How to Choose a Kayak: Tips and Tricks


Kayaking is one of the best outdoor activities that you can enjoy in the water. It can even be therapeutic, especially when you do it in a place where you can enjoy nature. Aside from paddling, you can also use kayaks for fishing. Whether you are by yourself or with a buddy, kayaking is an enjoyable activity.

From shapes to size, from length to width, kayaks differ from one another. You will be overwhelmed with the options, making it important to decide properly. If you are clueless about how to choose a kayak, keep on reading the rest of this short guide and we’ll help you make the right decision.

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Choose a Kayak

Ready to start your search for the best kayak? Below are the steps that you should follow.

1. Decide on the Type of Kayak

The first thing that you will do is to decide about the type of kayak that you will buy. This all boils down to personal preferences and the water conditions where you will be using the kayak.

Sit-inside Kayaks

If you are looking for a kayak that you can use mostly for recreational purposes, this is the right choice for you. They also work best if you are kayaking in flat waters, including calm rivers and lakes.

Compared to sit-on-top kayaks, sit-in kayaks are known for being faster and more efficient.

One of the main characteristics of a sit-in kayak is that it covers your lower body. This is beneficial when you are in a cold environment as it helps regulate temperature. This will also prevent your lower body from getting wet.

Sit-on-Top Kayaks

By contrast, a sit-on-top kayak refers to a boat where the upper body is exposed. There is a raised seat, which is often removable if you are looking for versatility.

These kayaks are also wider and more stable. This is great if you are afraid that you will lose your balance in the water. As a bonus, it is also easier to launch.

It comes with an open design, which prevents it from being restrictive. This also provides easy access to the things that you will need. Plus, you can jump out easily when you want to get in the water.

Inflatable and Foldable Kayaks

If your main concern is portability, these kayaks are the best choices. They are easy to transport, and they are space-efficient. They will not take a lot of space in your car. You can easily place them inside, unlike other kayaks that you have to strap on the roof of your car.

2. Find the Right Material

The material of the kayak is an important consideration because it will have a huge impact on its durability. This can also affect the ease of use, as well as price.


If you are looking for an affordable kayak, polyethylene is the best material of choice. It is also great in terms of its durability. Its weight, however, can be a problem since this is heavy. It can be difficult to carry and to paddle. Another common problem with this kayak is that the UV rays can cause the color to fade over time. With this, it is important to have it covered when not used or store it indoors.

ABS Plastic

It is more expensive compared to polyethylene, however, the durability is almost similar. It is known for being abrasion-resistant. It is also known for being lightweight. The UV-resistance is also better, so you can be confident that the color won’t easily fade even with sun exposure.


If you don’t have an issue with the price, this is the best choice. Some of the best composite materials include carbon fiber and fiberglass. They are the lightest from the class, so you will love it if you are after portability. However, if you are in a rocky location, composite can be easily damaged.

3. Consider the Length and Width

The length and width are important considerations because they will affect the stability and maneuverability of the kayak. It will also have an impact on its ease of use. As a general rule, narrower and longer kayaks will be straighter and faster.

If you are going to use your kayak for fishing, you will benefit from choosing one that is wider, which will provide generous space for your gear. For larger and heavier users, wider boats are also recommended. A wider kayak will also be easy to turn, but the problem is that it can be slower.

For most recreational kayaks, the length usually runs from 8 to 13 feet. This will work even in narrow passages. If you need a touring kayak, on the other hand, the length should be anywhere from 14 to 18 feet.

4. Choose the Right Seat Type

Especially if you are choosing a sit-on-top kayak, the seat is one of the most important considerations. A removable seat is the best option since it can offer versatility.

The seat should be comfortable. Consider the backrest, especially if you are kayaking for an extended period. Aside from an ergonomic design, it is also important for the seat to be adjustable so that you can customize the position depending on what you are most comfortable with. Pick a seat with thick padding so that you won’t easily feel tired as you paddle.

5. Consider the Hull Type

The hull refers to the bottom of the boat. The shape is important because it affects the performance and stability of the kayak. This will also affect your safety. Consider the water conditions when deciding the right hull type.

If you are looking for a stable and maneuverable kayak, you should go for one that comes with a flat hull. It is ideal for flatwater conditions and recreational kayaks.

Rounded hulls, on the other hand, are better if your priority is the speed of the kayak.

If you want a kayak that will travel in a straight line, V-shaped hulls are the best.

Pontoon hulls, on the other hand, are known for being the most stable. The problem, however, is that the speed can be compromised.


Especially if it is your first time to buy a kayak, you will be overwhelmed with the long list of possibilities. Every manufacturer will claim that they have the best. Do not decide in haste. Consider our suggestions above on how to choose a kayak and you will make a decision you won’t regret. From the type of kayak to the length and width, there are many factors to consider.

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