What is the Difference Between a Kayak and a Canoe

What is the difference between a kayak and a canoe? This is a commonly asked question.

We are going to dive a little deeper into this question and solve the mystery of what the difference is in a canoe and a kayak. Come along on my journey for information and learning.

What is a Canoe

According to Wikipedia, a canoe is a light-weight narrow vessel. Typically, pointed on both ends and open on the top, propelled by one or more seated or kneeling paddlers facing in the direction of travel using a single-bladed paddle.

Merriam-Webster says that a canoe is a light narrow boat with both ends sharp that is usually propelled by paddling.

Dictionary.com probably has the longest definition for what a canoe is. They say that a canoe is any various slender, open boats tapering to a point on both ends. Generally propelled by paddles or sometimes sails and traditionally formed of a light-weight framework covered in tree bark, skins, or canvas. Also, could be formed from a dug-out or burnt-out log or logs and are now usually made of aluminum, fiberglass, etc.

First looking at these definitions of the canoe one would think that there is no difference between a canoe and a kayak. It is true that in British English, the term “canoe” can also refer to a kayak, thus canoes are then referred to as “Canadian canoes” or open canoes to distinguish them from kayaks.

Britannica had the canoe broken down into categories.

  • Canadian Canoe – Open from front to end and propelled by a paddle having one blade.
  • Kayak – Covered deck with a well or cockpit, propelled with a double-blade paddle
  • Dugout – Constructed from a dugout or burnt-out log
  • Pirogue – A dugout created from a single log

A Bit of History

Canoes are probably one of the oldest means of transportation. They have recorded that the oldest canoe was probably constructed between 8200 and 7600 BC, found in the Netherlands.

Canoes have been used on virtually every continent and still are. The indigenous peoples of Australia used a variety of materials to create canoes. The Indigenous people of the Amazon tended to use Hymenaea tree while the Pacific-northwest people typically used dugout style canoes made from red cedar logs.

Many Indigenous people of the Americas used bark covered canoes, with birch being the primary bark used. The early canoes were just as diverse in their size, shape and function as they are today.

The early canoes were shaped and constructed with a purpose in mind. They were used for carrying goods, by hunters, fishermen, and warriors. They varied in length from 15 feet to 20 feet and were known to be as long as 100 feet. Some had outriggers, while others were just slender and fast.

Canoes were used by explorers and missionaries crossing our great country. Lewis and Clark used a canoe for much of their expedition into the new world.

The Kayak

Wikipedia has the definition of a kayak as; a small, narrow watercraft which is traditionally propelled by a double-bladed paddle.

Merriam-Webster says a kayak is a light, narrow boat that has both ends tapered to a point, propelled by a double-bladed paddle, and often has a closed top except for an opening in which the paddler sits with their legs stretched out in front.

Kayaks were typically associated with the boats used by the Aleuts and the Inuit people of Canada and Greenland. These were constructed of materials such as whale bones, and wood for the light-weight frames and covered in skins, such as seal. These vessels were primarily used for hunting and transport.

So, you can see that the definitions are by-at-large very similar. The big difference back in the early days were the paddles used and the fact that the canoe is an open-top boat and the kayak is a closed top boat.

Where did Kayaks Originate?

The word kayak comes from the Greenlandic word qajaq. There were first developed by the Aleut, Inuit and Yup’ik people and used to hunt inland lakes, rivers and coastal waters of the Arctic Ocean, North Atlantic, Bering Sea and North Pacific Oceans.

Kayaks are believed to be over 4000 years old and the oldest to date is displayed North America department of the State Museum of Ethnology in Munich, with the oldest dating from 1577.

Native builders built their boats based on personal experience and the generations before them. The word “kayak” means “man’s boat” or “hunter’s boat”. Kayaks were a personal craft, as they were built by the man who used it.

Skin-on-frame kayaks are still being used today by the Inuit people in Greenland for hunting. The tightly stretched skins glide through the waves silently and why fix what isn’t broken.

Modern Kayaks and Canoes

In modern society the kayaks and canoes are just as diverse as they have always been. Constructed of the more modern materials of today, for the most part. Materials such as aluminum, fiber glass, polyethylene, etc. You can find a whole article about the styles of kayaks here that I previously posted.

The modern kayaks of today differ from native kayaks in almost every way possible. From their initial form to conception, construction and function.

Some areas of the world still use the tried and true methods of construction, but for those of us out for just some good ol’ fun and recreation, we can enjoy the modern products of today.

While canoes and kayaks have always been very similar with slight differences, either in looks, or functionality, I think that today we define them about the same as we did back then even though they have different uses now than the traditional models of the past.

Generally speaking the basic canoe is larger and more cumbersome than the average kayak. Again, there are those special cases in both worlds where each was designed for a specific purpose making them bigger, smaller, wider, narrower, etc.

We even have companies making a hybrid of sorts. May the evolution of kayaks and canoes never end, LOL

Back in history kayaks and canoes were a necessary way of travel and they still are in some regions of the world. They are also popular in the recreational and sporting world today. They are used for racing, touring, white water, surf and sea, fishing, and in my journey just plain exploring.

With modern day technology they have become more durable and a ton of bells and whistles. Everything from peddles to sails. You can even strap on a motor if it suits you.

Well, I hope that I was able to answer you questions about how a canoe is different from a kayak. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

Thanks for spending time with me today and I look forward to sharing some more interesting information with you soon.

Until Next Time!

How are Kayaks Made

Does Construction matter and what are the differences?

We are going to take a look at how kayaks are made and the difference in the construction process. Also why construction is important and how it is relative to the plan you have for your kayak.

4 Basic Types of Construction

We have come a long way from the original kayaks made out of tree bark and animal skins. Not that they were not effective. In todays world, they are not efficient, economical or practical.

There are 4 types of construction or materials that kayaks are made out of. Each type will determine things such as weight, durability, pricing, and what you are going to use it for.

Kayak Construction Materials

  • Rotomolded
  • Thermoform
  • Fiberglass/Composite
  • Wood

Rotomolded or Rotation Molding

This is a process that has been used for a long time to produce many plastic or polyethylene objects and products. Many of the products we use in everyday life and is not just contained to kayaks.

The process is done by pouring a plastic powder into a hollow mold and continuously rotated while the heated plastic forms to the sides of the mold. The rotation continues through the heating and cooling phases. Eventually after cooling the product shrinks and pulls away from the sides of the mold allow easy removal.

Advantages Of Rotomold

  • One solid piece polyethylene or plastic
  • Durabilty, flexibility and can handle quite an impact
  • Consistant wall thickness
  • Budget Friendly

Cons to Rotomold Kayaks

  • Weight, they tend to be the heaviest kayaks
  • Hard to repair
  • Susceptible to UV damage

Rotomolded kayaks are very popular, because they tend to be less expensive and are easily found. A couple of the popular brands are Ascend, Perception and Lifetime Kayaks.

Rotomolded kayaks tend to be very durable and come in a variety of lengths and widths. They are used for recreational kayaks, whitewater kayaks, fishing kayaks, touring kayaks and surf kayaks.

Thermoform Construction

Thermoform is another form of molding plastic or polyethylene. In this process thin sheets of plastic or polyethylene are heated till they are pliable then formed over a male our female mold. Thus, creating two pieces that are then molded together. Then, once removed from the mold the product is trimmed to increase usability.

There are two types of Thermoforming.

There is Vacuum forming and Pressure forming.

Vacuum forming is accomplished by heating a sheet of plastic, then placing it over the mold. Once it is at the desired temperature a vacuum is used to apply the pressure needed to form the plastic into it’s desired form.

Pressure forming has many similarities to vacuum forming, but has the benefit of added pressure. This is great when extra detail is needed or wanted for additional aesthetics value.

This technique is used in many different applications. Everything from kayaks, car parts to disposable food containers.

Advantages of Thermoform

  • Budget Friendly
  • Light-Weight
  • Impact Resistant
  • Durable
  • Outer Layer is UV Resistant
  • Recyclable

Cons

  • Acrylic outer layer can break down over time

There really aren’t any cons to this process. Many popular kayak manufacturers use this process. Pelican and Hobie to name a few. This process is relatively new and provides a product that is also pleasing to look at.

Again, this process is used for a large variety of kayaks. These kayaks are great for beginners and are typically easier to transport due to weight.

Fiberglass/Composite Construction

This process is used for a lot of your higher end kayaks. It is an expensive process and takes a long time to complete. But it does produce a beautiful kayak.

It is a constructed of layers of fiberglass, Graphite or Kevlar, or a combination of the three and resin to hold it all together. Think of it as making lasagna. They build them in a mold one layer at a time. Due to the lengthy process they are quite expensive.

Advantages of Composite

  • Ultra Light-weight
  • Highly Responsive, great tracking and fast
  • Fairly Durable
  • Fairly easy to repair
  • Many configurations are available

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Susceptible to damage in impact situations

Not sure I would recommend for general recreational kayaking.

Composite kayaks are beautiful to look at and if you have the budget, they are high performance kayaks. I would imagine a long-distance journey in one of these kayaks would be a lot like riding in a Cadillac.

Wood Construction

For that purist kayaker or that person that just loves art, the wooden kayaks are glorious. They are stunning to look at and there is just something about them that brings out the naturalist in a person.

Wood construction is a lengthy, expensive process and really requires patience and a loving hand. Although, they do sell a few DIY kits for that person that wants to give it a try.

Wooden kayaks can be just as durable if not more so than composite kayaks. They are typically coated in fiberglass, resin or varnish to protect the wood underneath.

Advantages of Wood

  • Beautiful to look at
  • Light-weight
  • As Durable or more so than composite
  • Fairly easy to repair
  • Great DIY project

Cons

  • Requires some woodworking skills
  • May need to be put together
  • Custom-made is expensive
  • Not really recommended for rough conditions

Here is a short video to show the process.

Wow, Who Knew

Now you know what goes into making a kayak and what to look for depending on what you are going to do with your kayak. Rotomolding and Thermoform are ideal for most kayak applications. If you are looking to go on long tours maybe you would be better suited with a composite built kayak or even a wooden one.

==>Click here to learn about the different styles of Kayaks<==

Either way, in the modern world there are affordable kayak options that are durable, nice to look at and easy to transport. Construction really does matter depending on what you are using your kayak for.

There are also inflatable kayaks that are obviously not built in any of these constructions styles. We will save that for another day.

If you have any comments or experiences you would like to share about your kayak and it’s construction, please share!

Until Next Time!

Best Way to Store Kayaks

In this post we are going to talk about storage options for your kayak.

Storing kayaks can be a task, depending on the length and the space you have available. So Let’s spend some time to find the best way to store kayaks.

Inside or Outside

Where are you planning on storing your kayak now that you have it?

I do not recommend that you just lay in the yard, out in the sun till the next time you use it.

Ideally you are going to want to store it in a secure location, out of the harsh UV rays of the sun, with easy access and where no critters are going to build their forever home in it.

There are many options for either outside or inside provided you have the space. I am going to talk about several options in this article for both places. Obviously, if you have the room to store it in your garage or shed, where you can control the climate a bit and lock them up that would be awesome.

However, not all of us have that option. I personally live in a RV, so storage of a 10′ kayak can present a challenge and generally speaking my only option is outside.

Rack Systems

There are a ton of rack systems available on the market. I focused on several that you can easily pick up through Amazon.

There are basically three different styles.

  • Free-Standing
  • Wall Mounted
  • Overhead Mount

Let us start with the Free-Standing style of rack. These are going to require a bit of space, but can be used inside or outside depending on what you need. There are several options for this, so let me highlight a few that I found.

This rack is the king of racks. It is going to require space or its own building. I show this to you because, if you have more than one kayak or plan on getting more than one, it can handle it. It also would provide storage for paddles as well as other stuff. You could ideally use it as a multi-functioning rack if you put it in your garage or shed.

Let’s break it down.

  • It will hold 6 kayaks
  • made from steel
  • Easy to assemble
  • Comes with wheels for easy movement

This rack measures in at: 51 x 47 x 72 inches. The product description claims it will hold up to 11′ kayaks, but the reviews state that it can handle longer boats as long as they are not over 32-34″ wide. This rack rated 4.9 stars out of five and had many great reviews.

This rack just looks sturdy. I picked it mainly because you could also adjust it for the length of your kayak. The heavy-duty steel will hold up to 100 lbs per set of hooks. They are padded nicely to protect your kayak as well.

Key Points

  • Sturdy tubular steel
  • Space saving design
  • Easy Assembly
  • Good for indoor or outdoor use

This rack measures in at: 48 x 28.7 x 7.2 inches. This rack had good reviews and rated in at 4.5 out of 5 stars.

If you only need to hold up one kayak, this rack would do. They are lightweight, come in a set of two and are inexpensive. You can use them anywhere and adjust them to the length of you kayak.

Key Points

  • Lightweight Aluminum construction w/stainless steel hardware
  • Indoor/outdoor use
  • folds into compact mesh carry bag
  • Weight capacity is 100 pounds
  • Stands 17″ tall
  • Sturdy, even on uneven ground

This inexpensive set of racks come in at 4.4 stars out of 5. People were pleased with the quality and stability of the product. There were many good reviews about this system and based on the price you cannot go wrong.

Wall Mounted Racks are another option for saving space. You can mount them on the wall either inside or out. Imagine the possibilities. You could place them in or out on the garage, shed, or tiny house.

For a Wall Mount set-up, this set came highly rated. The customer reviews gave it a 4.8 out of 5 stars. They look nice and are sturdy.

Key points

  • Heavy Duty powder-coated steel
  • Lightweight
  • Nylon covered foam padding
  • Weight capacity 100lbs
  • Affordable

Most of the reviews I read, the folks really liked them. Most used them inside, but one used them outside in the north. While the hooks are rated at 100lbs, if you are to purchase these make sure you mount them properly on a wall that can handle the weight, just saying.

This is the king of wall racks. If you are not worried about space and you have multiple kayaks or paddle boards. This is the rack for you. Rating 5 out of 5 stars, you cannot go wrong.

Key Points

  • Holds up to 4 kayaks
  • Steel Construction, 100lb capacity per rack or 400lb total
  • Adjustable rack levels
  • Easy Assembly, easy adjustment
  • Protective felt padding

Again, this is a sturdy built, adjustable, wall-mounted rack. Built tough to handle whatever you want to put on it.

The only real downfall to wall-mounted racks that I can find is the lock-up factor. You would have to get creative with locking your kayaks up, unless you are keeping them inside.

Over-head systems are great for saving space. Ideally you are using these inside or you are building something outside to mount them on.

This is a basic hoist system. You would ideally put this inside a garage or shed, mounted on the ceiling. Hoisting your kayak above everything else in the building. This particular system rated 4.1 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Most of the hoist systems rated in this range.

Key Points

  • Space Saver
  • Easy Installation
  • Heavy duty Straps – weight capacity only 60lbs
  • Affordable
  • Will fit any length or width kayak

The downside that I found to these systems, was strength. Most reviews on any of these systems complained about the weight factor and not feeling secure about the rope sent with the kits. Also, they said in several reviews across the board that it takes some effort to hoist the thing up. Just be prepared.

DIY Rack System

Are you handy? Have tools, build your own system. Pinterest has a ton of really cool ideas to build your own storage for kayaks and the like.

I found some great options made out of wood and PVC. You know, the white or black plastic pipe used for water and sewage. You got it, how imaginative.

Here is a fun little video to show one option found on YouTube. The possibilities are endless with some imagination.

Tiny House Options

For those of us that have opted to live tiny the options are not as vast. This is also dependent on whether you are stationary or mobile. Most of the RV dwellers I have seen store their kayaks either on their extra vehicles with vehicle racks or they have racks on the RVs. If you have a toy hauler, you have the garage option to store inside.

As I mentioned earlier, I store mine outside. I currently slide mine up underneath the RV, then I cable lock it to the camper. It is hidden, out of the sun and secure.

Stationary tiny homes can have shed options or outside kayak huts, if they are on their own property. Check out Pinterest for great ideas.

Here is an example of a kayak/bicycle rack I found on YouTube designed for those that camp or are on the road.

Stored and Secure

So, there you have it. There are a ton of options for storing and protecting your kayak. If nothing else, I hope I got your creative juices flowing and you are thinking of different ways to get your kayak out of the weather and helping it last a good long time.

Hope you found this helpful and enjoyable. If you have any questions, comments or ideas, leave them below. I would love to know what you think.

Thanks to all those that take the time to visit.

Until Next Time!

Kayaking Life Jackets – Safety First

Kayaking is an awesome way to experience nature, get some exercise and even make new friends. It can also be a way to get hurt or worse if we do not think about safety. So in this article we are going to look at kayaking life jackets or vests, and how to choose the right one for you.

The 5 Basic Types

While the majority of us use the terms’ life jacket or life vest to encompass the entirety of PFD’s or Personal Flotation Devices. Those terms’ are not entirely accurate.

Actually the term PFD is broken down into 5 categories.

Type 1 – These are designed primarily for off shore, rough seas or open water. Think about commercial fishing boats or the coast guard when you think of these. They are designed with the thought that you are going to be in the water for longer periods of time.

Type 2 – These are designed with quick rescue in mind. Near shore, calm waters.

Type 3 – These are the most popular and ideal for folks like us. The kayakers, water skiing, fishing, etc. Similar to type 2, and designed based on quick rescue, and calmer waters. These are also designed based on the activities you will be doing.

Type 4 – Throwable PFD. These typically come in the shape of a ring or floatable cushion. I know that these were very common on my Grandpas boat when I was younger.

Type 5 – These are designed with special circumstances in mind. Such as full body for very cold water to insulate against hypothermia. These will have special classifications on their labels.

We are going to focus on Type 3, since these are the ones that are ideal for what we are doing.

What To Look Out For

When out shopping for your own PFD some key features to look out for are going to be.

  • Comfort
  • Storage
  • Entry Method
  • Durability
  • Buoyancy

Comfort is huge. You do not want to be in a kayak all day in a life jacket that is uncomfortable. I know this, cause I have experienced it myself. It does not make for a great adventure. You really need one that is going to allow you to move the way you need too. Another factor or feature within this is Ventilation. Some of these jackets can be hot, especially if you are out in the sun for hours.

Storage is something I never really thought much about. In my research though, I have discovered that most life jackets and vests come with pockets and d-rings for attaching goodies too. Some even come with a hydration bladder so you can carry drinkable water with you without the trash.

Entry method, meaning how you put it on. Some zip up the front, others slip over your head.

Durability is important. With the price of some of these things, you do not want to buy a new every week or year. Look at the material, zippers, buckles, etc.

Last but not least, Buoyancy. This is the factor that keeps your head above the water.

Standard vs Inflatable

The term Standard encompasses the most widely used life jackets and vests. They are found everywhere from Walmart, Amazon, sporting goods stores, etc. They range from the old fashion, over the head bright orange flotation devices to the more modern, fancy vests with pockets, buckles, tabs and fancy colors. They also vary in price from $10 and up. They are typically made out of nylon or neoprene and use foam as the primary float.

Pros of Standard PFDs

  • Low Maintenance
  • Inherently Buoyant
  • Versatile
  • Pockets
  • Any Price Point

Cons of Standard PFDs

  • Bulk
  • Hot

Inflatables are a relatively new item on the market compared to the standard models. They can be labeled as a Type 3 or a Type 5 depending on their design. Inflatables come in two styles, manual and automatic. Manual inflatables are just that. The wearer manually inflates the vest by pulling on a cord, which ten activates a C02 gas cartridge. The automatic model inflates when it is submerged in water.

Pros of Inflatables

  • Comfortable/Less Bulk
  • Cool

Cons of Inflatables

  • Not inherently Buoyant. They must be inflated and if you are injured or rendered unconscious, that could be a problem.
  • Requires Maintenance/Replacement of Cartridges
  • Not for Everyone, not necessarily good for all sports, where standard PFDs are interchangeable
  • Can be Pricey

Hybrid PFDs – These are a combo of standard and inflatable. You get the best of both worlds, but you are going to pay for it.

Get The Right Size

You want to make sure you get the right size. Adult Life Jackets and Vests are sized by your chest measurement not your weight. Now, if you are built like me and are a little larger in that area, it definitely makes a difference when you start shopping. Generally speaking, your larger department type stores are not going to carry gender specific jackets and vests. Most are going to be unisex and for a larger busted women, that is a challenge.

So, to get the right size, measure your chest at it’s broadest point. Then use that number along with the manufacturers size recommendations. Also, try them on. Let’s face it. How many one size fits all things really do?

Tips for getting the right fit

  • Wear the clothing you would normally wear when kayaking or eat least of similar material when shopping.
  • Try them on, tighten them up and mimic the movements you would be doing. Try paddling, twisting, sitting down on the floor if necessary.
  • Think about adjustments. The more straps, the more you can make.
  • Again, look for gender specific. Unisex may not fit as well. Ladies, remember we tend to have extra baggage and bumps. Just saying.

Test the fit

Once you have the PFD on, tighten everything up from the bottom to the shoulders, in that order. Then have someone pull up on the shoulder straps. The body of the PFD should not move. If it comes up around your chin, it’s not right. It should fit like a great pair of gloves, snug but comfortable. You do not want it slipping around causing chaffing.

Child sizing is a bit different. Just to touch on this a bit, children PFDs are sized by their weight. A typical guideline that I found in my research is this.

  • Infants – 8-30lbs
  • Child – 30-50lbs
  • Youth – 50-90lbs

Safety First!

No matter what water activity you are embarking on, safety should come first. I hope that the information that I have provided will help you make an informed decision about the right PDF for you. I would love to know how your journey is going and if you have anything to add to this, leave me a comment below.

Thanks for taking the time to read and spend some time with me.

Until next time!

Choose The Right Kayak Paddle

The most important accessories you can purchase for your kayak is the paddle. No one wants to be up the creek without a paddle, if you know what I mean. So, we are going to look at how to choose the right kayak paddle for you.

Here is a beautiful graphic to help you visualize the different steps of choosing a paddle. For more detailed info, read the entire article below.

How to Size and Choose a Kayak Paddle


Courtesy of Outventurist.com

Let’s Talk Length

Okay, let’s talk about length. Does length really matter? Well, I guess that depends on whether you are trying to retrieve your favorite fishing lure or not, or trying to get your friend wet while staying relatively dry.

All kidding aside, length is kind of important. Take for instance, if you are 6′ tall and your kayak is 2′ wide you certainly would not want a 5′ paddle. Length plays into the amount of energy you are going to expel paddling, how much strain you are putting on your back and shoulder muscles and how efficiently you move through the water.

So here are a few simple but easy guidelines. The wider your kayak is the longer your paddle needs to be. Your height also needs to be taken into consideration. Typically, paddles are measured in centimeters, although boats are measured in inches. Also, the type of paddling you are going to do will determine the length of paddle. There are two types of strokes. You have the Low Angle Stroke and the High Angle Stroke. The low angle stroke requires a longer paddle, versus the shorter length for the high angle stroke.


                                            Low Angle Chart                                                                               

Paddler Height      Boat Width      Paddle Length 

5′-0″ – 5′-10″        21″- 23″         220 cm (7′-2″)

5′-6″ – 6′-2″         23″ – 26″       230 cm (7′-6″)

Over 6′-3″                Over 25″        240 cm (7′-10″)

                                             High Angle Chart

Paddler Height     Boat Width     Paddle Length

5′-0″ – 5’10”         Under 22″       210 cm (6′-10″)

5′-6″ – 6′-2″         22″ – 23″        215 cm (7′-0″)

Over 6′-3″            23″ – 24″         220 cm (7′-2″)

The chart above is just a basic guide for touring and recreational style paddles. I also converted the metric lengths to an approximate USA Imperial conversion. I know for myself, converting metric in my head doesn’t work. If you are looking for a paddle to go white water kayaking, you are going to look into smaller lengths. The average length for a white water paddle is 60″. The shorter lengths are not as cumbersome when dealing with twists and turns in the river.

How About Materials

Paddles are composed of a couple of basic materials. All of which lend to weight, durability, price and performance.

The blades can be made of plastic/nylon, fiberglass, or carbon-fiber. Plastic also known as the polymer/polypropylene and plastic blends are typically the lowest on the price range. So, they tend to be the most popular with the recreational kayakers. These paddles can be slightly heavier and may not perform quite as well as some of their counterparts.

The “middle of the road” in price point tend to be the fiberglass blades. They are also durable and effective on performance as well as lighter than the plastic. While they can chip, they are not prone to cracking all the way through as can sometimes happen with the plastic.

If you are willing to pay for the top of the line, look at the carbon-fiber blades. They are ultra light, durable and provide the best performance with each stroke.

Shafts are primarily made of aluminum, fiberglass or carbon-fiber. Plastic shafts are rare and really would not be worth the money in my opinion.

Aluminum, while it tends to be the less expensive has some cons. They can get hot in hot weather or cold in cold weather. You may want to invest in some gloves. Also, they not going to be as light as the fiberglass and carbon-fiber.

The fiberglass and carbon-fiber shafts are durable and perform very well when paired with either one of the lighter options of blades. You won’t be sorry you paid a little extra.

Did You Know

First of all, did you have any idea that there was so much that went into buying a paddle? Me either!

After doing the research and reading about all the paddle options, I was kind of blown away. Being a beginner myself, I am learning a ton about the basics of kayaking. Makes me want to go to my local sporting goods store and compare some of the different styles available out there.

My paddle is the basic aluminum shaft with plastic dihedral blade. It is a bit heavy and cumbersome when I am fishing. Now mine does break into two pieces which is very convenient for transporting and packing away. In my research I have also seen some that break down into 4 pieces.

And Just When You Thought You Were Done

I just kept diving into my research and here is where I found out that there are also bent shaft type paddles, wider blades, narrower blades, and fishing blades. I am definitely going to have to look for these. Any time you can find something to help you retrieve a lost fishing lure, you must have it, right?

Then there are also different blade shapes. There is the spoon and dihedral. Dihedral being the most comfortable of the two shapes and used primarily for low angle paddling. Spoon shaped paddles are used more for shorter more powerful strokes. You also have the option of asymmetrical, and symmetrical blades. So many options to consider.

Importance of Paddles

The one thing I did learn was the importance of finding the right paddle. Some of the cons of not having the right paddle are not being able to reach the water without bending over, banging your knuckles on the sides of the kayak, sore muscles due to excessive weight and working way too hard to get somewhere. While some of these may seem minor, just wait till you have to rub your whole body with icy hot to relieve the muscle aches. Just saying!

I hope the information I have provided here helps, I know I am going to be shopping for something a little lighter myself!

Happy Shopping You All, till next time!

Kayak Types and Styles – Lots of Variety

Well Hello!

Let’s find out what kind of kayak types and styles are out there. I have an Ascend D10T model. It is a sit-on top style and is 10′ long and weighs about 65 lbs.

Ascend_D10T

Oh, and it is bright red. Just thought I would throw that in there. Cause you know color matters.

How Many Types Could There Be

Oh My Goodness, This is where it gets crazy.

From my research on the world wide web, I have discovered that there are varying opinions on this.

According to the American Kayak Association there are basically two categories of kayaks. There are flat water kayaks and white water kayaks. So, this is what we are going to base our research on.

Flat Water Kayaks

Flat water kayaks are the primary kayaks that you will find in your local sporting goods store or Walmart. There are basically 5 types of flat water kayaks.

  • Recreational
  • Sit-on Top
  • Inflatable
  • Pedaling
  • Touring

Recreational Kayaks:

These are probably the most common and by far the most popular kayaks on the market. I was just in Walmart and by golly they have theirs on display for spring already.

These kayaks typically have a closed cockpit, meaning you sit down in them. The opening is usually large enough to get in easily and depending on the size of the occupants, you could probably put a small child in with you or your favorite fur baby.

They come in a variety of colors and are affordable. Made from an in-expensive polyethylene, they tend to be fairly lightweight and budget friendly. This makes them a great choice for beginners.

Recreational kayaks are typically between 8 to 11 feet in length and have minimal accessories available. Probably wouldn’t use them on open water, but they work great on the lake or in the gentle flowing stream.

Sit-on Top Kayaks:

This is what I have. They tend to be much heavier, as they are a solid, molded piece of plastic. They are self draining, which is convenient and they are easy to get into to.

If by chance you happen to flip over, they are a little easier to get right in the water. These tend to be a little wider than some of the others, so they tend to be pretty stable in the water when encountering waves from passing boats on the lake or pulling in a large fish.

I love mine, as it is easy to fish on and it is easy to pack gear on. It makes for easy access to my tackle box.

I will say, that with no cockpit, you will get a little wet while paddling. Not a bad thing on a hot day, but I have yet to go out on the lake in the colder weather. I am kind of a wimp.

So again, budget friendly depending on manufacturer and easy for beginners.

Inflatable Kayaks:

So there are a lot of opinions about these on the web. Some love the diversity of them for their lightweight, storage capabilities and over-all convenience.

inflatable_kayak

Some are not impressed with their maneuverability in the water during breezy days, over-all durability and comfort. I will say that I personally have not used one, but have looked at them many times.

I think if you were to look seriously at one of these for purchase, cheaper would probably not be better. I would not want to be on a river float and pop my kayak. That would be a bummer!

Pedaling Kayaks:

This is kind of a dream kayak for me. I saw one on the lake a few times and fell in love with the idea of having my hands free for other things.

Besides the fishing I also haul my camera around with me for that occasional, once in a lifetime, wildlife moment. These are more expensive and tend to be a bit cumbersome to haul around, especially if you are by yourself.

From my research, several of the models are heavy, the pedal mechanisms need regular maintenance, and can be tricky to learn how to maneuver. So, probably not for a beginner.

Touring Kayaks:

Last, but not least, we come to the touring kayaks. These are longer usually 12′ or longer and much narrower than the recreational kayaks. These can be much harder to come by.

Not usually found at the local sporting store or Walmart. They are more specialized, thus much more expensive. Generally used for large bodies of open water and going long distances.

They can be quite hard to store due to length and hard to manage. Not good for smaller variety rivers and creeks due to their length and maneuverability. Great for speed and hauling enough supplies for several days of paddling.

White Water Kayaks

So according to the American Kayak Association there are 5 main styles of white water kayaks.

  • Play boats
  • River Runners
  • Creek boats
  • Old School
  • Inflatable (Duckies)

Play boats:

These are small, usually only about 6′ and are primarily used for going to a favorite spot where you can play in the waves of turbulent water.

Play_boat

Not really good for paddling down a river for any length of time. They are great for doing tricks, but uncomfortable when traveling from spot to spot.

River Runners:

These are longer, usually 7-8′ long and track better for paddling those flat areas on the river in between fun spots. They are long enough to store gear and are more comfortable. These can also be easy enough to maneuver around turns and bends in the river.

Creek boats:

Also known as Creekers, these are typically 8′ or longer. They are built a little sturdier to handle those drops and are pretty comfortable from what I have read. They do have two basic hull types, a displacement hull and a planning hull.

Beginners should pay attention to that as it could be tricky in holes and crossing eddy lines in a displacement hull. Now, I am basing this on my research and not my personal experience. So, I am sure there are differing opinions on what’s best.

Old School:

Also known as Long Boats. The name says it all. These were made in the late 80s and 90s and can be found on a lot of used sites. You can pick them up relatively inexpensively and be ready to go pretty quickly.

They are usually much longer, (10-12 feet), than modern day boats and have narrower cockpits. This can be great if you run rivers with long stretches of flat water in between rapids. Can be tricky though in the turns.

Inflatable Duckies:

This one just makes me smile. How could you not like something called a Duckie?

These are nothing like the inflatable kayaks used on flat water. These vessels are made out of very durable materials, as they are subjected to various types of extreme conditions.

Unlike the flat water inflatables that can be as low as $50, these guys are going to start in the hundreds and work their way up. From what I have researched there are several options out there and boy, do they look fun.

Fishing Kayaks

So these guys are kind of in a class of their own. While many folks, myself included, purchase basic recreational kayaks and use them to fish from, fishing kayaks have a few more bells and whistles when it comes to accessories and set-up.

They come in both the sit-in and the sit-on styles. The sit-on styles are preferred, as they allow the angler freedom of movement and access to the gear.

Some of these can be geared to handle fish finders, trolling motors, plus all your necessary fishing gear.

You can find them at most places that you can get a recreational kayak, but the more elaborate you go the more you are going to break the budget.

Let’s Wrap it Up

All of these styles have pros and cons. It is just a matter of which one will suit your needs the best. Whether it be length, budget, style or color. Cause again, color matters.

Thanks for joining me again on learning about these kayak types and styles. Who knew there was so much to learn, and wow the options are endless!

So, Until me meet again!

Kayaking Basics for Beginners – Where to start

Hey, Thanks for accompanying me on my journey into the realm of kayaking.

kayaking_for_beginners

Where do we start?

In this post we are going to start with the kayaking basics for beginners. What’s that mean? Well, for me, that means:

  • Deciding why we want to take up kayaking
  • Choosing the proper kayak for our needs
  • Choosing the right accessories to get us started
  • How much do we want to spend

These are just a few things we want to think about as beginners.

Why Do You Want A Kayak

Why are you looking for a kayak?

kayaking_for_beginners

Here are a few examples of reasons to get a kayak. I am sure there are many more.

  • Fishing
  • Getting closer to nature/exploration
  • Competition
  • Shooting the rapids
  • Exercise
  • Stress Relief
  • Adventure

My Story

My story starts after I moved to Branson, Missouri. I was staying in a campground right on Lake Taneycomo, which by the way, is filled with trout.

Lake_Taneycomo1

I have always loved fishing, and had grown up doing so. Although, I hadn’t done any fishing in years and I had never done any trout fishing.

Anyway, I had taken a job at the Bass Pro shop next to the campground, thus, I was surrounded by all those outdoorsy folks and fishing equipment.

Long story short, I ended up with my fishing license and a fishing pole. As I learned to fish for trout from the bank, I soon realized I needed to get out in the water a little more.

I had been on larger boats, but living in a RV full-time, buying a pontoon boat was not really an option. I entertained the idea of a kayak, as they are small, manageable for one person and mobile.

Then I realized there are a multitude of different styles, sizes, and functionalities in the world of kayaks. Who knew!

I started looking at them a little more diligently and soon found several co-workers that had a little knowledge of them. Then by happenstance I was fortunate enough to win a contest at work, and guess what? The prize was a kayak. My very own red kayak, with paddle. Thus, my journey begins!

My first reason for wanting one was for the fishing. That would soon change and expand.

What Kind of Kayak Do You Need

What are you going to do with your kayak?

Photo by Richard Dudley

This will surely impact your decision on the style of kayak and how much you are going to spend on one. There are so many styles out there and they have different functions and price points. Not to mention weight considerations.

I am a larger person, so I definitely wanted one that would not sink with me in it. Fortunately, the one I won at work would do the trick in this category.

The one I have is an Ascend D10T model. It is a sit-on top type of kayak, which I do prefer. Don’t like the idea of being stuck in it if I tip over.

Ascend_D10T

If you are just out to have fun, get closer to nature and float down a few streams and lazy rivers your choices are wide.

You can get a basic sit-in style kayak just about anywhere these days. Any where from Tractor Supply, Walmart and even Amazon, just to name a few.

Of course, there are the more well-known sporting stores like Cabelas, Bass Pro and Academy, where you can also go for some advice on your purchase.

Kayaks come in many styles. Everything from inflatable, sit-in, sit-on, fishing kayaks, wooden kayaks, plastic kayaks, and poly kayaks. So many options!

They also come in varying lengths, from 6′ youth on up to 14′. You can check out my post about kayak styles here!

Image by Paul Brennan

If you are looking to do some fishing, you may want to choose a fishing style kayak. Although, I have met folks that buy a basic kayak and do everything they want with them. It really is a personal choice.

Obviously, if you are looking to shoot the rapids in a rushing river, go out to sea or compete in races, you are going to want to look a little deeper into the choices out there. For the purpose of this article though, we are just focusing on the basics.

What Do You Need To Get on the Water

Well, after you have decided on the kayak that fits you, you are going to need some basic accessories.

Safety first and foremost. A life jacket is a must. I am a really good swimmer, but I would never consider going out on the river without a jacket or some type of PFD (personal flotation device).

Again, the style is a personal choice and they range in price and styles. I personally bought a regular standard PFD that was made for use in kayaks. They are made a little different from a standard PFD, as you are sitting really low in a kayak. Also, you want to be comfortable. So try them on before you buy one.

Photo By Denise Hunter

Next you will need a paddle. You certainly do not want to end up “up the creek without a paddle”. Not all kayaks come with them, depending on where you purchase your kayak. They do come in different lengths. So, choose one that fits you. I have a longer one, and I really like it. My kayak is a little wider than most, so the shorter ones don’t work as well.

Image by David Nisley

Although, it is not necessary for getting out on the water, a nice accessory to have is a dry bag. This is a bag made to keep personal items, such as your cell phone, wallet, etc., dry while out on the water. I wouldn’t go without mine, as I carry my phone with me at all times in case of emergency.

What’s This Going To Cost

Photo by Sufi Nawaz

Again, as a beginner, I discovered that the price of a kayak can range from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars.

Of course, you could always embark on searching out a used kayak, there are some great deals out there if you look for them. Fortunately, I did win mine, so technically I did not pay for mine.

The retail price of mine was about $450. The paddle would have been about $50. Ultimately, I ended up paying $200 to replace the back glass on my pick-up from when my husband picked the kayak up to take it home. That my friends is a whole other story!

Needless to say, the cost is going to be dependent on your personal budget.

Let’s Get on the Water

So here are a few of the basics to getting started on your kayak journey. We talked about the why, the what for and the essentials or bare basics.

We touched a bit on the budget. So are you ready to go on a journey to find your dream kayak?

If not, that is okay. Keep checking back for more information about my personal journey and we will delve a little deeper into the kayak world.

Till Next Time!