Whether you are planning to paddle your kayak for only a few times or you are planning to use it for extended overnight trips, you would want it to glide down the river or the ocean with little effort. But buying a kayak for the first time can be challenging especially with various models that vary in size, weight, and features sold in the market. Without a clear understanding of the different types of kayaks available, you may end up regretting your purchase. So how about you start with a guide?

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Types of Kayaks

Kayaks come in two basic styles. There is the sit in boats and the sit on top boats. Each type carries its pros and cons. It’s essential that you know the difference between the two so that you are better informed about your purchase.

Sit In Kayaks

They feature a cockpit which is where you sit. There is a cockpit rim around the cockpit which is where you keep your spray skirt so that the water remains out of the boat. There are seat and foot pedals which can be adjusted according to the paddler’s length, inside the cockpit.

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Pros
Can Be Used In Any Season

Lovers of long kayaking should consider buying these as they can use them in spring as well as autumn weather.

Fast Paddling

These boats have a low center of gravity which translates to better stability and faster paddling.

Protection From Spays of Water

With a cockpit rim that encloses the cockpit, spray waters are kept out, and hence the paddlers can have a smooth ride. Also, the absence of drain holes in the bottom of the cockpit ensures that it remains dry throughout.

Easy Fishing

The closed cockpits are built directly into the hull of the boat which means you will be closer to the water and therefore can fish with ease. Also, users can access the entire hull hence can store all their fishing equipment.

Cons
Your kayak will be filled with water if you flip and hence recovery can be tricky.
Freedom of movement is restricted.
Accessing items in the back part of the kayak can be challenging.

Sit On Top Kayaks

They are used mostly by paddlers in warm water who love swimming. They feature an open cockpit design that allows paddlers to jump off and get back on. Users sit on a molded depression instead of being in the vessels.

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Pros
They Are Easy to Enter And Exit

Since the cockpit is open, it makes it easy for one to get in and out. This feature makes them a preferred choice for fishers, divers, and surfers.

Comfortable

The open-air designs allow room for stretching out and relaxing while on the water. Also, you can place your feet in the position you find comfortable since they offer more footrest options.

Easy Access To Your Gear

You can effortlessly access simple gear like water bottles and fishing rods. Again, they have storage space to keep your fishing tools.

Self-Bailing

They have small holes that allow water to drain through them. In case you topple you can flip them back.

Cons
Slow Speed

They are wide which means they have a high center of gravity hence difficult to paddle and inefficient.

Little Space For Gear Storage

These models don’t provide much dry storage space due to their molded tops.

Offer No Protection Against Harsh Weather Conditions

The paddlers are exposed to wind, hot sun and waves since the cockpit is open.

What to Look For When Buying a Kayak

Weight Capacity

This comprises the total of the boat, your gear and you. If the boat is overloaded it will sit too low in the water and paddling may be inefficient.

Length

Longer boats glide more efficiently and offer abundant storage space. Kayaks with shorter hulls turn more quickly.

Material Used

The material used affects the durability and the weight of the kayak. There are two common materials used for constructing kayaks.

Plastic

Kayaks made of plastics are the common ones.

Composites

Lightweight fiberglass boats can resist obstacles in the water without turning over, and it is unlikely for them to get damaged. But they can be repaired in cases of accidents although they are expensive.

Price

Price also plays a part in decision making. Your place of purchase determines the price. A big box store could be selling them at a higher price than a locally owned pro-shop. Also, you can buy a second-hand kayak which is cheaper as compared to a brand new one. Whichever the case, go for a quality kayak. This means that you have to do more research.

Conclusion

As there are many uses of kayaks, you should purchase one that meets your needs and wants. The purpose will help you determine the features of the kayak. For instance, a fishing kayak should have space for holding fishing equipment.

Don’t just purchase the first kayak that you see. Instead ensure that you research the model you want to buy and that it will suit your kayaking needs. But with this guide you will be able to make a better choice.