What are the Most Popular Kayak Materials?

As kayaks can range from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, you might wonder what decides the price of individual kayaks.

Kayak Materials

Some increases in price can be various accessories, but on a general scale it depends on what the kayak is made from.

Kayak Materials

The materials that go into a kayak affects its durability, weight and price.


This combines fiberglass, carbon blends and Kevlar. It is the highest price in kayaks, are light in weight and performs very well. Although the composite boats can be damaged in landing and launching, they can be repaired.

Plastic Polyethylene

Kayak materials like plastic is the most common and popular kayak material used to date. It’s inexpensive and has an incredible impact and abrasion resistance. The down side, it does have a shelf life, after years of sun exposure, it can become brittle.

It tends to warp in really hot temperatures, but will return to its normal shape as the temperature cools down. Damages to the kayak can be a little difficult to repair.

Thermoformed ABS

The joining of acrylic over plastic creates a very high gloss kayak. It is more expensive than polyethylene but is also a great deal lighter in weight. It is very durable and ultraviolet resistant and is less likely to soften in hotter temperatures. Dings are easily repairable.

Soft Shells

Manufacturers of inflatable and folding boats use a variety of materials that are similar to cloth. The materials come in levels of thickness and able to withstand abrasions and punctures. Patch kits are available for repairs.

What to start kayaking in

It is recommended that you start off with kayaking materials like plastic. Two reasons are; Unless you have a great deal of experience, you want to start off with something relatively easy to control and secondly until you are used to them you don’t really know exactly what you are going to doing as a kayaker. If you were to purchase a really expensive kayak that is seaworthy and you end up wanting an easier touring situation, you’ll be stuck selling it and probably at a loss.

Other Factors

Outside of weight and materials, you need to ask yourself what type of kayaking you are looking to get into. If you will be launching from rough terrain or strong rivers with rocks, you might want to stay away from fiberglass. Also, you will need a really good roof carrier and roof rack for these composite boats. You cannot just strap them to your roof.

Purchasing Your First Kayak

On the other hand, if you have done your homework, been training in kayaking or belong to a kayaking club for some time with a great deal of paddling on your part; you might believe your dream kayak is that composite boat.

A second-hand kayak is a practical first buy. Most kayakers will upgrade their paddling machine over time, so it benefits to go with the used model to save on the costs. Plus, the depreation occurs on the new models and when it comes to reselling the second-hand kayak more of the value is retained, which means it is possible to get most of original purchase price.