Kayak FAQ

Author: Joseph Reilly

We know Kayaking can be the experience of a lifetime, but when it comes to an activity of this scale, you're bound to have some unique questions before getting in the water. Below you'll find some FAQ for all your Kayaking needs.

Do you need a roof rack for a kayak?

The short answer is no. But a roof rack is a very handy piece of equipment when it comes to transporting your kayaks via a vehicle. The durability mixed with its stability is not only a piece of mind factor (that your kayak is safe and secure and won't fly off into the abyss), but it's also the safest way. Because this piece of equipment ensures your kayak isn't moving. But if you're not using one, you want to make sure that you've securely tied down the bow and stem. Use hooks or handles to securely tie down all straps on the front and back.

Which kayak roof rack is best?

One of the top rated kayak roof racks on the market is called the Thule Hullavator Pro Carrier. The features and abilities that make this model stand out is how you can dock the kayak and then seamlessly strap it to the roof of the car. The key difference here from other models is that the Thule Hullavator actually has straps which extends over the car roof side for extra security. With the simplicity of this model mixed with it's security, you're not going to find a model better for your piece of mind or dollar.

How many kayaks fit on a roof rack?

With your vehicle alone, you're going to only be able to fit two kayaks on the roof rack. If you need to transport more, you'll need other equipment such as a hitch mount or side mount to attach onto your vehicle. Trailers are also an option which can actually allow you up to 8 kayaks at a time depending on the model of the trailer.

How do you transport a kayak without a rack?

There are many unorthodox ways to transport a kayak without a roof rack. With a little creative ingenuity, some rope, and straps you can attach the kayak in anyway that feels secure. Some popular methods have involved using pool tubes to center the kayak in place.

Can you transport a kayak upside down?

Most Kayaks should only be transported right side up, as their design makes it tough to secure them any other way. But there are models that prove to be the exception which does in fact allow you to transport them upside down. Rotomolded kayaks are specific ones that you can transport upside down because they allow you to secure them hull up or on their edge. The curvature of other models don't allow this.

How do you carry a kayak by yourself? Can you drag a kayak?

Although it's advised that you transport a kayak using two people, or a vehicle, it's not impossible and does involve a bit of technique. What you want to do is first face the boat and get on the left of the kayak. Next, lift the kayak with your knee and rest it in your thighs for best leverage. Now grab the inside with your right arm, hoist it onto your shoulder and finally find a balanced position to continue to carry it on your shoulder. Dragging a kayak is only advised if it's made of plastic and its the appropriate terrain such as grass or sand. Fiberglass models should not be dragged.

How do you tie a kayak to a car?

You'll want to first place the kayak on top of the car, right side up. Make sure that the kayak is fully centered on top. Place the straps over the kayak and then tie them under the roof rack.

Throw the remaining strap on the opposite side of the kayak and fasten it to the bottom of the roof rack just like the previous strap on the other side.

Run the strap through the cam buckle, making sure it's tight and secure. Then repeat this step with the other strap.

Take the bow line and connect one end to the kayak and the other end to under your front car number. Tighten it and repeat for the back of the car.

Secure all loose ends and straps and you're good to go!

How much does a kayak weigh?

Solo kayaks weigh between 20 and 80 pounds while tandem kayaks can range from 60 to 80 lbs.

How do you store a kayak?

You store a kayak upside down on cross bars or hanging from a cockpit is the best method for storage. A key thing to remember is to store the kayak away from sunlight.

Is it OK to store a kayak on its side?

Storing a kayak on its side is not recommended for most models as resting it on its side may warp the material into one flatness on one end.

Is it OK to store a kayak outside?

Storing a kayak outside is not recommended as a kayak should never be stored in direct sunlight. If you need to absolute store your kayak outside it should be covered by a weather proof and sun proof garment.

How do you store a kayak for the winter?

It's always best to store your kayak inside during all fours seasons year-round with the same storage practices. The one thing that changes during the winter, if your kayak is stored outside you'll want to adhere to the standard storage procedures except the kayak should be in a cockpit cover to keep out debris and rodents that may want to keep warm.

What is the best kayak cart?

One of the best reviewed kayak carts on the market right now is called the Seattle Sports ATC. This model is favorable among kayak lovers for its vibration reduction, powder coated steel frame, ability for easy and space saving storage, extra kick stands, and load capacity. This models sells for as low as $137 USD.

Can you stack kayaks on top of each other?

You can in fact stack kayaks on top of each other. The process is the same as strapping one kayak on top of your car. You just must take extra precautions that everything is fastened and secured tightly and safely. It is not recommended that you store kayaks on top of each other.

What is a composite kayak?

Composite Kayaks are ones made from specialized materials and not just the ordinary plastics that they are usually manufactured with. Composite kayaks can include but are not limited to being made from fiberglass, carbon, and kevlar. The process for these models can involve special molding and seal proof materials.

What is the best material for a kayak?

Most Kayakers prefer and recommend fiberglass over plastic, but this usually comes down to personal preference and what experience you're looking to get out of kayaking most.

What is my kayak made of?

Most kayaks are made from a material called high density polyethylene. But you can check what exactly yours is made from by contacting the seller or manufacturer.

Are fiberglass kayaks better than plastic?

Plastic model kayaks tend to be more durable than fiberglass ones but are severely hard to repair despite their long life span. Plastic models are preferred for their lighter weight, storage capacity, and ease of transport but the price is the big sell for most as plastic kayaks can go for way cheaper.

Why do kayaks have scupper holes?

Kayaks have scupper holes to prevent water collection in the paddler. You can purchase scupper plugs to plug these holes accordingly. These scupper holes are usually found on sit on top kayak models only.

What kind of plastic is my kayak made of?

The predominant plastic used in making plastic model kayaks is a material known as HDPE- High Density Polyethylene.

Are kayaks made from petroleum?

Kayaks do not come directly from petroleum but it can be an active ingredient usually in the polyethylene models because petrochemicals are manufactured from oil. Fiberglass model kayaks can also contain small amounts of petroleum as well.

What is a kayak used for?

Kayaks are mainly used for expeditions involving downstream water, rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water. The kayak moves using paddles. Unlike other boats, kayaks move faster and are known for having more versatility in moving through waters.

What kind of kayak is best for beginners?

For your first laying experience as a beginner, you'll want to go the durable route, meaning a plastic model will be best. The second thing you'll want to look out for is being able to handle the kayak in the water therefore size is a big factor. The Wilderness Systems brand Pungo 125 for this reason is a pretty solid model to start out with as it has all the basic fittings for a beginner to take it slow and safe.

Should I get a sit in or sit on kayak?

Sit in and sit on kayaks are the two models you can choose from when buying one. Both are available in single or tandem. Sit on top kayaks are easier to use and best suited for beginners as you can slip in and out of them fairly easy. Sit inside kayaks are a bit more difficult to maneuver but are known to keep the paddler warmer.

What are the advantages of a sit on top kayak?

Sit on top kayaks are easier to use, get in and out of and provide greater stability over other models. They also shed water from the cockpit fairly easily.

Do kayaks tip easily?

Tipping over in kayaks is a common belief and fear for beginners. But the design of kayaks today make it so that this occurring is very rare.

Can you use any kayak in the ocean?

Although kayaking in the ocean isn't 100% recommended by those who are in the maritime or kayaking business due to safety, if you prepare appropriately, you can safely kayak in the ocean and have a great time. The important thing to remember is to pack all gear, a life jacket, and use the right kayak.

Are kayaks dangerous?

Kayaks are not dangerous if you take the time to learn, use the right kayak according to your experience, and wear all your gear. Timing and location is also an important factor coming into play of safety as you'll want to avoid rough surf, bad weather, or dark areas.

What are the advantages of a sit on top kayak?

Control, size, and durability are all advantages to using a sit on top kayak. The center of gravity is far better with these models which in turn helps to easily turn as opposed to other kayaks. You can also re-enter your SOT from the water, which makes getting in and out super easy.

Which is safer canoe or kayak?

Canoes can be harder to learn at times and increases the risk of displacement since you're essentially on a boat. With a kayak you wear it much like a slipper so in a way you're becoming the kayak. This leads to greater control while on the water which reduces safety hazards by a substantial margin.

Can you kayak if you can’t swim?

Yes! Although this is highly not recommended, you can still use a kayak as long as you do so in a controlled water environment, learn how to use a kayak, and wear all essential gear. Wear a life vest! Without proper training and in deep waters, if you leave the kayak and can't swim, you run the risk of severe injury.

Which is faster kayak or canoe?

It was believed at one point that kayaks were faster than canoes, but this is a myth. Both canoes and kayaks can go great speeds depending on what model you have. Kayaks provide better maneuverability, so this could lead to increased speeds over canoes.

Is a kayak or canoe easier?

Kayaks are easier to transport, can weigh less, and provide better maneuverability overall. Both take learning and have a learning curve, but kayaks have been said to be the easiest to pick up overall.

What do you do if your kayak capsizes?

In safe waters with no strong surf, you can easily get yourself out of a capsized kayak. Once the kayak has capsized, you grab hold of the kayak with both your arms, as if you're giving it a hug, and pull your legs out. Once out of the kayak, if not near land, keep hold of the kayak until help arrives. If you feel you can swim to land, only do so if conditions are safe.

What size of kayak do I need?

Choosing your size of kayak should be based on your own size, experience kayaking, and the waters you plan to kayak in. You want to be comfortable in the kayak, you'll all want to purchase a tandem kayak if you want to kayak with two people.

What’s the difference between a kayak and a canoe?

One difference between a kayak and a canoe is that they have two different paddler positions. With canoes, the position involves the knees, where the paddler usually kneels in the canoe. With kayaks, the paddler sits with their legs facing forward. Canoes tend to have more spacious decks and usually single paddles.

Is a canoe or kayak better for fishing?

Both kayaks and canoes can be used for fishing. If you want to move your location more along with keep your stability, then kayaks are better. If you're looking for more space, to remain stationary, and get more of a boat feel out of your fishing experience then canoes are better for fishing.

What does kayaking involve?

Kayaking involves using a paddle or a double-bladed oar and a small boat like structure that can come in multiple sizes and models, depending on what experience you're looking for. Kayaks allow a paddler to sit in or on top near the kayak'd deck

Can you use a kayak paddle for a canoe?

Kayak paddles are specifically designed for kayaks and are not recommended for canoes. But, if need be they can work for a canoe, just not as well.

Why are longer kayaks faster?

Longer kayaks are faster because their weight allows less paddling. With greater hull speeds, the amount of distance gained is faster in less time. Essentially, the length creates a bullet-like effect in the water.

Are tandem kayaks faster?

Because you'll be paddling with a second person, the tandem kayak will go faster if you both are on the same page. Tandem kayaks are also bigger therefore the bigger kayaks often have greater speeds.

Do longer kayaks track better?

Longer kayaks have greater speeds and durability, they also do track way better since all other attributes are slightly improved. This is because you need less strokes of paddling while the kayak glides significantly better.

Can you use a 2 person kayak with 1 person?

You can use a tandem kayak with one person but this will be significantly harder to pull off while increasing the risk for injury. Since the weight of the kayak will be off center and the size of the kayak is greater, this isn't recommended and should always have two people in a tandem kayak.

Where do you sit in a tandem kayak?

There are two seating positions in a tandem kayak and are seated one front of the other right before the deck. The back seat usually sees the person sitting with their knees bent.