How to choose the best kayak

Kayaking is a brilliant sport that you can get a taste of at your local river or canal, and if you are doing it for the first time it is easy to just hire a kayak for one session. But if you really want  to devote more time to the sport and take it seriously, you will need to get your own personal kayak. Buying your first kayak can be an exhilarating experience, but choosing the best kayak for you can also be rather overwhelming due to the number of options out there. To simplify that process we are outlining how you can best choose the right kayak for your needs. 

Seating Style

One of the first main diverging paths you have to navigate when choosing a kayak is which seating style you prefer. Generally kayaks can be grouped by whether they are designed to be sit-in or sit-on-top kayaks. 

If you are a relative beginner, a sit-on-top kayak is probably best for you. They are considered to be generally more user-friendly, and are especially well suited for someone who is looking for a relaxed time on the water. One of the reasons why they are well suited for beginners is because they are easier to get in and out of, which isn’t always the case with a kayak that has a cockpit. There is also no chance of the kayak filling up with water and sinking, because sit on top kayaks are self bailing and allow water to drain right through them. 

Sit in kayaks do have their advantages though. If you are planning a trip and are likely to face windy or harsh conditions, they do provide you with some shelter. You can further add to this cover by wearing a spray skirt that acts essentially as a sealant for the cockpit. If you are more experienced and looking for speed, sit-in kayak’s are also generally more efficient to paddle in due to their lower center of gravity.

Rigid vs Inflatable kayaks

Aside from the binary options of sit-on vs sit-in kayaks, you can also choose between whether you want a rigid or inflatable kayak. The typical kayak you may have seen at a rental place on a canal is most likely a rigid kayak. But in recent years, inflatable kayaks have become increasingly popular. Similar to a rigid kayak, inflatable kayaks are durable; whilst also being lightweight and easy to transport when deflated. 

Load Bearing

Before you buy a kayak, it’s important to check the capacity of the kayak you are looking to purchase. This should be clearly listed somewhere when purchasing your kayak. The capacity is the total weight carried, which combines the paddler’s mass and any other items like dry bags that are placed on the kayak.

In conclusion, whilst there are affordable options out there, buying a kayak is still a big purchase. So it is important you feel comfortable with your choices. It’s a cliche, but the saying measure twice, cut once, does ring true. It’s better to do your research and then come to your decision.

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