Kayaking can be a fun, exciting and healthy activity, but it isn’t something you want to dive into headfirst without knowing what you’re getting into. If you are new to kayaking and want to get your feet wet then this article will help you navigate the sport and choose the best kayak for beginners.
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- 1 Top 5 Best Kayaks for Beginners (Summary)
- 2 10 Best Beginner Kayaks in 2020 – Reviews and Comparison
- 2.1 1. Wilderness Systems Tarpon
- 2.2 2. Sevylor Quikpak K-1
- 2.3 3. Coleman Colorado
- 2.4 4. Lifetime
- 2.5 5. PERCEPTION PESCADOR PRO
- 2.6 6. SUN DOLPHIN EXCURSION 10
- 2.7 7. SEA EAGLE 370
- 2.8 8. Intex Challenger k1
- 2.9 9. SUN DOLPHIN ARUBA 10
- 2.10 10. Emotion
- 3 What Is a Kayak for Beginners
- 4 Benefits of Kayaks for Beginners
- 5 Pros and Cons of Using a Kayak for Beginners
- 6 Materials of Kayaks for Beginners
- 7 Types of Kayaks for Beginners
- 8 How to Choose the Best Kayak for Beginners
- 8.1 Age
- 8.2 Body of Water
- 8.3 Sit in or Sit on
- 8.4 Number of People
- 8.5 Turning vs Tracking
- 8.6 Stability
- 8.7 Material
- 8.8 Purpose of Kayak
- 8.9 Rigging
- 8.10 Hatches
- 8.11 Rudders & Skegs
- 8.12 Weight
- 8.13 Cost
- 8.14 Length
- 8.15 Width and Depth
- 8.16 Portability and Storage
- 8.17 Kayak Hulls
- 8.18 Kayak Features
- 8.19 Weight Capacity
- 8.20 Size
- 8.21 Budget
- 8.22 Brand
- 9 Sit on Top vs Sit Inside Kayaks
- 10 Best Kayak for Beginners Brands
- 11 How to Kayak as a Beginner
- 12 How to Maintain Your Kayak for Beginners
- 13 Does More Spending Mean More Quality
- 14 Do’s and Don’ts to Do With a Kayak for Beginners
- 15 Essential Gear to Bring When Kayaking
- 16 FAQ About Kayaks for Beginners
- 16.1 Are the paddles that come with my kayak any good?
- 16.2 Am I required to wear a life jacket?
- 16.3 What’s the best way to transport my kayak?
- 16.4 What are those little black screws-in storage holes for?
- 16.5 What is the best type of kayak for a beginner?
- 16.6 Which kayak is most stable?
- 16.7 Do kayaks flip easily?
- 16.8 Do you prefer to sit on top or traditional kayak hulls?
- 16.9 What should I wear when kayaking?
- 16.10 What equipment should I bring when kayaking for the first time?
Top 5 Best Kayaks for Beginners (Summary)
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For more detailed and complete product reviews on benefits and features, keep reading.
A kayak is basically a miniaturized boat, a little watercraft that is usually driven through a two-flap paddle. The conventional design of kayak is to have it as a water bus with a roofed deck and some cockpits, for the paddlers.
Occasionally, the cockpit can be protected by a spray deck that stops water from ocean waves from filling the kayak and drifting it forth and back.
A few contemporary kayak boats have some features which differ markedly from the conventional pattern, yet they are referred to as kayak. It is equally possible to sail kayaks and to propel it using miniaturized electric motors as well as outboard gas engines.
As a starter, you might not know so much about fielding the world’s best recreational kayak in the market. Maybe you are just beginning, in which case, here are some features to look out for before dashing to the market.
We are going to cover the factors that you need to consider when choosing your first kayak as well as where to buy them. Then, we will discuss the best beginner kayaks with the specifications, benefits and drawbacks of each option.
10 Best Beginner Kayaks in 2020 – Reviews and Comparison
The Tarpon 100 is 10 feet long and 30.5 inches wide. It weighs approximately 55 pounds, and this one-seat, sit-in kayak is made of high-density, hard polyethylene plastic. It has a weight capacity of 325 pounds and it has a molded-in storage well in the stern that comes with a bungee cord.
There are also 8” storage hatches in the bow and in the midship area. This kayak utilizes the Phase 3 Air Pro seat and the Keepers XL foot brace system. This kayak has carry handles on the sides and at each end.
The price point of the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 is better that expected for a kayak of this quality. The molded-in tank well in the stern is generously large and more than enough space to carry a bag of dry goods or even a cooler.
The cup holder and storage pockets are easily accessible, and this kayak is a triple threat of tracking, turning, and speed. And even though this model is 55 pounds it’s easy to carry thanks to the cushioned carry handles. This kayak also has self-bailing scupper holes and gear storage pockets.
At 55 pounds this kayak is heavier than most one-person kayaks. The two Orbix storage containers are great, but they only fit items smaller than eight inches.
One other small annoyance is that although this kayak has scupper holes it does not have a drainage hole in the seat. This means that any water that collects in the seat will need to be dumped out or dried.
This inflatable, one-person sit-on kayak is approximately nine feet long and three feet wide. It can support up to 400 pounds and uses double-lock valves. It has carry handles, cup holders and secure storage areas.
The kayak is comprised of 21-gauge PVC and the bottom is reinforced. The detachable seat has a backrest and there are multiple foot pedals to accommodate kayakers of different heights.
This kayak is super mobile, and I love how the carry bag also functions as the seat. It only takes five minutes to set the kayak up and get it into the water, and the AirTight system prevents leaks. The hand pump is easy to use, and the 400-pound weight limit is impressive, to say the least.
To top it all off, the Quikpak K1 by Sevylor is one of the most affordable inflatable kayaks for beginners that is available to buy online today.
This is definitely a recreational kayak for beginners and not something that you’d want to hit the rapids with. The kayak is covered by a warranty but that warranty is only a three-month limited warranty, which is somewhat disappointing. You also need to check for any damage to the kayak when you receive it, just to make sure there was no damage during shipping.
This two-person inflatable kayak has multiple air chambers and has a one-year limited warranty. It comes with a carry bag and a pressure gauge, and its inflated dimensions are 10’ x 9’ x 3’3”.
It can hold up to 470 pounds and has adjustable seats. This sit-on kayak includes mesh storage pockets and paddle holders, and it uses a Boston value for inflation/deflation.
This kayak is trolling motor-compatible and it also has fishing rod holders included. It is composed of 18-gauge PVC plastic and features a 1000D tarpaulin bottom as well as 840D nylon.
The addition of multiple air chambers protects your kayak from punctures. The bottom of this kayak is more solid than rock and the PVC is incredibly high-quality and sturdy.
It’s incredibly easy to inflate and deflate, and it includes a pressure gauge that you can use to monitor air pressure during inflation. This model has more than enough safe to fit two people comfortably, and the kayak is lined with multiple mesh storage pockets.
The downside of inflatable kayaks is that when something like the seat gets work out you can’t simply buy a replacement. Fortunately this is a very affordable kayak for beginners, and if you take care of the kayak appropriately you may never need a replacement. Another drawback is that this kayak doesn’t have a reliable waterproof storage unit, so you’ll probably want to avoid any heavy rapids or fast-moving water.
If you are looking for a safe kayak that does not only guarantee your safety but also assist you in tracking performance, Lifetime Kayak is your best option.
Designed with safety in mind, you’ll need minimal effort to steer it through water and relish the watercourse thanks to its double-sided paddle. Its construction is made of a UV stabilized, durable, high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which is a quality material that guarantees the kayak will neither fade nor crack on sun exposure.
This hard-shell kayak is lightweight of about 18 lbs with molded finger handles on both sides to ease its transportation. It features a reversed and sloppy back end to meet the waterline and is patented with a swim-up deck that allows you to easily re-enter it if you happen to fall in the water by accident.
Another advantage is its wide stance, forming a stable paddling platform to keep you safe on the water. Added to its simple and friendly features is its short length and lightweight, allowing you to maneuver and steer easily.
- Ergonomic cockpit design for easy entry and exit
- Comes with a double-sided paddle
- Available in 5 colors
- Small maximum weight capacity of 130 lbs
Perception Pescador Pro is a durable, hand-assembled and molded, 12 foot long sit-on-top kayak equipped to track straight in varying conditions. Durability, stability, speed and many more are features that you’ll love about this product.
Stylishly built into one-piece of very dense leak-proof polyethylene, this item offers high resistance to impact and abrasion. It also offers you extra features that are not usually present in normal recreational kayaks such as battery zone and wires plus a center console area for attaching your electronics like GPS and fishfinder.
An added advantage is its adjustable and removable padded seat suitable for a camp chair. The seat has a superior cushioning mesh and a mesh backrest and it’s adjustable to upright and reclines position to keep you relaxed. Its adjustable foot braces ease your experience as it allows you to maintain a convenient paddling posture.
It is very comfortable and has very large storage thanks to its sit-on-top design. It has a molded carry handles on either side, plus front and rear carry handle for transporting and security.
- Comfortable and adjustable seat with superior cushioning
- Spacious cargo deck for keeping larger items
- Color and graphics are wear-proof
- Not enough dry storage space
Considered as one of the best sit-in kayaks for beginners, Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 is a great option for a beginner fisherman who does not require a great deal of gear and who cherishes stability over speed. Available in two colors, olive green and sand, it remains unnoticeable in murky waters.
The vessel is made from strong Fortiflex material, high-density polyethylene that is not only durable but also flexible and UV-sterilized. Its portability and light weight will help keep you comfortable, while storage space and some useful storage hatch inside the cockpit serve to keep some of your gears.
It comes with three-rod holders to help you avoid falling out, two flush mount rod holders positioned directly behind the seat and one swivel rod holder at arm’s length in front of the seat for instant reach and to maximize your hunt by casting multiple lines at once.
The product comes with a cushioned backrest to support your back and induce additional comfortability. It’s also equipped with additional features such as a beverage holder and an adjustable footrest to brace your feet.
- Good stability due to width
- Very portable and light in weight
- Adjustable foot braces make it suitable for a wide range of users
- Seat bottom has no cushion
Sea Eagle 370 offers more than enough space to accommodate three people or 650 lbs. Carved out of high frequency welded polykylar vinyl of 38 MIL tough (K80 PPVC), it’s resistant to both saltwater and the sun.
The product has a long lifetime because the hull is designed to be inflated as three separate chambers (the port, the floor and the starboard walls).
The floor is an integral 5 tube l-beam, which improves your kayak tracking, so you can paddle long distances with little effort. It has a more rigid structure that’ll enhance your paddling performance and give you more stability on the water.
It has a one way deluxe open and close drain-valve, which gives simplicity and improvement over the traditional pipe valve found in other kayaks. Also, it has molded O-rings with a large opening inner diaphragm for faster inflation and deflation in as little as eight minutes.
- Huge capacity for storing gears due to its front and rear straps
- Comes with paddles that are foldable and can be easily stored
- Preference configurations available to suit an individual’s needs
- Unstable floor which makes standing upright difficult
Intex Challenger is the most affordable kayak you will ever get. Despite its affordable price, it brings you outstanding stability. Its exceptional features and astonishing performance give you a perfect product if you’re a beginner in kayaking.
The item is a one-man, sit-in inflatable kayak designed for amateurs and occasional kayakers. Ut is made from strong and rugged vinyl material for rigidity and durability. The cockpit comes in a streamlined design with an inflatable seat and backrest, built to give you comfort and stability.
You will be impressed with the storage space of the craft and a wide space at the rear big enough to keep your gears. It also features a front bungee cord space useful for carrying small items and an additional cargo net area at the front as extra storage to hold other stuff you might need quick access to.
For inflation, you need about 10-15 minutes, deflation is barely 3 minutes and you are ready to go. The carry bag is strong and shaped like a large briefcase to ease your carriage and storage, yet also give protection to the deflated kayak. A high output hand pump, repair patch kit, footrest and carrying bag are all you get in one purchase.
- Comes with a collapsible double-sided paddle
- Quick to inflate and deflate
- Comes with a paddle of awkward quality that requires quick replacement
Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 Kayak is known for its quality and build, which is undeniably one of the better ones in the market. It’s diligently engineered, with no stitches and joined body with no glued parts.
Built with dedication, this item is made to be durable and tough with UV-stabilized polyethylene of high density from Fortiflex to last for many years to come. It features a large storage compartment, spacious enough to store all your gear. The adjustable foot brace and protective thigh pad will give you extra comfort, as well.
The kayak’s dynamic structure makes it considerably agile. It has a large cockpit with legroom that gives you free movement while making your mounting and dismounting extremely simple and hassle-free.
Your height should not be a concern as this great kayak features an adjustable seat with a backrest to meet all heights, so you can enjoy paddling while in a relaxed position. It also has a paddle holder and two carrying handles attached at the front and back for easy transportation.
- Reliable and durable material
- Adjustable seat and footrest
- Can handle tight water due to its dynamic structure
- Does not come with a paddle
Emotion Kayak is available in orange and light designs. The weight limit on this model is 275 lbs, which means that it will fit most adults.
The product also guarantees that someone as tall as 6’4” will fit in without any problem.
The comfort is enhanced due to the adjustability of this kayak. The seat back and seat pad are both adjustable to accommodate any user.
When you’re taking this kayak on the go, you can use the front and back handles for easy movement and take advantage of front and rear shock cord straps. An overhaul hatch also adds storage below the deck when needed.
- Max weight up to 275 lbs
Adjustable seat cushion and back
- Straps and hatches help with transport and storage
- Better suited for easy outings
What Is a Kayak for Beginners
A major quality that characterize the best kayaks for beginners is how stable it is. As much as it is important that you understand that you are sitting on water, how steady the kayak is while on motion is also an important thing.
Looking for the precise balance to propel and navigate around in open water will not be an instant thing. Begin by using a wider and bigger kayak that will give you the confidence that is required to proceed to bigger rafts.
Getting a lightweight kayak will make it easier, most importantly for newbies, as you might not really need to exert much muscle trying to paddle very hard to get across the water.
Prior to the movement, it is essential to understand that, just as the case is with other water sports where you have to get into open water, it is quite important to take along a safety life jacket along with you anytime you are kayaking.
Premium tandem kayaks are those kayaks that feature a hard, usually plastic material. They are somehow more difficult to move as they can’t be folded or forced into your vehicle’s boot. Never forget that you will need to take these to the extreme end of the water.
The sturdy hard material build enables you to dart them up and down in and out of water. It is not necessary that you are extremely careful with docking or entering the kayak because the material is resilient and very rugged. Again, they give you incredible stability by featuring a wide base and tall sidewalls.
You will most likely find these conventional kayaks. A tough shell will give you assurance of safety, especially if you have dogs or you are concerned about pumping your boat each time you wish to make use of it.
A number of people would subscribe to the fact that recreational kayaks make for the best option for beginners in kayaking. Recreational kayaks are very versatile and will not restrict the beginners to a particular condition.
For instance, fishing kayaks have been built to be broader and come with greater stability and reduced speed. Having said this, a touring kayak will be the best for speed, however, it might not be the best for fishing.
A recreational kayak is capable of keeping you busy and enjoying yourself throughout the weekend trips or a short voyage to the lake after a hectic day. You will be able to learn and enhance your experience and confidence while in water, yet it is durable and creates fun simultaneously.
Benefits of Kayaks for Beginners
The clear advantages of kayaks for beginners are health-centered. It is a low-effect sport that features a whole lot of other advantages too, which range from optimizing your social lifestyle to aiding better functioning of the brain.
Weight loss ranks as one of the most important benefits of kayaking. About 400 calories of energy are burnt each hour when cruising with the kayaks for beginners at some 5mph. The implication of this is that on a typical afternoon, up to 1,600 calories of energy can be burnt.
This rate of burning calories is low when compared to other rigorous types of exercise, say skiing and diving.
Nevertheless, kayaks for beginners are usually sailed for a long time. Only a few people do other exercises for long hours but most kayakers do outings which can span long hours. You can even mount a fish finder on your kayak to ease your voyage and outing experience.
Nothing beats going on an outdoor voyage when it comes to reflecting on life issues. Sailing across the water driving by your own might, watching nature swim across you seems to be the most potent solution to a very strenuous job or other life’s challenges.
Using the best kayaks for beginners, although it is truly tasking, is a calming and fun-filled activity. If you engage in it for just once in one week, you will see your stress level drop drastically.
Clear and Happy Mind
Aside from relieving stress, another benefit of kayaks for beginners is that it aids your mental health. Engaging in aerobic exercises, such as kayaking, hiking and cycling boosts some chemicals into the brain. Serotonin is largely the moderator of your mood and reactions.
It is equally a nice way to rid your mind of all negative ideas. Anytime you are in a kayak with paddles, your challenges will become reduced to what they really are – unnecessary to your real happiness and well-being.
Owing to the fact that kayaks for beginners are not difficult to learn and need no special body fitness before you start to use them, kayaking is a very good opportunity to connect with new friends.
For instance, during vacation, it is not impossible to engage in a group kayak for beginners trip where you can meet beginners like yourself.
Because social gatherings improve lifestyle, kayaks for beginners subtly help in securing this as well.
Kayaking is a good aerobic exercise that greatly improves your heart’s health. The heart needs constant exercise because it is the only muscle in the body that works non-stop. It needs exercise. Offering periodic exercise will keep improving it.
The time-to-time paddling associated with kayaking optimizes the heartbeat, therefore, your heart health will be enhanced too.
Pros and Cons of Using a Kayak for Beginners
- Can be powered using a battery for trolling motor.
- It is a means of active outdoor sports.
- Can prevent heart diseases.
- Helps in uniting friends and strengthening social bonds.
- Relieve stressful conditions.
- Kayaking helps overweight people to shed some calories off.
- Best kayak with paddles for beginners can capsize if not properly padded.
- It is a sport whose equipment is expensive and it is risky to undertake.
- Can splash water on your body and get you wet.
- You are exposed to water filling up the kayak from recurring splashes of water due to ocean waves.
Materials of Kayaks for Beginners
The material from which your kayak is made will affect almost every part of your kayaking session.
The material is important because of the heaviness of the fabric, the cost of procuring it and its manner of riding in water. As regards kayaks for beginners, the two most common types are the polythene and Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene, (ABS) plastic.
Nevertheless, it is possible to get some sophisticated kayaks produced using wood or composite fibers too. These materials are also used in making a rod for fly fishing.
This is usually the usual option of beginner kayaks. Polyethylene is usually durable, less susceptible to abrasions and does not deteriorate fast.
Kayaks made from it are usually the most common types you will see. Nevertheless, they can rupture when deflated, for instance, when they get into a pointed rock.
They also make for the most-heavy alternative and are prone to ultraviolet radiation damage when kept in the sun, as such it is best to keep them under a shade.
Also known as the Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene, ABS plastic ranks as another typical construction material used in kayaks for beginners.
It is somehow lightweight and gives a mechanical advantage when juxtaposed alongside poly boats.
ABS plastics is generally less vulnerable to UV ray damage as opposed to polythene, although, it is still logical to keep them under shade to elongate their lifespan.
Types of Kayaks for Beginners
Inflatable kayaks are the perfect choice for starters as they are durable, quite cheap and simple to transport. They make a good choice for beginners because they are rather versatile and can be adapted to several environments.
Additionally, they do not need different vessels for sea and flatwater. Immediately you’re starting out, inflatable kayak makes the perfect option for you.
You can deflate it and pack it into your car trunk or, at times, put it in a backpack, such that it can be taken anywhere you wish.
As they are lightweight, beginners in kayaking can find them simple to manipulate. Again, they are rather easy to keep as they usually need drying before storing them away and peradventure they got punctured, they can easily be patched up using a puncture kit.
These types of kayaks are made of diverse materials. The most-efficient hard shell materials for starters are the ones made from plastics because of their sturdiness and resilience.
They are equally the least expensive of all hard shell kayaks. Materials like fiberglass and carbon blends are quite costly but such types of kayaks are used by heavy-duty kayakers as they are very lightweight.
While it is true that fiberglass and carbon blend kayaks are quite durable, they are rather prone to damage while ferrying it and fixing it can be costly in case of any damages. As a newbie in kayaking, it is not very likely that one would ever get to need a top-quality kayak such as the composite vessel.
This type of kayak happens to be the most conventional of all types. It sports a roofed cockpit where the kayaker can sit with his lower limbs enclosed. It will equally enable the lower limbs to remain dry and, if the climate is cold, to remain warm.
Having to put your lower body in a vessel might look like restrictions to newbie kayakers, as such, this might not be the most-ideal to practice with. Nevertheless, the stability is there and you will need to know several techniques so you can quickly escape in case of capsizing.
Sit-inside kayaks are used in more rigorous sports, like the whitewater kayaking. A spray skirt can be coupled to the rim of the cockpit to stop water from filling the craft, such that you can keep paddling without having to drain the premium tandem kayak.
Sit-in kayak might pose some challenges when trying to enter it if it should capsize as you will usually discover that water has filled the cockpit. Usually, you will have to manually force the water out while still moving or row it to a shore to bail out the water with more ease.
Sit-on-top kayaks are very common among beginners as they are relatively simple to use. As opposed to their sit-in counterparts, the seat is located at the head of the deck such that moving your lower body is not very limited.
This equally implies that you might be able to get inside and outside easily, making them most-suitable for recreation. Should the weather is warm, you can jump outside to swim and then hop inside when you are finished.
As a result of the sit-on-top fabrication, you might become wet while paddling it. Nothing protects you against the weather or splash when you are rocking the sit-on-top, so, they are usually used in places with warm climates.
Although you can become an expert angler with an inflatable kayak, sit-on-top kayaks do not require that you manually do the bailout, as they usually come with a perforation in the deck where the water splashes into the vessel can be easily drained away. They are covered with a scupper plug.
Recreational kayaks are made simply for one purpose, and that’s recreation. Usually, stability is a major consideration, and they are very simple to use for beginners. They are usually wider than the expert vessels and this offers stability to them.
Nevertheless, this also implies that they will not be as much hydrodynamic, however, speed isn’t the primary consideration when one is just learning. One will have the opportunity to learn paddle strokes and skills, even if they aren’t the best watercraft.
Recreational kayaks are usually not very costly, but they might not be lightweight and bulkiness is a problem while transporting them on water. You can even mount a fishfinder on your kayak.
Recreational kayak have a whole range of lengths and can be gotten both in the very short length for children. They are easier to be controlled by the kids and they are more lightweight than the adult-sized types. Most of them are designed for kids so they can ferry themselves.
Tandem kayak is patterned after a tandem bicycle which sports two seats, such that two people can paddle at the same time and combine experiences.
These watercraft are ideal for beginners just as the single kayaks as there are diverse designs available. It is possible to have wide and stable recreational kayak with paddles which are two and an inflatable tandem types.
A tandem design kayak usually sports greater storage space for your belongings and even additional space for a third kayaker, maybe a dog or a kid. The implication of this is that the watercraft is bigger and heavier, such that transporting them can be difficult.
Nevertheless, a tandem is easier to move about for two people than it is to transport a single kayak while you are riding it alone.
While using a tandem, the two of you can split the pudding, such that sailing over the water is quite easy. You will only need to ensure that your two are paddling the kayak with paddles synchronously at an equal pace.
Those who made fishing kayaks considered the interests of the angler’s, such that they are customized to contain additional cargo.Besides, they usually have a convenient seat which can be adjusted to suit your taste, giving you the ability to select the particular seat you want.
Fishing kayaks can be made rigged from the factory or not rigged. The rigged ones have seats fixed already from the factory.
If otherwise, you will need to select the seat you want and set it up by themselves. This will be nice if you choose to be taking so much time in the kayak and will need a very convenient seat.
Kayaks made for fishing might as well be heavier than the recreational ones and they are usually bigger and more large to contain the additional storage as well as space on the deck. The implication of this can be that they are more difficult to carry about, most especially when you are unaided.
This type of kayaks can run on battery for trolling motor. They are usually employed when it comes to rivers and rapids.
They are designed for speed and ease of handling, which explains why they are designed to be short and lean. They could be as long as nine feet and feature circular hulls. As a result of their shape, they can be easily manipulated, especially when it comes to rapids and cataracts with great currents.
Touring kayaks are usually all-purpose designed watercrafts which are good for open trips while on long voyages.
More often than not, they are designed for high speed, increased efficiency, and long sojourns. These kinds of boats usually come with extra spaces for your camping gears and they are designed to bear the challenges of paddling in special conditions like sea kayaking.
The primary concern with sea kayak is on stability and a little about speed. Stability is the primary feature here as sea kayakers are bound to always be on the sea.
As such, sea kayaks are made to last long and wider to very stable while in water. They can have inflatable stand up paddle with attachments as well as flat hulls to make sure that the boat will not capsize.
Surf kayaks, just as the name sounds, look like a type of surfboard, only that they are kayaks. They are made primarily for meandering through water and getting waves. This explains why they do feature highly-strong edges as well as flat hulls to make it easy to ride, as the case is with surfboards.
How to Choose the Best Kayak for Beginners
You will want to have a clear idea of your kayaking goals before choosing the best kayak for you. What factors do you need to consider when buying a kayak? Compare and contrast kayaks using the following 13 factors:
How old are you (or the person for whom you are purchasing the kayak)? A child or teenager won’t be able to use the same kind of kayak as a fully grown adult, for multiple reasons.
Body of Water
What type of conditions do you expect to encounter when kayaking? Are you planning on kayaking in a calm pond or lake, or do you plan on hitting the open ocean or a fast-moving river?
Sit in or Sit on
Kayaks come in two basic styles. Some kayaks allow you to sit inside the hull and you’ll be seated in a lower position. Other kayaks’ seats are designed so that the user sits more or less on top of the kayak. You can store more gear in a “sit-in” kayak and you’ll stay drier. You will also have greater control over a “sit-in” kayak due to the lower center of gravity.
“Sit on” kayaks will allow you to get more sun and are more suitable for fishing. To put it simply, “sit-in” kayaks are more useful when kayaking is the main activity in which you plan to engage, while “sit on” kayaks tend to be used by kayakers who are taking a more relaxed approach to the water.
Number of People
How many people are going to be using the kayak at once? If you are a lone wolf then a single-seat kayak should work just fine, but if you have a friend, spouse, children, etc. who may be joining you in the kayak then a multi-seat kayak would probably be more appropriate.
Turning vs Tracking
Tracking refers to how adept a kayak is at staying in a straight path. As a general rule, kayaks that track well don’t turn as well, and vice versa. Knowing the routes you plan to take while in the kayak will help you choose the best module for you.
Two forms of stability exist when considering kayaks. Primary stability refers to how stable a kayak is when sitting still or engaging in low motion activities, as well as when you are entering or exiting the craft.
Secondary stability is the stability of the kayak when you are encountering high motion activities such as speed kayaking and white water kayaking. As is the case with turning and tracking, kayaks with high levels of primary stability are often not great when it comes to secondary stability, and vice versa.
There are seven main materials from which kayaks can be made. They are hard plastic, inflatable plastic, carbon fiber, Kevlar, fiberglass, wood, and fabric with a frame. The vast majority of kayaks are composed of hard plastic or fiberglass.
Plastic is heavy but resistant to damage. Fiberglass is lighter but more expensive. Kevlar and carbon fiber are even lighter but are also more expensive. Fabric/frame kayaks are light and collapsible but they are also expensive.
Wooden kayaks are extremely rare these days due to their weight and their high manufacturing costs, and inflatable kayaks are better suited for rapid water conditions because they do not track very well, thus allowing the water to direct you.
Purpose of Kayak
Are you looking to get wet and wild in some Stage 4 rapids, or do you want to relax on the lake while doing some fishing? Are you looking for a kayak so you can do some bird watching, or are you planning on taking a leisurely ride down a deep, slow-moving river? Knowing exactly how the kayak will be used is vital when selecting a kayak for beginners.
Many kayaks offer accessory rigging that can be useful in certain conditions. Deck netting is useful for storing small items, for example, while safety lines can come in handy for kayaks used in open waters. A shock cord can be used for keeping important items close at hand, and paddle float rescues are a smart investment just in case you encounter volatile waters.
Hatches are designed for storing items that you can’t afford to get wet due to potential water damage (i.e. cell phones, food, clothing, etc.). While hatches are ideally waterproof it’s important to note that a roll or rough conditions could subject your items to moisture, and depending on the conditions some hatch covers can be compromised.
Rudders & Skegs
Rudders and skegs can help you steer your kayak by means of a foot pedal. If you are using a log kayak or expect to be in open waters then rudders and skegs are almost necessities, but kayaks used for more casual purposes may not need such equipment. At the end of the day it’s vital to know how to control and steer your kayak without rudders or skegs because such additions can become damaged quite easily.
Most of us will eventually (if not regularly) have to carry and/or store our kayaks, so weight is a big issue. Even if you have a kayak cart it’s probably a good idea to know your limits when it comes to weight, especially when it is time to place your kayak in the water and when you’re removing it from the water.
The cost of a kayak is a huge issue for many people, especially those who are new kayakers. The price range of kayaks is massive, with cheap kayaks costing less than $100 and advanced kayaks costing more than $3,000. Consider your budget as well as your kayaking needs when shopping for kayaks online or at retail stores.
When it comes to choosing kayak length, it is advisable you go for one with long length because you’ll grow into them over time.
Beginners will like a rather shorter kayak as of might be very easy to manipulate while on war. Understanding that your kayak can easily navigate tortuous routes and you can easily negotiate the curves on water.
As such, the best kayaks with rod for fly fishing are usually some 6.5 feet to more than 13 feet.
Width and Depth
Just as earlier mentioned, the best kayaks for beginners must come with a specific width and depth.
The precision in width and depth will offer the kayak more stability while in water. A bigger boat will allow you to navigate about without the impression of having to tip and fall off the cliff.
Although if a boat is too wide, it will be quite slow in water and can require a great deal of energy to paddle it.
You certainly will also desire a boat that sits in the deep waters. Having a very low center of gravity equally can make a boat to be very stable.
The principle is just as it is in the case of a highly-loaded car with a higher center of gravity when negotiating sharp bends. When you have the duo of a low center of gravity with very deep kayak, what you have is an ideal entry-point kayak.
Portability and Storage
If you read reviews of durable fishing kayaks very well, you should know that whatever the structure of kayak you wish to select, it is important that you ensure that it is not heavy and it can be folded.
An inflatable kayak satisfies these two conditions and yet maintains the strength and resilience in meandering through waves as a very strong model.
This makes it the preserve of most newbie kayakers. This is besides the fact that it is very much cheaper than other kayak types and not difficult to carry about.
The commonest of SOT kayaks are the flat hulls ones. They come with incredible stability when they are set flat on the water, should they be tipped along the edge, they can flip over.
Pontoon hull boats are an upgrade and come with greater stability than the flat hulls and they are the perfect choice for kayak anglers. It is a type of sit-on-top kayak.
Rounded and V hulls are quite easier to manipulate and way faster relative to the flat and pontoon hull kayaks, nevertheless, they are quite not stable when you’re trying to sit on them.
Whichever hull you select for your kayak will determine how it works. Reflect on the usage of your kayak and eventually, you have a watercraft that meet your needs. A wrong hull shape might tip over your boat.
The spray skirt is an important feature of most kayaks, especially the whitewater and touring kayaks. It can be found on the world’s best recreational kayaks too and it stops water splashes from getting into your kayak, leaving you warm and secure while rowing.
Rocker is another important thing to look at in a kayak. The rocker determines the shape of the arc which the front of the kayak will have.
A skeg is a fin-like attachment to the kayak and it helps in maintaining stability such that the kayak can be kept in a straight line.
Just as we have it in a skeg, rudder guides and regulates the movement of the kayak.
Basically, this refers to the volume of loads the boat can contain. The larger the capacity of the kayak, the more adapted it is to containing loads such as kayak gears. The long kayaking session is equally favored by kayaks with the high weight capacity.
The general size of the kayak is yet another important feature to mind. Long premium tandem kayak has been associated with swiftness and efficiency in usage. However, as it gets wider, it becomes more stable.
As such, the most ideal kayaks for beginners are probably the wider ones because they may not have the experience of maneuvering slender and swifter ones yet. Length and size increase the stability generally.
Affordability in kayaks is rather relative. However, in the kayak market today, you can get ones within the range of $150 to $3000. The best kayak for beginners might be reasonably expected to range from $150 to $1000.
Nothing bears choosing a reliable brand when it comes to getting the best kayak for beginners. Probably because you’re still new in the kayaks business, never get to rely too much on unknown or latest brands. It is highly recommended that you do a thorough search.
Our advice, since you’re new to kayaking, is to speak with friends that are avid kayakers. They can advise you on where they shop for kayaks and kayaking accessories, and if you tell them a little bit about your plans then they can likely point you in the right direction.
Sit on Top vs Sit Inside Kayaks
Those who understand that you can become an expert angler with an inflatable kayak usually prefer to have a sit-on-top kayak because their lower body part will be left unencumbered. Sit inside kayaks can give an impression of claustrophobia and will not give room for freedom as would a sit-on-top.
Again, the sit-on-top will as well offer you greater storage on the deck. Because it has no closed-off section, you’ll have several flat storage spaces to safe-keep your dry bags and scuba gears.
Pros and Cons of Sit-on-Top Kayaks
- It is quite easy to use for newbies in the kayaking world.
- It is easy to get in and alight off it
- It is spacious and comfortable to stay in while journeying
- It has “scupper holes” which makes it easily adapted to draining water splashed into the boat out
- Sit-in kayaks are not the best for cold waters or weather conditions
- It is very likely that water splash on your body and drips on your skin while paddling
Pros and Cons of Sit-In Kayaks
- It has roofing which protects your trunk and feet from wind and water splash on your lower limb, giving you a better cruising experience.
- It gives a lower profile, such that you can paddle with much ease as a result of the reduced wind resistance. Again, sit-in kayaks offers a very low center of gravity and an inflatable stand up paddle with attachments such that it is much more stable than the sit-on-top kayaks.
- With a sit-in kayak, getting inside and alighting is quite challenging, such that if you aren’t very flexible, you might find it very difficult to do
- It isn’t self-bailing, such that water can fill up the kayak from consistent drips and it will be necessary to drain it.
Best Kayak for Beginners Brands
Ocean Kayak makes one of the best types of kayaks you can find in the market today. The brand has a name in the world of water sports. Ocean kayaks make a great choice for beginners who are just coming to the kayaking industry.
Additionally, Ocean Kayak vessels allow for easy conversion and extra storage space by removing some seats and gain extra space on the deck. It is lightweight and has a high weight-bearing capacity.
Old Town Canoes & Kayaks
Old canoes make some of the best-structured recreational kayaks you can come across. The company has done a lot of extensive findings to come up with each one of its vessels. The hull and cockpit structure tells it all.
You can mount a fish finder on your kayak if you have the old cargo kayaks. Besides, it is made more large and long to aid beginners learning.
They offer the advantages of sit-in kayak in a sit-out recreational kayak. They have storage space and an attachment point for dry bags.
Wilderness Systems is a kayak brand made to be so versatile that it can work fine in almost any paddling conditions. They have this custom- multi-chine hull which helps in precise tracking and ensures that the vessel is quite stable. The response and speed levels are also incredibly dynamic such that racing, surfing, and paddling can be conveniently done on it. It is a USA product with a full guarantee of standard.
Perception Kayaks stand out because of their ability to work without needing any hardware, cutting or drilling anything at all.
Just some adjustments on the seatback to thrust backward or forward to be comfortable. It leaves you drier than other vessels with its sleek, swift and smooth hull which prevents water splash into the cockpit.
Perception kayak with paddles is equally very stable. It does not threaten to topple over or capsize while standing on it.
That incredible performance is across the board, working well in all paddling conditions, be it a fast-flowing river or a gentle-flow of a stream.
How to Kayak as a Beginner
Step 1 – Convey your kayak to the shore
Look for a friend to assist you in conveying your kayak to the shore.
Step 2 – Put your kayak in the water
Set your kayak down in the water in a vertical form, perpendicular to the line of the shore.
Step 3 – Place paddle blades where needed
Place one of your paddle blades beneath the deck line just ahead of the cockpit.
Step 4 – Straddle the cockpit
Stand on the kayak and straddle the cockpit.
Step 5 – Sit inside the kayak
Hold the cockpit and sit the cockpit seat, then raise your legs and let your feet inside the cockpit.
Step 6 – Sit firmly
Firmly sit on the seat and rest your feet conveniently on the footpegs.
Step 7 – Take your paddle
Take hold of your paddle and use it to navigate your kayak against waves and kayak wakes. You can couple the spray skirt if you have any.
How to Maintain Your Kayak for Beginners
Step 1 – Check for damage
Check the hull for damage.
Step 2 – Fill the emergency gear
Change old parts and accessories and install new ones.
Step 3 – Keep the cockpit clean
Make use of a kayak cart. Keep the cockpit clean, screened against sunlight rats and covered all times.
Step 4 – Dry the kayak
Dry the kayak and check the battery for trolling motor to ensure that it’s always charged.
Does More Spending Mean More Quality
In simple terms, spending more on kayak purchase does not necessarily translate to getting more quality.
Just as the case is with every other capital expenditure, there is always the need to make serious research work on which kayak will perfectly suit your purpose and what features you want in the particular brand you are going for If a quality kayak will be gotten.
Do’s and Don’ts to Do With a Kayak for Beginners
- Always come to the waters with a paddling friend
- Reach a “togetherness pact” with that friend of yours
- Understand your distance limits
- Conduct a simple hazard research
- Understand the temperature of the water
- Never forget to check the temperature especially if your kayak has an inflatable stand up paddle with attachments
- Never use a spray skirt attachment anyhow
- Don’t forget to sound a distress whistle anytime necessary
Essential Gear to Bring When Kayaking
Personal Flotation Device
The very first thing you want to come along with while kayaking is your personal floatation device. It keeps you afloat in case of capsizing. It maintains the head high up above the waters to prevent you from drowning. It is perhaps the most essential thing to come along with while kayaking.
Floatation bags are miniaturized bags that help in stopping water from filling the kayak in case it capsized. They also help in ensuring that the boat is maintained afloat for a while until the boat has been safely paddled to the river bank. Rod for fly fishing is also a thing to take along while kayaking.
A helmet is very essential anytime you want to go on kayaking. Peradventure you got dislodged from your kayak, the helmet can shield your head against a hard rock or some stony water.
The spray skirt is very vital especially when you plan to kayak in a very stormy atmosphere and rugged uneven water. It stops water from filling the kayak and causing it to sink.
First Aid Kit
It is equally necessary that you come along with your first aid box when you are trying to kayak. Such first aid must contain every necessary equipment to attend to an accident patient. It should be able to administer aid before getting to the closest medical facility.
FAQ About Kayaks for Beginners
Are the paddles that come with my kayak any good?
Yes, a thorough review of durable fishing kayaks shows that the paddles that come with your kayak are good. Only that you might wish to change them for better ones with certain specifications.
Am I required to wear a life jacket?
Yes, for safety reasons, it is better to wear a life jacket.
What’s the best way to transport my kayak?
A kayak is better transported when deflated and stuffed into the boot of your car to the shoreline.
What are those little black screws-in storage holes for?
They are for keeping important personal items like a wrist watch, phones, and so om
What is the best type of kayak for a beginner?
The best type of kayak for beginners is a long, broad-base sit-on-top kayak with a good and low center of gravity.
Which kayak is most stable?
The most stable world’s best recreational kayak are those with a low center of gravity.
Do kayaks flip easily?
No, kayaks with a broad base and low center of gravity do not flip easily
Do you prefer to sit on top or traditional kayak hulls?
I prefer the sit-on-top to the traditional kayak hulks because sit-on-top offers the best posture for beginners to learn kayaking
What should I wear when kayaking?
Breathable sportswear is with sports shoes is okay to wear when kayaking
What equipment should I bring when kayaking for the first time?
The equipment to bring while kayaking includes personal flotation device, flotation bags, helmet, spray skirt, and first aid kit.
Are you ready to hit the water? It’s not a coincidence that kayaking has grown so much in terms of popularity over the last 20 years. It provides kayakers with the ability to enjoy the outdoors, get exercise, increase muscle mass and get some adrenaline flowing.
Kayaks are also extremely useful tools when it comes to fishing, bird watching and other fun outdoor activities. We hope this article has helped you come to a better understanding of what it takes to select and buy a proper kayak, and we’d love to hear how this article has benefited you personally.
While seeking for the best kayaks for beginners, it is highly essential that you understand exactly what you want.
This is why I have meticulously done a review of the best brands of kayaks and what you need to check out before dashing to the market to buy any one premium tandem kayak for beginners. I suppose that if you go through this review very well, you will not be inundated with all the options available in the market.
Additionally, if you have any kayaking suggestions or would like to recommend (or provide a warning about) any specific kayak then we and our readers would love to hear from you in the Comments sections below.
Photos from: vetal1983 / depositphotos.com, howdy76 / depositphotos.com, maxpro / depositphotos.com, sportpoint / depositphotos.com, MaciejBledowski / depositphotos.com and windjunkie / depositphotos.com.