Choosing a Kayak: What 4 Points Influence the Buying Decision

Kayaking is a fun and healthy activity for the entire family, and for the serious kayaker it benefits to buy a personal paddling machine.

Choosing a Kayak

Before investing a lot of money on a kayak, it makes sense to carefully consider several different points.

Choosing the Right Kayak

Here are four of the most significant points to influence the buying decision:

1 – What is the preferred type of kayaking?

The kayak is generally split into three body types which have an impact on the paddling activity involved. The main body types include:

  • Rigid or hard-shell kayaks
  • Foldable kayaks
  • Inflatable kayaks

The most popular body type is the rigid or hard-shell kayaks which are manufactured in wood, carbon fiber, fiberglass, and plastic. Plastic kayaks are the most cost-effective and popular with fiberglass models also favored by many kayakers.

Carbon fiber is at the high-end of the market and the most expensive. Wood is more time-consuming to construct and one of the least common in the recreational kayak market.

Even though no one kayak fits all kayaking activities, the most popular style favored in the personal and rental market is the open cockpit kayak manufactured in plastic. This kayak type is perfect for its ability to offer ease in access, a stable platform, and great for most single-day excursions.

The length and width of a kayak will vary with the type of activity. For instance, a short and wide kayak designed is preferred for whitewater paddling, while a long and thin design is more favorable for long-distance trips.

Other factors to consider include the duration of the kayaking adventure. A long-distance or multi-day trip can benefit from having more cargo space. Plus, if planning to travel with a companion a tandem kayak is stable and fast, but doesn’t have the favorable maneuverability that comes with a single-seater kayak.

2 – Portability

The dimensions of the kayak will have a significant impact on the ability to travel with and store the kayak. If storing a full-size kayak is going to be a difficult prospect it might benefit to look at the foldable or inflatable models.

But, for those with a garage or other outbuilding, the ability to store the kayak and related equipment shouldn’t be an issue.

3 – Outfit the kayak with add-ons

The accessories to outfit the kayak are virtually endless and relate to the type of paddling involved in. A shortlist of the most popular kayaking gear is inclined to include:

  • Bottle Holders
  • Cockpit cover
  • Gloves
  • Protective clothing
  • Deck fittings
  • Dry Bag
  • Flotation bags
  • Sprayskirt
  • Knife or multi-tool
  • Helmet
  • Paddle
  • Personal flotation device (PFD)

4 – How much to invest

The cost of a high-quality kayak can vary with the type and material. For instance, a recreational kayak in plastic can cost in the region of $300-$350 for a decent model. But for the more high-end models with a light construction and performance in mind, the cost of the composite or fiberglass design can reach up to $2,500 or more.

Although, it can benefit to start with a second-hand kayak at first to get a full appreciate of paddling for fun, and if wishing the kayak can be upgraded at a later date.