Recreational Kayaks


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Manage episode 65698266 series 48997
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Hello, I'm the OUTDOOR PROFESSOR from

Here's your outdoor tip on recreational kayaks.

A recreational kayak is a kayak designed for the casual paddler interested in enjoying recreational activities on a lake or protected slow-moving flows of water. There are more recreational kayaks sold than any other as they are the best choice for beginning kayakers. They are frequently used for fishing, birdwatching, or photography. They are not good for open water or use in strong winds or current.

Characteristics of a recreational kayak include:

Large cockpit opening for easy entry/exit

Wider beam (27-30+ inches) for stability

Usually 12’ or less

Reduces speed compared to longer boats

Lighter and easy to handle out of water

Does not track as well as long/narrow boats

Have limited cargo capacity

Use less expensive materials such as rotomolded polyethylene

Affordable-Less expensive than larger boats

Recreational kayaks are usually sit-on-tops or sit-in models.

Sit-on-top kayaks give you a great deal of freedom to move around and not be enclosed within a kayak. They provide stable and usually self-bailing platforms for fishing, sunbathing, and nature watching. Sit on tops have similar hull shapes to their counterparts, but you sit in some kind of small depression on top of the boat. This puts the seat of a sit-on-top is slightly above the water level, so the center of gravity for the paddler is higher costing them speed and maneuverability. Paddlers with large body types feel less confined paddling a sit-on-top. Many consider it an advantage to have an open deck rather than an enclosed one as there is no risk of being trapped in the boat if it tips over.

Sit-in kayaks fit around your body and are usually dryer than their sit-on counter parts. Some will even let you wear a skit over the cockpit to help keep you dry. They usually provide the advantage of providing more dry gear storage. If water does get into the boat, you will need a sponge, cloth or bailing pump to get the water out of your boat.

Sit-on-top and sit-in kayaks can be found in all the basic categories of kayaks, but the sit-on-top is the most common recreational kayak because of its accessibility. Both models can also be found in tandem configurations and with various kind of construction such as inflatable models. There is a current trend to also find more kayaks having some form of mechanical propulsion as an option.

My recommendation is always to “try before you buy” any kayak. Personal preferences, size, and physical capabilities vary between people and can make a difference as to which kayak is good for you. Most people will start with a reasonably priced recreational kayak before they go on to purchase a more expensive type that more specifically fits their personality and lifestyle. No matter what your choice, it’s hard to go wrong with your first boat and you will enjoy the outdoors as you learn more about your paddling preferences.

This is the OUTDOOR PROFESSOR from

Additional outdoor tips can be received by subscribing to the Outdoor Professor Tips on iTunes or Stitcher. If you enjoy outdoor tips, you’ll also find an e-book at with a collection of the Outdoor Professor Tips.

References-Additional Reading

How to Buy a Used Kayak or Canoe

Kayak Types

Which Kayak Is Right for Me?

Nature Quotient.

Outdoor Professor’s Tips: Exploring the Wonders of Nature

71 episodes available. A new episode about every 13 days averaging 5 mins duration .