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6 Types of Kayaks and Their Key Features

September 29, 2020
Stacked kayaks
Source: Pexels

Kayaking is a fun and exciting pastime. It is not only a great way to stay in shape but also an adventure. However, it can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. So if you are thinking of taking up kayaking you should choose the right equipment. First and foremost, is choosing the right kayak. Your choice of a kayak is important because every kayak comes with its own learning curve. Here are the 6 Types of kayaks and their key features.

Table of Contents

A top view of a sea kayak
Source: Pinterest

Sit-On Kayak

A sit-on kayak has an open cockpit and gives you freedom of movement compared to other kayaks. Its main distinguishing feature is that it has an open cockpit, and can be boarded very easily.

Pros

Sit-on kayaks provide kayakers with ease of access. Due to its open cockpit you can get on and off the kayak in record time. It is also easy to get on the kayak directly from the water.

Cons

The sit-on kayak has an open cockpit which means water can easily get inside the kayak.

Sit-In Kayak

These types of kayaks are specifically designed to have a closed cockpit. With the sit-in kayak, your feet are covered and protected from the sea spray. They are typically used in colder climate waters and offer a great deal of insulation. 

Pros

Sit-in kayaks provide kayakers with a great deal of protection from waves and sea spray. The closed cockpit keeps your lower body dry and helps you stay warm in colder waters.

Cons

The only downside to using a sit-in kayak is that it can be difficult to get inside the cockpit. The closed cockpit also makes it difficult to get into the kayak once it gets capsized.

The Perception Access 9.5 Kayak
Source: Pinterest
White-Water Kayak
Source: Pinterest

White-Water Kayak

A white-water kayak is specially made for traversing rocky and fast-flowing currents. This type of kayak is usually around 5 to 10 feet in length and is made of very hard and buoyant materials for both speed and durability.

Pros

This type of kayak is built to be both robust and agile. It is also extremely durable and can take a lot of damage from rocky river courses.

Cons

While white-water kayaks are made for speed and durability, they are not made for long journeys. They also lack storage space, so if you’re thinking of using a white water kayak, you should pack as light as possible.

Sea Kayak

This type of kayak is specifically made for sea travel, and it lasts through long journeys. It is built with a taller rocker and is narrower as compared to other kayaks. It is designed to barrel through powerful waves and survive rough sea currents. 

Pros

Due to the sea kayak’s design it can handle strong waves and unpredictable currents. It is also more maneuverable and faster. These kayaks are specifically built for long journeys and have a great deal of storage space.

Cons

Due to their narrow design, Sea kayaks are less stable in rivers or lakes. 

Sea Kayak
Source: Pinterest
The Jonny Boats Bass 100 Kayak
Source: Pinterest

Fishing Kayak

As the name implies, this type of kayak is built for kayak fishing trips. These kayaks are usually designed with flatter hulls and have pedal-powered wheels to keep your hands free for fishing. They can also be installed with a motor to enhance the boat’s speed capabilities.

Pros

Fishing kayaks are built for fishing applications so they are shorter and sleeker than other kayaks. They are designed to be as maneuverable as possible and have adequate enough storage space to hold fishing equipment and the day’s catch.

Cons

The only setback for fishing kayaks is their lack of speed. They are meant to be as maneuverable and portable as possible so they are slower than other types of kayak. 

Tandem Kayak

Tandem kayaks are built to fit multiple people. They are heavier and more stable compared to other kayaks. Due to its larger seating capacity, it is a perfect vessel for beginner kayakers. 

Pros

This type of kayak is great for teaching beginners the basics of kayaking. Its ability to handle multiple people gives more experienced kayakers a chance to instruct younger and less experienced ones. Due to its larger size it is also perfect for long journeys. 

Cons

Due to their great size, tandem kayaks are usually heavy and difficult to maneuver. This makes it difficult to steer them through narrow waterways.

A two person tandem kayak
Source: Pinterest

FAQs About Types of Kayaks

Two people in tandem kayak
Source: Pexels

Which type of kayak is the most stable?

There are a variety of kayaks to choose from, however, if you are looking for the most stable type you should go with the fishing kayak. This type of kayak has a flatter hull and is meant to provide great stability for fishing applications. 

What is the best kayak for beginners?

If you are helping a newbie kayaker learn the basics the best choice would be a tandem kayak. It has room for multiple people and due to its weight and size, it provides a great deal of stability. 

What size kayak should I get based on my height?

When it comes to choosing a kayak, it is important that you take your height into consideration. Remember that you will be fitting half your body into the kayak, and if you choose one that is too short or too long, it would render your kayak useless.

So before you choose a kayak, you should test it out first. Try to slip into the kayak and place your feet on the foot pedals. If your lower body can fit into the cockpit comfortably and your upper body is above the cockpit level, then the kayak will fit you just fine.

What is the easiest way to get on a kayak?

When it comes to getting on a kayak, the easiest way is from a floating kayak dock. These types of docks are meant to be attached to an already existing dock or even to the shore itself. They are usually made of durable and buoyant plastic floats. You can find floating kayak docks for sale that are very easy to assemble.

As for getting into a kayak from the floating kayak dock, the trick is to untie the kayak from the dock first. Then you should grab a hold of the cockpit, and slowly lower yourself into the cockpit. Place your legs on the footholds inside the kayak and adjust it according to your height. Once you have adjusted everything according to your specifications, just push your kayak away from the floating kayak dock.

Conclusion

If you are thinking of buying a kayak of your very own, you should be as well-informed as possible. So before you choose one, you should know all of their key features, their pros and cons, and how to properly maintain them. With this article, you’ll be able to choose the best kayak for yourself.

Looking for a place to dock your new kayak? Head over to our catalog of floating kayak docks and find the one that fits your needs. Contact us today for more information.

If you want to learn more about kayaking, please check out these articles:

How to DIY Your Own Floating Kayak Dock

Kayaking Essentials You Will Need Before You Sail Out

Kayaking Basics: How to Launch a Kayak Properly

Customize a Floating Dock that Works Best for You.

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