Deciding to go out onto the water and explore with only your day bag, a kayak, and a paddle can be an exhilarating and extremely memorable adventure. You’re treated to a very authentic view of the nature around you, and it can be much more relaxing than a hike of similar distance.
Kayaks are an extremely accessible form of water transport and are enjoyed by thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, each year. They’re lightweight, can be relatively inexpensive, don’t require any fuel, and are incredibly safe and secure to use. There’s still a bit of difference between models, and picking the right one can make or break your water-based experience. For that reason, in particular, here’s how you can select a kayak that best serves your wants and needs.
Sit-In vs. Sit-On-Top
One of the most significant differences in kayaks is whether or not your model will be a sit-in or a sit-on-top. The sit-in style of kayak is what comes to most people’s minds when they picture a kayak and have an interior seat, and you extend your legs into the body of the kayak. This gives you a bit of protection from the elements and is often relatively comfortable, and even have some added storage space, either behind your back or in front of your feet. A sit-in kayak is reasonably spacious inside and is well-suited for day trips, or if you need your kayak to be your mobile “base” while out on the water.
A sit-on-top kayak is typically a pinch flatter and is closer to a paddleboard than, say, a canoe. They’re ideal for day trips where you’re close to your camping location, or for someone who’s just getting into using a kayak. There’s a much higher probability of you getting wet on a sit-on-top kayak, and they’re much more relaxed compared to what kind of use you’d expect from a sit-in.
How long your kayak should be must reflect what kind of terrain you’ll be navigating. According to Adventure Genesis, a long, narrow kayak will go fast and straight, while a short, wide kayak will be less prone to flipping and be easier to turn, but won’t be as fast. If you’re looking to go through small lakes and creeks, kayaks in the realm of 8′-13′ long will serve you perfectly. Should you instead be in the market for a touring kayak for use on bigger bodies of water, a 14′-18′ kayak is more up your alley.
Kayaks are only rated to handle a certain amount of weight, so make sure that you keep in mind your own weight, as well as the weight of all of the gear you intend to bring with you during a kayak trip when making a purchase. Choosing to save a few bucks could seriously compromise your safety and enjoyment, if you buy a kayak that isn’t designed to handle the weight you’re going to subject it to.
Choosing to get a kayak might just be the missing link between you and enjoying the great outdoors. There are many different options available. It’s recommended that you look at as many different kayaks as possible before settling on the one you’re going to get. You should focus on practical concerns like how easy it will be for you to get inside of it, how well it will be able to navigate the waterways you intend on bringing it to, and things of that nature. Best of luck!