The 5 Best Kayaks of 2023
The 5 Best Kayaks of 2022
Whether you’re exploring wild coastal shorelines or paddling down an urban river, kayaking is one of the best ways to get out on the water—it’s a hobby that can suit people of almost all ages, athletic abilities and interests. You can spend a quiet morning paddling in pursuit of fish, or you can chase the adrenaline rush of surging down Class VI rapids. Perhaps you’d prefer to load your camping gear into the hull and cruise until you find the perfect place to set up basecamp for a couple days. The beauty of this sport is that once you’re equipped with the best kayak for your needs and abilities, you then get to choose the intensity, physical effort and the scenery.
While kayaks are arguably the most common of water sport vessels, they are far from cookie-cutter clones of one another. Kayaks can be incredibly versatile watercraft and depending on the type, capacity, and features, they can be suitable for adventures, exercise, leisure, or as a means to catch some fish. We know that finding the right one for you can be daunting—there are just so many options—but we’re here to help.
How To Shop For A Kayak
There are a variety of things to consider when shopping for your own kayak; here are some of the most important factors you should consider.
Where Will You Paddle?
Are you planning on taking your chariot out on a lake, in the ocean or down a river? Knowing that will help narrow down your choices. Any sit-on-top kayak will do in lakes (as in your local lake, not one of the Great Lakes). In more open water, where waves and wind are variables, you’ll want a sit-in boat, preferably with a rudder and a spray skirt. Finally, for rivers (and not the whitewater kind), it’s a good idea to choose something shorter—it’ll make it easier to turn in close quarters.
Sit-On-Top Vs. Sit-In
Generally speaking, sit-on-top kayaks are meant for casual recreation. We’re talking noodling around lakes and mellow rivers. They usually have a wider cockpit, which means they’re easier to get in and out of, and there’s room to stretch your legs. That being said, they’re also often heavier. As for sit-in kayaks, those can be used for recreation and touring, as they’re more efficient. They move fast and have ample covered compartments to store gear in. They’re also warmer when the weather and water are chillier.
This isn’t just counting you, but also all of your gear. If you’re planning on doing overnight tours with all your camping gear, make sure to account for the added pounds. Also, if you plan to have your dog be a co-pilot, factor in their weight as well.
The price for kayaks can vary wildly. Consider your budget and how often you will use your kayak before making your purchase. After all, you might not need a kayak with all the bells and whistles if you plan on using it a couple times each year, in fair weather, at the local pond.