Different Types Of Kayaks, Which One Is For Your Adventure?

  • Post category:Kayaking

When it comes to kayaking, there are pros and cons for every type of boat! From folding kayaks to sit-on-top models, there’s a perfect choice for everyone. However, with so many different types of kayaks, it can be hard to decide which is the best one for your adventure. 

Though all types of kayaks are made with tough and durable materials, it’s important to point out the quality, maintenance, storage, and safety systems in accordance with your purpose of kayaking. 

In this article, we will look at the pros and cons of each type of kayak to help you make an informed decision.

What are the main types of kayaks?

Kayaks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but all are designed to provide comfort, stability, and efficient paddling. There are a few main types: sit-on-top kayaks, bow kayaks, hybrid kayaks, fishing kayaks, etc.
Each type of kayak has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs.

Which type of kayak is better for beginners?

If you’re just starting out kayaking, one type of kayak is definitely better than the other. The more advanced you get, the more variety there is to choose from. 
But for beginners, a recreational kayak is perfect because it’s stable and easy to control. Recreational kayaks also have a low center of gravity, which makes them easier to get into and out of water.

Which Type Of Kayak Is For You?

When you’re looking to buy a kayak, there are a lot of things to consider. You need to decide what type of kayak you want, what your budget is, what size you’re comfortable in, and what water conditions you’ll be using it in. 

Ultimately, the type of kayak you buy will depend on your activities and needs. Therefore, decide what type of kayaking you want to do.

Different Types Of Kayaks 

There are many different types of kayaks, so how do you choose the right one for you? Read on to learn more about different types of kayaks, including, hard-shell kayaks, inflatable kayaks, sit-in kayaks, pontoon hulls, and sit-in-style kayaks. 

Then, make an informed decision about which one you want. Here are some general advantages and disadvantages of each. After all, it’s your vacation, so it should be comfortable and safe.

Whether you’re looking for an economical option or something with a bit more features, this guide will help you find the right one for your needs.

River Running Kayaks

River running kayaks, or free-running kayaks, have certain characteristics that make them great for running on the river. These boats are usually longer than the average freestyle kayak and are designed to be buoyant and have an extended hull for a fast ride.

However, free-running kayaks are not as stable as their freestyle cousins. If you’re new to the sport, you should know that free-running kayaks are not for everyone.

The flat bottom of a free-running kayak makes it easier for paddlers to make course corrections. A flat surface also makes it harder for kayakers to land big boofs. The streamlined appearance of a free-running kayak makes it easier for experienced paddlers to make course corrections quickly.

However, it may be difficult for beginners to maneuver these vessels in tight rivers. For more advanced paddlers, a flat hull is a better option for moving around rivers.

The internal volume of a free-running kayak determines its buoyancy and stability. A playboat, for example, is typically only 45 gallons, while a potbellied creek boat can be up to 80 gallons.

Despite the size difference, all whitewater kayaks are equipped with a considerable amount of rocker. However, playboats tend to be flatter through the middle and have more dramatic rises toward the bow and stern.

Inflatable Kayaks

Inflatable kayaks are perfect for those who want to enjoy the outdoors but don’t want to deal with the hassle of packing an extra boat or carrying extra gear. But it’s important to know how safe are inflatable kayaks?

You can also carry more people on an inflatable kayak and paddle faster and further than you could on a hard-shell kayak. In addition, if you have a puncture, you can easily fix it with the maintenance kits provided with the boat.

Most inflatable kayaks have separate sides and are easily portable. The Sea Eagle kayaks are very portable and can fit into the trunk of a car or even a small RV. One important thing to remember when it comes to portability is to dry out the kayak thoroughly and completely after using it.

If you leave pockets of water, they can quickly develop mold. The best way to dry a kayak is to put it in the sun. If possible, use a towel to wipe the top and sides of the kayak to soak up excess water.

These kayaks are easy to transport, allowing you to take them anywhere you want. These boats are highly portable and can be inflated for use and deflated for storage. They come in a wide variety of designs and can be filled with a foot pump, hand pump, or electric pump.

Aside from being lightweight, inflatable kayaks also offer a high level of support for the paddler. Overall, inflatable kayaks are great for beginners as well as experienced paddlers.

Choosing an inflatable kayak can be a challenging task. The material and shape of inflatable kayaks need to be durable enough to withstand wear and tear. Unlike inflatable rafts and balloons, inflatable kayaks are made to last. Today’s technology has made them extremely durable.

Hard-Shell Kayaks

Fiberglass and plastic are the most common materials used to create hard-shell kayaks. While plastic kayaks are more durable, they cost more to repair and maintain than hard-shell kayaks.

If you’re looking for a hard-shell kayak that will provide a strong, durable hull for a low price, the Driftsun Teton 120 may be the perfect option for you. The wide hull is designed to maintain tracking performance on the water. 

However, a few disadvantages of hard-shell kayaks need to be considered before buying one. First of all, the hard-shell kayaks are heavy and therefore require more storage space than their inflatable counterparts. 

Also, they’re not very convenient to transport and will require plenty of muscle power to haul them across a gravel road. The downsides of hard-shell kayaks are easily offset by their convenience and safety.

Sit-In Kayaks

Sit-in kayaks provide extra protection, especially in rough water and cold climates. Depending on the model, sit-in kayaks are also more stable on long trips. They’re also faster on the water. Both sit-in and sit-on-top kayaks are great for exploring out-of-the-way places. But which one is right for you?

Here are some benefits of each type. If you’re planning to take your kids with you, a tandem sit-in kayak is a perfect option.

The most obvious advantage of a sit-in kayak is its ease of entry and exit from deep water. This makes it a great choice for camping or casual use near cabins. Also, it’s great for kids’ boating and swimming platforms. Sit-in kayaks are also comfortable to sit in, even in the sun and heat.

You can paddle and look out to sea without worrying about slipping out of the kayak or needing to get out of the water.

Besides the lower body protection, a sit-in kayak is also easier to get into and off. The closed deck makes the lower half of your body less exposed to the sun, wind, and rocks. Sit-in kayaks also cost less than sit-on-top kayaks, but you’ll need to buy accessories and upgrades for them.

If you want to enjoy kayaking but don’t want to break the bank, a sit-in kayak will be a good choice.

Sit-On-Top Kayaks

Most sit-on-top kayaks are constructed with polyethylene. This material is cheap and flexible but is susceptible to UV damage. To ensure your kayak’s durability, look for dual-layer or blow-molded construction or high-density polyethylene. A third type of material to consider is ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), which is stronger and lighter than polyethylene.

The advantage of sit-on-top kayaks is their ease of use. They’re easy to get into and out of, with small holes for drainage of water. A sit-on-top kayak is a safer choice for beginning kayakers since novices cannot capsize or snag.

Furthermore, beginners can easily right themselves in the water if they capsize. While both types of kayaks are great for beginners, you should consider the size and weight of your kayak before purchasing one.

A sit-on-top kayak can be used for fishing. They’re often equipped with built-in rod holders and a storage compartment on the deck. Some models come with tracking devices and paddles, but some require separate purchases.

As with any other type of kayak, it’s important to research features before you buy. Sit-on-top kayaks are great for warm-weather and tropical locations, but they’re not the best choice for rough waters. Their lack of control can make them potentially dangerous when navigating challenging open water conditions.

One important consideration when choosing a sit-on-top kayak is its weight capacity. If you plan on taking along heavy gear, choose one with a higher weight capacity. Heavy loads can easily sink a kayak. Additionally, choose a sit-on-top kayak with enough room for you and your gear.

In general, sit-on-top kayaks should have a weight limit of twenty to forty pounds before being loaded.

Tandem Kayaks

If you’re looking for a new kayak, consider buying a tandem. There are several advantages to choosing one over the other. The first is convenience. Many people enjoy taking long, scenic kayak trips with their friends and family. They are much easier to store and transport than single kayaks. Additionally, the longer tandem kayaks have better tracking. However, it’s important to consider the length of the kayak you’re planning on purchasing.

However, it is more expensive than other inflatable kayaks and may not be the best choice for paddlers over 6 feet tall. An inexpensive, foldable tandem kayak is the Oru Kayak Haven TT. The boat is designed to be easily stored but offers plenty of performance for two people.

When choosing a tandem kayak, you should consider whether you plan to paddle long distances or short distances. If you intend to take the kayak out for recreational purposes, an inflatable version is the best choice. Inflatable kayaks are easier to transport and store than hard-shell kayaks. They also take up less space, are lighter in weight, and are more realistic for beginners. If you plan on paddling for long periods, however, a hard-hull model may be best for you.

Hybrid Kayaks

Hybrid kayaks combine the best features of two different kinds of watercraft to make a comfortable, versatile craft. They are relatively lightweight, provide ample storage space, and are not overly speedy. 

In addition, their wide-open deck makes paddling easier when standing up. While they can handle fast currents, hybrid kayaks are best used for relaxed flatwater paddling and do not excel at anything specific. 

Hybrid kayaks are designed for mild whitewater and are often rigged as sit-on-top kayaks. Paddleboard kayak hybrids are easy to transport and pack down small enough to fit in a car. 

Hard-shell kayaks, on the other hand, require a rack system or roof rack for transport. This means that they’re not the ideal choice for people with limited space or mobility. Hybrid kayaks are a great option for families with small children and are the perfect choice for paddling on mild whitewater.

Touring Kayaks

A touring kayak is a long-range touring boat with a v-shaped bow and stern. It has a hard chine and less rocker than other kayaks. It excels at tracking and straight-ahead paddling and is not as maneuverable in rough water or around objects. 

Generally, these kayaks are made of composite materials that are lightweight, durable, and easy to assemble. And there are many different types of touring kayaks available on the market today, and they are perfect for ocean kayaking, river travel, and Greenland-style paddling.

A touring kayak is a step away from a recreational kayak, but it’s not far away. This kayak is at least 12 feet long and is meant to cover ground quickly in calm waters. They also often feature a drop-down skeg for greater stability and flat spots in the middle to provide secondary stability. 

Folding Kayak

Folding kayaks are perfect for those who want to take their kayak on the go but don’t want to carry a bulky and heavy unit. With a few simple folds, these boats can be easily transported and stored. They’re also lightweight enough that you can take them with you on your travels without feeling weighed down.


  • Folding kayaks are easier to transport and store. 
  • They’re typically less expensive than traditional kayaks. 
  • They’re good for beginners because they’re easy to learn on and don’t require a lot of maintenance.


  • One drawback is that folded kayaks are less stable than non-folded kayaks.
  • Folding kayaks are not always easy to transport, so they may not be the best option for long trips.

Whitewater Kayak

Whitewater kayaks are typically made from fiberglass or plastic and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Have a look at our take on beginner’s guidelines on whitewater kayaking.

These kayaks are designed for use in Class IV and V rivers and can be paddled solo or with a partner. They generally have a narrower beam and shorter length than ocean kayaks, making them nimbler in tight turns.

Whitewater kayaks are also often equipped with a skeg, which helps them maintain course through the rapids.

These kayaks tend to be faster and more maneuverable than other types of kayaks, making them great for running rapids. And they are also relatively lightweight, making them easy to transport and store.

Fishing Kayak

A fishing kayak is a versatile vessel that allows anglers to explore many waterways in search of fish. 

Fishing kayaks are designed specifically for fishing and typically have a narrower beam and a more shallow depth than other kayaks. This makes them better suited for catching smaller fish in shallow water.

These kayaks are relatively easy to transport, and they accommodate a wide range of body types and sizes. 

These kayaks can be used for freshwater or saltwater fishing, and many models are equipped with gear storage areas and drainage systems.

Playboat Kayak

The Playboat Kayak is a unique and fun boat that allows you to explore your surroundings while having fun. It is made with durable materials that ensure your safety while using it.

There are several different types of playboats. Some of the first were produced in the mid-1990s, while others were more recent. Today, playboats are considered to be more versatile and easier to initiate, but many users prefer to paddle a traditional kayak.

Freestyle kayaking is another popular form of playboating. This sport uses various whitewater features, such as holes and eddylines, to surf. While it may look boring from the shore, it feels great when you’re in the water! 

If you’ve ever seen a freestyle kayaker surf a wave or hole, you know how it feels. A playboat is perfect for this type of activity, so try it out and see for yourself!

Pontoon Hulls Kayak

One of the benefits of pontoon hulls on kayaks is the excellent stability they offer. They combine the benefits of a flat and rounded hull and give you solid headway while moving. A pontoon hull is often used on fishing kayaks, as this sport involves standing upright and anchoring.

Although these kayaks don’t offer the best top speed, they are more stable and efficient in calm lakes, coastal bays, and slow-moving rivers.

One drawback to pontoon hulls on kayaks is the limited space available in them. While some pontoon boats have ample space for a single kayak, a 10-foot-long one will not fit.

Also, it may be difficult to mount a kayak that has a longer nose or rudder than an eight-foot-long model. Choosing a type of kayak should be based on how easy it is to dismount.

Some Other Types Of Kayaks

There are some other types of kayaks, and we can easily categorize them by their specifications. Here are some of them;

Military Kayaks

Kayaks are also used for special- forces, cop, or military use. These types of kayaks are mostly used in the US and Australia. The military-used kayaks have long folds. 

Military kayaks come in all shapes and sizes, but they all share a few key features. They’re often designed for rugged use, with tough fabrics and reinforced seams that can handle a lot of abuse. 

They also tend to be quite stable, making them perfect for fishing or navigating tricky waterways. Finally, many of them have storage compartments and comfortable seating areas, making them perfect for long adventures.

Multi-Hull Kayaks

Multihull kayaks are specially purposed fishing kayaks that have stability without decreasing the speed of kayaks. You can also enhance the stability of these kayaks. These kayaks are used for special purpose fishing and touring with special outfits.

Some multihull kayaks have a flat bottom, while others have an inverted “V” shape. They’re also available in a variety of sizes and shapes, so you’re sure to find the perfect one for your needs.

Surf Kayaks

Surf kayaks have a flat bottom and hard edge. Typically these kayaks are made from plastics and fiberglass and used for sporting purposes. Surf kayaks have become more popular in traditional kayaking areas like the great lakes and the seas. 

Surf kayaks are different from other kayaks in a few ways. They are designed specifically for surfing and offer a more immersive experience when out on the water. They also come with unique designs that make them stand out from the competition. 

Additionally, they tend to be a bit more expensive than traditional kayaks, but they are definitely worth the investment.

Racing Kayak

Racing kayaks are designed for fast water activities like sprint racing, river running, and whitewater rafting. Most racing kayaks are made from carbon fiber or aluminum. 

They have a slightly concave hull design that gives them a narrow beam and stiffer backbone than other types of kayaks. This makes them very responsive and fast when you’re paddling.

These kayaks have control over the speed and maneuvering of the flow of the water with comfort on longer distance paddling on oceans or lakes. Sometimes racing cars are narrow and v-shaped. 

On the other hand, recreational kayaks are more round-shaped. The space for racing kayaks is very narrow. The highest two paddlers can sit on the areas. But sometimes, racing kayaks have four seats also for enjoying the racing purpose.

Comparison Of Different Kayaks

When you want to kayak on the calm and quiet lake water, not the superior lakes, and the weather is nice and fair, and your kayaking destination is near to your current place so that you can go easily, then you can choose a sit- on- the- top kayaks or recreational kayaks for having fun with it because the recreational kayaks will match in with it. 

If you are going to plan for kayaking to winds, waves, currents, and tidal areas, then selecting a sit- in- kayak is a wise decision for you. And if you are in a warm or hot environment where you have the proper access to go swimming or surfing, then you can undoubtedly choose a sit- in- kayak for you. 

However, if you have a problem with the technical rapid kayaks and want to remain calm and stable on the water, you can choose a calm river to float with kayaks. And for that reason, you may select short, stable, recreational kayaks for you to all day long short touring.

On the other hand, if you select high flowing water for kayaking, you can also select a short recreational kayak for sporting. You can control the speed then because a short kayak has a rudder option. But longer kayaks rarely have rudder options. 

Lastly, a good understanding of some common features of the kayaks will help you to make you understand and narrow down your choices about kayaks.