayak, ready to swirl around.
For obvious reasons, folding kayaks are higher in price than other kayaks. These comprise floatation bags for multi-day trips and are in vogue due to their lighter weight than the ones made from polyethylene plastic.
Similar to a touring kayak, it is a long kayak with a narrow stern and a small cockpit.
Take the plunge and get your boat sailing by focusing on three factors: your level of paddling skills, preference for slow-flowing rivers or fast-moving rivers, and the number of people tagged along with you.
Getaways that call for outdoor activities sound no less than a decluttering detox regime from social media and world-weariness.
Owing to the pronounced popularity of kayaking, it is nothing less than a doorway to unexplored and mystical avenues that leave you in awe- an unrivaled escapade to heaven.
A connoisseur of art and history, I breathe life through travelling and journaling. Post-graduated in Ancient Indian History and Culture, I bloomed as a content writer and freelancer since I kick-started my college life and since then, I never looked back. My inquisitiveness to know more and understanding of things reinforces my ability to write articulately.