How to choose a kayak: Factors to consider when choosing a kayak

Buying your first kayak should be pretty exciting but also challenging. A quick online search reveals a wide range of kayaks on the market. This is usually a big challenge for most beginners who don’t know what is suitable for them. Most people buy kayaks to experience nature, engage in recreational activities and for fishing. Kayaking is not just a sports activity but a way to escape the busy urban life and experience nature.

You need to look at several factors before making a decision on the best kayak for your needs. The very first and most important thing to consider is where and how you will be using your kayak. Are you planning kayaking in rough ocean waters or calm lakes and rivers?

Here are some important tips to help you find a top quality kayak for your needs.

Type of kayaks

There are several types of kayaks out there to consider buying. Deciding on the type of kayak to buy is among the first things to consider. The type of kayak you choose will depend on your specific needs and ease of carrying. Some of the common kayak types include. You must read this all the kayak articles from Cotrout to learn more about kayaking

  • Sit-in-top kayak: This is a suitable kayak for beginners and children. The kayak comes with molded and hull depression to allow for long-hour sitting. This type of kayak features a higher sitting level than most kayaks. It is easier to get on and off.
  • Inflatable kayak: this is a type of kayak that inflates for use and easily deflates for compact storage. It is a highly portable kayak that comes with a pump for easy inflation. These types of kayaks are usually made of rigid frames, tough PVC and measure around 15 feet long. They are also not durable and fast in the waters.
  • Surf kayak: This is another special design kayak for surfing. It is a perfect choice for gliding on waters. This kayak type comes with a sturdier and longer board to withstand fast speeds.
  • Whitewater kayak: Whitewater kayaks are rounded bottom kayaks and a 10 feet length for easy rolling. This kayak is a bit hard to maneuver but perfectly suited for slow moving waters.
  • Modular kayak: Modular kayaks are extremely durable and feature three parts for stability and efficiency. They are usually strong and best suited for long transport.

Right and paddle size kayak

The next and most important consideration when buying a kayak is the size. You must be able to fit in the kayak comfortably. The ideal size kayak should not be too narrow or too wide. If it too narrow, you will be stuck inside while a wide while will make entry a problem.

The kayak size must match with the paddle for easy paddling. This is the case, especially when you’re using the kayak for fishing. There are instances where you need to hold a fishing reel on the one hand and a paddle on the other hand. This is why you need to consider the kayak and paddle size. Most standard kayak paddles usually vary from 210cm to 260cm. You need to choose a quality paddle based on material, size and comfort levels. Depending on your budget, you can choose paddles made of carbon fibers, nylon, aluminum and fiberglass materials. Remember to get the best fishing rod for easy handling when paddling.

Consider a durable kayak body

There are more kayaks coming into the market in the past few years due to the huge kayak demand. This has led to poor quality kayaks as companies look to make a profit. You need to buy a durable kayak that will offer you excellent value for your money.

Plastic material is by far the most common and rugged material for making kayaks. The polyethylene material has a longer lifespan and can withstand heavy impacts. It is also lightweight and easy to carry. However, plastic material tends to warp on hot summer days. Some of the lasts plastic kayak models feature excellent conformity features that allow them to mold back into shape when cooled. Plastic is also hard to repair when damaged.

We also have the thermoformed ABS material, which is a combination of plastic and acrylic. This one is more durable than plastic but will cost you a little more.

There is also composite material which includes fiberglass. This one is rugged and durable enough to withstand many years of use. It is also lightweight and easy to repair when damaged. However, composite kayaks tend to be quite expensive.

Comfortable cockpit

A cockpit is where you will sit inside the kayak, and you need to ensure it is comfortable. Make sure you consider a snug cockpit that will comfortably fit your body size. The ideal cockpit size should allow for easy entry and exit. However, remember this varies from individual to the next. There are usually three types of kayak cockpits. These include:

  • The recreational cockpit: This is a long and wide cockpit measuring 36 inches long and 20 inches wide. It is also easy to get on and off.
  • Keyhole cockpit: This is also a wide 20-inch cockpit but shorter than a recreational cockpit at 32 inches long. It features adjustable seating arrangements for a great fit and comfort
  • Ocean cockpit: The ocean cockpit is usually the smallest measuring 20 inches wide and 26 inches long. This cockpit is compact and snug, allowing you to take quick turns in fast-flowing waters.

You need to choose the cockpit type wisely to ensure it is comfortable and allows for easy deck control.

Extra features

Go right ahead and consider the extra features on the kayak to ensure you’re getting full value for your money. Some of the features to consider include a car rack for easy storage, right size paddle, safety gears and much more. You can also consider a spray skirt to keep waters out of your kayak.


After reading this article, you should be able to make a wise choice on the best kayak to suit your needs. Remember what works for somebody else might not work for you. Buy a kayak according to your body size, needs and area of use.