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Kayak Buying Guide

Use our helpful guide to figure out which kayak is right for you.

Before you hit the water for your next weekend excursion, think about what you’ll be doing in the water. Do you plan to go fishing? Or is a leisurely stroll around the lake more your speed? Whether you feel like getting some exercise or letting a trolling motor do the work, you will need the right kayak.

Sit-In Kayak

Kayak Buying Guide
Kayaking is a fun activity for people of all ages. Whether you’re fishing or just relaxing in the water, it’s important to pick the right kayak.

Sit-in kayaks are the most popular kind for a day on lake or river. Their smaller design makes them easy to handle both on and off the water. They come with comfortable backrests and large cockpits. The large cockpit allows you to easily get in and out of the boat. Most sit-in kayaks come with great features, such as dry storage compartments and drink holders. Sit-in kayaks are a great choice for beginners.

Sit-On Kayak

Sit-on kayaks don’t have a cockpit, but a molded depression on top of the kayak. They’re perfect if you’re going to be getting in and out of your kayak a lot. They’re also a great option for people who don’t want to be confined to a cockpit. The kayak’s design is also beneficial if you tip the boat. Since you’re not confined to a cockpit, you won’t be stuck if the boat flips. Sit-on kayaks are also a great choice for those just starting out in the world of kayaking.

Tandem Kayak

You’ll find both sit-in and sit-on tandem kayaks. They’re just like any other kayak, except they’re built for two people. There are pros and cons when deciding on a tandem kayak. On the one hand, you can paddle with another person. This is great if you’re kayaking with an inexperienced paddler, or a young child who can’t be in their own boat. However, there are some downfalls. Tandem kayaks tend to be much heavier than single kayaks. Even with two people, it can be a burden to lift up onto a car’s kayak roof rack. Also, when you’re in the same kayak with someone, you won’t have the freedom to paddle where you want.

Fishing Kayak

Fishing kayaks are used for areas where bigger fishing boats can’t reach. They’re even used for sport fishing. Fishing kayaks come in both sit-on and sit-on models. However, they’re usually wider and have more support, making it safer for fishing. Many fishermen outfit their fishing kayaks with fishing gear, such as trolling motors, rod holders and more.

Features to Keep in Mind

Dimensions

Choosing the right length is important. A shorter kayak is easier to maneuver in the water, and easier to carry if you have to portage. Longer kayaks are easier to paddle if you’re traveling a long distance and they keep a straighter line. Wider kayaks are more stable in calm water. Narrower boats will go faster than a wider kayak. Also keep your weight and height in mind when choosing a kayak. Most kayaks will have a weight capacity listed.

Foot Pegs

You can use foot pegs in your boat to stay comfortable, level and centered in the cockpit. Foot pegs are usually adjustable, so adjust until you find the right place for your height.

Once you’ve found the perfect kayak, you might want additional kayak gear. Use our helpful guide for finding the right kayak paddle. With your kayak, paddle, and life jacket in tow, you’ll be ready for a fun day on the water. For more tips about being out on the water, visit our Boats & Boating blog.

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