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Recreational Kayak Buying Guide UPDATED

Also referred to as sea kayaks, these vessels are typically sleeker than standard recreational kayaks. They are narrow and long, usually a minimum of 12 feet in length. The cockpits of these kayaks are also more compact so that the kayaker can use their hips and thighs to roll themselves over if they capsize. Touring kayaks are built for speed and distance.

recreational kayak buying guide

There are many types of kayaks for beginners but those learning to kayak with a friend, family member or partner may opt to purchase a tandem kayak instead of a single-seater. There are a few advantages to buying a tandem kayak. For instance, a larger-sized tandem kayak allows for more storage. However, one challenge is that the increased weight of a tandem kayak makes it more difficult to recover when capsizing.

For those paddlers who choose a sit-on-top kayak, there are only two categories to choose from, consisting of recreational kayaks and fishing kayaks. However, for those paddlers who choose sit-inside kayaks, paddlers will need to choose between recreational kayaks, day touring kayaks, and expedition kayaks. So, below you will find a general description of each category of kayak.

Most sit-on-top kayaks are considered recreational kayaks but only some sit-inside kayaks are considered recreational kayaks. Thus, the key features that define a recreational kayak are an open or large cockpit combined with a relatively short length and a wide beam. For instance, recreational kayaks generally range in length from 10 to 14 feet and typically have beams that measure 28 to 32 inches in width.

Day touring kayaks on the other hand are all sit-inside designs and are characterized by smaller cockpits, longer lengths, and more narrow beams than those featured on recreational kayaks. In addition, because day touring kayaks are specifically designed for paddling over much longer distances than recreational kayaks, they typically measure 14 to 16 feet in length and have beams that measure 22 to 25 inches in width. Thus, day touring kayaks are much faster than recreational kayaks but they also require more skill to remain upright and they are more difficult to maneuver.

As the name implies, tandem kayaks are kayaks that are designed with either a single extra large cockpit with two seats or, with two separate cockpits with two separate seats in order to accommodate two paddlers who prefer to share the same kayak. Thus, for couples who prefer to paddle together, buying a tandem kayak can be less expensive than buying two day touring or two expedition kayaks. Plus, because tandem kayaks generally have a wider beam than day touring or expedition kayaks, they are generally more stable. Even so, tandem kayaks are also generally faster than expedition kayaks because they have two paddlers propelling them and thus, they require less energy from each paddler.

Like a folding kayak, inflatable kayaks are designed to require very little storage space by rolling up and fitting inside of a single bag. In addition, better quality brands and models are made from a sturdy and highly durable type of plastic. Plus, they are also available in a wide range of categories from purely recreational kayaks to touring models.

Kayaks rotomolded from polyethylene plastic are the least expensive, the least rigid, and the heaviest of any type of kayak. Polyethylene is generally used to make recreational sit-inside kayaks and all sit-on-top kayaks. However, polyethylene kayaks are also much tougher than composite kayaks and thus, they are the best choice when a rugged kayak is needed for landing on rocky shores or for playing in rock gardens.

Taking a recreational kayak to the beach in warm weather can be a fun way to enjoy kayaking and can be a good way for kids to get used to kayaking, where they can usually jump on and off when it suits them.

In the case of modular kayaks, you can often purchase additional middle sections to create a longer kayak, which can be suitable if you want to create a tandem vessel with the ability to switch back to a single paddler version when required. This can save you buying two or three kayaks, as you can simply purchase additional middle sections when you want to increase the paddler capacity.

Chances are if you are looking into getting a touring (or ocean ) kayak you are looking to create a lifestyle. Touring Kayaks or multi day camping kayaks are designed to be sleek and narrow in that the kayak behaves like a bullet in the water. Paddling strokes are smooth which allows you to travel longer distances in a much quicker period of time. These kayaks tend to be more expensive than your average kayak because of the materials put into them. A lot of them are also a lot less durable than recreational brands because the hull material is more geared towards lightweight materials that heightens the on water performance.

Another reason why I say Touring Kayaks are a lifestyle is because the price can be steep. Depending on the materials Touring Kayaks can range anywhere in the ballpark of $1,200 to $3,000 and up! People who buy these kayaks are looking to designate more of their time outdoors by exploring a wide area of water and land. A popular activity among Touring Kayakers is going on multi day trips and setting up camp in different locations. Before jumping head over heels into this activity I highly recommend you take a multi- day touring guide to get the hang of the kayaks characteristics and learn tips and going for long excursions.

Best For: Recreational paddling and fishing purposes. What a lot of recreational users like about these kayaks is that fact that you can jump off of them and take a dip at any point without worrying about the kayak capsizing.

Sit On Top Kayaks are kayaks that feature a lot of deck storage room and have an upright seating position. Some preferred uses for them are fishing, diving as well as recreational play. They are the easiest kayaks to load as well as boarding on and off. Many divers have turned to these types of kayaks to go into the coastal oceans to catch or photograph fish. These kayaks are also the preferred kind of kayak for fisherman as it gives them a lot of room and offers a good amount of storage space. You also get to see more as you have a higher vantage point on these kayaks.

The category of inflatable kayak has the most wide ranging makes, shapes and sizes that you can imagine. Some are made for multi day expeditions and have been tried in glacial coastal waters of the arctic! Others are ultra stable and can even have different attachments put on such as pedals, rod holders ect. A good majority of these kayaks however, are made for recreational usage and are lacking in tracking ability and speed. They do however possess great manoeuvrability . It has now become a standard practive to have inflatable kayaks that can withstand whatever the bottom of the shore can bring.

Tired of Paddling? Many brands of inflatable and recreational kayaks allow you to have the capability of attaching a sail to your kayak so that you can let the wind do the work for you. Sail designs differ from each manufacturer.

The Tarpon 105 kayak from Wilderness Systems ($1,119) is our pick for the best kayak in the sit-on-top category. As a recreational kayak, the Tarpon 105 offers impressive versatility and can perform well when used for various activities such as fishing, camping, exploring, bird-watching, and even surfing waves.

At $850, this kayak is an excellent value, especially because it comes with a Carlisle Magic Mystic paddle. Old Town built the Manitou Sport to maximize recreational fun on the water, and it delivers with style.

Made for touring across flat water, the Kokopelli Moki-Lite inflatable kayak ($699) is portable, easy to set up, and impressively lightweight. This watercraft is ideal for paddlers who are looking for a simple and high-quality boat for recreational paddling.

Most kayaks are made to accommodate people of a wide range of heights. Many recreational kayaks for beginners are around 10 feet long and will be suitable in size for most adults up to 6 feet tall. For those taller than 6 feet, a recreational kayak around 12 feet long will likely be a better fit.

As a general rule, the longer and narrower a kayak is, the faster it will travel and the wider the kayak is the more stable it will be but the slower it will be. Most sit-on-top kayaks are considered recreational kayaks because they tend to be wide and ultra stable while sit-inside kayaks tend to vary a lot more in shape and size.

In fact, kayaks can be broken into a couple distinct categories. You've got recreational kayaks which are wider, shorter and have large cockpits that don't feel confining. Rec kayaks are usually 9 to 12 feet long. On the other end of the spectrum, you've got touring kayaks which are designed to be fast and to deal with any type of condition. Touring kayaks are long and narrow and they have small cockpits that are designed to be used with the skirt to keep the water out. A small cockpit also lets you use thigh hooks to grip the boat with your legs which gives you a lot more control over the kayak.

Inflatable kayaks are one of the great innovations brought to the sport of kayaking because they have shattered constraints like storage or transportation and allowed so many kayakers more options for their craft. While the concept of inflatable kayaks was commercially available for some time (think rafting guides), it has been the last few decades that the technology, design, and innovation has really progressed.

Recreational kayaks are a great option for paddlers interested in short distances on calm flat water and for float trips down low key easy rivers. New paddlers often choose recreational kayaks as they have lots of stability on the water, have a lower price point, and can be a great way to get into the sport. 041b061a72


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