What Kind of Kayak Should I Buy?

What Kind of Kayak Should I Buy?
Picking a kayak can be a difficult process, especially considering that the craft is likely to be a significant monetary investment. However, not many recreational devices are as useful and enjoyable as a kayak. Kayaks can take you places you've never seen before and provide you with the ultimate opportunity for escape. Picking the right kayak may require determination, but be assured that your patience will be rewarded.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Research

Things You’ll Need:
  • Measuring tape Life jacket Gear
  • Measuring tape
  • Life jacket
  • Gear
Step 1
Determine the type of activities for which you'll use your kayak. Some of the actions include racing, camping, fishing and touring.
Step 2
Decide what environment suits you best. Do you want your kayak to be ocean-worthy? Other considerations include rivers, whitewater and windy conditions.
Step 3
Based on your previous decisions, choose between the four basic categories of kayak: whitewater, touring, general use and downriver. General use is most suitable for activities in lakes, ponds and still water. They will serve you well in a variety of conditions. Whitewater kayaks are specifically designed to navigate the rough narrow channels of treacherous rivers. Touring kayaks feature plenty of storage space and can be taken through many conditions. Finally, downriver kayaks are all about speed and fitting through narrow and shallow spaces.
Step 4
Settle on a length depending on your needs. Longer kayaks will track straighter, glide further and stay more stable in the water. They are suitable for touring and downriver use. Shorter kayaks are easier to store and transport. They also turn faster, making them ideal for recreational and whitewater use.
Step 5
Select features you may need. If you are interested in touring, then a deep hull with a rudder may be ideal to keep you on a straight line. Having a high-quality skirt is most important for whitewater kayakers. For recreational use, consider a sit-on-top kayak, which is easily accessible and very stable. This is also the time to consider storage space, such as compartments and elastic ties.

In the Store

Step 1
Consult an expert. By this point you should have an excellent sense of what you are looking for in a kayak. Talking to someone who knows the specific models can steer you toward the one that's right for the feature set you seek.
Step 2
Pack it up. Make sure to bring everything with you that you would on a kayak trip. Sit in your potential purchase and make sure you're comfortable while wearing a life jacket. Bring a sack lunch and make sure it fits in your rear compartment. Make sure the kayak matches the practical realities of your lifestyle.
Step 3
Make the purchase. The hardest step is the commitment. No kayak is perfect and suitable for all conditions, so you'll have to settle for some limitations, no matter how well you did your research.

Article Written By Louie Doverspike

Based in Seattle, Louie Doverspike has been a professional writer since 2004. His work has appeared in various publications, including "AntiqueWeek" magazine, the "Prague Post" and "Seattle Represent!" Doverspike holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hamilton College.

Keep Me Informed

Weekly newsletters, announcements and offers from Trails.com to your inbox.

Sign me up!

We HATE spam and promise to keep your email addresses safe and secure.