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Coated inflatable kayaks will last the longest of any other inflatable kayak material. It has better UV resistance and is very resistant to environmental factors like mildew and fungus. Hypalon is more expensive than PVC.

Nitrylon coated inflatable kayaks are very puncture resistant, easier to patch than PVC and Hypalon coated inflatables, and performs better in cold weather, but Nitrylon is very heavy. It is usually only used on the outer chambers of the boat where there will be the most wear and tear.

RIGID KAYAK MATERIALS

Plastic kayaks are tough and can endure all kinds of impact, but they are heavy to hoist onto the top of your vehicle by yourself.

Fiberglass kayaks are lighter weight than those made of plastic, however, they usually are more expensive. Fiberglass kayaks are very strong, but a paddler needs to avoid hitting rocks or hidden underwater objects like tree stumps and rocks.

Kevlar kayaks are very strong and are the lightest material available, but they are usually the most expensive.

If you are just starting out, you might want to go with an affordable plastic kayak, but before purchasing a kayak, check out a kayak demo expo or rent a number of different kayak models from a local kayak retailer. Also try several kayak paddle designs to see which one feels the most comfortable to you. A good-fitting cockpit is one where you sit comfortably, but have firm contact everywhere your body touches the boat: feet, knees, thighs, butt and lower back. Bracing your feet on foot pegs that are attached to the inside hull helps keep you centered, trim and level. Adjustable foot pegs give more options for positioning, and they are good for multiple users.

KAYAK LESSONS

Before you purchase a kayak, take some lessons to know what to do if you capsize, as well as learning the basic paddling strokes, bracing and turning techniques. Kayaking lessons are taught through kayak clubs and kayak retailers, or you can hire a professional kayak instructor. The price of kayaking lessons varies. Some kayak retailers who offer kayak rentals and lessons will apply the full cost of the lessons and rental towards the purchase of a kayak and/or equipment.

Before you purchase a kayak, take some lessons to know what to do if you capsize, as well as learning the basic paddling strokes, bracing and turning techniques. Kayaking lessons are taught through kayak clubs and kayak retailers, or you can hire a professional kayak instructor. The price of kayaking lessons varies. Some kayak retailers who offer kayak rentals and lessons will apply the full cost of the lessons and rental towards the purchase of a kayak and/or equipment.

All sit-on-top and sit-in paddlers need to learn:

 
  • Different paddling strokes, and kayak maneuvering and steering techniques
  • How to select a kayak for your kayaking preferences.
  • How to load and secure your kayak.
  • How to launch and land.
  • How to roll, wet exit, capsize and reentry techniques.
  • How to paddle in adverse weather conditions, (and when to get off the water).
  • What safety equipment and clothing you need.
  • Basic safety.
 

CLOTHING & EQUIPMENT

The clothing and equipment essential for kayaking can vary according to the type of kayaking you do. Some equipment you can’t do without, like a paddle and a life vest. While some items may not be necessary for every trip, they can play a large part in keeping you safe and comfortable.

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