How to Pick the Right Kayak: Don’t Overthink It!

Kayaking is an effective and exciting way of having fun and keeping fit while taking in nature’s beauty at the same time. This activity ensures you unwind, enjoy the fresh air, and get away from it all in secluded regions. With so many choices how to pick the right kayak can be a good question.

As a beginner, another exciting thing is purchasing a kayak and the accessories that you need. However, the process can be complex and you can easily get overwhelmed with the options available.

This buying guide will help you know how to pick the right kayak and also how to pick kayak paddle and accessories. Read on…

Types of Kayaks

Kayaks come in different shapes and sizes to fit the user’s preferences. Therefore, it’s advisable to first understand the different options available before choosing the right one. That said, below are the different types of kayaks to choose from:

1. Sit-on-top kayaks

These types of kayaks are open on top so the water splashes on you as you paddle, making you feel refreshed throughout the entire activity. Unlike the sit-in kayaks, the sit-on-top kayaks are wider and more stable.

Journey 10 ss Sit On Top Fishing Kayak
Journey 10 ss Sit On Top Fishing Kayak

This makes them the best options especially for beginners just starting out kayaking. That’s not all, sit-on-top kayaks also have holes in them to drain out the water that splashes in as you are paddling.

2. Sit-in kayaks

Sit-in kayaks feature a capsule enclosure that you can sit in to keep your bottom half dry from the splashing water. They also feature a cover or skirt, which is added around your waist to keep the water out.

Sit in Kayak
I’ll help you choose!

The design is narrow and long to keep you dry and warm. This makes the sit-in kayaks perfect for kayaking during the cold weather. With the sit-in kayaks, you can go faster and further in open waters like bays and lakes, among others.

And you can brace your knees in this type of kayak for more powerful paddle strokes. Unlike the sit-on-top kayaks, sit-in kayaks are made for solo kayaking and are perfect for paddling in rapids and sea kayaking.

3. Inflatable kayaks

Inflatable kayaks are easily portable and flexible enough for every use. With this type of kayak, you don’t need roof racks and you can inflate it using a manual pump when you want to use it.

It’s advisable to use inflatable kayaks on gentle rapids or still water because they are prone to punctures. Lastly, inflatable kayaks are made for one or two kayakers – that is double or tandem kayak.

Additional Considerations When Choosing a Kayak


This is the total weight of the kayak, you, and your gear as well. If the kayak is overloaded, it sits too low and may compromise your paddling efficiency.


Shorter kayaks turn quicker than longer hulls. On the other hand, longer kayaks cruise more efficiently and offer you more storage space.


If you are a long-legged kayaker, then you need a deeper hull because it will offer you more leg space. But again, shallower kayaks aren’t affected by winds as much as the deeper ones.

Other considerations include the seats and hatches, which grants you the access to interior storage spaces.

How to Pick the Right Kayak Paddle

Other than the type of kayak, choosing the right kayak paddle and accessories will also determine your performance. Therefore, you have to choose the right kayak paddle if you want to have an effective and efficient kayaking experience.

Here is what you need to consider when picking a kayak paddle:

· Shaft choice – You can improve the paddle’s effectiveness if you use feathered blades or bent shafts.

· The Blade – With the blade choice, both the size and shape of your paddle’s blade will affect your overall paddling efficiency.

· Length of the paddle – Your kayak’s height and width will also determine the type of paddle you choose, so you must also consider it.

· Value for money – The materials used to create the paddle and how much it goes for will determine if you are getting good value for your money. For instance, lightweight and high-quality materials will improve the paddle’s performance but will be pricier.

I spent the extra money and picked up a couple of these paddles from REI.

Final Thoughts

As you’ve seen, there’s a lot that goes into consideration in understanding how to pick the right kayak. And this guide has taken you through all you need to know when choosing the right kayak as a beginner.

Whether you are doing it for leisure or thinking about being a professional in the long run, these considerations will help you pick the right kayak for your needs.

Jamie Wilkinson

I'm a fervent lover of the great outdoors, having spent countless hours soaking in the tranquility and beauty that nature offers. My passion for kayaking and camping has led me to explore numerous waterways and campgrounds, each journey adding to my treasure trove of experiences. Through, I aim to share these adventures and insights with you. My hope is to inspire fellow outdoor enthusiasts and provide valuable guidance, whether you're paddling your first kayak or setting up camp for the hundredth time. Dive into my articles, and let's embark on this outdoor journey together!

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