How to Choose a Kayak | Expert Tips and Advice

Are you thinking about how to choose a kayak perfectly? Don’t worry! Our experts have come to explain the Golden tips and advice on this page. So, read attentively from beginning to bottom.

Kayaking is a very beautiful outdoor activity. However, getting started on this sport is not an easy task. In fact for those people who are used to canoeing, kayaking can feel quite challenging. This is because it’s quite involving and requires so much concentration for both novices and canoeing pros. You have to learn a number of survival tricks including paddling, how to choose a kayak, picking the right kayaking gears, and mastering the kayak in the water. So how do you determine the best kayak to go for? Don’t worry! In this post, we have put together a number of helpful information for people who want to choose their best kayaks and also to join this enjoyable outdoor activity.

How to Choose a Kayak: What to Determine

To decide the best kayak to use, you should determine the number of things. These will include the following:

Where You Will Use the Kayak

This is a very important consideration. Do you want to use your kayak in a river, sea, ocean, or lake? River kayaking requires a much-rugged kayak as opposed to the calm coasts of the sea or lake.

What The kayak Design is Like

Do you want the conventional sit-in kayak? Or do you need the freedom and the openness of the sit-on-top kayak? The latter is often very good if you intend to hit the water for fishing activity.

Your Own Budget for the Kayak

The materials used to build a kayak may affect the pricing directly. That’s why you find that inflatable kayaks are often very affordable. Know what you feel comfortable spending for your kayak.

The Shape, Size, and Length of Kayak

Kayaks also require cargo space. Depending on the activity that you want to use your kayak for – say fishing, it is important that you determine the ideal size, shape, and length of the kayak that you need.

Basically, these are some of the most important factors that you must keep in mind if you are looking at how to choose a kayak for your personal thrill. However, from years of kayaking, peddling, and teaching novices how to kayak, I intend to give a great starting point once you are done with this post.

Best Types of Kayak

Whether you are looking to go paddling or kayaking once a year or for weeks, there are various types of kayaks that you can actually enjoy out there. It is important that you know them first. In this section, we look at each and every one of them in details.

Recreational Kayaks

These are quite affordable and readily available. They are basically forged from effective polyethylene. And because the polyethylene is inexpensive they are quite affordable too. It also gives them a lightweight touch for a novice kayaker.

Most recreational kayaks are ideal for calm rivers, marshes, and small lakes. Usually, such kayaking areas are basically “flat water” with calm conditions where a kayaker requires nothing fancy to paddle through these waters at all.


  • Easy to operate
  • Saves a lot of money
  • Ideal for beginners
  • Good for calm waters
  • Requires no complex equipment

Are you fond of heading out with the best kayak fishing rod and reel? That’s good! Most recreational kayaks range between 9” and 11” with simple mirror options and accessories such as rod holders, tackle boxes, and cooler tie-downs. Nonetheless, they are very good and quite dependable kayaks. However, they are best used for occasional routines.

Touring Kayaks

If you are looking at large lakes, seas, bays, and oceans as your most favorable kayaking areas, a touring kayak would be your best shot! Because bays and oceans can get choppy sometimes, since they are open and often exposed to the wind it is important that you get a performer.

Touring kayaks will counter these choppy conditions the best way as they offer better speed, tracking, and a more linear ride. They also have more buoyancy. This is attributed to their extra length and also at times their rudder or skeg.


  • Ideal for long trips
  • More buoyancy
  • Better linear movement/ tracking
  • Larger air-tight compartments
  • Easy “solo” control in deep waters

Apart from the rudder that they are known for, touring kayaks will also come with spray skirts, larger storage compartments, and waterproof storage. They are ideal if you love longer paddling expeditions or for long stretches of water. Never use a touring kayak in narrow water as they are longer, narrower, and designed for speed.

Whitewater Kayaks

Whitewater kayaks come in six distinctive classes and are used in narrow but fast waters. They come in almost every size and shape and barely resemble the conventional sit-in kayaks. They range from 5” to 11” and sometimes less and are mainly used for kayak tricks and sports.

They replace storage capacity and longer paddling for speed, agility, and easy handling. However, it is important to get lessons from an expert before purchasing or jumping into one.


  • Shorter
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Wave riding rocker
  • Studier

Sit On Top Kayaks

This is a relatively modern group of kayaks. Sit on top Kayaks are best for recreational and fishing. They have a self-bailing single moulded plastic body that’s extremely durable and easy to use.

However, they come with no cockpit. What this means is that they are easy to pull back up after flipping. They can also easily drain water that splashed on them. But because they have no cockpit, you should be prepared to get wet and cold sometimes.


  • Simple and easy to operate
  • Stronger
  • Self-draining technology
  • Double for recreational/ fishing

They are harder to control and are more prone to tip you over in rough conditions. If you hate the feeling of being crammed up inside a cockpit, this is your best shot.

Blow Up Kayaks

Also known as inflatable kayaks, these are the modern kayaks that are forged from synthetic materials. There are extremely durable and function with modern inflatable technique. You only need to inflate when going for a ride and deflate once you are done.

They are common and are loved by many people for so many reasons. However, a number of kayakers have agreed that they are the best for expeditions as they take up very small space when deflated.


  • Minimal storage space
  • Easy to transport
  • Easy to operate

They can also be quite expensive sometimes so be ready to spend a little more if you need these blow-up kayaks.

How to choose a kayak may seem tricky but once you know what you need and what you are looking for, it is no brainer. More importantly, you shouldn’t end here. There are other things to look at. Take a look at my next point.

Kayak Materials

While talking about Recreational Kayaks I touched about polyethylene. This is one of the most common materials with which kayaks are forged. Polyethylene is flexible and will easily resist impact. Therefore, it keeps you in safe zone even when you bump on a shore, beach, or rock. However, they are prone to UV damage which makes them hard to repair once damaged.

Polycarbonate is the next kayak material. It is hard plastic with the traits of a fibreglass. If you want to amp your speed and kayaking efficiency you can use Polycarbonate material to get the thrill.

Apart from these two, the fibreglass is the next one in line. It is ideal for homemade kayaks and sometimes high-end canoes. It has a sleek and smooth touch on the surface and is ideal if you are building custom kayaks.

The final material is wood. Kayaks made out of wood are somewhat pricey. They take longer to build but are the most common choice for DIY kayakers. They are also good with aesthetics and super smart craftsmanship.

Kayak Hull Designs

Finally, let me say something on kayak hulls. The hulls come in a variety of designs. Some of the most common kayak designs include the following.

  • Rounded: Smoothly shaped with a uniformed upswept at the bottom of the boat.
  • V-shaped: Upswept aggressively when compared to the rounded hulls for a fair V-shape
  • Flat: The bottom of the kayak is kind of flat – common to whitewater kayaks.
  • Pontoon: Bottom of the kayak is double shaped with a slight touch of W touch.

These designs have specific advantages and disadvantages. Rounded hulls, for instance, have more stability when on the edge and could easily get squirrely if sitting flat. Click here to learn more about kayak hull designs.


Simple as it sounds how easy it is to choose a kayak. For people who still want to learn more about how to choose a kayak, you should also understand the need to learn all the necessary tricks that I mentioned before for a memorable kayaking experience.

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