An Easy Guide to Choosing Your Inflatable Kayak
Defining the Different Types of Kayaking
The growing popularity of inflatable kayaks has started to get many new people interested in this highly rewarding sport. The low price points of the new, rugged inflatable models make it much more accessible to get into the water. But before cracking open that wallet, let´s take just a few minutes to understand the different types of kayaking. Knowing what kind of kayaking you will be doing is important for knowing which model of kayak to purchase.
There are essentially 4 main types of kayaking.
For lakes, ponds and slow moving rivers. A relaxed, non-demanding pace for short distances. This is a low impact form of kayaking perfect for beginners as well as anyone looking to paddle with their small children. Most introductory/basic kayaks will serve your needs here. The slightly wider form gives added stability and ease of maneuvering.
As the name implies, this is for people who live near large bodies of water and desire to kayak over longer distances. Touring kayaks are longer and narrower than introductory kayaks. This is to allow more speed and easier movement over longer distances. The additional length of these kayaks makes them harder to turn which is why it is advised to have a rudder of skeg to aid in steering and control. (Almost all touring kayaks will come with a rudder or skeg already attached.) If you are a beginner and want to begin touring, it just takes a little patience and practice in calm waters to learn to maneuver your boat.
For rivers or streams with fast moving rapids, though the range is anywhere from scenic rivers to raging whitewater. Great exercise and many possibilities for adventures. Whitewater kayaks are usually shorter than touring kayaks. This aids in making quicker turns and steering around rocks and other obstacles. If this is the type of kayaking that calls to you and you are a beginner, just take the time to learn in slower moving rivers and head for the rapids when you are secure with your skills.
This is the only category not suited for beginners. This is serious kayaking and takes a large investment of time and money. If you do aim to this level, you will eventually have to invest in a special hard shell racing kayak.
So now your´re ready to purchase your perfect inflatable kayak! Just decide where you will primarily be kayaking and what kind of experience you are looking for. Also decide if you would prefer a one person or two person kayak. Both will handle very similarly, though there is a bit more adjustment learning to paddle in sync in a two person. Don´t stress about your decision too much. The great price point and addictive nature of these kayaks leads most people to purchase more than one. Having a couple different models gives you more flexibility in how and where you kayak. It’s also great to have that second kayak for friends who stop by. Share the joy of kayaking!