Here you have our list of the best recreational kayaks. This type of kayak is designed with the weekend paddler in mind – someone who takes a more casual approach to the sport.
Recreational kayaks are built for use on calmer, slow-moving waters. If you want the best kayak for fun, then you should know that some kayaks are better than others. As such, we have compiled this recreational kayaks buyer’s guide – designed to give you valuable advice on how to find the most-suitable recreational kayak for you.
In a hurry? This is our winner!
Best Recreational Kayaks – Comparison Table
Best Recreational Kayaks – Reviews
Best Recreational Kayaks – Buyers Guide
There are different types of kayaks, and even though the different kayaks are meant for different purposes and suited for different water types, they all have so many things in common and these same things.
Our focus in this article is on recreational kayaks. To avoid putting the proverbial square peg in a circular hole, here are some of the factors to consider when you decide to purchase a recreational kayak.
1. What water-type are you going to explore?
Water isn’t water, we all should know that. As a beginner, trying to get your first kayak or, maybe you have gotten your first and the experience you are getting is way below what you expected. The first thing you should consider is what type of water you would use your kayak on.
There are different types and water bodies you can kayak in. There are inland waters like small lakes, ponds and rivers. These water-bodies have something in common; they have slow current and are mostly gentle in their movement. Their activity level is mostly predictable and makes it safe for certain types of kayaks.
Other types of water-bodies such as large rivers, oceans, seas and canals have their own characteristics, and these are what make certain kayaks suited to them. Large rivers and lakes have stronger currents when compared to smaller lakes and rivers. Seas and Oceans can change in their calmness, depending on the weather.
These features of the different water-bodies pose a form of limitation to some recreational kayaks and are the best environments to use others. For instance, the Boogie 50 Whitewater is well suited from strong current waters while Intex Challenger stands no chance in the same environment.
2. Is your recreational kayak sit on or sit in?
Comfort is of utmost importance if one is to remain on water for a considerable length of time. The sit-type of choice depends largely on the weather and season, and sometimes on the paddler’s choice.
There are two types of recreational wilderness kayaks based on sit type. The sit-on kayaks, and the sit-in kayaks.
The sit-on kayaks are very well suited for warm weather conditions because they provide very little protection against splashing water.
During the cold time of the year, using a sit-on kayak is unwise as water splashes easily and compounds the coldness a paddler may feel. On the other hand, a sit-in recreational kayak is well suited for cold weather as it offers protection (to an extent) against weather elements.
The cockpit area can be covered to prevent water getting into the kayak, and at the lower body is kept warm.
3. Kayak weight and size
Recreational kayaks are built for speed. They are generally not bigger than 12 feet in length, and are usually more than 24 feet in width. This makes them wider than other kayaks, like the Touring kayaks. They are so built because they are expected to be used on slow current water-bodies. Kayaks with narrow builds are more suited to open waters.
In another lane, the weight of a kayak determines its price. This is because, the lighter a kayak is, the easier it is to control and the more gear you can carry. The weight of a kayak takes part of the overall weight it can carry.
Another thing is the durability of a kayak depends on the material used in producing it. Since, heavier materials traditionally last longer, to use lighter materials that last as long will cost more. Therefore, a kayak made of polyethylene plastic is inexpensive compared to one produced using lightweight fiberglass.
4. Your Budget
As we have said earlier, the weight of your kayak determines its price. Regardless of how good a kayak is from what you’ve seen and be told.
If your budget doesn’t meet it, you need to either get a loan to purchase it, or settle for the next best one. Since it is not a very wise financial decision to secure a loan to purchase a kayak that is beyond your budget (except for business purposes), it is better to settle for the latter.
Regardless of what type of water body you will be paddling in, you will surely find kayaks that will meet your budget. However, do not trade quality for money.
Other things to look out for when you want to buy a recreational kayak include
Hatches: If you will need to store some things during your time on the water, you will need a kayak with a hatch. How big it should be depends on you.
Cockpit: the cockpit is the part of a sit-in kayak where you are secured while sitting. Your size will influence the size of the cockpit your kayak should have. A snugly fitting one makes you control the paddling well and a loosely fitting one makes you get in and out of it easily.
Seats: the more comfort your seat can provide, the better for you. Have it at the back of your mind that you will be spending some hours in that seat. Therefore, invest in a good one.
FAQ on Recreational Kayaks
What type of hull is good for my recreational Kayak?
The hull is the bottom part of the kayak; it is the part the kayak rests on. The type of hull a kayak has influences its speed, maneuverability and stability. There are four types of hull.
- Flat: It is suited to calm waters, and best for beginners, because it encourages easy maneuverability.
- V-shaped: At a point in the base, the hull is rounded to give it a shape like the letter V. suited for pro paddlers and gives good speed when travelling in a straight direction.
- Rounded: A rounded hull gives the kayak less stability and this makes it unsuitable for beginners. It increases speed and is suitable for open waters where the water activity can change rapidly.
- Pontoon: This type of hull provides the best stability, and it is most advisable for beginners to use this. It has great stability and is best for recreational kayaking.
What is the best paddle for a recreational kayak?
Picking the right paddle for your kayak is the next important thing to do after getting the right kayak for you. It is imperative that you choose a paddle that isn’t too heavy or that causes you discomfort when you hold it.
In short, go for a paddle with a blade made of fiberglass, with it’s shaft being made of Aluminum or Carbon fiber.
Will I fit into my hobby kayak?
Yes, you will. There are different types of kayaks. However, recreational kayaks will accommodate people of different sizes.
The cockpit area in recreational kayaks is usually made larger than the other types of kayaks. It is better if it fits you snugly as you will be able to manage the kayak easily. If you want it loose, it is okay as well, you will be able to get off and on the recreational kayak easily.
If you’re unsure of getting inside a cockpit, you can opt for a sit-on kayak. You don’t have to worry about fitting with them.
Does the length of a recreational Kayak matter?
Yes, it does. Although it depends on the type of kayak you are looking to own, and the type of water body you will use it. The length of a kayak determines how well it cuts through water. The length in relation to the width determines the wideness or narrowness, as it were, of the kayak.
Narrow kayaks are faster and are less stable in water, and this makes them more suitable for open waters like big rivers and seas. Wider kayaks, on the other hand, are more stable and cut through water less efficiently than narrow kayaks.
The length of a kayak also affects the maneuverability of the kayak. It is easier to manage a short kayak than it is to manage a longer one. A few inches difference might not be of importance but some feet definitely will.
What are the features to look for in getting the best recreational kayak for women?
There’s generally no limitations by gender when it comes to choosing the right kayak for you. It is however important to note that your choice should be influenced by the maneuverability, sit-type and comfort level of the kayak.
Your choice as a woman should be easy to maneuver, that means a short length, comfortable seat, comfortable paddle, and definitely a befitting hull.
A leisurely paddle, a fun race with friends, fishing, all on water, with a kayak is no endeavor to take lightly. Safety always comes first, and the best way to ensure safety on water, doing any of these enjoyable activities is to get a hold of a life jacket and one of the best recreational kayaks provided above.
While you are at it, don’t forget to consider the factors that help you make the right decision in choosing and purchasing the right kayak.
The more thorough you are when considering them, the better your chances of getting the best recreational kayak for yourself. Stick to waters that are familiar to you and enjoy your time paddling!