Hoe kies je een kajak?

How do you choose a kayak?

With a kayak you can reach scenic beachside campsites, quietly explore an estuary, take in breathtaking views that cannot be seen from shore, exercise around the lake in the morning, or just play in the water with the kids.

 Just as there are many ways to use kayaks, there are many different boats. How do you know which kayak is best for you? When trying to choose a kayak, focus on a few key ideas:

Where do you want to paddle? Is it a lake, a seashore or a river? This will help you narrow down your choices.

Sit-in or sit-on-top? Do you prefer the protection of a traditional sit-in, or the openness of a sit-on-top? If you're open to either, that's fine too.

Weight of the kayak and your budget: materials that directly affect the boat's price are the biggest factor in the weight and durability of your boat.

Shape and Size Considerations: These affect the handling and loading space.

Where are you going to use your kayak?

Waar kajakken

Boats are not classified by water type, but it is still helpful to start here and think about which area to explore before choosing your boat.

Lakes: we're talking about the local lake here, not Lake Superior. When the weather is nice and the destination is close by, you can go with any sit-on-top or recreational sit-in boat and have fun. If white foam heads appear, a pure pleasure craft can become overmatched.

Coasts: wind, waves, currents, tides and more all play a role here. It is therefore wise to have a sit-in tour boat with a rudder, fixed tracking fin or a skeg (a dropdown fin). If you live in a warm area where you don't mind swimming, or if you plan on kayaking, a sit-on top can still be a good choice.

Rivers: we're not talking technical rapids - whitewater kayaks are beyond the scope of this article. When you float on a river, you want a stable, sturdy vessel that spins quickly. That can be a short, stable recreational sit-in or sit-on-top boat, or a day-touring sit-in kayak. 

Rivers and lakes: If you plan to use your boat in both running and still water, go for a short recreational sit-in or sit-on-top kayak. These crossing boats typically have a skeg. That setup helps you to turn responsively when the skeg is up and to follow efficiently when the skeg is down. A short rudder boat would also be an option, but rudders are usually found on longer boats.

Types of kayaks

Kayaks are classified in many ways, including where you are in them, how you use them, their structure, and whether they were built for a specific purpose.

Sit-on-top Vs. Traditional sit-in kayaks 

Sit-on tops are mainly pleasure boats for lakes and easy flowing rivers. You'll also see them in warm coastal waters, and a few longer sit-on tops have enough storage for an overnight trip. If you're feeling too claustrophobic in a cockpit or don't want to learn how to make a 'wet exit' when you capsize, you're a sit-on topper. If you're not sure yet, consider the following:

  • Sit-on tops are easy to put on and take off (even in deep water), so they're good for casual use, such as playing near a lakeside cabin, or as a kiddie boat or swim platform.
  • They are comfortable when air and water are warm (you always get wet).
  • Scuppers make them self-draining; there is no need to pump out water.
  • They have some storage spaces on the deck and hard-to-access cargo space (in the hollow hull).
  • They are generally heavier than comparable sit-in kayaks.
  • For those interested in fishing, some sit-on tops include rod holders or at least the option to add them.

Sit-On-Top Kayak Collection

Sit-on kayaks come in models for pleasure craft, day trips and touring. They move fast, follow a straight line, and have covered cargo compartments, so they're good for paddling to a destination. Additional Considerations:

  • They are comfortable when air and water are cool.
  • You can add a spray skirt, but a bilge pump is needed if you are completely submerged. And if you buy a traditional narrow sit-in kayak, you need to know how to make a wet exit.
  • The position of your body and multiple points of contact in the boat (butt, knees and feet) give you more control, which is especially useful in rough water and can also be more fun to maneuver.
  • They are more efficient for paddling than a sit-on top.

Kayak Categories

The boat categories are worth mentioning, but keep in mind that not all kayak makers use the same terms. And one brand's "recreational" boat may be comparable to another's "day tour" boat. That said, here are some general guidelines:

Recreational kayaks (sit-ins and sit-on-tops): affordable, stable, easy to get in and out and easy to turn. They are for fun on flat water or meandering rivers, not longer treks, waves or rapids. Storage is usually limited to storage areas for a few essentials.

Recreational Kayak Collectiondagtochten

Kayaks for day trips (sit-ins): These versatile boats are slimmer and more efficient to move than pleasure boats - and will often come at a higher price. Day trip kayaks also run straighter and give you more control in rough water than pleasure boats. Because they are shorter than sea kayaks, day trip kayaks are easier to transport and handle. They offer a moderate amount of cargo space. Dagtocht Kajak Collectie

Touring kayaks (sit-in sea kayaks): These long, robust touring boats are super efficient over distances. They follow well and have a rudder or skeg to deal with wind and current. In this category you will find plenty of cargo space and higher prices. (Note: If you are absolutely committed to long trips and coastal kayaking then you can save money by going to a sea kayak from the start. If you are not sure, a day trip boat will cost less as an introductory boat, and make it easier to develop paddling skills.)

Day Trip Kayak Collection


Touring kayaks (sit-in sea kayaks): These long, robust touring boats are super efficient over distances. They follow well and have a rudder or skeg to deal with wind and current. In this category you will find plenty of cargo space and higher prices. (Note: If you are absolutely committed to long trips and coastal kayaking then you can save money by going to a sea kayak from the start. If you are not sure, a day trip boat will cost less as an introductory boat, and make it easier to develop paddling skills.) 

Tour Kayak Collection

Great kayaks

The categories below are good options for some specific situations: maybe you're short on space, want to paddle with a partner, or maybe your focus is on fishing.


Foldable kayaks: If you live in an apartment, plan to travel, or want to hike to a remote location, a folding boat might make sense. it won't be as robust as a hard shell kayak, but it offers similar handling and storage to many touring boats.

 opblaasbare kajak

Inflatable kayaks: like a folding boat, these also save storage space. They are also surprisingly sturdy and versatile. Purely recreational models aren't going anywhere that fast, so they're best for playing near the shore. Wide, robust inflatables are good for running rivers (they bounce off obstacles). And a few inflatables are designed to be serious touring kayaks.

Inflatable Kayak Collection


Tandem kayaks: a boat or two? You and your partner can save some dollars by buying one tandem boat instead of two solo kayaks. Tandems tend to be more stable than their single counterparts and are also a good choice if you are bringing children. But you forgo a potential lifeboat and the flexibility to go solo on future trips. But if you're super simple and confident you'll always go together when you paddle, a tandem boat makes sense.

Tandem Kayak Collection

voetpeddel kajak 

Pedal-powered kayaks: If you want to free your hands to fish, photograph or watch wildlife through binoculars, look to boats with advanced pedal drive systems. These use bicycle-like pedals that turn a prop, or push pedals that power a pair of fins. Steering is done via a rudder that is operated with a hand control. You sit higher to leave room for the pedaling movement. Pedal kayaks are usually wide and offer a stable platform (in calm conditions), and because you use your powerful leg muscles, you can hold on for longer stretches more comfortably. On the other hand, pedal technology adds to the cost of a kayak; it also requires more maintenance. You also need to consider the support or fins under the kayak when in the shallows, and you won't be able to handle fast turns or rough water like you can in a kayak that you paddle. Pedal kayaks are also heavier than traditional kayaks, which affects handling in and out of the water (plan to don a pedal kayak as it is too heavy to carry on a roof rack).

Paddle powered collection

Kayak materials, weight and price


A lighter kayak is easier to carry, easier to load into your car (especially by yourself), and easier to get up to speed. With a lighter boat, you can also take more gear with you because less weight is taken up by the weight of the boat itself. The tradeoff is that lightweight materials can cost a kayak significantly more.

Polyethylene plastic is inexpensive and hard-wearing, although it is the toughest option and the sun's UV rays will affect it after an extended period of time in the sun. (Keep it in a covered location.)

ABS plastic: slightly more expensive than polyethylene, it offers comparable durability. The higher price gives you a slightly lighter weight than polyethylene, plus some UV resistance. The distinctive two-tone designs of thermoformed ABS boats come from the fact that the deck and hull are made separately and then joined together.

Composites: lightweight fiberglass boats and ultra-light carbon fiber boats offer a huge leap in performance and price. UV radiation is not a major problem with these materials, but a major impact with stones can be.

Additional considerations for the kayak

kajakker die zijn stoel aanpast

Similar boats are likely to have similar specifications. However, weight capacity and height can vary so those are the most important specs to check.

Weight Capacity: this is the total of the boat, your equipment and yourself. This specification is important if you plan to transport equipment for a multi-day trip: if the boat is overloaded it will be too low in the water and jeopardize your paddling efficiency.

Length: Longer boats run more efficiently and offer plenty of storage space for nighttime touring gear, while shorter hulls turn faster. A length of a few inches doesn't matter much, but a meter or more will be noticeable.

Depth: deeper hulls provide more room for long-legged kayakers, plus a little more storage space. Shallower hulls are less affected by wind.

Width: wider hulls provide more initial stability, while narrower hulls can go faster.

Wedges, fins and rudders: these accessories help a boat to follow straight into the wind. 

  • A skeg is a simple dropdown fin that helps prevent a crosswind from blowing the boat off course.
  • A tracking fin offers a similar benefit, but unlike a skeg, it cannot be retracted while you are paddling. It is most commonly found on inflatable kayaks. You have the option to remove a tracking fin before paddling if you want to prioritize the ability to turn quickly or the ability to stay on track.
  • A rudder, a fin that folds down from the back of a boat does the same thing, except it's not fixed in one position: the angle can be constantly adjusted via foot pedals, so it responds better to changing conditions when on board. the movement.

Seats: a good seat can make your kayak a lot more expensive. But you'll be spending a lot of hours in that chair, so if you have one that's more adjustable, more padded, and more ergonomically appropriate, that extra money may well be worth it. 

Cockpit Size: A small, cozy cockpit gives you more control and protection in rough conditions. A large cockpit makes getting in and out easier. 

Shutters: these provide access to the storage spaces inside. Larger tour boats will have two, while day tour boats and some recreational boats will have one.