Wanna Buy Kayak? Here are 20+ Must Know Things Before Buying Kayaks For Beginners

Tips to Buy kayak: – Kayaks originate from the Eskimos. They have closed kayaks with a hatch, much flatter and narrower than Canadians. Kayakers sit in their kayak and use a double paddle to move the kayak forward.

Kayaks are available as single or double seats. For hiking trips, there are kayaks, in which storage space is provided, especially for luggage. The kayak is the all-around kayak type in kayaking and is used in all areas – from sea kayaks for large waters to white water kayaks.

Nowadays, kayaks are a symbol of sports and leisure fun on the water. But did you know that the name is derived from the Greenlandic word Qajaq? And that the kayaks were originally used for hunting by the Eskimos in the Arctic thanks to their speed and maneuverability. Even then, these Eskimos paddle kayaks were similar in shape to today’s kayaks, but they differ considerably from the materials. The Eskimos built the frame out of bone and wood and covered it with animal skins. Today, most of them are made of hard plastic.

Kayaking is a wonderful hobby for many because it allows us to explore nature from the water from a different perspective and to do sports. It is important, first of all, that you are not very shy about the water. But don’t worry; even if this is your first time feeling insecure or shaky in a kayak, it doesn’t mean that kayaking is not for you. Often you just have to find trust in the kayak and get used to kayaking, and then it will soon work much better. In addition, a stable kayak can often make a big difference.

Must Know Things Before Buy Kayak

Kayaks are suitable for both sporty paddlers and occasional paddlers who are simply looking for some peace and relaxation on the water. Whether young or old, kayaking is suitable for anyone who can swim and feels physically fit.

Areas of application of kayaks

In terms of areas of application, kayaks are virtually unlimited. In principle, you can go with them wherever the water is deep enough, and there is no kayak ban. Whether on calm seas, wild rivers, or the sea, kayakers can be seen almost everywhere. But if you have already looked closely, you will certainly have noticed that the kayaks often differ slightly. Anyone paddling white water needs a very agile kayak. But those who go on tours on lakes and the sea need a kayak with good speed. The shape of a kayak defines exactly these driving characteristics.

Can children surf in a kayak?

If your child is approximately seven years old, you can take him to your cockpit by holding him between your legs. The other much more attractive option for the little ones is duffing, which allows you to sit in the central cabin of the kayak. High speeds and long journeys cannot be achieved in this position. In the future, your child will be able to go alone in a kayak and with a paddle suitable for his age.

What are the parts of the kayak?

  • If you are not yet a kayak expert but have decided to take one, you should have at least a minimum knowledge of its parts. Look at the parts of the kayak:
  • Rudder: It is optional. If present, it is located at the driver’s feet. It is a fin-like element.
  • Seat: Composed of back and seat.
  • Lifeline: Rope that surrounds the kayak and allows the kayaker to hang on in the event of a fall in the water.
  • Bow: Front. Its shape affects speed.
  • Stern: Rear.
  • Cockpit: Place where the kayaker is sitting inside the kayak.
  • Rudder control: Used to raise or lower the rudder when the kayaker is in the water.
  • Hull: It is the lower part of the kayak. Its shape is very important depending on the activity you want to carry out.
  • Keel: Lower part (remains submerged). It is responsible for giving directionality to the kayak.
  • Pedals: Place where the kayaker keeps his feet flat. The pedals control the rudder.
  • Storage net: To keep the objects that the kayaker wants to bring with him.
  • Handles: For carrying and moving the kayak.
  • Door: Waterproof compartment used for carrying equipment. Indispensable in closed and fishing kayaks.

Types of kayak

Have you ever thought about taking a kayak and venturing through rivers, lagoons, rapids, or even seas? The possibility of using it in any of these situations makes it popular even among people who do not practice extreme sports. But first, it is important to know that even though they are narrow and have those paddles for you to paddle, there are specific kayak models for each type of experience. Such as:

1. Open kayak

It’s the easiest model for those just starting or who want to enjoy nature without worrying about having a lot of skill. It is shallower than the other kayaks and is called a sit on top since the rower does not sit inside but on top of it. This kayak is usually used for recreation, fishing, and photographers. It is super safe, does not sink, and has more balance because it is wider.

You can even take it in places where the water can’t stand. In addition, you can take a dip to cool off and then come back on top of it easily. Don’t worry about taking the water out of that kayak; it has the advantage of coming with several drains that do all of this work for you. So it never floods. It weighs about 20 kilos and can be made of plastic, which is the cheapest material. The kayak with fiberglass is more expensive and 20% lighter, and more resistant. But remember, the stiffer and lighter, the more expensive the kayak is. 

2. Fishing kayak

This kayak is also used for fishing and was made to provide security, balance, and much easier when paddling. Thus, you focus only on finding and hooking the fish. Some brands also make kayak fishing with drains, so you don’t have to worry about getting the water out of it. The fishing kayak can reach more than 3.50 meters and is 75 centimeters wide on average.

This type of kayak is about 10 centimeters wider than a rapid kayak, for example, just to fit the fishing kit. In addition, it is made of polyethylene, which is an ultra-resistant and reinforced material to withstand not only the weight of luggage. But the jumps when fishing in a lake or river full of rocks. And to make it easier, many people like to equip it with an engine, so they don’t have to grow. 

3. Tour kayak

They are those long, closed models that are more commonly used. The touring kayak is made for a tour and usually has a length of more than 3 meters. The longer it is, the faster it is. Not to mention that it is super comfortable to take a second person on a longer tour. The browser needs to have a certain way to get in and out since it is the sit-inside type. That is when you sit snug inside it and keep the feathers well stretched on the front.

And you can use your body movements to control it. This type of kayak also needs skill when paddling and taking the water out. That’s because it has no drain and can flood when you sail in rough waters. Many of these kayaks can wear a kind of skirt that prevents cold water entry, so you don’t get so wet while you’re rowing. 

4. Whitewater kayak

This kayak is made for leisure, but it requires a lot of kayakist experience. Because it is shorter, it is used to go down rapids in white waters, like rivers with waves, rocks, and swirls. The hull of this kayak is made of very resistant material to face the strength of the waters, rocks, and the strikes at the bottom of the rivers. It also has its bow (the back) for breaking waves and is tighter in the cockpit (where you sit) just to prevent you from falling. For you to have an idea of its measurements, the official size for those who compete in rapids is 4.5m long by 60 centimeters.

5. kayaking with waves

There is a special type of kayak to go down waves and do a lot of maneuvers. It is the Wave Surf Kayak, which mixes kayaks with surfboards. For this sport, a kayak about 2.5 meters long is usually made of fiberglass, which is very light and very resistant. Thus, you can prevent water and other materials from wearing out, fading, or breaking the bottom of the kayak. This model also has a very tight cockpit of about 60 centimeters, which is for the rower to be well attached.

6. Expedition Kayaks

These are kayaks for longer trips at sea or on the river. They can fit one or two people, reach more than 5 meters in length, and have space inside them to store luggage. It is wider, exceeding 70 centimeters. There are also kayaks with double space so that two people can row.

Benefits of kayak

Kayaking consists of various forms of exercise for your body. One minute, you glide through the water while admiring the serenity of your surroundings – the next minute, you’re setting off a set of rapids. But kayaking is not a way to make a difference in your workouts. This water sport has several benefits that can improve your overall health. Such as:

1. Cardiovascular health

Kayaking can improve cardiovascular health and strengthen some of the major muscle groups throughout your body. While paddling provides a challenging upper body workout, it is also ideal for your lower body. It is possible to navigate the kayak through foot movements, allowing your entire body to engage in an activity. Kayaking is an outdoor activity that allows you to explore nature and do cardiovascular exercise without getting bored, unlike others that are more repetitive, like jogging.

2. Overall improvement in health

Kayaking provides aerobic exercise, which should be an integral part of your weekly fitness routine. General benefits of all forms of aerobic exercise include increased endurance, improved heart health, improved cholesterol levels. Blood sugar control, lower blood pressure, and improved lung strength, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

3. Clear mind, heart

Exercises like kayaking play an important role in improving your mental health. Aerobic exercise triggers the release of brain chemicals that can boost your mood quickly. If you are depressed, stressed, or just need to clear your mind of the dynamic nature of your day, kayaking can provide a relaxing workout. The physical benefits you receive through this exercise can also lead to higher self-esteem.

In addition, the sound of water, fresh air, and the natural environment help recovery. Doing outdoor activities always helps you reflect on your life, being in the water, and seeing nature helps you free yourself from work stress or other personal problems. Although kayaking requires your muscles constantly, it is a relaxing activity that gives you benefits. You can do it for a few hours a week, and you will see your stress level drop.

4. Build a fitter body

Many people are looking for workouts that can burn enough calories to help them lose weight. If you have access to kayaks, proper equipment, and a body of water, these activities can play a role as you burn fat to build a slimmer body. Harvard Health News reports that in 30 minutes of kayaking, a 185-pound man burns about 222 calories. This calorie burn is lower than many forms of exercise, but it can easily burn more than 1 000 calories over the long run.

5. Increase stamina

Participating in regular and short kayaking sessions can help increase your stamina. This is the body’s ability to work and remain active for longer periods, in addition to its ability to resist and recover faster, as well as immunity to fatigue. By improving stamina, you can exercise longer and therefore lose weight.

6. Exercise for your upper body

When rowing, you use various muscles of your upper body, such as the chest, back, shoulders, and abs. Therefore, continuous practice will tone them, and consequently, you will have more strength. You will not see the changes overnight, but you will notice the difference if you make kayaking a regular activity. The abs will also be very important for this practice; kayaking is considered one of the best exercises to strengthen these muscles. Each time you use the paddle to move, each repetition will help strengthen your abdomen.

The back will benefit from kayaking; each row is the equivalent of a repetition of dumbbell exercises. While one arm paddles, the other stretches and then contracts. The difference is that you will do this activity for a longer time. We cannot forget the arms; the biceps and triceps are constantly exercised when you kayak. As one arm uses the biceps, the other extends forward, and the triceps works.

The shoulders are more involved in kayaking than in any other back exercise. Paddle and extension movement allows this muscle group to work hard. The chest is another muscle group involved. Every time you move, your pectoral muscles flex to stabilize your shoulders and arms while pushing inward.

7. Free your mind and make you happier

In addition to reducing stress, the benefits of kayaking include an improvement in your overall mental health. This aerobic exercise, and others like climbing or cycling, release certain chemicals in your brain responsible for confidence and humor. It is a great way to remove negative comments from your mind. When you are in a river or lake for a time, all your material problems are fading; they are irrelevant to your happiness and well-being.

The kayak exercise gives you positivity and clarity. Many people who suffer from depression dismiss themselves and, as a result, end up out of control. The kayak helps to achieve clarity, to eliminate that feeling.

8. More toned legs

This is one of the most forgotten benefits of kayaking. We all know that it strengthens the upper body, but the legs are also exercised and in a good way. The legs are very important because they apply pressure, secure you in the kayak, and help you maneuver and balance. Being in the water, you will be squeezing and releasing the leg muscles many times. This action, over time, will strengthen the muscles of your legs.

9. Offers emotional benefits

For many, kayaking is an activity for meditation and peace, you will be able to see the water, and you will have few people around. It allows you to think more clearly. Like any other sport, kayaking has the potential to enhance your self-image. Being able to break personal marks, such as speed, distance, or times, will make you feel better. Even if it is small, each success will allow you to be a better version of yourself. Getting through challenges like rapids or taking a long kayak trip is a way to build confidence and improve your self-esteem.

10. Source of Vitamin D

The time spent doing activities outdoors brings an extra benefit and is the absorption of vitamin D. This has positive effects on your body. Vitamin D is the most difficult to obtain only through food. Most of us only get vitamin D from the sun. Therefore, almost all people are deficient in this vitamin. Going out and doing outdoor activities will be very helpful in this regard.

11. Social impact

It is very easy to learn to kayak; you do not have to practice it in excellent physical condition. Therefore, it is accessible to everyone. It is a great way if you want to make new friends. If you go on a kayak excursion, you will meet new people in your group, and you will have a different experience. Social interaction is very beneficial for your mental health. 

Drawbacks of kayak

Compared to the advantages, kayaking has very few disadvantages, but we still have to mention it. So you can be well informed before you decide to take on kayaking regularly. Here are some drawbacks of kayak:

1. Difficulty in transporting the kayak

If you have chosen to buy a rigid kayak, you must always carry it following safety measures to prevent it from moving or even falling over you, putting you and other users at risk. Here are some measures that you need to take for transporting your kayak:

  • You must have a preferably long car since the kayak cannot exceed 15% of the length of the vehicle (it must never do so from the front). Nothing can protrude from the sides.
  • The load cannot cover the license plates or the car lights, or any other type of signaling or lighting.
  • You will need to purchase roof bars for your car to ensure that the kayak hull is not damaged (you can also use a homemade foam coating to prevent damage to the kayak’s coating).
  • The hull of the kayak can be positioned upwards or downwards. It is essential to purchasing a kayak holder to adapt the bars to the hull in the latter case.
  • You have to tie your kayak firmly to the bars but don’t overdo it as you could damage the hull.
  • Finally, you must report your load with the V20 plate. If you don’t know what it is, it’s a square plate with white and red stripes: you have to put it on the tip of the load as long as your kayak protrudes from the car.

So you see, there are many difficulties and a lot of adjustments that you have to make while transporting your kayak.

2. Greater expense

Depending on the type of kayak you buy, the expense will be greater. In addition to the kayak, you must purchase minimum equipment consisting of the paddle, covers for the cockpits (in case the kayak has them), jacket, waterproof bag (in case there are hatches), and cover bag. 

Guidelines to buy kayak

Paradoxically, driving a kayak is much simpler than entering a shop and buying one. There is an infinite number of models for the many uses that you want to make of them. Paddling on a quiet pond is one thing, going on a multi-day trip down another river and venturing for rapids yet another. But what then evaluate when you want to buy a kayak?

Surely the use you want to make of it, how often you will use it and the price range within which the amount we want to spend is located. Here are the characteristics to be evaluated, the types to which to address based on the use, the possibility of transport, and the price you are willing to spend.

1. Decide what type of kayak you want to buy

First of all, you should ask yourself whether you want to buy a one-person kayak or a multi-person kayak. Do you want to paddle alone or with the whole family or friends? This goes hand in hand with the consideration of whether safety or water behavior is important to you. Are you looking for adventure and is driving fun in the foreground, or are certain safety or comfort aspects important to you?

Safety is an important factor in sea kayaking, comfort in touring kayaking. Maneuverability is crucial for extreme athletes, but transport is more important for amateur paddlers. If you invest enough time in your purchase decision, it will be worth it because high-quality models last for decades.

In some specialty shops, you can rent kayaks. If there is a purchase, the rental price will then be charged. Online stores usually offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. Consider the following options:

  • Dimensions: A one-person kayak is between 2 and 6 meters long. Depending on the water you want to be on, different lengths are suitable. The wider a kayak is, the more stable it is, but it also has to displace more water accordingly.
  • Weight: Depending on the material and type, a kayak can weigh between 10 and 40 kilograms.
  • Payload: The payload also depends on the design and type of kayak. Many single models move around 150 kilograms; a two-person kayak can withstand over 200 kilograms.
  • Material variants: In addition to PE plastic and glass fiber, there are also inflatable options. In addition, folding kayaks are often made of wood or aluminum. 
  • Price: A good kayak start can cost you a little expensive. It doesn’t get much cheaper if you rely on quality. There are hardly any limits to the top.

2. Choose a kayak according to your level

Getting carried away by a fleeting desire during the holidays at sea is far from being a good motivation to buy your first kayak. Long before embarking on such an adventure, yes, because it is a significant investment in terms of equipment, it requires enrolling in a club. But well before taking out a subscription, it is also better to carry out some tests with friends or take advantage of a kayak excursion to assess your skills. After some satisfactory practices, the purchase of a kayak can be considered. But there again, it will be necessary to define its level to choose a suitable model.

I. Beginner’s Kayak: A beginner does not need to invest in sophisticated or expensive equipment just to make a good impression on those around them. The ideal is to opt for a single-seat inflatable kayak on top, sufficient for quiet walks during the weekends or a few descents during the summer holidays. They sit on top and are also suitable for introducing children to kayaking.

II. Intermediate level: After a few regular practices at sea, in the river, or on the lake, you can easily reach the intermediate level by kayak. Once you have the skills to navigate safely, it is time – and you can afford it – to go for a rigid kayak. But even at this level, the sit on top also remains a preferred choice for its practicality and easy handling. A user who judges his skills to be of a moderately high level compared to a beginner can also opt for a two-seater model. Ideal for sharing your passion with another partner, provided that this partner has already acquired the right foundations, too.

III. Expert level: A seasoned professional can choose his equipment on his own. The sportsman will opt for a model adapted to strong sensations at sea, while the challenger and the whale hunter will easily choose a single-seat sit-in with a rigid shell. It is also suitable for a ride outside the border in search of the strongest currents to push its limits.

3. Take a look at these measures to look at in a kayak

It depends, as always: long ones are more stable, less effort is made (or at the same effort they go faster), and they go straight, even if the maneuverability is certainly not agile. The short ones are lighter, more maneuverable, obviously more easily transportable even with medium-sized cars. And often cost even less (with the same materials) but are more tiring to push and more nervous about driving. What about the width? The width of a kayak makes it more stable, but the price to pay is less handling and a surplus of effort to paddle.

The longer a kayak is, the faster it gets. Shorter kayaks are more agile. Long kayaks are more suitable for use on the sea or large bodies of water, short models for smaller wild rivers. The material is divided into PE plastic kayaks, kayaks made of fiber-reinforced plastic, folding kayaks, and inflatable kayaks. Usually, this factor also decides the area of application. Take the following points into consideration:

  • Canoes made of PE plastic are the most robust, withstand some basic contact and hardly need any maintenance. This extra stability is associated with a higher weight. If it breaks, it is difficult to repair. It is robust, easy to care for, and weigh approximately 20 kg. 
  • Glass fiber is used in hiking and sea kayaks. They are lighter than plastic kayaks but also more sensitive. The more delicate look also costs more, but they are easier to repair. However, they are lighter than PE plastic.
  • Folding kayaks are made of different materials and are easy to fold, as the name suggests. The focus here is on transport, although they are not as robust as the previously mentioned variants. For this, a leak can even be patched on the go because mostly tissue tape is sufficient. Older models can be quite heavy; new folding kayaks are usually lighter than plastic kayaks. They are easy to repair, lighter than plastic kayaks, easy to transport, but less robust. 
  • Inflatable kayaks are very popular for many reasons: transport and storage are easy, the kayaks are very easy, quick to put into operation, and repairs are also possible on the go. However, deductions are made for the fun factor because air kayaks are extremely slow and difficult to steer. They are easy to transport, lightweight, and easily repairable. 

4. Determine which type of hull you prefer

If you want stability, you need a flat or almost flat hull, with almost right angles between the bottom and the sides. A more V shape (more or less accentuated) instead enhances agility, obviously at the expense of placidity. If you are looking for speed, you need a long, narrow kayak with an accentuated V-shaped hull that cuts the water instead of floating on it. Then there is the rocker to watch at the ends of the hull. It will be easier to pivot and face the waves if it is pronounced since the ends do not fish in the water. On the contrary, less rocker means that the kayak better resists the turbulence of the water but turns less easily.

5. Concentrate on buying kayak cheaply

The main focus when buying a kayak after deciding what type of kayak and for what purpose you are buying the kayak is the cost you want to spend on it. As much as possible, spend less. However, don’t compromise on the quality of the kayak. Consider the following options:

  • An all-around kayak is suitable for beginners. These short and bulbous models, which are up to 3 meters long, usually have a large entry, a high level of stability, and the necessary straight-ahead stability. The cheapest and most popular models are Robson Maui Expedition, Wilderness Pungo 120, or Prijon Cruiser. 
  • White water kayaks are around three meters long and particularly agile. Even experienced beginners can quickly learn new paddling techniques here. Straight ahead is not quite as pronounced, but maneuvering is easier, and it is possible to drive on backwash and gushes. Prijon T-Canyon, Taifun, or Eskimo Cerro / Diablo are recommended. 
  • If you want something more from your new kayak, you are looking for a longer, narrower model. Here the equipment is also more in the field of expedition or sport. These hiking or touring kayaks are 4.5 to 5 meters long, have thigh and foot supports, bulkheads and stowage hatches, space for a control system, and the seats are usually sportier without upholstery. They are less stable against tipping, but you can score in the final stability. That means they can be tilted far until they capsize. Prijon Touryak or Yukon Expedition and Lettmann Maxi are good models here. 
  • Sea kayaks are up to six meters long and a bit narrower than touring kayaks. In addition to the control system, the equipment is expanded to include a bilge pump and a possibility for compass mounting. These are more professional kayaks. The maneuverability is low. The maximum speed is high. Prijon Seayak, Lettmann Eski, or Sea Tour are suitable as sea kayaks.

You shouldn’t spend much more on the all-rounders, but not much less either. The market is flooded with cheap and low-quality kayaks, especially in the inflatable models’ area. Good brands such as Grabner kayaks and Lettmann canoes offer high quality. Here it is also worth looking for a used model. If there are any uncertainties, it helps to ask about the rental.

6. Consider the expense of other equipment so that you have to buy

Kayaking is not about getting the best model of kayak. It is also important to have a few essential accessories that guarantee optimal comfort and safety during navigation. Some of the essentials of buying include:

  • Vest: The life jacket is an essential accessory since it allows the paddler to stay on the surface of the water as long as possible in the event of overturning. As its name suggests, it is an accessory that guarantees the paddler’s safety during his trips at sea.
  • The paddle: First, remember that the kayak requires a double paddle. To have the perfect model, just choose it 25 cm more than your size. To make a small reference, you must successfully touch the end of the paddle by stretching your arm upwards. We must succeed in closing our fingers on the blade. As for the ideal weight of the paddle, it must be just light enough not to feel tired after a few oars. The ideal is to find a model that floats and has asymmetrical blades.
  • The skirt: Indispensable for sit-in kayaks, the skirt helps keep your buttocks dry until the end of the sea excursion. The purpose of the skirt is to prevent water infiltration and insulate the interior of the kayak from the cold. There are two different types of skirts on the market: neoprene skirts and synthetic fabric skirts. The general preference turns to neoprene skirts which have the advantage of offering greater tightness. To choose the right size, just choose a skirt that matches its morphology. On the other hand, it must also be the same size as the coaming. Indeed, the more it will be adjusted, the more it will be waterproof and offer good protection in the event of overturning.
  • Clothes: The most practical way to kayak is to opt for lycra clothing, both for the top and the bottom. Lycra clothing has the advantage of protecting the body from the sun, cold, and wind. They also offer optimal protection in the event of immersion in water.
  • Slippers: If professionals prefer to kayak barefoot, beginners may have difficulty getting used to it. Before getting into the habit of having your feet wet during a hike at sea, on the lake, or along the river, wearing slippers is possible. The neoprene models are perfect for keeping your feet warm and dry.
  • Gloves: Like slippers, gloves are beginners’ accessories that experienced sailors can do without. On the other hand, they are very useful to avoid blisters and allow women to keep their polish intact until the hike. Like slippers, neoprene gloves are recommended because they provide optimal hands against friction and cold.
  • Can or waterproof bag: To safely navigate aboard a kayak, it is advisable to deprive yourself of all superficial accessories such as jewelry, laptops, and cameras. However, failing to entrust them to a trusted person for the duration of a sea excursion, it is always possible to dispose of one’s personal effects in a waterproof container or bag. However, be careful not to lose them during nautical outings.
  • The kayak veil: Kayaking requires good endurance since you will have to paddle to advance. On the other hand, those who risk running out of energy during navigation can always opt for the kayak veil.
  • Distress rocket: Practical, especially for those who wish to make a long trip of several hours at sea and especially in case of strong wind capable of pushing the kayak very far from the edge. In all cases, a distress signal can always be useful in an incident, as it can be seen approximately 3 or even 9 km from where the kayak is located.

Conclusion

Opt for kayaking to enjoy its numerous benefits, and be sure to follow the guidelines mentioned above whether you are buying the new one or the used one.  

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