Kayaking is one of the few exercises that involves a great deal of fun, adventure and physical exercise in single activity. Every summer hundreds and thousands of holidaymakers rush to the boat market to purchase a kayak to enjoy their holiday to the most. Not only holidaymakers there are also professionals for whom kayaking is life. For these wide range of users, kayak manufacturers produce variety of kayaks for a wide range of purposes.
There are fishing kayaks, ocean going kayaks, there are specialised kayaks for the beginners and so on. And these kayaks also differ greatly in quality due to its design, materials and features. So, having a win-win situation while buying kayaks is quite difficult for the amateur kayakers if they do not get their research done before going to the market.
In this article, our experts have transferred the skill and knowledge of selecting best kayaks to you which they have gained by decades of kayaking in all forms of waterfronts and by testing kayaks for world renowned manufacturers.
Different Types of Kayaks
As there are variety of users and different types of functions, Kayaks are manufactured in various types designs. There are various types of kayaks available in the market. At first you have to know what type of kayak you actually want and what will you do with it? The most popular types of kayaks in the market are:
This is the most popular and common type of kayak. This type of kayak are manufactured with simple design so that kayakers of all age and capacity can use it. They are compact in shape, size and features. A standard recreational kayak is no more than 4.5 metres in length and these vessels are quite cheap.
Seafaring kayaks or touring kayaks are quite similar to recreational kayak but they are equipped with some extra features such as large storage tanks, wide bottom for more stability and mounting to attach sail or outboard motor.
These kayaks are especially designed and manufactured to ensure greater manoeuvrability and durability. They are often fitted with rudder and sails. They may have also an upturned bow to evade the rough sea waves. They are built with more durable, sturdy materials for tackling the rough sea currents. However, seafaring kayaks are also equally adept in rivers or lakes but they may prove costly if you only want to cruise along the lakes or rivers in kayaks.
These kayaks are perfect for the beginners as boarding the kayak is very easy and it is also easier to control. Sit on top kayaks allow the kayaker to sit on the kayak rather than sitting inside the kayak body.
Racing kayaks come with aerodynamic design and they are extremely lightweight. They are built for speed, however, without compromising its maneuverability and steadiness against strong currents. These kayaks are designed for expert users.
Fishing kayaks are normal kayaks but fitted with features for angling such as rod holders, storage tank, fish finder compatible transducers etc.
So, from the description of these types of kayak, you have to chose at first what types of kayaks do you want.
Watch this video to know more about different types of kayaks
Check the Design:
After choosing your purpose with the kayak, you must be careful about the kayak’s design. Kayak’s design mainly depends on the shape of it’s hull. For your ease, our experts have brought to you categorically different hull designs and their unique usefulness. These are as follows:
Ensures stability and greater manoeuvrability but make the kayak sluggish. Recreational kayaks and fishing kayaks are mostly built with flat, wide bottom.
Kayaks with Rounded Hull:
These kayaks are stable but designed to produce more speed than than the flat bottom kayaks. This type of hull is best for seafaring kayaks and touring kayaks.
This type of hull ensures that the kayaks will not capsize no matter how much it’s speed is. V-shaped hulls are the characteristic features of racing kayaks, seafaring kayaks and in some fishing kayaks. These designs are favourite for the expert kayakers who dare to explore the most challenging waters with these vessels.
Watch this video to know more about different kayak designs.
Durability of the kayaks depend a lot on the construction materials. If you survey the market, you will find a lot of kayaks made of a wide range of materials. Here we will brief you about the different aspects of these materials so that you can make the right choice while purchasing your kayak.
Polyethylene is the most popular kayak building material because of its low cost and durability although it’s heavier than other materials. The major component Polyethylene is mixed with other materials to build the kayak’s sturdy body. The formula is held secret by the kayak manufacturers.
Kayaks made of polycarbonate plastic sheets are lighter than polyethylene kayaks. Deck and hull of the kayaks are moulded by two different poly carbonate sheets and then glued together by methylacrylate adhesive. These kayaks look very sleek and shiny, however, they are not as durable as polyethylene.
Composite kayaks are the best kayaks in terms of both strength and outlook. While manufacturing these kayaks layers of resin, fiberglass, kevlar, spectra, polyesters and carbon fibre cloth are glued together by resins. This is why it is called composite kayak building and these multilayer design provides extra protection for the kayakers and the strength to go against the roughest waterfronts with perfect agility.
Thanks to the flexibility of this material, the structure of the kayak can be reinforced and repaired at anytime and anywhere without affecting its original design. Thus this is the best material for kayak building. Composite kayaks are lighter, more durable and also quite expensive than polyethylene or polycarbonate kayaks.
Accessories and Features:
While purchasing kayaks, to know in detail about the boat’s accessories and features is a must do. Every kayak has different features according to it’s purpose. Based on the personal choice, the kayaks should be chosen accordingly. However, most of the quality kayaks should provide some common accessories such as simple maintenance kit, duffle bag, paddles and sometimes rudder. These accessories especially the maintenance kit and bag is very necessary. You should finalise your purchase after getting all the accessories and features from the manufacturers.
Kayaks must be portable and lightweight. You should by the kayaks that can be carried inside the trunk of your car or at least in the minivan. You also need to fit this in your garage. So buy a kayak that is not more than 10-13 feet long and light enough to carry inside the car’s trunk.
Kayaks must be very comfortable. Most of the kayaks are equipped with a lot of comfortable features, however, these features will seem comfortable to you only if they match with your body weight and size. So, before purchasing a kayak, check whether it suits your body or not.
Finally think about the cost effectiveness while purchasing the kayak. Don’t spend money on good looks rather determine its functionality and capacity. Determine your budget considering that many kayak manufacturers and retailers charge extra cash for shipment. Again, there are also many manufacturers who offer lifetime warranty for their products. If you research well about these issues, you will be able to save a considerable amount of money in this process.
Ask People Who Know:
You should research well before taking the final decision. Review sites like this one can be helpful for you. But try to contact with real people who have experience on kayaking. Ask them about the performance of your selected kayak or about the features of their favourite kayaks.
Some Expert Tips for the Beginners:
If you are out to buy the first kayak of your life, keep in mind these advices shared by our experts:
- First select, what kind of kayak do you want and what will you do with it?
- Second hand kayaks are cheaper but for the beginners it is difficult to get the best one. So, try to buy a first hand kayak if you are a beginner.
- The combination of cheap, light and strong is quite impossible but you can obviously ensure two out of three if you research well about kayaks.
- Look at the hull design and examine it carefully. It is the most important feature of kayak’s design.
- If you can, give a trial before purchasing the kayak.
For some more tips, check this video.
If you want to purchase a kayak, your preparation should run throughout the year. The world of kayak is evolving fast. Lots of high-tech features are being added to the kayaks everyday. So, research well before you purchase; this is actually the ultimate principle for buying a kayak.