6 Types of Kayaks for Paddling Advetures

Kayaks are popular because they give great flexibility in where and how they are used.

Types of Kayaks

Travel to beach side events, explore areas that cannot be seen from land, take in a good workout or just play around in shallow waters with your kids. If this sounds like something you can really get into, you must first know what type of kayak is right for your level of kayaking or what kind of kayaking you are interested in.

Here are some key elements to take into account before running out to buy one:

Where you plan to paddle off to, the water conditions you’ll be in, how long you plan on being out on the water and how you plan on transporting your kayak, should all be taken into consideration.

All types of kayaks have the option of single paddler or double paddlers known as tandems.

Types Of Kayaks

So let’s take a look at the array of kayaks available:


Foldable kayaks are great for touring because of the ease in storing and transport – similar to the inflatables. In its disassembled state, the folding kayak is small enough to fit in a large backpack. Folding kayaks have a significant benefit over the inflatables, which is the addition of the ridged framework. The ridged shell of the folding kayak gives a performance that virtually equals the regular one-piece models. Most of these kayaks are designed to be assembled with a time-frame of 20-25 minutes.


Inflatable kayaks are appreciated for ease in storage and transport. Once inflated (electric, hand, or foot pump), these recreational kayaks are highly versatile and sturdy. Once deflated and in its most compact stage the inflatable kayak is packed into a large duffel-size bag. A preferred material for this style of kayak is PVC-coated polyester.

The inflatable is easy-to-use, lightweight, and turns in a small area. Most of these kayaks are 10-15-ft in length. The design makes them less rugged and slower compared to the hard-shell alternatives. For extra strength, some of the inflatable models have stiffening bars or rigid frames that extend the full length of the kayak. This increases the traveling load, but helps to improve tracking and reduces wave undulation.


These kayaks are easy to transport as they can quickly snap apart into 2 or 3 sections, making it easy to handle by a singular person. They are as durable as a polyurethane kayak and offer the performance of a hard shell boat. These modulars come in recreational, sit on top and touring designs. You may purchase a second cockpit section and even add a third seat.


These kayaks work best in calm waters and gentle weather. These kayaks are very affordable and very easy to use. They have a stability that is good for novices, casual paddlers or anglers on calm rivers, lakes and ponds. They are not recommended for open waters, high currents or excessive winds.

Most of these boats offer a small storage area for short day trips while there are some that offer larger storage area for a longer day trip. They do not hold a straight course as well as a touring kayak and are mostly 10 to 12 feet in length. If flipped they can be difficult to bail out, but their large cockpit is easy to get in and out of.

They are mostly made of polyethylene plastic which can make them hard to carry and heavy to move around.


A sit-on-top kayak is preferred in warm waters and great for beginners, young paddlers, and swimmers. Sit-on-top kayaks are built with a molded depression on the top to give a comfortable space to sit. It is quick and easy to climb on and off the kayak whether in the water, on shore, or on a dock.

Because the molded seats are higher than the water level the kayaks performance is slower than the regular recreational models. But, the hull is designed to be wider which increase the stability and provides a great paddling, diving, swimming, or fishing base. Plus, sit-on-top kayaks include multiple well positioned self-draining holes for added convenience.

Most of the sit-on-top kayaks are constructed in plastic and measure 10-15-ft in length.


These are best for going long distances in open water and perform really well in rough conditions. These kayaks are better performers and are more flexible than the recreational kayak. They offer a larger storage area and their bulkheads have sealed hatches for safety. These compartments will trap air, giving these boats a good flotation even if the cockpit fills with water.

These kayaks are designed to increase lift in waves and rough waters. They come with tracking systems such as rudders or skegs or even a combination of both. The cockpits are designed for easy paddling and comes with a spray skirt. They are generally 12 to 17 feet in length and are made of plastic or a lightweight composite blend. The larger storage works really well for long day trips or overnight trips.