Thursday, January 9, 2014

Learnin About Kayakin from Austin Kayak

There has been a lot of talk recently on various outdoor blogs about pack rafting. The folks over at Motion went pack rafting and so did A Colorado Girl. It seems to be another great way to explore the outdoors, giving you more flexibility to tromp around rather than letting a pesky river get in the way.

My family is a canoe family. We took many canoeing adventures in the Adirondacks and Maine which was before the time of kayaks and now pack rafting (and while we are at it, what is this "twerking" all the kids are doing nowadays?). I have been talking with the folks at Austin Kayak about these newfangled floatation devices and they kindly put together some things to think about before going on your next water adventure.

Inflatable vs. Traditional Kayaks

Kayaks allow you to explore beautiful bodies of water, take in gorgeous views, and even help you get in shape. That said, selecting the right kayak for your activity can be quite a confusing task for beginners. One of the first questions you need to answer is whether you want a hard bodied or inflatable kayak.

Traditional plastic kayaks are much more common and generally more expensive compared to an inflatable. They have a hard plastic hull that makes them just about indestructible, meaning they’ll last a long time and can handle more intense water without a problem. Beginners looking to buy their first kayak need to remember that hard bodied kayaks usually require a vehicle rack, trailer, or truck bed to transport due to their size and weight.

Inflatable kayaks are a great option for beginning kayakers because of their portability. When deflated, an inflatable kayak will fold down into an oversized backpack meaning no special transportation method is required to get to the water with your paddlecraft. The drawback is that they are not as tough and also tend to be a bit slower moving than traditional hard shell kayaks.
Before you select your type of kayak, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Where do you plan on taking the kayak?
If you plan on paddling in calm waters such as ponds or lakes, an inflatable kayak might be better suited. This is a great choice to bring along on camping trips. For more rigid waters with wind and waves, a quick moving hard shell kayak might be best for you.
2. What is your skill level?
Inflatable kayaks are best for beginners for their easy transport and overall versatility. For more advanced paddlers that want to take on rougher waters and routes, the hard shell kayak is best.
3. What is your plan for transporting the kayak?
Keep in mind that hard kayaks are bulky, heavy, and difficult to transport. Unless you have a car rack or truck bed and a friend to help you mount the kayak, a better option for easy transport is the lightweight inflatable kayak. For long hiking trips, you’ll thank yourself for choosing the lighter option.
4. How much are you willing to spend?
Like we mentioned before, the durability and lasting quality of a hard shelled kayak comes with a heftier price than the inflatable kayak. While there are some great affordable options out there for the traditional hard shell kayak, many choose to go with the inflatable kayak due to its lower costs.
Once you’ve answered these questions, continue your research by visiting us at We’ve got plenty of resources to help like our helpful articles found on the ACK Blog and instructional videos on ACKTV. Thanks for reading and happy paddling!

Many thanks to ACK for that great info about kayaking! I think whether you choose plastic or inflatable, you should get out there on the water! I hope to one of these months (2014 just started after all!) and definitely touch base with the ACK folks if you have further questions!


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