different types of kayaks

When it comes to recreational activities in water, kayaking certainly tops the non-motorized, vessel-based expeditions and there are many types of Kayaks to choose from. Kayaking is both a watersport and a recreational outing that entails paddling on a kayak – a distinctive watercraft, much lighter than the conventional vessels, often physically propelled. According to legends, kayaks trace their roots to over 4,000 years ago when native Inuit, Yupik, and Aleut peoples would use them in their regular chores.

The word “kayak,” therefore, emanates from their dialect “qajaq,” to mean a “man’s boat,” perhaps because of people of such times were hunters. Physically, the first kayaks were not similar with the recent models, although they aren’t strikingly different. They early ones were significantly small in size and narrow as they were basically made from wood and a stitched cover made from the seal.


Quite certainly, the current crop of kayaks bear little resemblance to the original design, albeit the name, basic outline shape, and size hasn’t changed a dime. Pretty much like the “qajaq,” the advanced models feature double-bladed paddles with a few significant enhancements. From the different features associated with the modern types of kayaks – the foot-powered rotational propellers and the small electric motors, you can expect them to come in various forms, right?


As a watersports heartthrob, you know for sure that there are nearly as many kayak models today as the available kayaking destinations. Some are for sale while others are to be rented out. An enormous number, in fact, belong to those who like kayak fishing, recreation and anything in-between. If you are looking to buy, we have compiled a comprehensive Kayak Buying Guide to help you started!


Kayaks come in a plethora of names, sizes, and shapes, but they can be Sit-In or simply Sit-On Kayaks. Sit-In Kayaks have an open cockpit and thus easy to get in and start paddling. They are mostly used in the cold water area.

Sit-On-Top kayaks are relatively stable and easy to get in and out. Without that feeling of confinement is the freedom that comes with user-friendliness. They are fast gaining acceptance amongst nervous paddlers.
When looking to buy a kayak, having a buying guide is more than a necessity. You will need it to classify them according to your needs and maybe buy any one type that perfectly appeals to you.

sit in vs sit on top kayaks


According to kayakers and kayak connoisseurs, there are four major types of kayaks. They are as below:


From their name, such a common type of kayaks are engineered for day trips and occasional overnight trips in mild rivers, bays, and ponds. As they are suited for vacations, they are fondly liked because of that quiet, relaxing cruise on the water.

One of their main features is their reassuring stability. Recreational kayaks feature a wider deck and are significantly shorter in length. Along with that, they feature a more interior room with their construction predominantly made of polyethylene. One standout feature with all recreational kayaks is their size – smaller for almost effortless portability and storage. Across the board, recreational kayaks are affordable.

recreational kayak


For passionate kayaking individuals, a recreational kayak isn’t just enough for extended wilderness trips. That’s why there’s an even bigger, stronger and more stable option in the name of touring kayak. Sometimes, and perhaps because of their sizes, touring kayaks are called sea kayaks.

With an impressive carrying capacity, your weekend-long wilderness expeditions will certainly be memorable as you are confident of going with your friends. These models track well and, although they are slower, they maneuver with utmost reliability. Of course, they are made to last, normally lightweight and perfect for unobstructed rivers.

touring kayak


Kayaks come in various sizes, shapes, and functionalities, but no single option compares to how whitewater kayaks are made to negotiate and maneuver rapids with ease. For those who love the Adrenalin rush associated with rough paddling waters, these types of kayaks have no match. Whitewater kayaks are as a result of kayak designer’s engineering prowess and have undergone rapid evolution over the last few years.

Shorter in length and more snug-fitting than the other kinds, all whitewater kayaks are made for any place with fast moving waters. You can try them on in creeks, rivers, rapids, waterfalls, and ocean surfs.

whitewater kayak


If storing and transporting kayaks is a problem to you then you have a suitable solution in the name of inflatable kayaks. Unlike hard-shell boats, inflatable kayaks can be inflated with ease and deflated when you are out of the sea. Of course, they are made to last and offer years of enjoyable kayaking.

Some selected types of inflatable kayaks can even accommodate three adults, a factor that adds to their many benefits. They are stable, roomy and will never give in to the pressure emanating from sudden hitting of rocks and hard, sharp surfaces as most of them are made from heavy-duty PVC. They are versatile too, perhaps perfect for fishing and recreational outings.

inflatable kayak



Surfers need a small, stable and comfortable kayak that’s made specifically for their requirements. With a flat bottom and hard edges, cutting through water is not a problem at all. Typically, all surf kayaks are made of sturdy materials and will withstand cuts and bruises.

surf kayak


Under specific categories of kayaks is a unique type called racing kayaks. For unwavering stability, high maneuverability and outright speed, racing kayaks are usually 20 feet long and 18 inches wide. Along with that, their hulls are made of robust and lightweight materials and are comfortable to steer. They can fit one to several kayakers.

racing kayak


One notable feature with sea kayaks is their construction. For the rough, salty waters, sea kayaks are made of aluminum bodies, a material that’s both durable and lightweight. Some come with multiple hatches and deck layouts for extra storage space.

sea kayak


When you know what to consider when looking for a kayak to buy, buying one is a breeze. However, it’s even more important that you understand the different types of kayaks available today. The differences emanate from their various purposes, materials used in the making and where they should be used. Remember that a kayak can be a Sit-in or a Sit-On-Top.