Types of Kayaks- Key Features and Comparison

Are you also a beginner who wants to understand different types of kayaks? Are you confused about choosing one for yourself among hundreds of options? If so, in this article, you will come to know every aspect of different kayaks.

For beginners, it’s not an easy task to pick a kayak from different kayak types because of the lack of knowledge. If you are about to buy a kayak after reading this article, you will get an ideal one for your first kayaking ride.

Types of Kayaks: Overview

It is essential to understand the difference between each type of kayak. Otherwise, you’ll end up buying the wrong one for yourself.

Kayaking types are also an important aspect to consider while buying because every kayak has different features. And it’s a big no-no to purchase something without understanding its features.

Not only features, but do you know that every type of kayak is made for different waters? You can’t use a flatwater kayak in the open water. Using the wrong kayak in the incorrect water can even lead you to a dangerous situation.

So, it is wise to decide about some critical things before picking any kayak.

  • You want to use a kayak in flat water or white water.
  • Equipment you want to carry.
  • You want to use a sit-in or sit-on-top kayak.
  • You will go kayaking alone or with someone.
  • Weight of Kayak and your overall budget.

First, consider these things and then pick something that fulfills your requirements.

Why There Are Different Types of Kayaks

First of all, there are two types of water for kayaking, flatwater and whitewater. Flatwater means slow-moving rivers, ponds, and lakes. White water means the fast flow of water in rivers, oceans, or lakes.

There are so many differences between design and features. Because of the water flow, you can’t use a kayak in white water, which is built for flat water.

For example, for fishing, you need a fishing kayak because of its storage capacity. If you want to go kayaking with someone, then you need a tandem kayak because of the double seat feature. Here is the article recommended for you providing you the insight into the ultimate kayak buying place.

Types of Kayaks Design

As we mention above, there are different kayaks, but do you know that these kayaks come in two different designs? The first one is sit-in kayaks, and the second one is sit-on-top kayaks.

Sit-in Kayaks

As the name says, sit-in kayaks signify the kayaks that have a cockpit to sit inside. It is suitable for cold water kayaking.  After all, it saves you from water and keeps you dry, and protects you from illnesses such as hypothermia.

They move fast, and it’s an excellent option to go with sit-in kayaks as it has cargo compartments and other compartments to store equipment. Here is the article recommended for you providing you the insight into cold water kayaking.

Sit-on-top Kayaks

Sit-on-top kayaks are the exact opposite of sit-in kayaks. In sit-on-top kayaks, you’ve to sit on the top of the kayak, not inside in a cockpit. It is suitable for warm weather and warm water for the sake of your safety.

The best thing about sit-on-tops kayaks is you can stand on them. It also gives you more control over the kayak. A sit-on-top kayak is an ideal option for beginners because it is easy to get in and out from them.

In case of kayak flip over, you can flip back the kayak and get on it quickly with less effort than sit-in kayaks.

Types of Kayaks

Here are the types or categories of kayaks. Remember that sit-on-top and sit-in kayaks are the two different designs of kayaks, not kayak types.

Recreational Kayaks

Recreational kayaks are ideal for flat water. It is suitable for short trips such as sightseeing in a lake or river. Furthermore, it does not matter whether you’re a beginner or an expert in kayaking; anyone can use it.

Recreational kayaks are suitable for anyone for flatwater kayaking. Bear in mind that it is not ideal for open water or whitewater.

They usually come in short lengths, a maximum of about 10 ft. However, it is easy to maneuver with its small frame, which provides stability for flatwater kayaking adventures.

F10- types of kayaks - recreational kayak

Touring Kayaks

As the name implies, touring kayaks are built for touring activities such as long tours in moving rivers or even for racing. Touring kayaks are bigger than recreational kayaks, approximately more than 12 ft. long.

You can use it for kayaking in flatwater. It is also good in speed. Other than that, it is also pretty good in terms of stability that one can comfortably go with touring kayaks on a long trip without worrying about safety.

Inflatable Kayaks

Inflatable kayaks are the best option for any skill level kayakers. The incredible feature of this type of kayak is, you don’t have to carry heavy kayaks. You have to deflate it, and after that, you can take it, store it anywhere, even in your cupboard or on a shelf.

Easy to carry and easy to store features make this kayak an excellent option for people who live in a small apartment and don’t have space to store heavy and oversized kayaks.

No doubt that inflatable kayaks are a ready-to-go option. You will need to inflate it, and then you can use it anywhere.

F10- Inflatable Kayak

Fishing Kayaks

Here comes the most popular type of kayak, and these kayaks are meant for fishing. Usually, most fishing lovers prefer to buy these kayaks.

All the features, fishing kayak, possesses help fishers. It can carry more weight than other types of kayaks. You can also stand up on most of the fishing kayaks.

Moreover, it comes with rod holders, mount, cargo storage, and many other features that make this kayak handy for the fishing experience.

Tandem Kayaks

No doubt all kayaks are good for some reason; they have features that make them best. The only problem with most kayaks is that only one person can enjoy kayaking, which is unsuitable for a person who wants to buy a kayak to enjoy kayaking with his friends.

That’s the point where tandem kayaks come and provide the facility of two seats. It means you can go with your friend or partner. Other than that, it is also perfect for beginners. With this kayak, they can go kayaking with their tutor.

Modular Kayaks

Modular kayaks are also known as snap kayaks. They come in pieces, and you’ve to put these pieces together, then you can go kayaking. Don’t worry about the time issue because this process doesn’t take too much time.

You can make this kayak solo to tandem easily by just adding a midsection piece for sitting. Most people think that just because they come in pieces, these kayaks are not stable. While this is only a misconception, modular kayaks are sturdy and durable that even lasts for years.

With modular kayaks, you can go fishing, touring, racing, or any other sports activity.

Which One Should You Choose?

No one can tell that this is the perfect kayak that suits you. Only you can choose the best one for yourself because no one knows your requirements and your plans regarding kayaking.

That’s why we explain all the details regarding the types of kayaks and their design. So, you can choose the one you need.

Following are some tips that can help you to choose the perfect kayak.

  • First, choose the type of water you want to paddle in.
  • Think that you need a solo kayak or tandem kayak.
  • Consider the equipment you want to carry and choose the one that meets storage capacity requirements.


  • Sit-in kayaks signify the one that has a cockpit to sit inside.
  • Sit-on-top kayaks are the ones where you can sit on the top of kayaks.
  • With sit-in kayaks, you can sit inside and keep yourself dry.
  • Sit-on-top kayaks are especially suitable for beginners as it is easy to get in and out from them.
  • Recreational kayaks are ideal for shorter trips.
  • Touring kayaks are best for racing or longer kayaking trips.
  • Modular kayaks come in pieces, and you’ve to put them together for kayaking.
  • Inflatable kayaks are suitable for the ones who are looking for easy-to-carry kayaks.
  • Fishing kayaks are best for fishing adventures.
  • Tandem kayaks have the capacity for two people. So, they are beneficial for you if you want to go kayaking with someone.

Bottom Line

Choosing a kayak with the best features is not as easy as falling off a log. Hopefully, after reading our detailed article, you’ll understand the differences between each type of kayak.

Just remember one thing, always think about the storage capacity and other requirements before choosing a kayak. Comment below and tell us which type of kayak you like most among all the types of kayaks.