Welcome To Kayak And Canoe Guide!
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first time paddler, our aim is to provide people of all skill sets with in-depth reviews so you find the best kayak and canoe to suit your wants and needs at an affordable price.
Kayaks and canoes come in all shapes and sizes as well as vastly different prices, finding the perfect one can often be more difficult than a Class V river.
Our aim is to make the buying process as simple and smooth as is humanly possible, by breaking down every model into categories and price bands. We then thoroughly review and rate every kayak and canoe so you know exactly what you are getting.
Below you will find some of the most popular kayak and canoe categories, if you already know what type of kayak or canoe you are after, simply navigate to that section and you will find all the most popular and latest models reviewed….
Inflatable kayaks are generally far less costly than your typical kayak, this makes them the perfect entry-level kayak for those wishing to get started, or simply a great purchase for those on a tight budget. Other benefits that an an inflatable kayak provides is easy storage and easy transportation. You can simply deflate an inflatable kayak and put it in the back of your vehicle, allowing you to take it with you wherever you want.
Inflatable kayaks are good on performance too, they are very stable on the water in pretty much any condition. Some people worry about them sinking, but unless you manage to poke holes through many of their chambers then this simply won’t happen.
In more recent years fishing kayaks have become very popular with anglers, they are generally far more affordable than most other kayaks and maintenance is minimal. You can even customize your kayak to suit your needs as angler, their are literally countless accessories and add-ons that you can add to your boat when and if you need them.
Generally the better fishing kayaks will be made from polyethylene because of their durability, some can be propelled by flippers or propellers with the feet, making them hands-free so you can keep your hands on your fishing rod.
Sit On Top Kayaks
A sit-on-top kayak will have a similar hull shape to most other kayaks, however, they will also have a special seat on top for you to sit on, rather than sitting inside. Sit on top kayaks can range hugely in price, they are often made from fiberglass or tough molded plastic. Some sit on top kayaks are considered speciality boats, used for fishing, diving, surfing, touring and other activities, most of them however are multi-purpose.
One of the greatest benefits of a sit on top kayak is that they are much more comfortable than a lot of other kayaks. You also have far less chance of being trapped should you flip over in the water due to the open deck rather than the usual enclosed deck.
Touring kayaks are also known as ‘sea kayaks’, they are designed for paddling on open waters. These small sea-worthy boats have an enclosed deck but aren’t as easy to manoeuvre as kayaks designed for white water, they are however designed for high speeds, decent cargo capacity and comfort for long journeys.
These kayaks are used worldwide for trips as short as a few hours to journeys as long as a few weeks or more and can fit between 1 and 3 people depending on the design. Because of the large size a sea kayak will generally be quite expensive in comparison with other kayaks, they can range from $1000 to over $4000 and be anything from 10 to 18 feet long for solo crafts and 26 feet long for tandems.
Tandem kayaks are often called ‘doubles’, they are a great option for casual boating trips. The greatest part of using a tandem kayak is that you don’t require a skilled passenger as it can be controlled by just one person. This means you are easily able to take children (or pets) out on to the water without any assistance from them.
However, if you do have two capable passengers then this can be a great way to experience trips out on the water as a team. Whether it be to relax, team-build or simply for some hard rowing.
River Running Kayaks
A river running kayak is made for running rapids and is one of the five sub-categories of whitewater kayaking.
These kayaks are designed for whitewater rapids, they are therefore usually designed with a flat, fast hull and can be easily turned in the water. These kayaks are also easy to roll and generally have room in the rear to keep any equipment you might have.
River Running Kayaks are specifically designed for running whitewater and are therefore typically smaller than most other types of kayak.
Playboats & Freestyle Kayaks
Playboats or Freestyle Kayaks are designed to perform technical tricks and manoeuvres in whitewater places such as weirs or other natural river features. While most kayaking tends to see the paddler go from A to B, this type of kayaking generally sees the person stay in the same spot. As with River Running Kayaks, it is one of the five sub-categories of whitewater kayaking.
This type of kayak has been specially designed for improved performance when trying to perform tricks. Playboats such as this can also be used on flat water or surf, they are far smaller than typical kayaks, usually no more than around six feet.
Kayaks for Children
Kayaking isn’t just for adults, you can find many kayaks for children that won’t cost you the earth and will allow your children to get a feel for the sport. Most of these are of course designed for flat water where your child will be far safer than on a river.
This type of kayak are generally fairly small and will allow your child to get out onto the water almost hassle-free.
Canoes are nowhere near as popular as kayaks, however they do come in a variety of categories such as Recreational, Canadian, Freestyle etc. We have currently placed all our canoes under one category to make them easier to navigate.
Canoes differ from kayaks in number of ways, one of course is the seating position. When in a canoe you will either kneel on the bottom of the boat or sit on a raised seat, where as with kayaking you’ll sit in a low seat with legs extended in front of you.
Canoe paddles also differ, canoe paddles only have one blade where as a kayak paddle has a blade at both ends.
Where To Start When Choosing A Kayak?
With so many options available it is hard to know where to start when buying a new kayak. If you are a beginner then an inflatable kayak is a great start, however, if fishing is your passion then you will want a dedicating fishing kayak. The best idea is to decide what you will be doing with your kayak and then read our kayak reviews for that category of kayak.
Inflatable or Rigid?
Inflatable – Often the least expensive, these are very easy to set up and some of the better ones are actually seaworthy, check our inflatable kayak reviews for more information.
Rigid – Made from plastic, fibreglass, wood and various other materials, these hard hull kayaks are a little more expensive than inflatable kayaks but also far more sturdy.
What To Look Our For?
- Price – Kayaks can range from around $100 dollars to as much as $5000 dollars or more. It’s possible to spend a small fortune on a kayak so make sure you know what your budget is before purchasing one.
- Weight and Size – A rigid kayak will be far heavier and much more difficult to move around out of water than an inflatable kayak that you can simply deflate. If you are thinking about taking your kayak from one location to another think about how you will do this.
- Options – Every kayak has a few extras, hatches, cup holders, paddle holders etc. Think about what you need from your kayak and what extras you want on it.
- Cargo Capacity – Each kayak will have a weight limit, make sure you choose one that can hold you and your equipment easily, the last thing you want is to sink because your kayak is carrying too much.
- What Will You Be Doing? – A kayak can come in many different styles, touring, fishing, recreational and more. Make sure you choose a kayak that will suit your needs.
Kayak Specs – What Do They Mean?
- Width – This specification will effect the kayaks top speed, a more narrow kayak will be faster and easier to paddle. However, narrow kayaks are far better in the hands of experienced kayakers, beginners should probably opt for a wider kayak with more stability.
- Hull – A hull’s size and shape will determine the performance it offers. There are 4 different hull shapes, rounded, flat, pontoon and V-shaped. Rounded hulls are faster, v-shaped hulls are better for tracking in straight lines, flat hulls have greater stability and manoeuvrability and pontoons offer the best stability of them all.
- Cockpit – The cockpit is the space in which you will sit when in the kayak. If you are a large person you make require a kayak with a larger cockpit. Smaller cockpits are better suited for ease in manoeuvring, especially when in rough conditions.
- Depth – The depth is the the measurement from the hull to the top of the deck, taller kayakers may require more depth for leg room.