Kayak Buying Guide – How to Choose The Best Kayak For You

Edward who runs a blog called Water Sporting Adventure put together guides and resources for people interested in water sports, and the outdoors.  In this article, he shares that there are many ways to use a kayak. You can either take it for a fishing trip, use it for a workout, go on an exploration trip, or just hang out on the water with it. Regardless of what you decide to do, you will need to know how to choose a kayak.

With all the number of things you can do with kayaks, there is a specific one for each of these activities. Each of them slightly different than the other making it more suitable for its purpose.

Before selecting a kayak, make sure you get one that fulfills its purpose. Will you be taking it in a river? lake or sea? Will you be opting for a sit-in or sit-on-top kayak?

Next comes the budget, colors, materials, durability, and weight which are all key factors in deciding on a kayak.

Let’s take it from the start…

The Type of Kayak

The design, purpose, and place to sit are what defines the type of kayak. It is very convenient in deciding its use.

Kayaks are usually categorized into two types:


The similarities

Both styles can come in singles or doubles, solid body or inflatables.

Although both kayak styles are considered majorly different. Both share some similar aspects of one another. The top of the kayak is called the deck. The bottom is referred to as the hull. The front is the bow and the back the stern. On both types of kayak, you’ll find deck lines or bungees.

Both usually have grab loops, found on the stern. Either sometimes has rudders which swivel side-to-side and help control the boat via foot pedals. Skegs are sometimes on the hull of kayaks, these help to keep a kayak tracking straight in the water.

Both have will a seat, back support and some form of footrest to ensure comfort. If you intend to spend a long time in the kayak throughout the day then I would opt for foot pedals over footwells, as they offer adjustability in height and depth which can really be the factor between an un-comfy or comfy experience. Now let’s get into the differences, and where the two forms of kayak should be used…

The differences

The biggest difference between the two kayak types is the cockpit. As the name suggests, sit on top kayaks don’t have an enclosed cockpit. There is a groove large enough to fit the user in, shaped into the shell or body of the kayak. Sit inside kayaks have a hollowed-out cockpit which can fit a spray deck – A spraydeck is a waterproof cover that is stretched around the outside of the cockpit making the kayak completely impenetrable to water. From the waist down to your toes, you won’t be able to get wet in a sit-inside kayak.

Now as an avid kayaker, I know the endless amount of options out there can be overwhelming especially to a beginner. But it doesn’t have to be, that’s why we’ll help you narrow down your choice by listing some pros and cons and helping you decide, where and how you will be using the kayak.

Before we begin, answer these questions:

  • Will you be taking your kayak on a sheltered lake, into a fast-flowing river or to the beach?
  • Will the water will be warm or cold?
  • Are you more concerned about having a kayak that can travel fast and straight or a kayak that is stable and difficult to tip over?
  • What is the kayak being used for? Fun? Fishing? Touring?

The first decision which you’ll have to make is whether to go for a sit inside or sit on top kayak, the answers to the questions above will help you out.

Sit-On-Top Kayaks

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