Kayaking – Selecting a Boat

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 17,801
    L.L.Bean kayaking expert and registered Maine Sea Kayak Guide Kevin Hinds guides you through selecting a kayak.

    Kevin Hinds: Hi! I am Kevin Hinds. I am a Maine Registered Sea Kayak Guide and I work for L.

    L Bean's Outdoor Discovery School. I am going to talk today about choosing a kayak, that's right for you.

    The first question you need to ask yourself is what you want to do with that kayak? Today, we are talking about recreational kayaking. They are meant for ponds, lakes, protected waterways with very little wind and calm waters.

    There are two choices when you start looking into recreational kayaking. The first one is sit-on-tops which is no deck of a kayaking. It's just a nice, easy kayak to get into. They are meant for warm water areas. You think about the lakes of Maine, some of them get up to the upper 70s and 80s during this summer, they will be perfect for that, or down south, the Carolina, Florida, you will see sit-on-tops everywhere.

    There is no deck, no top surface for the kayak. They are easy to get in and out of, and just really fun to play with. This is a recreational kayak, that's more of a cock-pitted boat, so it means that it does have a deck - a top surface to it.

    Well with a recreational kayak, they are anywhere from about 9 to 14 feet in length, maybe about 26 to 32 inches wide in width. They'll have a huge open cockpit that's very easy to get in and out of.

    This one has a few bungees to place some safety gear or water bottles and it also has bulkheads in this one. So it has a compartment in the front above hatch and a stern hatch that actually is built-in flotation. It's a really nice recreational kayak.

    Next, we are going to talk a little bit about what kayaks right for you. When you go to any other retailers, make sure to ask a lot of questions and make sure your questions all get answered. Feel free to get into a bunch of kayaks that will help you to see the feel and fit of them and also if you can try them on the water will be the best chance to really see how the kayak feels.

    Things to think about though, the longer the kayak is, the more it will track straight. The shorter the kayak, the more maneuverable it will be.

    Also thinking about the whole shape, if it is a recreational kayak with the very flat bottom, it will be very stable in those protected waters. Some of them they will have a little bit of shape to them, which will be a little bit tippier at first, but better secondary stability.

    Other things you think about too are the cockpit is a really long and wide that's easy for you to get into and out of. You want to think about all those points.

    Now you've got a bunch of tips and hopefully I have answered the right questions, so you can choose the right kayak for you.