Buying your First Kayak – What you Need to Know

Imagine slipping in your kayak over stunning clear water, paddling away to take in nature at its best. However, before you start your kayaking dream there are a few things you should know. To help you out we have created a smart guide to ensure you know all the information you need before buying your first kayak.

Type Of Kayaking

There are many types of kayaking to choose from, and the type of kayaking you wish to take part in has a direct impact on the kind of kayak you need. Identifying your needs early on helps clear up any confusion, keeping your mind clear. Think about the following before you make a decision:

Do you want to take on racing, tackle rapids, or tour the wilderness?
How often will you be using the kayak?
What does your budget allow?

Type of Kayaks

Recreational Kayaks – All around designed to cover mild river trips, and can be used on ponds and bays. They are shorter in length, and wider in width when compared to touring kayaks. Which makes it easy to turn, but tricky to glide in a straight line.

Touring Kayaks – Designed for long wilderness trips, they are stable and pack a spacious capacity. However, they are tricky to turn due to their length. Additionally, some touring kayaks are lighter in weight and offer improved maneuverability, in exchange for less storage space.

Whitewater Kayaks – Offer exceptional manoeuvrability, as they are shorter. There are options to choose between flat planing hulls, rounded bottoms, or upturn ends to help ensure control during harsh waves.

Downriver Kayaks – Speciality boats that offer speed, and are reserved for racing. Long and narrow the kayas gain more speed, which makes them easy to trip – not ideal for novice paddlers.

Inflatable Kayaks
A taste of kayaking has you coming back for more, but being practical about the matter helps you in the long run. If you are thinking of purchasing a kayak but do not have the storage space, then you can consider an inflatable kayak. To help you make an easy decision we have listed down some essential pros and cons of inflatable kayaks.

No additional storage space is required.
Does not require rigging.
Sturdy and stable.
Cost less than hard-shell kayaks
Easy to carry, assemble, and disassemble.
Custom seats for added comfort.

Easily affected by strong winds, current, and other natural elements.
Takes time to inflate and deflate the boat.
Requires an electric pump connection.
Takes time to dry off thoroughly before packing to avoid mold.
Heavy for one person to carry.
Limited legroom.

Inflatable kayaks offer a great deal of positive and negative aspects, but the decision comes down to your personal preferences. Inflatable kayaks can be the best choice for some, and the worst choice for others. Consider the pros and cons to ensure you make the right decision based on your unique situation.

What Do You Need?

Clothing – When going kayaking you need to keep yourself warm and dry for hours to come, which is why you need special grade clothes, a helmet, and kayaking (water) shoes. Cotton clothing is unsuitable as they can easily get wet, and cold. You need thermal and fleece materials that are slightly water-resistant. The best option is a wet suit that keeps you dry, warm, and comfortable for hours to come.

Training – The only way to stay safe is by taking on training sessions. Good training and basics go a long way and allow you to enjoy your paddling. You can either join a local kayaking club or find a professional offering private lessons. A club offers many opportunities, as you meet like-minded people who may become your paddling friends.

Licenses – There are some inland water and canals that need a special license to paddle, so make sure you have checked with the local office. By getting an idea of where you can go kayaking and how to obtain a license you can finally set out on a growing path.

Safety – All recreational activities come with a chance to injury or worse, which is why you need to follow safety rules at all times. Notice the weather conditions, water temperature, and always prepare for offshore winds. Follow the boating rules in your city, and never drink or take drugs when going boating. These basic safety rules will help you stay alive and enjoy the adventures kayaking brings.

Personal Floatation – There is a chance your kayak may flip over, or you may find yourself in danger. Which is why you need to learn proper paddling, water safety, and first aid. Additionally, start practising in calm water, warm water, shallow water, and then move up to extreme conditions. Make sure, you learn to self-rescue yourself in all these conditions, building your resistance and perfecting your techniques. The best way to ensure safety is by wearing your personal floating device at all times, as it helps keep your head above water.

Food & Water – Ensure you are carrying enough food and water to keep you in top conditions. As it can be easy to feel dehydrated under the sun, with no access to drinkable water. A few extra water bottles will go a long way.

Check Ahead – When planning to paddle its best to check the weather conditions in the area, along with local regulations. One must always have an escape route in mind and tell someone where you are going. Keeping these simple tips and tricks in mind will ensure a fun and safe kayaking experience.

Kayaking Equipment
The kayaking equipment you need varies on the type of trip you are planning. However, there are a few things you need on every kayaking trip; such as your paddle and PFD. This is why it’s essential to plan each kayaking trip in detail, making sure you have all that you need to make your trip enjoyable and safe.

Best Place To Purchase A Kayak
REI Co.op – A promising 1-year return warranty, along with in-store pickup, and return. While they do not offer free shipping, they have the longest return policy, exceptional customer service, and endless choices. However, they do not offer a great selection for whitewater kayaks and come with a huge delivery fee.

Amazon – With a 30 days return policy Amazon offers a large online section, free shipping, and lower prices when compared to others. Even with free shipping, their return process is long, and some sellers send low-quality kayaks.

Cabela’s – Covering a 90 days return policy they offer in-store pick-up, and in-store return. While there is no free shipping, you can enjoy their longer than average return policy and a large section to choose from. Even though they do not offer whitewater kayaks, and the return shipping charges are covered by the buyer.

Local Shop – When looking to purchase a kayak it does not hurt to check out local shops. Here you can see what you are about to purchase, offering you some additional peace of mind. If you are lucky you will find a great shop owner who will help you through the entire process, offering you the best possible options.

Choosing The Best Option

Quality – Before you make any decisions its best to check the review and ensure the kayak is of exceptional quality. Some retailers sell slightly defective kayaks at a lower price. While the lower price tag might look great, it can be a huge safety issue.

Selection – Kayaks are divided into many subcategories, and even come based on sizes. This is why it’s best to double-check if all your requirements from weight capacity, passenger capacity, sit on/sit in, materials, size, and use are met.

Price – Kayaks range in price based on several things, but comparing prices never hurts. Before you settle on a seller it’s best to pick up a few good options and compare their prices based on their specifications. You need something durable and reliable that matches your kayaking needs.

Return Policy – Reading through the fine print can help you save a great deal of money when it comes to returns. Especially when purchasing from an online store, make sure they offer you a small testing period. There should be at least a 30 days return policy system, offering you time to ensure you have purchased the right kayak.

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We are passionate about the outdoors, kayaking in particular. We have built this website to share all of the tips and tricks that we have learned along the way, we hope you have as much fun as we do.


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