Shopping for the Best Kayak? Here’s What You Need to Know

best kayak

If you’re looking for the best kayak you’ve come to the right place! The best kayak for you varies based upon the type of kayaking you plan to do. Are you heading out to whitewater, open  ocean, or a calm lake? Kayaks are specially designed regarding the type of water they are expected to navigate through. So, the first step is to identify where you plan to use your kayak and then match that with the options available.

6 Different Types of Kayaks

What are your kayaking #goals? There are many different types of kayaks, and each one is specially engineered for unique purposes, from flat water to whitewater and open ocean too. You’ll need more than one kayak to conquer every type of water. Here’s a breakdown of 6 different types of kayaks to help you decide what you need to start narrowing down your search for the best kayak.

1. Recreational Kayaksbest kayaks

If you’re new to kayaking or plan to spend most of your time on flat calm waters, a recreational kayak is a great place to start. There are countless options within the recreational category, but all have one thing in common: stability. That’s because recreational kayaks are designed wider and with a different-shaped hull. Some are so stable you can stand up and sit down while gliding across the water without capsizing. The added stability takes away a lot of speed, making recreational kayaks far from the fastest option.

2. Sit-on-top Kayaks

If you don’t like the idea of sitting “inside” of sit-in kayaks, sit-on-top kayaks are a popular alternative designed for recreational kayaking or fishing. For the most part, they are unfit for whitewater or ocean waters. The added stability this type of kayak offers reduces overall speed and agility. While they are self-draining, sit-on-top kayaks tend to produce a wetter ride when compared to sit-in kayaks.

3. Inflatable Kayaks

Another type of recreational kayak, inflatable kayaks are affordable and easy to transport, hence their recent rise in popularity.  For the most part, inflatable kayaks don’t provide the same high quality performance as other kayaks, but there are some higher quality performance models available. Our list below features an inflatable kayak with great reviews and an unbeatable price point.

best kayak

4. Whitewater Kayaks

Whitewater kayaks are great at what they do, as they are specially designed for whitewater. Put a whitewater kayak on a calm river or lake and you won’t get the same great results out of it. That’s because the best whitewater kayaks are highly specialized, including numerous subcategories of whitewater kayaks.

5. Touring Kayaks

Touring kayaks are designed to get you from one point to another in as little time as possible. Part of the reason they can do this is because they are longer than recreational kayaks and can therefore better track a straight line. Generally, boats that measure over 12 feet are classified as touring kayaks.  The longer the boat the more storage space you’ll have, which makes touring kayaks ideal for longer expeditions and camping trips.

6. Sea Kayaks

Just as its name suggests, sea kayaks are intended for use in wide-open ocean waters. Sea kayaks are considered a subset of touring kayaks, although they tend to run narrower, thus giving them slightly less stability. Still, some are made with excellent secondary stability, which allows for more advanced maneuvering. They are long, like touring kayaks, offering extra gear space and a straighter line from one point to another.

All sea kayaks can be used for touring, but not all touring kayaks can be used in the ocean. If you plan to go through large swells in open water, an extra couple of inches can make a huge difference. That’s why many recommend sea kayaks measure at least 16 feet long.

kayaking Banner

7 of the Best Kayaks Worth Checking Out

1. Old Town Kayak Heron 9 (Recreational Kayak)best kayak

  • Compact Sporty Kayak
  • Adjustable footings and Seat For Added Comfort

2. Ocean Kayak 12-feet Malibu Two Tandem (Recreational Kayak)

  • Tandem Kayak
  • Large Weight Capacity For Multiple People
  • Comfort Plus Seats

3. Sun Dolphin Aruba 10-foot sit-in kayak (Whitewater Kayak, can handle up to class three whitewater)

  • Sit In Design To Keep You Dry
  • Adjustable Foot Holds
  • High-Density Polyethylene

4Sea Eagle SE370 Inflatable Kayak with Deluxe Package (Sea Kayak)

  • Inflatable Design
  • Easy To Carry & Store
  • 3 Person Capacity

5. Ocean Kayak Frenzy (Sit-On-Top Kayak)

  • Extreme Stability
  • Tri-Form Haul For Speed
  • Durable & Rugged

6. Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost Angler (Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak)

  • Perfect Fishing Kayak
  • Optimal Features & Attachments
  • Extremely Stable

Top Related Article – Best Fishing Kayaks

7. Intex Explorer 2-person (Inflatable Kayak)

  • Durable Inflatable Kayak
  • Made For Small Waters
  • 400 Pound Capacity

Every Kayak Needs a Kayak Carrier

Once you decide on a new kayak, you’re going to need a way to transport it on all your outdoor adventures. The active adventurers at Vault Cargo agree the Universal Folding Rooftop Kayak Carrier offers the ideal solution to transport kayaks and canoes without hassle. The safe and reliable rack attaches directly to a cargo roof rack and acts as a cradle for your kayak or canoe.

Unlike other kayak carriers on the market, this specially designed carrier is meant to fold up and become more compact when not in use. That means you don’t have to remove it and then reattach it all the time. Instead, it folds down and becomes compact so that your vehicle can easily fit in a garage or low-clearance area without removing the carrier.

Check out the Folding Rooftop Kayak Carrier by Vault Cargobest kayak

[{"code":""
[{"code":""
"label":"$500 Gift Card"
"label":"$500 Gift Card"
"win":false}
"win":false}
{"code":"10OFF"
{"code":"10OFF"
"label":"No luck today"
"label":"No luck today"
"win":false}
"win":false}
{"code":"FREESHIPPING"
{"code":"FREESHIPPING"
"label":"Save 75% OFF"
"label":"Save 75% OFF"
"win":false}
"win":false}
{"code":"10OFF"
{"code":"10OFF"
"label":"Almost"
"label":"Almost"
"win":false}
"win":false}
{"code":""
{"code":""
"label":"Save 50% OFF"
"label":"Save 50% OFF"
"win":false}
"win":false}
{"code":"10OFF"
{"code":"10OFF"
"label":"Nothing"
"label":"Nothing"
"win":false}
"win":false}
{"code":"LOCKDOWN10"
{"code":"LOCKDOWN10"
"label":"Save 10% OFF"
"label":"Save 10% OFF"
"win":true}
"win":true}
{"code":"10OFF"
{"code":"10OFF"
"label":"Sorry!"
"label":"Sorry!"
"win":false}
"win":false}
{"code":"15UNLOCKED"
{"code":"15UNLOCKED"
"label":"Save 15% OFF"
"label":"Save 15% OFF"
"win":true}
"win":true}
{"code":"FREESHIPPING"
{"code":"FREESHIPPING"
"label":"Nope"
"label":"Nope"
"win":false}
"win":false}
{"code":""
{"code":""
"label":"Save 20% OFF"
"label":"Save 20% OFF"
"win":false}
"win":false}
{"code":"25OFF"
{"code":"25OFF"
"label":"Next time"
"label":"Next time"
"win":false}]
"win":false}]