How to Choose A Kayak

 

The best way to know which kayak is best for you is to break down the different types of kayaks. Kayaks can be broken down into two basic styles, sit on top or sit inside. All kayaks will come with some sort of bracing foot pedal, varying types of seats and deck bungees to hold gear. Once you narrow down which type is best suited for you, come into the store and our knowledgeable staff can help you go over all the details and features of a particular style or model. One of the most important things to keep in mind when buying a kayak is that you have to sit in it to know if it will work for you! 

Sit On Top

The most stable and the easiest to get in and out of, with no feeling of confinement. They usually have scupper holes that allow water to drain through. Because they are open you can easily slip on and off of them as you please. Sit on top kayaks are a great choice for nervous paddlers and warm environments. However you will get wet when paddling, while sit inside kayaks have cockpits you can put a skirt on to keep you dry. Sit on top kayaks are perfect for having some fun at the beach or cabin with family and friends.

Length: 9 - 12 ft
Material: Polyethylene
Weight: 40 - 50 lbs.
Stability: Highest
Tracking: Low

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Recreational

A recreational kayak is for someone who wants to paddle for a few hours and whose main concern is stability and durability. The length of these kayaks usually range from 9 - 12 feet. Out of all the types of kayaks recreational kayaks will have the largest cockpits, mainly for accessibility so anyone can get in and out of them. There will be foot brace pedals to adjust to your leg length, deck bungees to attach some gear, and sometimes come with a storage hatch. Recreational kayaks are usually made of polyethylene because plastic is super durable. Sometimes the material is a thermoform ABS plastic, which is lighter weight but not as durable. The hull shape, or chine, tends to be more flat or square in shape to add stability. With tons of stability and accessibility you’ll be ready for a relaxed comfortable paddle on a sunny afternoon.

Length: 9 - 12 ft
Material: Polyethylene or Thermoform ABS plastic
Weight: 45 - 55 lbs.
Stability: High
Tracking: Medium

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Transitional

Transitional kayaks are for paddlers who consider their kayak more of a vehicle for travel rather than a toy. Typically 14 - 16 feet long transitional kayaks are meant for paddling for longer periods of time and sightseeing. They come with bow and stern deck bungees and at least two hatches for storing gear, and sometimes have an added day hatch.  Because of their longer length transitional kayaks are faster than recreational kayaks and excel on lakes and rivers. If you are going on a weekend trip, a 15 - 16 foot kayak will be able to carry all the gear you’ll need. The cockpits will be more form fitting so you have added control, with comfortable seats and thigh pads for added comfort. They usually come with either a drop-down skeg fin that helps with tracking, or a rudder that allows you to steer with your feet. The chine hulls vary from rounded to hard shapes depending on your paddling style. Usually these types of kayaks are made of durable polyethylene plastic or a lighter thermoform ABS plastic. With added features, a transitional kayak is able to carry all the gear you'll need for a weekend excursion to your favourite getaway.

Length: 14 - 16 ft
Material: Polyethylene or Thermoform ABS plastic
Weight: 50 - 60 lbs.
Stability: Medium - High
Tracking: High

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Touring

If you want a kayak that is lightweight, fast, stylish and will last a lifetime, look no further. Typically these kayaks are 16 - 18 feet in length and are made out of lighter composite materials like fiberglass or kevlar. Some models do still come in polyethylene plastic for price point and durability. These kayaks are more narrow than transitional kayaks so the cockpit fit is small and form fitting for maximum control. Some touring seats are smaller than transitional and recreational seats to save on weight. They have the most carrying capacity because they are also the longest, with a bow and stern hatch, and sometimes have an added third or even fourth day hatch. Touring kayaks also come in a variety of either round or hard chine hull shapes depending on your preferred style of paddling, with the usual bow and stern deck bungees to attach gear. They also will have either a drop-down skeg or rudder options. Touring kayaks are built for tracking, carrying capacity and speed - just what you need when paddling a large lake, ocean or going on a longer expedition. 

Length: 15 - 18 ft
Material: Polyethylene, Fiberglass or Kevlar
Weight: 45 - 55 lbs.
Stability: Medium - High
Tracking: Highest

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Tandem

Tandem kayaks come in a range of styles from recreational to touring, which will also determine what material it’s made of, how much it weighs and the performance of a particular model. These kayaks are obviously longer, wider and heavier than a recreational kayak because they have to fit two people. Like other kayaks they come in a range of lengths, from 13.5 - 17 feet - the shorter and wider the more stable, the longer and more narrow the faster and straighter it will go. Keep in mind a tandem kayak will take two people to load onto your car or carry down to the lake. They typically will come with either a drop-down skeg or a rudder to help steer and control the longer length, and have some deck bungee cords to attach gear.

Length: 13.5 - 17 ft
Material: Polyethylene, Thermoform ABS plastic or Fiberglass
Weight: 70 - 80 lbs.
Stability: Medium - High
Tracking: Medium - High

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Fishing

If you are into fishing, this is what you need. Angler or fishing kayaks are not built for speed, instead their strength is in stability and fishing accessory features. Extra weighted so you can stand, these are the heaviest kayaks, but also one of the coolest. With features like metal tracks to attached fishing accessories, with gear compartments for everything from a tackle box to fish finders. These seats are built for comfort, usually with a bunch of settings depending on how you want to fish and relax. Plenty of hatches are common to store even more gear or fish. Depending on the model, you can add a peddle drive or a motor to make your fishing experience even more luxurious. Stop by and you can see all the cool features for yourself.

Length: 11 - 15 ft
Material: Polyethylene
Weight: 70 - 90 lbs.
Stability: High
Tracking: Medium

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Whitewater

The smaller the kayak, the more agile and maneuverable, which is the main characteristic you want to maneuver through rapids and rocks.These kayaks are the smallest of all kayak types, ranging from 6 - 9 feet. What they lack in tracking they make up for it in maneuverability. Typically made of a type of polyethylene because it is the most durable material, best suited for taking an impact. These kayaks will also have extra padding for seats, knees and thighs to protect the paddler in rushing water. The length and hull shape will change depending on the style of rapids you want to run. 

Length: 7 - 9 ft
Material: Polyethylene
Weight: 40 - 50 lbs.
Stability: Low
Tracking: Low

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