Choosing the Right Kayak

Are you looking for your first kayak? Or maybe you’ve owned a ‘yak’ for years and are now in the market for something new. Here are some basics to consider as you research your purchase…

choosing the right kayak

The Types of Kayak to Choose From

Kayaks come in many shapes, widths and lengths depending on their designed use. There are sit-inside models and sit-on-top models. Kayaks for long touring days and big water, and kayaks for tooling around the lake at your cabin. There are kayaks for whitewater and kayaks for fishing.

What you choose will depend greatly on how you’ll use your kayak and the type of water you’ll paddle on.

Our friends at Austin Canoe & Kayak (ACK) have produced a video helping you sort out which kayaks are designed for which use:

Read and watch “What Type of Kayak is Best for Me?”

The Materials Kayaks are Made From

Kayaks are made of different types of materials that affect weight, durability, portability and price.

Polyethylene plastic is the most inexpensive material used in kayaks. It’s very durable, but is also heavy—heavier to carry and heavier to paddle. If left in the sun, the UV rays will fade the color over time.

ABS plastic is the next step up. It’s more expensive to produce than polyethylene, but has great durability, holds its color better and is lighter in weight. It’s more abrasion-resistant than most other materials.

Composite kayaks, like fiberglass and carbon-fiber, are much lighter and they move through the water with grace and ease. They are, however, more susceptible to direct hits on rocks. They’re the most expensive of the hardshell kayaks.

If you’re a craftsperson, build yourself a wood kayak! Light, fast and tough, a wood kayak is also extremely beautiful. Whether with a kit or as a DIY project, building your own kayak is wonderfully satisfying.

Inflatable kayaks are the ideal solution for you if you have limited storage or want more portability. No truck, trailer or car-top carrier needed. These are made from poly-based fabrics designed for durability and to hold their shape well.

How to Choose a Kayak Paddle

Of course, when it comes to kayak paddles, you have dozens of choices, too—whether it’s your first paddle or you’d like an upgrade.

As you research, keep this in mind: Your paddle is your motor and your connection to the water. It’s not something you want to skimp on.

Here are some resources to help you out:

See you on the water!

(Sources: REI.com; Rapid Media; paddling.com)

Have paddling questions we can help with? Call or email our Wisconsin-based customer service team today: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]

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