A Complete Guide on How to Choose a Kayak

Do you want to explore those parts of the estuary which you can not see from the shore? A Kayak can help you get to breathtaking places which no one has ever visited. Kayaks sail you quietly through the waters and take you to scenic sites that might astonish you.

You might have enough money to buy any kayak, but the problem is how to choose a kayak. Unfortunately, most people purchase kayaks without getting any guidance, and later they think they have just lost their money.

Detail on How to Choose a Kayak

As there is a wide variety of kayaks available in the market, one might get confused about buying. Here in this article, we will guide you on how to choose the right kayak for yourself. There are a lot of factors that may affect your choice, so read the article thoroughly.

Checkout Following Kayak Reviews to pick the best one according to your requirements;

  1. Lightweight Kayaks are easier to haul and transport. Checkout 5 Best lightweight Kayaks.
  2. Checkout Best Fishing kayaks for beginners if you are going to buy Kayak for first time.
  3. We also shared 2 Person Kayak Reviews and buyer guide, so have a look into it if this is your requirement.

Why Do You Need a Kayak?

You can use a Kayak for several purposes. You might need it for tourism or to enjoy your holiday on a beach or any waterside. You can use a kayak for canyoning or water surfing on smooth and calm waters.

Moreover, many people buy kayaks for physical fitness. Kayak gets you close to nature. You observe the clean and pure water of different lakes and the plants surrounding the estuaries. Kayaking is itself an adventure, and it also relaxes your body, muscles, and brain.

Kayaking is the best aerobic exercise that relieves stress and heart problems. You can use a kayak in any water body, whether it be a lake, river, stream, ocean, or other water body. You can also go fishing on a kayak, as in kayak, you are closer to the water level.

Your Age and Kayak Model

Well, you should buy a kayak keeping in view your age. Each model of the kayak is different, and people of different ages use other models of kayaks. Kids ranging from 7 to 10 years can quickly learn a solo kayak under the right water conditions.

Kids younger than seven years can learn a  kayak with an elder in their kayak. When a kid gets over 14, he/she can use any kayak. But the safety precautions are vital if you are going to rough waters such as an ocean or a beach. Elders can also use any kayak.

F4- how to choose a kayak Types

There are different models of kayaks, such as sit on top or sit-in kayaks. Younger people may use any kayak type, but we would recommend a sit-in kayak for kids. The sit-in kayak is easier to control, and there is no fear of falling into the water.

How to Choose a Kayak: Factors to Consider

We know that kayaking is not only a sports activity. Many people do it for fun or to enjoy themselves with family and friends. Kayaking takes you close to nature, so you must have the right kayak according to your environment.

There are some key factors that you should consider before you go to purchase a kayak. Unfortunately, some of these factors are pretty complicated, and one can not understand them without a guide. In addition, kayaks have a wide range of varieties which makes the selection even harder.

So here, we would discuss some primary factors that you should consider while purchasing a kayak. These factors are essential for those who keep questioning how to choose a kayak or which factors to consider.


The primary stability of the kayak is how stable the kayak is under smooth and calm water conditions. Another type of stability is secondary stability. The secondary stability refers to how rigid the kayak is under rough water conditions like in the ocean. 

The professionals always prefer secondary stability over the primary one. The secondary strength is helpful when you are surfing on the beach or in the deep ocean. Beginners who think forward to being a professional in kayaking also select the one with secondary stability.


When we talk about the design of a kayak, there is a wide variety in the market. However, the two basic or most common designs are sit-in kayaks and sit-on-top kayaks. Both have their specific properties, and both are suitable for different water conditions.

A sit-in kayak is more stable than a sit-on-top kayak because a sit-in kayak has a lower center of gravity. In a sit-in kayak, you are at the level of the water or are close to it. The design of the kayak depicts whether the kayak is stable for calm water or rough waters.

F4- Kayak Propulsion


When we talk about comfort, a sit-on-top kayak is more comfortable than a sit-in kayak. It is because you can quickly get in and out of the kayak. A sit-in kayak is suitable for younger children as it has less fear of falling.


Different kayaks have different storage capacities: low volume kayaks, medium volume kayaks, and high volume kayaks. According to your weight, you can select a kayak for yourself out of these.

Low volume kayak is for those whose weight is less than 150 lbs. On the other hand, a high-volume kayak is for those whose weight is over 180 lbs. Finally, a medium-volume kayak is suitable for people falling between this range, 150 – 180 lbs.

Propulsion: Paddle vs. Pedal

In terms of propulsion, kayaks move through two supports. One is the pedal, and the other is the paddle. The pedal kayaks move when you move the pedals with your feet, just like a bicycle. The paddle kayak moves with hands’ force when you move a paddle in the water.


If you don’t have enough space for a kayak, you can buy a foldable kayak. A foldable kayak is also known as a portable kayak as you can move it anywhere quickly. It is also suitable for those who do kayaking just as a hobby.


The average weight of a recreational kayak is about 35 pounds or 16 kg. The weight varies as you search for different types of kayaks. For example, a fishing kayak can weigh up to 120 pounds and even more than this.


If you buy a foldable or a portable kayak, you don’t have to worry about its encumbrance. You can easily manage a small space for such kayaks. However, if you do professional kayaking, you should buy a regular kayak and spare room.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best kayak for a beginner?

A sit-in kayak is more suitable for beginners as it is more stable. Moreover, a sit-in kayak offers a lower center of gravity, which makes it more stable in the calm waters. Therefore, a sit-in kayak is best for beginners who want to surf peacefully rather than challenging the rough waters.

What size kayak do I need for my height?

If you are an adult and a beginner, we suggest you sit in the kayak before buying it. The recommended size of the kayak is about 10 feet in length(for people with 6 feet in height). Those whose height is more than 6 feet should try a 12 feet kayak, as it might be fit.

What size kayak do I need for my weight?

According to the volume, there are three kayaks: low, medium, and high volume kayaks. For those whose weight is less than 150 lbs, we would recommend a low-volume kayak. However, for people over 180 lbs weight, a high volume kayak is the best choice.

Should I get a 10 or 12 feet kayak?

If your height is 6 feet, we recommend a 10 feet kayak with low volume. Low volume kayak is for those whose weight is less than 150 lbs. A 12 feet kayak is suitable for those people whose height is above 6 feet. It is better to check the kayak before buying by sitting in it.

Is kayaking hard for beginners?

Kayaking is not as strenuous as it seems. If a beginner takes a start by surfing in the calm waters, it might be effortless. However, as soon he gets to the rough water, the hurdles start. Therefore, a beginner should practice hard before challenging the unbalanced waves of the ocean.

Should I get a sit-in or a sit-on-top kayak?

A sit-in kayak is more stable than the sit-on-top kayak, closer to the water level. It lowers the center of gravity of the kayak, and the kayak is easy to control. On the other hand, it isn’t easy to get in and out of a sit-in kayak. Moreover, in a sit-in kayak, you won’t get wet while paddling.

Is a ten feet kayak big enough?

If your height is 6 feet or below 6 feet, a 10 feet kayak is the best choice for you. However, if your height is more than 6 feet, you should buy a 12 feet kayak, as it might fit you perfectly. For beginners, a ten feet kayak may be easy to control.

What is a good kayak for a big guy?

“Wilderness Systems ATAK 140” kayak can handle the weight of 550 lbs. So if you are overweight, you don’t have to worry. Just buy a kayak according to your weight, and start paddling today. Then, you will surely lose a lot of fat.

Can you kayak if you are fat?

If you are fat and you love kayaking, it is a beautiful opportunity for you to lose weight. Kayaking is the best exercise for losing belly fat. It is also the best cardio exercise, and also it brings you close to nature. So, get a kayak for yourself and get slim in a couple of days.

Finals Comments

The final comments of this article include that if you are a beginner, don’t hesitate. Buy a kayak, and you will learn it soon. But before buying a kayak, read our complete guide on it. The guide includes every single detail about kayak purchasing.

We have seen many people purchasing the wrong kayaks that are not suitable for them. It is because they don’t know how to choose a kayak. Whenever you buy a kayak, please share your experience with us. It might help others in selecting new kayaks for themselves.