Types of Kayaks

Kayaks make for one of the best ways to enjoy the water. Whether you dream of serene days fishing on a calm lake or want to take on white water conditions, there are kayaks perfect for each type of use. 

The two main categories of kayaks are those made for flat water or white water.  Most types of kayaks also come in sit-in and sit-on varieties. These are further divided into different styles, materials and other adaptations for specific uses. 

Here we will look at the types of kayaks you can choose, their best uses, and which could be best for your purposes. 

To Sit-In or Sit-On a Kayak? That is the Question 

If you are new to kayaking, one of the first and most important areas to look at is whether you are more comfortable with a sit-in style kayak or a sit-on style. 

Sit-In Kayaks

With this style of kayak, your lower body is fully enclosed inside the hull of the kayak. It fits as though you are essentially wearing the kayak on your lower body.

Pros of Sit-In Kayaks

Due to the enclosed structure, a sit-in kayak will keep your legs drier and warmer than a sit-on. Sit-in kayaks’ construction also makes them more stable. This will allow a kayaker to lean further to either side without tipping which helps greatly in rough water. 

Cons of Sit-In Kayaks

The enclosed nature of a sit-in can keep your legs dry but, if water does get in (which can happen), it is harder to get it to dry. Additionally, this enclosed space can make kayaking on a hot, sunny day decidedly less comfortable. 

However, one of the biggest considerations for a sit-in kayak is that it is much more difficult to exit and enter than a sit-on. While this is inconvenient in normal situations, it can be truly problematic in the rare event that your sit-in kayak capsizes as you will need to exit the kayak while underwater. 

Sit-on Kayaks

With sit-on kayaks, the design is open and you can simply step in and out the way you would with a standard paddle boat. 

Pros of Sit-on Kayaks

The primary advantage of sit-on kayaks is the ease of getting in and out of the vessel.  This feature can also make the kayak more comfortable for users of all sizes. The open design also allows you to enjoy nice weather more fully.  

Cons of Sit-On Kayaks

Sit-on kayaks are not the best choice for colder waters as there is no way to prevent at least some water getting into the kayak. Additionally, you will need to take extra precautions in keeping supplies dry. 

Other Kayak Styles

Along with sit-in vs sit-on kayaks, there are several other kayak types built for specific conditions including: recreational kayaks, inflatable kayaks, touring kayaks, white water kayaks, and other specialty kayaks. 

Recreational Kayaks

As the name implies, these kayaks are best suited for recreational, easy use on flat waters. They provide enough storage for a few essential items but are not meant for long trips. Recreational kayaks are a good choice for casual kayakers and those who are just starting out since their short length makes them easier to maneuver.

Touring Kayaks

Touring kayaks are built for speed and have a streamlined design. They provide plenty of storage and are able to stay a straight line course with ease which makes paddling less tiresome. 

With this style of kayak, know that they are only available as a sit-in design.  More importantly, they can be more difficult to maneuver and are not intended for beginner kayakers. Seek professional instruction before choosing this type. 

Inflatable Kayaks

Inflatable kayaks are available in several styles and quality levels. This makes them a viable option for everything from fishing trips to white water rapids. Consider an inflatable kayak for these benefits:

  • Easy storage
  • Easy maintenance
  • Affordability
  • Convenient to carry
  • User-friendly
  • Good for both beginners and experienced kayakers
  • Available in single and tandem styles 

Tandem Kayaks

Tandem kayaks allow for two or more kayakers. They are available in both sit-in and sit-on styles and make for a great way to introduce new kayakers to the sport.

Specialty Kayaks

Specialty kayaks encompass a wide range of kayaks that have specific modifications and adaptations that make them best suited for certain conditions and activities. Here are some of the main types you will find:

  • Fishing Kayaks
  • Squirt Boats (lightweight and designed for whitewater kayaking)
  • Slalom Racing Kayaks
  • Sail kayaks
  • Diving Kayaks (used to reach diving sites) 

Find the Best Kayak for You

A quality kayak that suits your purposes can make all the difference in how much you enjoy your experience on the water. At Perun Outdoors, we understand how personal preferences and needs affect which kayak is right for you. 

As avid kayakers ourselves, we love to hear from fellow enthusiasts and novice kayakers alike. If you need help selecting the right type of kayak for you, we’d love to hear from you! Contact us here or start shopping for Perun inflatable kayaks now.