Spending quality time outdoors is one of the simple pleasures that we can experience. Whether it is a day at the beach, a week camping in the backcountry, or a weekend spent on the lake, the beauty of our surroundings brings peace and a needed respite from the urban lives most of us live between Monday and Friday.
One part of the outdoors we enjoy spending time in and around are its waterways. Access to those waters isn’t always easy, however, and being able to explore them completely is a desire that many of us have. For what are we, if not explorers and men who dare to go beyond what is easy and conventional? That’s why we should consider getting a kayak and gaining the freedom to explore the various waterways in our area and beyond.
But what is the correct type of kayak to get?
Fit For Your Purpose
The uses for a kayak are almost limitless, which is great for someone seeking versatility in their watercraft. Originally a means of transport for hunters and native peoples, the kayak was built to explore a range of environments while also allowing for the transport of goods and people. Traditionally, the kayak is a single-person boat that is light and durable and designed to simply get from point to point with a minimal load. As more people have started exploring what can be done with a kayak, necessity has led to the creation and specialization of a multitude of specialty kayaks and now there is a type designed for whatever interest you may have.
If you are a fisherman and want to explore the tucked-away havens for large-mouth bass, you can get a shorter and wider kayak that allows you to sit atop the kayak with maximum stability and comfort. However, if you are looking to cross potentially rough seas and make it to your destination as efficiently as possible, a sit-atop kayak will not be the best option. Instead, a sit-in kayak with a more curved rocker bottom allows for the easier cresting of waves and more efficient movement through the water.
Other examples of purpose-designed kayaks include inflatable kayaks which are ideal for men looking to explore the backcountry on foot and would like to have a kayak that could be transported in a compact and light-weight manner when only required for temporary or occasional use to cross deep or swift-moving waters, especially in frigid environments. Another useful style with outdoorsmen in mind is the "packraft" kayak which provides the flexibility and durability to travel down waterways while also allowing for greater space and weight capacity for packing camping gear or perhaps a kill from a successful hunt.
If your interest in kayaks starts and ends with adventure sports, then there are whitewater-specific kayaks that are built to be both durable and agile to help navigate the roiling waters and hidden boulders of an environment that gets the adrenaline pumping.
While most kayaks are at least somewhat multi-use in their construction, knowing why you want a kayak and where you will be using it will help ensure you choose the best option for your adventures.
Fit For Your Needs
When considering the advantages of a kayak you should be mindful of where you want to access the water and primarily use your boat. For example, if you want to experience whitewater rafting, a $90,000 bass boat is not a great choice. Powerboats are great fits for some activities, but a kayak provides greater flexibility to deploy in a lot more variety of waters and at a much lower starting cost.
If you are against powerboats, you can rest assured that a kayak is also a lot more ecologically friendly compared to larger gas-powered boats. A kayak is traditionally paddle-powered and less disturbing to the peace and tranquility of the wildlife and your fellow outdoorsmen. You can feel like a part of the environment when silently gliding through the marshes and wetlands, as opposed to someone using the environment by noisily speeding through the water.
Ready. Set. Go!
Once you understand why you want to get a kayak, and where you plan to use it, you will need to know local boating regulations and requirements. One of the advantages of a kayak versus a larger and more speedy boat is that the registration requirements are much easier to navigate. While you should always take a boating course and understand how to enjoy the waterways safely and responsibly, going from boatless to being on the water is much easier and quicker when utilizing a kayak.
Ultimately, we want to purchase a kayak that allows us to enjoy our hobbies and meet our needs without the expenses and rigidity that most powerboat owners are faced with. We want to spend more time on the water and less time preparing and maintaining a boat on dry land. Less time preparing means more time enjoying the outdoors and that means more time doing what we love to do.