How to Choose a Recreational Kayak

How to Choose a Recreational Kayak
If you're a regular kayaker, you'll eventually want to purchase your own recreational kayak. However, kayaks can vary in price from a few hundred dollars all the way up to a few thousand dollars. The best way to choose the right kayak for you is to first consider what aspects of the kayak are most important to you. Does it have to be ultra stable? Does it matter if you will always have to have someone help lift your kayak? Consider these questions, then make sure to try as many kayaks out as possible to make the best choice.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Try out kayaks you are considering in the store so you can see how they feel. To narrow down your choice of kayaks, consider kayaks that are within your weight range. The weight range can be found in the manufacturer spec sheet. Now that you've narrowed it down, sit in the kayak's and see how it feels. Is the cockpit high? A high cockpit makes it easier to get in and out of. Also pay close attention to any body parts that might be smashing into the kayak. You want to be comfortable when you are in the water.
Step 2
Test the stability of the kayak. An easy way to test the stability is to sit in the kayak on the shop floor. If the kayak sits flat on the floor, then it will be very stable in the water, however you may be compromising maneuverability for stability. If you have been kayaking for a while, you may want to look for a kayak that doesn't sit upright on the floor. These kayaks tend to be less stable but much easier to steer.
Step 3
Consider both the weight of the kayak and how easily it stores. Look at the specs and consider how easy the kayak will be to pick up and load. Can you manage it by yourself or will you always need help? You may also wish to measure the kayak and make sure you have enough room to store that particular kayak.
Step 4
Determine if the kayak has a skeg or rudder. The skeg or rudder is useful in helping you to steer your kayak, particularly in bad conditions. However, a rudder can be prone to breakages and so some kayakers choose to do without either a skeg or rudder.
Step 5
Look at the materials the kayak is made from. Kayaks are made from a variety of materials, such as molded plastic, fiberglass and even Kevlar. What you plan to use your recreational kayak for will greatly affect the type of material you want in your kayak. Molded plastic tends to be very durable but also extremely heavy. Fiberglass is lighter and stronger but can be harder to maintain.
Step 6
Try out the kayak in the water before you buy. Once you've narrowed down your choices to one or two, consider renting that type of recreational kayak so you can try it out in the water. Some kayak companies will even deduct the cost of the rental from your final purchase price.

Article Written By Shiromi Nassreen

Shiromi Nassreen has been writing professionally since 2005. She specializes in travel and outdoor topics, and her articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including "DISfunkshion Magazine" and Matador Travel. Nassreen holds a Bachelor of Arts in theatre studies from Rose Bruford College of Speech & Drama.

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