The Different Types of Kayaks
Kayaking is a great way to stay active and get outdoors. Kayaking’s growing popularity over the last few years has made it more affordable than ever. Kayaking is no longer exclusive to adrenaline junkies chasing their next fix. In fact, their light weight and easy portability has made them the perfect buy for just about anyone. From fishing specific kayaks for the avid angler, to inflatable kayaks for those looking to take a lazy excursion down the river; chances are there’s a kayak for you. In this post we break down the different types of kayaks.
Inflatable kayaks are exactly as they sound, just like pool floats you inflate them with a pump. Typically made of high density plastics, they are extremely lightweight and portable.
Pros of Inflatable Kayaks
• Typically, cheaper than hard-shell kayaks
• Extremely light-weight and portable
• Typically, cheaper than hard boats.
• Some boats can seat multiple people
Similar in shape and design to traditional kayaks, a sit on top kayak lacks the depth of a traditional kayak. Instead of sitting inside of the kayak, the kayaker sits in a molded depression on top. Typical construction consists of molded plastic, however there are some fiberglass models on the markets. Sit-on-tops offer tons of cargo space on their decks making these kayaks perfect fits for divers, snorkelers, and anglers alike.
Advantages of Sit-On-Top Kayaks
Sit-on-top-kayaks offer quite a few advantages over sit in and other types of kayaks particularly for the new paddler. Kayakers with long legs or of heavier body types often find sit-on-top kayaks to be the most comfortable and easiest to use. Another great feature of these boats is that the paddler has the ability to perform a self-rescue in the event that boat rolls over. This is ideal for novice paddlers who don’t intend on taking their boats on extended expeditions.
Typically, 15-17 feet long touring kayaks are designed for cruising on the open water. Perfect for paddling in open water touring kayaks are ideal for lakes, bays, and calm seas. These kayaks are great for paddling in comfort on long journeys, with their ease of straight-line paddling and large cargo capacities. Touring kayaks however are not known for their maneuverability.
Remove most of the storage capacity of the larger touring kayaks and shorten the vessel down to 10-12 feet. One of the more stable crafts you’ll find these are great for beginners looking to get on the water. With the increase in stability however these shorter kayaks sacrifice speed, paddlers won’t be going anywhere fast.
Typically, 17-20 feet long, these kayaks are designed for the open waters and the treachery of rough seas. Their length allows for large storage capacities; after all you may get hungry or be in need of fresh water on your long expeditions. A proper sea kayak contains hatches and bulkheads, allowing the paddler access to the interior while preventing the vessel from taking on water in the event of a capsize. These are the perfect kayaks for those looking to take longer journeys on the water, while still paddling in comfort.
White Water Kayaks
The complete opposite of a sea kayak, whitewater kayaks are half the length usually coming in at between 8 and 10 feet. Designed for maneuverability these kayaks are great for adrenaline junkies looking to take on the rapids of their local waters. White water kayaks rely heavily on the power of raging waters to propel them, meaning these kayaks are not recommended for those looking to take a leisurely stroll across the lake.
Kayaks for Children
Children’s kayaks are pretty straight forward; they’re designed with your little ones in mind. Built to fit children aged 5-11or so, teens are most likely find full sized kayaks to be better fitting, these kayaks are lighter and typically more safety conscious. Throw in the health benefits of kayaking and the entire family will be wanting a kayak.
Fishing Kayaks are made specifically to handle the needs of the avid fisherman. While some may think that fishing from a kayak is rather difficult, though there is a bit of a learning curve, the benefits are kayak fishing are unparalleled. Typically between 14 – 18 feet long, these kayaks are often modified sit-on-top kayaks with extra emphasis put into storage and stability. Fishing from a kayak allows anglers to get up close and personal with sport fish that would otherwise be spooked by larger boats. Throw in the added health benefits and kayak fishing is by far one of my favorite ways to spend a day; especially during tarpon season down here in Southwest FL.