What You Need to Know Before You Buy a Kayak

Having trouble finding the right kayak for you or your family? There are many options to consider before swiping your credit card and walking out with a brand new kayak. From where you'll use it to who will be your kayaking partner, there are a few questions you need to answer, first.

  1. Where will you use your kayak? Calm or moving water?
  2. How often will you use it? Every week, now and then or once a year?
  3. Who will paddle with you? A partner or family activity?

The answers to these questions are a good start to understanding the type of kayak you want and need.

More: How to Care for Your Kayak

When to Buy?

Offseason is the best time of the year, price-wise, to buy a kayak. However, it's also when the selection is limited because this is when retailers try to clear their current stock to make room for next year's new models.

What Type?

When looking at kayak descriptions, you may wonder what it all means. These often reference both type and brand which can be confusing. To clear away some of that confusion you need to understand two distinctions:

  1. Brand simply refers to the name or style of a kayak, of which there are hundreds.
  2. And more importantly, type refers to the body or hull of the kayak. This matters in terms of the conditions the kayak is intended to handle.

More: Whitewater Kayaking for Beginners

What Size?

Your height and weight determine the length—it's that simple. Consider your weight plus a margin to accommodate other paddlers or gear.

Other weight considerations depend on how you plan to use your kayak. For instance, if you plan on an overnight trip where you stop to camp and then return, you'll have additional gear and that's weight and space to consider.

More: How to Kayak With Your Dog

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About the Author

Elizabeth Schaffer

Smart-Start-Kayaking.com is dedicated to kayaking beginners. Covering all the basic "how to's" and more to get you paddling safely and with confidence.

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