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  • The Ultimate Guide to the Different Types of Kayaks

    by Ringo Ladue July 25, 2022 5 min read

    8 kayaks lined up in row showing the different types of kayaks.

    The Ultimate Guide to the Different Types of Kayaks

    It was the Inuit and Aleut tribes in the Arctic who first invented kayaks that they used for hunting. Today, kayaking is a popular pastime for many people. 

    Kayaking is a great way to explore the natural landscape and wildlife of rivers, lakes, and oceans. You can experience nature while getting a great workout. 

    If you've always wanted to kayak but aren't sure which kayak to choose, we're here to help! Our guide covers the most popular types of kayaks on the market and will help you decided which one is right for you. 

    Kayak Materials

    When buying a kayak, you may wonder about the different kayak options out there. You can find kayaks in either rigid or inflatable designs. Kayaks are most commonly made of plastic, wood, and composite materials. 


    Plastic kayaks are by far the most popular type on the market. They're durable and can withstand a lot of use. Plastic kayaks are the most affordable type of rigid kayak. 

    You can find plastic kayaks in either hard-shell or inflatable models. Inflatable kayaks are portable and the lightest model you can find. 


    Wood kayaks are a beautiful option. Kayaks made from wood look sharp and traditional, but can be heavier than other hard-shell kayaks. 

    The downside to wood kayaks is that sometimes they're not as durable as other materials. Because they are made by hand, they can be expensive.


    Composite kayaks are made from a mix of materials, usually including plastic, wood, and fiberglass. They are usually very comfortable and durable. Many composite kayaks are light and have great performance in the water, while others can be heavier.

    Sit On Vs. Sit In Kayaks 

    When shopping for a new kayak, you'll need to decide whether you want a sit-on-top or a sit-in kayak. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so you have to choose the one that's right for you.

    For beginner kayakers, sit-on-top kayaks are a good choice because they are more stable than sit-in kayaks. They're also easier to get in and out of, which can be helpful if you're kayaking in rough water or waves.

    In a sit-in kayak, you're better protected from the elements. This can be a good choice if you're kayaking in cold weather or on waters with a lot of wind and waves. 

    A sit-on-top kayak may be a good choice if you're just getting started. A sit-in kayak may be a better option if you're an experienced kayaker who wants to tackle long trips.

    Inflatable Kayaks 

    Inflatable kayaks are an ideal way to enjoy the water on a budget. They are less expensive, lighter, and easier to store than traditional kayaks. Inflatable kayaks are made of robust and puncture-resistant material. They can handle rocks, branches, and other obstacles you may encounter while on the water.

    Most inflatable kayaks have several air chambers, so if one gets punctured, the kayak will still float. This makes them an excellent choice for exploring rivers and lakes. Some models even come with a spray skirt, which helps keep you dry in rough water.

    Inflatable kayaks are easy to transport. You can inflate and deflate them in no time. They are a great option for those who want to enjoy the water without the hassle of lugging around a heavy kayak.

    Fishing Kayaks

    A fishing kayak is a small, narrow boat designed for fishing in both fresh and saltwater. These kayaks are often used in calm waters like lakes and rivers. 

    You'll want to figure out if you are going to sit on or in your fishing kayak. You'll also have to consider how much weight you'll carry on your trip. 

    Fishing kayaks are usually outfitted with fishing rod holders, bait storage, and other fishing gear. These features can make reeling in a fish easier for you and the boat. 

    Modular Kayaks 

    A modular kayak is a kayak that you can assemble and disassemble for easy transport and storage. Modular kayaks are usually made of two or more sections that fit together like a puzzle. 

    Modular kayaks offer many advantages over traditional kayaks. They can fit into smaller spaces when you aren't using them. This makes them ideal for those who have limited storage space.

    These kayaks are much lighter than traditional kayaks. You can carry them around with no problems. 

    Touring Kayaks 

    If you want to go on an extended kayaking trip, a touring kayak is for you. This kayak is designed for long-distance travel on the water. 

    Touring kayaks are usually longer and narrower than other kayaks. They often have extra storage space for gear and supplies. Touring kayaks are stable and are comfortable for a long ride. 

    Touring kayaks are also often equipped with rudder systems and spray skirts. These features make them better suited for longer trips.

    Sea Kayaks 

    A sea kayak is a special kayak designed for use in the open ocean. Unlike traditional kayaks, sea kayaks can withstand the rigors of the open sea. 

    Sea kayaks are usually larger and more stable than other types of kayaks. They also have a v-shaped hull. The build of these kayaks helps you go faster in the ocean water and navigate waves and rougher seas. 

    They often have features such as storage compartments and waterproof hatches. Keep in mind that they have a smaller cockpit, which can be tricky to get into and out of. 

    With So Many Types of Kayaks, There Is Something for Everyone

    Learning to kayak is an exciting new hobby to take on. Once you know the features of different types of kayaks, you can find one that works best for you. 

    If you are ready to buy your first kayak, Splashy McFun can help! Check out our kayak selection today to find the perfect one for you!

    You can download this article here: Download 

    You can download this Infographic here: Infographic

    You can download this brochure here: Brochure

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