Pittsburgh Kayakers Message Board › How to choose a kayak that is right for you.
I have been asked many times about what kind of kayak should I buy.
I always answer that the most important feature should be that it is comfortable for you since you may be sitting in it for many hours .
The other criteria is what type of water do you wish to kayak on.
And of course how will you transport it.
The basic types of kayaks are listed below starting from smallest to largest.:
White Water; These are usually smaller in size and are made to turn quickly to maneuver through rapids and rocks. This should only be attempted by experienced kayakers. Water is classified by difficulty by class ratings I - V with V being the most difficult and dangerous.
Recreational; This is the most common kayak being sold at local stores and can range in price from 200$ to 700$. They are usually light and easy to transport. They are usually about 9 feet in length. I would suggest that you get one that has at least some waterproof storage and that floats if you capsize. Yes that is what I said not all kayaks float and you would hate to be in a middle of a lake and find that out. You can buy flotation bags if it does not float. I also suggest adjustable foot pegs to be a more efficient paddler. These boats can be used in lakes or streams but are not as fast or efficient through the water as longer thinner kayaks. The one that you sit inside of can also be fitted with a skirt to keep water out and in colder paddling keep you warmer.
Sit a Top: These are like the recreational kayaks but you sit on top of the boat and you are totally exposed to water and sun and are easier to get into and out of. If yo go to the beach you will mostly see these type of boats since they can not fill up with water and they float and are stable and easy to get in and out of boat. You can attach a dri fit bag on the back if needed.
Fishing Kayak : These are like a recreational kayak but are made more stable and usually have storage. They also have rod holders, and some even come with an anchor system. High end Hobie kayaks have foot driven propeller systems.
Touring Kayaks: This is the one that I own. It is about 14 feet long and is longer and thinner than the recreational kayak making it faster and easier to paddle. It also tracks better. It has 2 large storage areas that can be used for overnight camping trips. I use it on lakes and streams .
Sea Kayaks : These are usually longer and can be from 14-17 feet usually. They are thinner and faster than other kayaks, and as the name implies can be used in larger bodies of water. Usually they have watertight storage for day or overnight trips . Some of them are fitted with a rudder that is controlled by your feet in windy conditions. An example of one with picture is shown at this link. http://pittsburgh.cra...
If in good condition you may wish to look at craigslist for a used kayak or get a good deal on end of season kayaks at local stores. You may also check with Paddling . net that lists all retailers in the USA. If you have a question please feel free to post your question on kayak meetup message board, or feel free to send me message via meetup.
Raccoon State Park that has rentals that you can try kayaking to see if you like it.