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Kayak Buying Guide For First Timers

Aug 17, 2007
Kayaking is a great activity for fun and leisure. If you are already drawn to kayaking and have considered buying your own kayak, you may be wondering what kayak you will buy considering there are a lot of different kayaks out in the market. Here are a few tips that can help you in buying your kayak. These are some of the things that you need to do when buying a kayak -

Take a closer look

May kayaks are sold through catalogs and the internet and while it is more convenient to search the internet or order through catalogs, it is still better that you buy a kayak from a local specialty store. This way you will have an actual feel of what the kayaks look like and you will be able to examine them better.

Try it

Nothing is more painful than spending money on a brand new kayak only to find out that you dont in it once youre at the beach already. If possible, try getting in the kayak that you are eyeing and see if you can get in and out of it easily. Trying the kayak at the beach is also recommended to see if you can easily maneuver and control it while in the water.

Ask friends

While some stores may let you try the kayak before buying, most will not allow it so your next best option is to ask friends and other kayak users for feedbacks on the specific kayak that you want to buy. Researching on the internet and asking other peoples opinion through forums and other websites is also a good thing to do.

Different kayaks are made for different purposes

Some kayaks that perform excellently for some people may not be suitable for other. Choosing the right kind of kayak for the specific purpose is important. Kayaks are divided into four categories -

Touring kayaks

These are long kayaks that are designed for longer trips. If you want more control and maneuverability, then these kayaks will suit you.

Recreational kayaks

If you are engaged in milder trips or are usually kayaking on rivers and ponds, then these are the kayaks for you. These kayaks are shorter, wider and are easier to turn.

Whitewater kayaks

These are the best kayaks to be used on wild rapids because they are shorter and have rounded bottoms.
Downriver kayaks if you plan to be in a race, then these kind of kayaks are the ones that you should buy.

Kayaks are made from different materials

One factor that you need to consider when buying a kayak is the material used. Each material has its pros and cons and it is up to you that you think will suit you best depending on your needs. Here are some materials most often used for kayaks -


Most kayaks nowadays are made from plastic because aside from it is light and durable, plastic is also cheap. Kayaks that are made from plastic are affordable. If you are very abusive with your kayaks and you have a tendency to scratch and harm your equipment, then plastic is most likely the material that suits you. Although one drawback of kayaks that are made from plastic is that they weigh 10lbs heavier than those kayaks that are made from fiberglass.


Kayaks that are made from fiberglass are more expensive because they are hand built. They are also lighter and are maneuvered easily in the water. Although fiberglass kayaks are repairable, they are easily fractured and damaged. Repair cost also doesnt come cheap. If you are planning to buy a fiberglass kayak, be ready to shell out $1500 $2000.


Just like fiberglass, Kevlar kayaks are expensive but are also significantly lighter and more durable.

Also consider the dimensions of the kayak that you are going to buy. Some points to remember when checking out the dimensions are -


Wider kayaks provide more stability and adds to a kayaks capacity. Although wider kayaks cannot be easily controlled on strong currents and require more effort in paddling.


Long and short kayaks both have their pros and cons. Longer kayaks are generally faster, more stable and are easier to paddle. They are also more efficient and perform better in the water. Shorter kayaks on the other hand less expensive, lighter and easier to carry. These kayaks are most recommended for children and petite individuals.

Buying a kayak can be quite confusing if you have no idea what kind, material, length, or width will suit you best. Knowing the characteristics of a kayak that will help you enjoy your activity better will help you in choosing that kayak to buy.
About the Author
For more great kayak related articles and resources check out http://topkayaks.info
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