The buyer’s guide to kayaks

So, let’s say that you had a lovely time when you met up with a friend this past summer. You went to the lake, had a nice picnic, maybe a few beers, and then went out with your friend in his or her kayak for relaxing paddle in that glorious afternoon sunshine. Now you’re utterly gung-ho about getting your own boat and taking to the water as soon as the weather allows it. Before you head out to the shop to buy your own boat, you’ll want to know exactly what you’re going to need.
It’s crucial to know what you’re going to be doing with your boat first. For example, do you plan to take it down the street to the local lake for a couple of hours of paddling on a casual Sunday, or are you going to be hiking in remote mountains and need to have a boat that you can carry on your back and use to traverse raging alpine rivers and frigid, crystal-clear lakes?
If it’s the former then most likely you don’t have to scrutinise your decision too much and the cheapest rubber dingy will suffice. And truth be told, you needn’t continue reading but can head down to the closest discount shop and buy the first thing you see. But if you’re considering taking the boat into rivers or mountains or the sea and what to have it for more than a season, you’ll need to know a bit more about your needs and be prepared to pay more.
If being mobile and being able to take your boat on trips is important to you then you should consider getting an inflatable rubber boat. This may not sound like the most durable, but there are a handful of manufacturers that produce top-quality, professional equipment that is lightweight and highly mobile. The downside of these boats is that there is a decent amount of preparation that is required and you’ll definitely want to study the manufacturer’s recommendations on maintenance as rubber products can be sensitive to heat and sunlight if over-exposed.
However, if you live in an area with lakes and rivers or whatever you’re preferred body of water is and you intend to stay more or less in your area (and have the capacity to transport a large water craft) then you might want to consider a more classic kayak that’s made of wood, plastic, or fibreglass. These vessels have the advantage of being highly durable and capable of meeting about any challenge.
At any rate, it’s important that you understand your needs, based on how often you anticipate using your boat, where you’re most likely going to be putting it into the water and the conditions there, and for how long you intend to keep it. Some can last a few months and others an entire lifetime. So be sure to inform yourself before you splurge.