Where do you even start? There is a plethora of different kayak options to choose from. And then there’s the design, features, size and weight all to consider.
The best place to start your kayak buying journey is by narrowing down the types of Kayaks available and suited for you. There are a few specific questions to ask yourself when buying a kayak which will help you decide which boat would be right for you, based on your needs.
Once you’ve gone through all these key questions you should be able to narrow down the type of kayak you should buy that suits your needs.
So once you’ve decided this, where do you begin your search?
Read on for some tips to help you pick your perfect kayak and the suitable waterproof gear to go with it.
To get your head around all the different kayak terminology out there here’s a quick and easy guide on the different types of kayaks to pick from. There are six primary categories that you’re likely to encounter on your kayak hunt:
The clue is in the name. You ‘sit on top’ of the kayak rather than sitting in an enclosed cockpit. These are undoubtedly the best kayaks for beginners (as we’ll look at in a little more detail below).
Also known as ‘touring’ kayaks, these boats are designed for paddling on flat water for (you guessed it) recreational purposes. They’re designed for easy paddling in a straight line.
These are usually longer than recreational kayaks, and are designed to go faster. They’re often made of plastic and fibreglass.
Built for white water rapids and surfing, these are designed to navigate fast flowing waters and steep descents.
If you’re a beginner kayaker (or just don’t plan to use it that often and don’t have oodles of storage space), an inflatable kayak can make a good choice. The size is super convenient as it’s simple to transport and easy to store when deflated.
Many paddlers love to use their kayaks for fishing, and a special fishing kayak can help boost your chances of fishing success. They’re packed with angling features such as bait buckets to help you really get the most out of your fishing trip.
There are plenty of kayaks out there with entry level prices that will make a perfect fit for those of you that are new to the world of kayaking. And you don’t necessarily need to ‘upgrade’ to a newer model soon after. These beginner-friendly kayaks are actually great long after you’ve surpassed your beginner stage.
If you’re only just embarking on your kayaking journey, we’d recommend starting with a sit on the top kayak as opposed to a closed deck one. Here’s why:
If you want to use your kayak primarily for fishing, you want to opt for a boat that has been designed to boost your performance rather than a recreational kayak. Fishing kayaks are usually longer as well as this makes them more suitable for longer distances, and have additional features to help you make the most of your fishing trips.
Check out some options below:
Feel free Fish "N" Tour
This 12-foot-long angling kayak is sit on top, and is a good choice for both touring and fishing. It works well for sea and lake fishing.
Want something geared for fishing trips but relatively light and compact? The Moken 10 Lite is an ideal choice as it’s nimble yet stable. The compact design and lightweight nature mean it’s perfect if you want to fish in rivers and smaller lakes.
Sitting in the medium size category of fishing kayaks, the Viking Profish 400 offers stability and performance. And it’s comfortable to boot.
Inflatable kayaks are the way to go if you don’t have storage space or the transport means to lug around a full-sized kayak. Check out some our top picks below:
Intex is undoubtedly one of the best brands in the inflatable kayak category. And the simple but sturdy Intex Explorer 2 is a great starting kayak for beginners that want something inflatable. Made of durable vinyl, this two-seater is built to last and stand a number of rough water conditions.
One of the other leading brands in this market, Sevylor has built a high quality inflatable kayak to fit three people (two adults and one child). Inflation and deflation are quickly and easily done thanks to its quality valves, and its super compact when deflated.
This impressive boat is more similar to a permanent boat as it already has an aluminium skeleton which the inflatable bits are bound around. It is a good choice for more experienced kayakers and can hold up to three people.
Other than the kayak itself, you need to invest in some accessories to make the most of your paddling trips.
Invest in a spare paddle or two for your boat, just in case you lose one on a fast stretch of water. Don’t forget your life jacket, and a patch kit for your kayak.
To keep all your belongings dry, invest in some durable waterproof bags for your kayaking trips. A good dry bag will help keep your valuables nicely protected from the elements and you can focus purely on enjoying the waters.
Now that you may have an idea of what kind of kayak you need, you may be wondering where to actually make your purchase. We’d recommend finding your closest specialist kayak shop. They’re often staffed by people who love and have more expert knowledge of kayaking and will be able to offer advice.
Another perk of getting it directly from a specialist store is that you can physically assess the quality and size, and even try out sitting in it to see how you feel.