Buying a Kayak - Some Things to Look for

If you are deciding on your very first ocean, fishing, whitewater or recreational kayak there are many different options to consider. The first thing to take into account will be the construction material and you have the choice of rigid plastic, inflatable plastic, wood plus some other materials such as Kevlar, carbon fiber or graphite composites Once you’ve determined the type of kayak material you prefer you will need to consider a few factors before you go to the shops.

1) What type of boating will you be doing for most of the time?

Kayaks can be made for different situations such as ocean, fishing, whitewater or long distance kayaking. You should think about the type of kayaking you’ll be doing for most of the time and choose a kayak that is appropriate.

2) Your experience

If you are beginning a kayak that is simple to get in and out of is generally the major concern. The majority beginners are worried about their ability to easily to get out of the kayak so probably won't want a snug cockpit. An ideal option for beginners is a 'sit on top' type that has a recessed seat. Beginners mostly like better a boat that has good initial stability and that has very low tendency to tip. Experienced paddlers will almost certainly look for a boat that has superior final stability that will cope more easily with wilder water.

3) Transportability and Weight

A major concern problem with kayaks is that you need to store them, transport them and launch them into the water easily. Folding and inflatable kayaks are much easier to store and transport but if you are set on buying a hardshell kayak try to buy one that is as light as possible.

4) Comfort and Storage Capacity

If you will be using the kayak for short periods storage capacity is not a concern but if you’ll be doing any longer touring you would be advised to check there is space to hold all your gear. Also check that there are comfortable seats. Whether you prefer a tight fit or more space which will let you move may well be dependant on on the kind of boating you will be doing. For long tours more room is usually preferred so that you can stretch, change postion or move around. If you will be doing white water kayaking a tight fit is usually preferred.

5) Stability

How easily a boat stays in a vertical position is called it's initial stability. The boat's tendency to tip is called it's final stability. Boats have either final or initial stability, not both! Beginners may prefer a boat with decent initial stability because a boat with good final stability will probably seem unstable to them and they may be anxious that it will turn over. More skilled kayakers who aren't afraid of tipping over would prefer a kayak with excellent final stability. A stable kayak, while useful for beginners, is inevitably not as fast.

6) The Length of the Kayak

The kayak's length is in direct relationship to how well it will track straight ahead and maneuver. A shorter kayak will be more maneuverable and a good deal easier to turn whereas a much longer kayak will track much better.

7) How Much Do Kayaks Cost?

Obviously your finances are a major factor deciding which kayak you’ll purchase. A kayak for a beginner made from plastic will probably start at around $250 whereas more sophisticated plastic models may be as much as $1400. Folding kayaks start from about $1250 and may go up to $4000 for a high quality three person kayak. Inflatable boats are often as low as $20. Kayaks constructed of composite materials are a lot more expensive.


There are lots of different options to choose from when buying a kayak so it pays to do plenty of research before you put down your money! Try out as many different types by renting at your local watersports venues to find out which ones suit you best and you are more comfortable using.

More by this Author

Comments 1 comment

CDO Kayakers 6 years ago

it you want to buy a sit-in white water kayak you can visit it is in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines kayak shop.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article