Renting kayaks and all of the necessary gear is a great way to try out kayaking for first timers. Almost any place you visit wth a river of significant size will have an outfitter who is ready to rent you everything you need and most even provide transportation to and from put in and pull out spots.
If you find that you LOVE kayaking then you are going to want to purchase your own kayak gear. Outfitting yourself can be a bit overwhelming. This is especially true because safety is so important with comfort and fun also at the top of the list. Before you shop, check out this list of essential kayak gear with links to some of our favorite brands.
Essential Kayak Gear Every Family Needs
You are going to need kayaks, of course! Simple enough, right? Well, a quick search on google and you will find a variety of kayak types. Let’s break it down.
Sit- On Top – This type of kayak is perfect for recreational kayakers and families. The sit on top style makes it easy to get on and off at the dock or beach. With a wider hull, sit on top kayaks are generally more stable and better for warm weather kayaking since your body is exposed. You can get single, tandem, or youth sit on top kayaks. I love this one and am considering it for when my 7 yr old is ready for his own kayak.
My husband and I, both have sit-on top kayaks. We have put a lot of miles on our kayaks paddling down rivers and on open water. In my opinion, because of the ease of use, size, and stability, this is the best bang for your buck.
Inflatable Kayaks – These are not toys. Because they are filled with air, inflatable kayaks are more buoyant and surprisingly stable. They are light and easy to use; when deflated they can be carried in a duffle-sized carrying bag. I do not recommend them for beginners because they are slower and take more effort to paddle.
Recreational Kayaks– This is the type of kayak you sit inside. Recreational kayaks are best for calm waters and are great for beginners. You should know though they offer ore stability, once tipped they are hard to bail out . They usually have a storage compartment for longer trips. We purchased this type of kayak for my older son when he was 9. He loves it and can maneuver with ease.
Touring Kayaks – Also known as sea kayaks, touring kayaks are best for open waters on lakes, bays, and oceans. While they are lacking in maneuverability, they offer faster cruising speeds and easy straight line paddling. These kayaks are long and narrow.
Whitewater Kayaks – If the thrill of whitewater is what you are after then you should consider a whitewater kayak. Whitewater kayaks are designed for performance and maneuverability. They are shorter than other styles of kayaks. This is not a kayak for beginners. When tackling class 5 rapids and challenging rivers it is best to have a guide and get some training before taking on whitewater.
Once you have decide on a kayak it is time to look at paddles.
Essential Kayak Gear For Safety
Why should you buy your own kayak gear?