Choosing a Kayak
Kayaks take you to places you would never otherwise go. There is a whole world out there that you won’t see unless you get a kayak. It’s that simple – you need one.
The difficult part though is … Which one!? There are so many kayaks out there, where do I start? Winter is a great time to start planning your spring kayak upgrade or first purchase. We thought we’d create a comprehensive guide to choosing a kayak for a range of activities including recreational paddling, fishing, touring and camping.
Before we dive into it, let’s have a very quick look at the main types of kayaks available for a good price. Click on the kayak pictures below to see heaps more info on them.
Below is a range of single kayaks that gives a good picture of what’s available.
|Dream Catcher 3
Best feature: Lightweight
Best feature: Takes a kid
|Dream Catcher 4
Best feature: Super stable
|Angler’s Dream 3||Length: 395cm
Best feature: Speed
Best feature: Fishing Heaven!
First, Ask Some Key Questions
First things first. You need to ask yourself some questions.
There are two types of questions. One type is about what kind of paddling you’ll be doing. We call these the “Activity Questions”. The other type are all about you! We call these the “Personal Fit Questions”.
- What type of water?
- What type of activity? Fishing, exploring, touring, fitness, racing, camping?
Personal Fit Questions
- Your weight and height?
- Your budget?
- Your ability to lift weight above your head?
- Your experience paddling?
If you can give me answers to these six questions, I can recommend a kayak for you. There are other considerations of course, but these are usually the main ones.
These trade-offs are obvious, but we all need reminding when decision time comes!
- Cost vs Features (The more you pay the more you get!)
- Weight vs Performance on the water (Heavier, larger kayaks are sometimes better for stability, tracking, etc., but lighter kayaks are easier to transport and handle, and are often cheaper)
So let’s get some answers! Take the tests below.
Is your focus flat water or offshore? Flat water means rivers, dams and estuaries while offshore means the sea, off the beach, large open bays, etc.
If your focus is flat water, the next question here is what activity will be your focus?
|Fishing||Stability, Space & Comfort||Any of our singles. See Personal Test below.|
|Recreational paddling||All-rounder||Any of our singles. See Personal Test below.|
|Touring||Speed||Angler’s Dream 3.|
|Camping||Space, speed||Any of our singles. See Personal Test below.|
Side Note: Whitewater and racing: We don’t consider whitewater kayaks or racing kayaks here, because these activities are a whole different kettle of fish. If you’re interested in them some info can be found here (whitewater) and here (racing). All our kayaks can be used for very low-level whitewater, but if you’re planning to get serious you need a kayak specifically designed for the task.
If your focus will be offshore kayaking, you’ll tend to want a longer kayak, and preferably one with a rudder. If you’re planning a mix of activities including fishing, I’d tend to suggest getting a fishing kayak.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Offshore kayaking can be extremely dangerous regardless of the type of kayak you are in. Before you go offshore in a kayak be sure you have the skills, knowledge and gear needed to stay safe. Click here to read an article we wrote about safety gear and planning.
|Fishing||Stability, Space & Comfort||Dream Catcher 4 or The Beast.|
|Recreational paddling||All-rounder||Dream Catcher 4 upwards.|
|Touring||Speed||Angler’s Dream 3 or a touring kayak if you can afford one.|
|Camping||Space, speed||The Beast or Angler’s Dream 3 or consider getting a touring kayak if you won’t be fishing.|
Personal Fit Test
OK so now you have some specific recommendations suitable for your main activity. Now you can narrow it down by applying the Personal Fit Test.
|Personal Characteristics / Situation
|Your weight and height?||Under 100kg: All models
100-120kg: Definitely go for DC4 upwards if possible.
Over 120kg: DC4 upwards.
Height: Up to 6 foot 4 anything goes. Up to 6 foot 7 The Beast and 2in1 are good.
|Your budget?||Self explanatory. Keep in mind you’ll probably have this kayak for many years, so spending an extra $100 is not such a big deal.|
|Your ability to lift weight above your head?||Check the kayak weights. Most people can lift a 21kg Dream Catcher 3, but once it gets above 25kg you should think about how you’ll move it around. There are a lot of useful products that help you get a heavy yak up on the racks. Google them if you think you need them.|
So there it is! If you’ve read to here you should know what your options are. The rest is up to personal preference. Things like fishing style also make a massive difference. If you’re looking at flat water fishing and you’re under 100kg, for instance, you could go for the Dream Catcher 3 right up to The Beast.
We have customers who prefer to keep it very simple, easy and lightweight. They go for the Dream Catcher 3. Angler’s heading to skinny rivers would tend towards this kayak too. Or the DC4. Some other anglers heading to broader waterways just want performance on the water. They are happy to pay a little more and lift something heavy if it means way more comfort and performance on the water. They’d go for The Beast.
Dream Kayaks have well-informed staff who can help you out heaps in your search for the right kayak. Give them a call! They’ve got loads of kayaks and plenty of great gear to get you started!