Should You Buy a Rigid Kayak or an Inflatable One

Should You Buy a Rigid Kayak or an Inflatable One?

Now that you have tried kayaking a couple of times and discovered your love of the sport it’s time to get your own kayak.  Once you find yourself in a sporting goods store it’s time to decide should you buy a rigid kayak or an inflatable one?  The first thing you need to ask yourself is how you will be using your kayak?  Are you going to be cruising sedately across the lake or braving rapids and rough water?

The Classic Kayak or the Inflatable

When people think of the classic kayak they usually think of a single person boat similar to a canoe with a hard shell.  Today though there are inflatable kayaks that are a far cry from the pool toys you used to see years ago.  These are some pretty high tech kayaks but are they as good as the classic kayak that you are used to?  There are plenty of opinions on the subject as to which is better but the fact is they both have pros and cons.  Here is a closer look at both of them.

The Inflatable

You are probably under the impression that the inflatable kayak can’t be used in rough water or through white water rapids.  This isn’t true at all, there are several different models of inflatable kayaks that are made just for rough water.  The inflatable is a lot easier to drag around with you when you travel than the rigid kayak.  They can fold up into something the size of a duffel bag and fit easily into your trunk.  A rigid kayak will need to be strapped to the roof of your car for transport to the nearest lake.  You should note that an inflatable kayak will cost less than a rigid one, cheaper doesn’t mean better.

The Classic Rigid Kayak

There is little or no maintenance to the rigid kayak, you won’t have to inflate or deflate it when you want to go kayaking.  While the inflatable kayaks are far better made than they used to be the fact is they just aren’t as durable as a rigid kayak.  The rigid kayak can be a little harder to control in the water for the inexperienced kayaker.

Both types of kayaks are great options but you may want to start out with an inflatable and work your way up to one of the rigid models.  Both offer up the chance to get out on the water and have some fun and after all that is what you are looking for.

Kayaking Equipment for Beginners

Kayaking Equipment for Beginners

If you have never been kayaking it is definitely something you should add to your summertime bucket list.  While it is compared to canoeing often there are some pretty big differences.  But for the beginner to get off on the right foot, or rather the right paddle you’re going to need the right equipment.  Here is a guide to kayaking equipment for beginners.

The Kayak

First and foremost you’re going to need a kayak.  While you may not be able to discern the differences between models there are plenty.  For a beginner all you need is a simple recreational kayak and they are going to be around 15 feet long.  It will allow you and any passengers to get in and out fairly easily and it has some decent back support.  Some of them have a foot pedal to help you steer in rougher waters.

A Paddle

You do not want to be up the proverbial creek without the right paddle.  Kayak paddles are a bit different from a canoe paddle, a kayak paddle will have a blade on each end.  Kayak paddles will be somewhere between 6-8 feet long, however the length of paddle should be based on your height.  The taller you are the longer your paddle needs to be.  Most paddles today are made of plastic and if you’re new to kayaking grabbing an extra paddle is probably a good idea just in case that yours break.

Wet Suit or Swimwear

The thing with kayaking, even for experienced kayakers you are going to get wet.  If you’re trying it out for the first time in the summer you can get away with wearing shorts or a bathing suit.  As you get more experienced then you might want to invest in a wet suit.  Dress according to the weather but bear in mind the water is always a few degrees colder.

Flotation Devices

You may be the best swimmer in the world but it is better to be safe than sorry.  Grab a flotation device like a life jacket that allows for arm and neck movements.


Helmets are probably not the first thing you think of when it comes to kayaking but better safe than sorry.  You could get hit with a paddle or hit a rock in the water, always protect yourself.

If this is a new sport that you’re trying for the first time it may seem like you need a lot of equipment to hit the water.  Don’t let that stop you from trying something new.  Kayaking is an amazing way to step out from your comfort zone and see nature in a whole new way.  Once you finally try it you may find it to be something you absolutely love.