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2023 starboard best inflatable touring stand up paddle boards

Are you new to kayaking and wondering which kayak is right for you? Or are you an experienced kayaker looking to upgrade your equipment? Either way, it’s important to understand the different types of kayaks available in the market to make an informed decision.

There are various types of kayaks designed for different environments and activities. In this article, we will provide you with an overview of the different types of kayaks, helping you determine which one is right for you. Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways:

  • There are different types of kayaks available, including sit-on-top, sit-inside, inflatable, and folding kayaks.
  • Each type of kayak offers unique benefits and is suitable for different water conditions and activities.
  • Consider your experience level, the body of water you will be kayaking in, and the type of activity you will be doing when choosing a kayak.
  • Always prioritize safety when kayaking, including wearing appropriate gear and following recommended precautions.
  • An inflatable kayak is a portable and lightweight option suitable for recreational paddling, exploring calm lakes, and navigating mild whitewater.

Understanding Sit-On-Top Kayaks

When it comes to recreational kayaks, sit-on-top kayaks are a popular option with beginners and avid paddlers alike. Their open design provides easy entry and exit, making them a great choice for those who are new to kayaking. The design also provides increased stability, making it easier to stay upright on the water.
One of the benefits of sit-on-top kayaks is their versatility. They can be used for leisurely paddling around calm lakes or canals, as well as for fishing or touring. Many models come with fishing rod holders and storage compartments, making them ideal for a day out on the water.

Additionally, sit-on-top kayaks are often less expensive than sit-inside kayaks and are easier to transport. They are typically made from durable materials like polyethylene or fiberglass, ensuring they can withstand a range of water conditions.

Keep in mind that sit-on-top kayaks do have some downsides. They don’t offer the same level of protection from the elements as sit-inside kayaks, and while they are stable, they may not be as efficient on longer paddles.

Overall, if you’re looking for a fun and versatile recreational kayak, a sit-on-top kayak might be just what you need.

Unveiling Sit-Inside Kayaks

Sit-inside kayaks, also known as closed-cockpit kayaks, are designed with an enclosed seating area where paddlers sit inside the kayak. These kayaks protect from the elements like cold water, waves, and wind, making them suitable for touring, sea kayaking, and whitewater adventures. Sit-inside kayaks are popular among intermediate and experienced kayakers who value performance, speed, and maneuverability.
These kayaks come in various sizes and shapes, ranging from recreational kayaks like Old Town Vapor to specialty sea kayaks like Necky Chatham. Compared to sit-on-top kayaks, Sit-inside kayaks offer a more intimate and stable experience and better gear storage capacity.

Sit-inside vs. Sit-on-top kayaks

Compared to sit-on-top kayaks’ open design, sit-inside kayaks provide better protection from the elements and waves, ensuring the kayaker stays dry and warm. Additionally, sit-inside kayaks have a lower center of gravity, making them faster, more responsive, and enjoyable to paddle for longer periods. Sit-inside kayaks are stiffer and are less likely to flex, which leads to better tracking and handling.
However, sit-inside kayaks require an extra level of skill and proficiency to re-enter after capsizing since they are completely enclosed.

Best Sit-inside Kayaks Manufacturers

PerceptionPescador Pro 12Check Prices →
Old TownLoon 126Check Prices →
DaggerStratos 14.5 LCheck Prices →

Check out the best kayak deals for top picks in sit-inside kayaks

Sit-inside kayaks are ideal for kayakers who like to cover long distances, enjoy paddling in various conditions, and need space for necessary gear. These kayaks provide comfort, speed, safety, and versatility, making them a great option for intermediate and experienced kayakers alike.

Exploring Inflatable Kayaks

Inflatable kayaks are a great choice for those who prefer easier mobility and portability. These kayaks are made from durable materials that ensure stability and durability, despite being lightweight.

  • Inflatable kayaks are highly versatile and suitable for different types of water environments.
  • They are perfect for recreational paddling on calm lakes or even navigating mild whitewater.
  • Inflatable kayaks can be easily transported in a car’s trunk or even checked in on a flight.

The inflatable kayaks are designed to provide comfort and stability, making them an excellent choice for beginners. Despite their initial low cost, the quality of inflatable kayaks has significantly improved, and they now last a long time. Thanks to their ease of use, these kayaks are perfect for avid paddlers who want to travel and explore different waterways.
If you’re looking for a reliable and affordable way to explore different waterways, inflatable kayaks are the way to go. Check out the different options available on the market and choose the one that meets your specific needs.

inflatable kayaks

Introducing Folding Kayaks

Folding kayaks are an excellent option for those who want to experience kayaking but have limited storage space. Unlike hard-shell kayaks, they can be easily folded and compactly stored. These kayaks are portable, lightweight, and easy to carry, making them ideal for traveling or those who like to explore different waterways.
Despite their compact size, folding kayaks are comparable in performance to hard-shell kayaks and are suitable for various paddling environments. They are equipped with durable materials that help maintain stability and durability.

If you are looking for a kayak that can easily be stored and transported, then a folding kayak might be the right choice for you. These kayaks are perfect for beginners as well as experienced paddlers. For an in-depth look at the top choices in folding kayaks, visit our selection of the best kayak deals.

Comparison Table: Folding Kayaks vs. Hard-shell Kayaks

CharacteristicFolding KayaksHard-Shell Kayaks
StorageEasy to store in limited spaces due to their foldable designRequire a lot of storage space
PortabilityLightweight and easy to carryHeavy and require special equipment to transport
PerformanceComparable to hard-shell kayaks in terms of stability and durabilityTraditionally better performance due to their design
CostVary in price, ranging from affordable to expensiveExpensive

Folding kayaks are perfect for those who value portability and convenience while still being able to enjoy the beauty of kayaking. The unique design allows for ease of storage and transport without compromising on performance.

  • Compact size and lightweight design
  • Durable and stable performance
  • Perfect for travelers or those with limited storage space

Discover more about the comparison between inflatable and hard-shell kayaks


Choosing the right kayak can be a daunting task, but understanding the different types available can help you make an informed decision. Whether you’re looking for a recreational kayak for leisurely paddling or a touring kayak for more adventurous expeditions, there’s a kayak out there for you.

Sit-on-top kayaks are perfect for beginners due to their stability and ease of use, while sit-inside kayaks are ideal for touring and whitewater adventures thanks to their closed cockpit design.

Inflatable kayaks are portable and lightweight, making them convenient for travelers and providing a versatile option for exploring calm lakes and mild whitewater. And folding kayaks offer a unique option for those with limited storage space or who need a kayak that can be easily transported.

Ultimately, the type of kayak you choose will depend on your needs and preferences. Consider your experience level, the water conditions you’ll be paddling in, and the activities you’ll want to do in your kayak. With the right kayak, you can enjoy exploring the waterways and experiencing the beauty of nature from a whole new perspective.


What types of kayaks are available in the market?

There are several different types of kayaks available, each with its own unique features and purposes. The most common types are sit-on-top kayaks, sit-inside kayaks, inflatable kayaks, and folding kayaks.

What are sit-on-top kayaks?

Sit-on-top kayaks are recreational kayaks that have an open design, allowing for easy entry and exit. They are known for their stability and are suitable for beginners. Sit-on-top kayaks are often used for leisurely paddling and fishing activities.

What are sit-inside kayaks?

Sit-inside kayaks are traditional kayaks with a closed cockpit where paddlers sit inside. These kayaks provide better protection from cold water, waves, and wind, making them suitable for touring, sea kayaking, and whitewater adventures.

What are inflatable kayaks?

Inflatable kayaks are portable and lightweight, making them easy to carry. They are made from durable materials that ensure stability and durability. Inflatable kayaks are versatile and are ideal for recreational paddling, calm lake exploration, and even mild whitewater navigation.

What are folding kayaks?

Folding kayaks can be folded and compactly stored, making them convenient for travelers or those with limited storage space. They offer performance similar to hard-shell kayaks and are suitable for various paddling environments.

Which type of kayak is right for me?

The right type of kayak for you will depend on your personal preferences, experience level, and intended use. If you prefer an open design and stability, a sit-on-top kayak may be the best choice. If you value protection and are interested in touring or whitewater adventures, a sit-inside kayak would be a good option. If you prioritize portability and versatility, inflatable or folding kayaks may be more suitable. Consider your needs and preferences when choosing a kayak.