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How to Decide which Type of Kayak to Buy?

by Douglas Keister

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Do you wish to explore the beautiful lakes and oceans of the world using a kayak? Thinking of getting one is easy, but deciding which one to get can be difficult, especially after considering the fact that every type of kayak is different.

This is precisely why it is so important to look into all the crucial factors carefully before going ahead with making the final decision. Here are some tips to keep in mind for buying the right type of kayak for your needs:


1. Choosing between sit-in and sit-on-top


Kayaks are available in two different styles – sit-in and sit-on-top. You should start by deciding between these two options.

Sit-in kayaks are the traditional form of kayaks, with have an interior seat that provides some shelter from the wind, as well as additional storage space thanks to the foot braces inside. Those residing in warm environments can opt for the sit-on option, as with this they will get the chance to get splashed, which only adds to the fun.

On the other hand, sit-on-top kayaks are a user-friendly option and a great choice for enjoying a day paddling on the water or fishing. Because of its versatile nature, it's one of the best options for beginner kayakers. 

Now that you have decided on which option to go for, its time to consider some other factors too.


2. Deciding on the hull type


Your kayak’s hull is another thing to consider. After all, it can have a great impact on the overall kayaking experience and also on its performance and stability on the water. While you are choosing the type of hull for your kayak, make sure that you understand the two types of stability first.

Primary stability refers to how stable the boat is when you are getting in. The more stable the boat is, the fewer the chances are of you getting flipped over.

The secondary stability refers to the stability once you start paddling the kayak. If the boat is stable, it means there are fewer chances of the boat getting rolled over while paddling.

Now, let’s look at the different types of hull:


Flat hull

This is a maneuverable option that is perfect for offering primary stability to the boat. Recreational kayakers paddling in flat water conditions can opt for this comfortable hull type.


Rounded hull

This hull type is round in shape and is perfect for increasing the speed of the kayak. With fixed-in rounded hulls, travel is be made immensely easier and more comfortable than ever before.


V-shaped hull

The V-shaped hull is a feasible option, especially when you wish to cut the water through and drive the kayak in one single straight line. These hulls are an ideal option when you wish to go touring. At first, you might find the boat a bit unstable, but it is far better in offering secondary stability to the boat and its users.



This is amongst one of the most stable options available on the market, offering both primary and secondary stability to the kayak. While this option is the best for offering stability, it tends to be a bit slower in its performance.



Chine refers to a sharp change in angle in the cross-section of the hull. There are two types of chine – a soft chine and a hard chine. It is important to understand that the softer the chine is, the better secondary stability the boat will have.


3. Keep in mind the weight and capacity


The weight and capacity of the kayak should also be kept in mind. The weight of the boat is dependent on the individual paddler’s body weight, but the additional items that have to be carried along should be taken into consideration too. Once you work out these factors, it will be easy for you to look for the right weight and capacity for your kayak.


4. Choosing the length of the kayak


One should also understand that longer and narrower kayaks are capable of moving faster in comparison to other types of kayaks available on the market. On the other hand, wider and shorter kayaks attribute for more stability and are easier to control. Smaller kayaks are about 8-13 feet (2.5-4 meters) long, which makes them easy to paddle on lakes, rivers, creeks, etc. Smaller kayaks navigate through narrow inlets more effectively.

Now, if we talk about touring kayaks, they are 14-18 feet (4.2-5.5 meters) long and are equipped with a built-in handle to travel through larger waves, lakes or rivers. Getting the right kayak brand is also important, as different brands have different specialties.



The factors mentioned above should help you make the right choice when buying a kayak. It is very important not to rush into it and consider all the options so that you will have no regrets about your buying decision.

Kayaking is a wonderful way to explore the oceans and lakes of our planet. Why not throw in some stand-up paddle boarding into the mix for an exciting active holiday?

Read more from Douglas on Dream-guides.com.

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