The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Kayak for Beginners
Summer is the perfect time to take up a new water sport, and kayaking is a great option for those looking for something more intense than swimming or stand-up paddleboarding. With the recent advancements in technology, kayaks have become more affordable and accessible to the masses, making them a popular summer activity for water enthusiasts.
However, if you’re a beginner, choosing your first kayak can be a daunting task. You want a kayak that fits your lifestyle and meets your needs, whether you’re planning on using it for a single lake vacation or for years to come. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to choose the best kayak for beginners.
Types of Kayaks
There are three main types of kayaks that you should be aware of before making a purchase. Each type has its own unique pros and cons and is best suited to specific lifestyles.
Recreational kayaks are the most beginner-friendly and budget-friendly option. They are made of polyethylene, which can be a bit challenging to carry on your own, but most beginners choose to use them in shallow water near land. These kayaks are wider, making them less likely to overturn.
Touring kayaks are longer than recreational kayaks and are intended for those with a bit more experience. Budget-friendly options are made using thin polyethylene, while others use ABS plastic that is lighter and UV resistant. Before getting into a touring kayak, you’ll need proper training and experience.
If you’re looking to make kayaking a full-time hobby, a hybrid kayak might be the perfect option for you. These kayaks are purpose-built with unique materials and can be configured to meet your specific needs. However, they come with a higher price tag compared to recreational models.
Features to Look for in a Kayak for Beginners
Sit-on-top kayaks are beginner-friendly as they’re easier to get in and often more comfortable. You sit on a molded seat on top of the kayak and can store it inside due to its watertight hatch. Some sit-on-top kayaks also have an open space at the cockpit that allows you to easily access your phone, cooler, or camera.
Sit-in kayaks place you inside the hull, with a spray skirt that fits around where you sit and over the cockpit. There are three popular styles of sit-in kayaks to choose from: canoe, whitewater, and touring kayaks. Canoes have a wide-open cockpit that allows for extra storage, whitewater kayaks are smaller and designed for fast-moving rapids, and touring kayaks are longer and offer better control.
Cost of a Kayak for Beginners
The cost of a kayak for beginners can range anywhere from $icioui
300 to $4,500, depending on its size, purpose, and construction. Inflatable kayaks are the most affordable option, with some costing less than $300, while higher-end models can cost up to $2,000. Hybrid kayaks are more specialized and cost between $500 to $900. Recreational kayaks start at under $300, with child’s models costing around $100. Foldable kayaks typically cost more than $1,000, while touring kayaks can range anywhere from $600 to $3,000, depending on the make and model.
Best Kayak for Beginners FAQ
Q: How active and fit do I need to be before I can start kayaking?
Almost anyone can kayak, but it’s important to know how to swim and check with your doctor to see if you have any pre-existing health conditions. Recreational kayaking is beginner-friendly and intended to be a fun and relaxing experience in calm water.
Q: What is the best way to transport my kayak?
Most recreational kayaks can be transported on top of your car using a roof rack or crossbars. You can also find racks that are made specifically for kayaks. If you have a pickup truck, you can strap your kayak to the bed of the truck. Whatever transportation method you use, make sure to pad the hull and secure it to prevent scratching or damage.
Q: What is the best kayak for beginners to buy?
The best kayak for beginners will depend on your specific needs and budget. Some top options include the Aquaglide Navarro 110 Convertible Kayak, the Intex Challenger Kayak Inflatable Set, and the Intex Excursion Pro Kayak K2.
Q: What are some important features to look for in a beginner kayak?
When choosing a beginner kayak, look for features such as stability, comfort, storage, and ease of use. Consider the type of kayak (recreational, touring, or hybrid) that best fits your needs and budget.
Q: What is the average cost of a beginner kayak?
The cost of a beginner kayak can range anywhere from $300 to $4,500, depending on the type and features of the kayak. Inflatable kayaks are typically the most affordable option, while hybrid kayaks are more specialized and come with a higher price tag.
In conclusion, choosing the best kayak for beginners is a personal decision that depends on your needs and budget. Consider the type of kayak, features, and cost before making a purchase. Happy kayaking!