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Different Types of Kayaks and Their Best Use (2023)

By: Cubby

Last updated on: November 9, 2022

Kayaking as a sport is gaining immense popularity, and many people are leaning towards the idea of adopting it as a hobby if not for themselves then for their kids. And honestly, why not go kayaking? It is a fun way to get in touch with nature, and it is all the more amazing if you are a fan of water sports.

If not all that, then watching the kayaking scene from “Into the Wild” would most definitely inspire you to do it!

But where to get started? It is totally okay if you are a rookie here and trying to know about kayaks and kayaking, for that you have landed at just the right place.

In this blog, we are going to talk about different types of kayaks and their best use. So you can read for yourself and decide which kayak would be best for you according to your needs.

Types of Kayaks

Mentioned below are different types of kayaks and their best use,

Types Of Kayaks

Inflatable Kayak

Inflatable Kayak

This type of kayak is the most practical if you are looking for a versatile kayak that can be stored easily. It can also accommodate a number of people, from kids to adults.

The downside of this type is that it can be punctured easily by sharp objects or debris. Also, there is a chance that it will deflate entirely due to a hole that might not even be very big. But this little problem is not impossible to work around as you can buy a repair kit and patch up the boat all by yourself.

Also, the fact that it is compact and convenient to store makes up for its shortcomings.

Inflatable kayaks are best for people lacking storage space.

Rigid Kayak

Rigid Kayak

These types of kayaks are the ones that do not require inflating and offer good stability as well as durability. They are usually made from either rigid sheet plastic or hard plastic sheets with injected foam material. These kayaks provide good storage capacity and are easy to carry in a car or on bike racks. However, they might not be as comfortable for beginners due to their high weight, especially when compared with inflatable types.

Rigid kayaks are best suited for seasoned kayakers who want efficient tracking.

Tandem Kayaks

Tandem Kayaks

As the name suggests, this kayak is designed for two people to paddle together, making it perfect for family or friends. You can find tandem kayaks in both sit-in and sit-on-top variants.

It offers a good experience while paddling because these are usually wide and stable so that you will feel safe at all times.

Tandem kayaks are best if taking along a +1 for kayaking is on top of your priority list.

Sit-on-top Kayak

Sit-on-top Kayak

They have been designed keeping the comfort of the users in mind because these kayaks do not require you to sit inside them, which means that the chances of tipping over are reduced significantly. This type is usually made from fibreglass material, but nowadays, a sit-on-top kayak can be found in different materials such as polyethylene, rotomolded polyethylene and even thermoformed plastics depending upon its price range and durability required by the user.

Their downside? You’ll probably get wet from the splashing water. But you will not have to worry about water filling in your kayak because of scupper holes in it that drain water.

Sit-on-top kayaks are best suited for fishing, surfing or any activity which requires you to be on top of the kayak.

Sit-in Kayak 

Sit-in Kayak

These kayaks are the most popular types amongst different users because they offer good storage capacity, stability and durability all at once. They also allow you to move around inside, making them perfect for advanced paddlers who need more control over their kayak.

Sit-in kayaks are best for adventure sport.

Crossover Kayak

Crossover Kayak

This type of kayak is basically a combination of different kayak types, which means that it might not come with any positive or negative feature exclusively. It usually comes in a sit-on-top design but can be modified into other styles, depending on the needs and desires of the buyer.

Crossover kayaks are best for those who want to experience kayaking in different water conditions.

Fishing Kayaks

Fishing Kayaks

This type is usually designed with anglers in mind which means that they are wide and stable for maximum comfort during long hours of fishing. They can come in different styles, but add-ons like pontoon stabilizers and fishing pole holders make these kayaks suitable for fishing.

Fishing kayaks, as the name suggests, are the best for fishing trips.

Folding Kayak

Folding Kayak

Folding kayak is usually made using an aluminium frame or polyethylene plastic sheet, which makes it possible to fold the entire kayak into a https://kayakcambria.com/is-kayaking-hard/small size for easy storage. They are also lightweight and can be carried anywhere easily due to their folding feature.

You can call them a more dependable cousin of an inflatable kayak.

Folding kayaks are best for you if you are running low on storage space.

Sprint Kayak

Sprint Kayak

Sprint kayaks are usually designed for fast and efficient paddling, which means that they offer little storage or stability as compared to longer types of kayaks. They are very narrow and come with a pointed nose at the front, wide beam in the middle and sometimes have squared off sterns.

This type is perfect if you want speed during your trip without worrying about storage space or stability.

Sprint kayaks are best suited for experienced paddlers who want to cover as much water as possible during their trip.

Touring Kayaks

Touring kayaks are more commonly known as sea kayaks. These are long and narrow in shape and have a hydrodynamic design, meaning they have pointed ends, making them perfect for speed paddling while moving through waterways like lakes or rivers. They offer good speed and stability.

A Touring kayak is best for touring because these are usually made for long-distance travel on challenging waters.

Whitewater Kayak

As the name suggests, these types are made explicitly, keeping whitewater rapids in mind. They can provide excellent control over rough waters due to the greater stability offered by their flat hulls.

Creek boats, river runners, play boats and longboats are types of whitewater kayaks, and they are designed to tackle different technical requirements of kayakers.

Only expert paddlers should choose these types since it is arduous work to paddle through high water flows. You might even get thrown out due to any unpredictable movement caused by the currents.

A Whitewater kayak is best for adventure and boating through rough waters.

Recreational Kayak

Recreational Kayak

These types of kayaks offer a good combination of stability and performance, which makes them ideal for newbies and experienced paddlers who want to travel at moderate speeds on flat water without compromising too much with their manoeuvrability or storage space.

These are great if you want to go kayak fishing or explore calm waters on leisurely rides.

A Recreational kayak’s best use would be in exploring rivers, lakes and coastal areas.


Hoping that this article has helped you gather more information on different kayaks and their best use. No matter if you’re a beginner who wants to explore calm waters or an expert paddler looking for whitewater adventures, there’s a kayak to suit everyone’s needs; all you need is some research. With all this information in your pocket, you can stir your hunt for a kayak in the right and productive direction!

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