What to Look for in a Kayak
Kayaking is as much an outing as it is a low-impact exercise activity. And with so many natural wonders to explore across the United States’ various system of rivers, lakes, inlets, and oceans, it’s no wonder that since 2010, the number of kayakers in the U.S. has been steadily increasing.
But when it comes to finding the perfect kayak, where do you start? Combing through this buying guide for kayaks should help. We’re here to help you choose the right boat (not to mention the perfect playlist for a day spent paddling).
Ready to get rolling (on the river, that is)? Let’s go!
TLDR: When choosing a kayak, think about the type of kayak, the materials it’s built with, how much weight and how many passengers it can accommodate, as well as how expensive it is.
The type of kayak you choose should be heavily influenced by how you’ll be using the kayak. (So if you haven’t thought about that yet, now’s a good time to start as any ;)
Many different types of kayaks exist, including:
- Folding and inflatable kayaks: These kayaks are often, but not always, better suited to calmer waters. They are particularly useful for paddlers who need are looking for a portable and lightweight boat.
- Recreational kayaks: This type of kayak is best suited for lakes, ponds, and other calmer bodies of water with limited wind/current.
- Light touring kayaks: This type of kayak is best for coastal waters, canals, calm rivers and lakes in light wind/current.
- Touring kayaks: True touring kayaks are suitable for more advanced paddlers navigating everything from lakes and bays to open waters in light to moderate wind/current.
- Fishing kayaks: This type of kayak is generally best suited to calmer waters and wind conditions, but includes several fishing-related features like rod holders, anchor systems and storage for tackle and gear.
You can “overbuy” a kayak for your particular type of preferred use case, such as buying a fishing kayak for recreational use. But you don’t want to “underbuy”. This is particularly true if you’re going to be navigating any rough waters or are looking for a kayak fit for ocean use.
The bottom line is you should make sure that in considering the type of kayak you need, you account for how you’ll be using it.
Kayak Construction & Materials
If it’s been a while since you’ve kayaked, you might be surprised by just how advanced today’s vessels are.
Today’s kayaks ain’t your parents’ kayaks. They’re lighter. They’re more portable. And they’re made with a much wider range of materials.
Take our Platte kayak as an example: this inflatable kayak is made of reinforced PVC, meaning it weighs just 24 pounds. Because it’s inflatable, it’s also perfect for kayakers who are short on storage space.
Kayak Weight Capacity & Passenger Capacity
Planning to take the kids or the dog kayaking with you? If your dog has the right temperament and can swim, then you can certainly go kayaking with your dog. The same can be said for children…plus, if you bring some treats along for the ride, you’ll appease both kids and dogs alike (just be sure to separate the dog treats from the kiddo snacks).
That said, you will want to keep the weight capacity and passenger capacity in mind if you’re planning to bring heavy travel gear. This applies to passengers, but it also applies if you’re bringing a bunch of heavy fishing gear. Or if your kayak is designated as the one among your group to carry the beer (or water) cooler.
Kayaks generally come in both single-person and tandem variants so you can carry between one to two people in them. In some sit-inside tandem kayaks, you may be able to fit additional small children or pets in the space between two seats if they are under weight capacity. But generally speaking, kayaks are made to accommodate either one or two people.
This one’s simple enough — do you have a budget for your next kayak purchase? You’ll want to tailor your search by what you can afford if you do.
Kayaks generally cost anywhere from $300 on the low end to $1,000 or even $2,000 on the high end. Consider our Platte and Platte Plus kayaks are equipped to get you on the water quickly and easily and include everything from the boat, to the paddles, seats and pump.
Why Buy a Kokopelli Kayak?
Now that you know what to look for when buying a kayak, why should you consider a Kokopelli kayak?
All of our kayaks are inflatable, lightweight, and made with cutting-edge materials. All of our kayaks are made to withstand a variety of water conditions. And many of our kayaks come with features you won’t find on other inflatable kayaks (or even more traditional kayaks for that matter), including:
- Multi-point adjustable seat
- Two bungee cargo sections
- 20 D-ring attachment points
- Bow and stern splash guards
- Two tracking fins (5in front and 9in back)
- Four convertible drain plugs for use in low-class whitewater and chop
Liking what you see? Shop for a Kokopelli kayak now or use our boat finder tool.