The One-Man Vessel: Kayaks Part 1



kayaks and camping

Whether you’re cruising along a rushing river, gliding across a mountain lake or fighting the ocean waves, nothing quite gets your blood pumping like a kayak.  Not only is kayaking great for outdoor exercise, but learning how to use one is relatively easy and a huge amount of fun!  In this four-part series, we’re going to identify the different types of kayaks available on the market and the best places to use them.  So roll up your sleeves and put on your life jackets!  Your kayaking reference guide awaits!

Recreational Kayaks: the camper’s best friend
kayak style 1

As the name implies, recreational kayaks are best for those paddlers out there who just want to slide across relatively-calm waters and get in touch with their inner-casual-outdoorsman.  These kayaks have a low center of gravity, larger cockpit and a broad beam, meaning that they’re very stable and easy to control while sitting easily on the water’s surface, no matter if it’s in motion or at idle.  Because of their ease of use, recreational kayaks are ideal for those getting into the sport for the first time, especially for those people that are already familiar with the handling of a canoe or rowboat.  Compared to the larger models such as sea kayaks, recreational kayaks usually come in at a short 12 feet or less in length which makes them light and maneuverable in and out of the water.  With the boom in kayak popularity, recreational kayaks make up the largest segment of the market and are usually made of less-expensive materials to keep them affordable for the general public. 

Sit-On-Top Kayaks: simple but effective
kayak style 2

Considered by some to be the successor to the recreational kayak, sit-on-top kayaks are simplicity itself.  Little more than a beveled, contoured hollow, sit-on-top kayaks are growing increasingly popular for their comfortable design, featuring a completely open cockpit and wide-beamed construction.  Sit-on-top kayaks are technically considered a kayak-canoe hybrid, and are especially popular among new and aging paddlers who fear having their lower bodies contained within a traditional kayak’s covering.  Because of their open design and high stability, sit-on-top kayaks are also appealing to fisherman and even scuba-divers for use as stationary, floating platforms.
Well we’ve successfully covered the kayak varieties most suitable for introductory and versatile kayaking, but don’t despair!  There’s plenty more kayaks out there that we’ll be covering in the not-too-distant future, so stay tuned!

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