The art of choosing the best kayak:
I often get the question: What is the best kayak for beginners?
This question leads directly to a question: What should you use the kayak for? Long journey, exercise or competition?
Only when these basic questions have been addressed can you answer the original question. The answer I leave is always colored by personal experience and performance requirements of the current kayak type, which does not always coincide with your own requirements and expectations.
If you’re just starting out, buying your first kayak can seem like a daunting task. With so many models, styles, accessories, and sizes, it can be a little confusing to know which beginner kayak is right for you.
Should you choose a sit-on-top or a sit-in? What material should you go with? Where will you be kayaking? With so many questions, it’s no wonder people often feel overwhelmed with making a decision on buying a kayak.
Luckily, we’ve been where you’re at now, and have created this guide in order to help you out. Below you’ll find our comprehensive kayak buying guide along with the 10 best beginner kayaks for 2020.
Kayaking is an awesome adventure that is only becoming more and more popular, and by the time you’re finished reading this, you’ll know exactly which kayak is right for you.
First, let’s take a look at what the top kayaks are for beginners right now:
When looking for your first kayak to buy, there are a few things you want to take into consideration.
If you’re new to kayaking, you’ll inevitably go through a learning curve as you figure out how to kayak. Because of this, you’ll want a kayak that is durable and can withstand the punishment and abuse you’re about to put it through.
Investing in a durable yak is one of the main things you want to do when you’re just starting out. Look at the reviews to see what previous buyers have to say, and also pay close attention to the material of the kayak.
Overall there are 7 different materials to choose from. These include: Kevlar, carbon fiber, inflatable plastic, fiberglass, fabric with a frame, wood, and hard plastic. A hard plastic or fiberglass kayak is a good bet, but the right inflatable kayak can work for beginners as well.
Hard plastic is going to be quite durable, but on the heavier side. Fiberglass will be lightweight, but tend to be more expensive. Carbon fiber and Kevlar are even lighter, but are very expensive and usually not necessary for beginners.
Wooden kayaks are more of a throwback and aren’t used much these days due to high manufacturing costs and their weight.
One of the most important things to consider when you’re just starting out, is the stability of the kayak. The last thing you want is to get out on the water and constantly be tipping over.
Finding a vessel that is stable and is able to handle a little bit of “rock the boat” movements is definitely a good idea. What you want to look for in this case is going to be a yak that is shorter than most other professional styles.
Kayak stability comes in two forms. The first is called primary stability, and has to do with the stability of the kayak when you’re on calm waters, performing low-motion activities, entering and exiting the kayak, or just sitting still.
The second is called secondary stability, and this refers to how stable the vessel is when you’re in rough waters, high-motion activities like white-water kayaking, or going at high rates of speed.
Determining the proper length for your first kayak will be important. When thinking about length, you’ll want to figure out what’s most important to you. If it’s speed and tracking ability, you’ll want to go with a longer kayak. However, if being able to turn the kayak with ease is your main concern, then you’ll want to invest in a shorter yak.
You also need to factor in how you’re going to transport the vessel. Obviously, the longer the kayak, the harder it will be to transport and store. With kayaks ranging anywhere from 7 feet to over 14 feet in length, it’s important to figure out what your needs are before buying.
Taking into account the depth and width for your first kayak will play an important role in everything from steering the yak, to how much you can store in it. Usually, beginners tend to go with kayaks that are wider because they offer more stability and are easier to get in and out of.
However, if you go with a wide yak, you’re going to sacrifice some speed, and the increased drag will make paddling a bit more difficult.
As far as depth goes, bigger guys, or those who want more leg room and space, should opt for a kayak with good depth. The hull will sit up higher on these and you’ll have a lot of room in the cockpit, however, you’ll be more susceptible to the elements such as wind and the cold.
Knowing what you intend to use the kayak for is going to play a big role in determining what kind of kayak to get. Are you looking for adventure and taking it out in rough waters? Do you want something that is going to be family friendly? Will you be fishing with the kayak, or possibly prefer to pedal?
These are all things you need to take into consideration before making your purchase. Once you know what you’ll be primarily using the kayak for, you’ll know what type of kayak you’ll need.
Perfect for fishing or if you want to just cruise around, this sit-in recreational yak is our top-rated overall kayak.
Specifically built for flat water kayaking, the Wilderness Pungo 125 comes with a modest deck rigging and is perfect for rivers and lakes. If you’re big into bass fishing, this would be a great choice, and is what many anglers use along with a top of the line fish finder for the ultimate experience.
Made of polyethylene material, it has great durability and is economically sound, lasting a long time if taken care of properly.
Weighing in at only 49lbs, it’s extremely lightweight, making it easy to transport or carry if needed. Even though the Pungo is light, it’s still very stable and has plenty of room in the cockpit.
Due to its stability, this kayak is able to handle both choppy and calm waters with ease and is difficult to tip over, making it a great choice for beginners. So, whether you’re headed out on the lake or the river, the Pungo won’t let you down.
Due to the multi-chine hull, you’ll notice that this yak is very efficient in the water and offers excellent stability no matter what level paddler you are, beginners included.
Have a lot of stuff you want to bring while kayaking? No worries! The Pungo 125 has a watertight, full-size stern hatch capable of holding extra clothes, food, or accessories. If that’s not enough, it comes with a bungee deck rig to secure dry bags. It also has a removable kayak console, giving you extra space if needed.
This is a premium built kayak with a great name behind it. The only real downside we can see would be the price, as it might be a bit pricey for some beginners. However, if you want a kayak that will last for years to come, this is a great choice.
If you want a durable yet affordable 1-person kayak, look no further than the Intex Challenger K1 Kayak Series. This inflatable kayak is a great choice for those just starting out and looking to make some solo trips out on the water.
Made of welded material, this model will work great for any lakes or slow moving rivers. The puncture resistant vinyl, two separate air chambers, and inflatable I-beam floor, give this kayak a solid construction for the price point. There’s also a cargo net at the front of the kayak for extra storage space for your things.
Included with the kayak is an 84-inch paddle, hand pump, as well as a repair patch.
Measuring a total of 108 inches, and weighing only 27.2 pounds, this is one of the smaller kayaks on the list. It’s also not ideal for bigger individuals as the maximum weight capacity is 220lbs.
One thing we like about this kayak is the quick assembly. Once you get the hang of it, you can have the kayak inflated and completely put together in under 10 minutes. The deflation process is similarly easy, so if you’re worried about transporting your kayak, you don’t need to be with this model.
This is a great value pick for those that want to get started in kayaking but don’t want to break the bank. While this is a durable kayak and an excellent buy for the money, keep in mind that you aren’t paying that much so don’t expect the world.
If you just want to dip your toes into the water before making a big investment, you can’t go wrong with the Intex Challenger K1.
Last update on 2020-11-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising APIScroll to Top