How To Choose The Right Kayak For You

February 14, 2022
Nathan Bates - Founder of NTB Outdoors

How to Choose the Right Kayak for You

By Nathan Bates - Founder of NTB Outdoors

Finding the right kayak for you may seem very daunting at first, as there is such a variety out there to choose from. This article has been written by Nathan Bates, founder of UK based Watersports company NTB Outdoors to simplify things right down for you. A few easy and simple steps will help you solve this very common question.

WHO? The first simple step to choosing a kayak is establishing who will be using it. Is this kayak solely for you to take out on the water, or for a friend / the families enjoyment? A single-seater is the way to go if it's for an individual. However, a double seater (2-man) / 2+1 kayak is a great family or couple's option.

WHERE will you be paddling? On large expanses of open water, e.g. the sea, where the wind will play a significant factor on conditions? Or calm rivers and lakes? Maybe even both? Having a good idea of this is very helpful for selecting the perfect kayak.

WHAT do you want out of your kayak? Speed and responsiveness, stability, so you don't worry about flipping into the water or luxury and comfort? Knowing precisely what you are after can help pinpoint the exact kayak you are looking for.

Keeping all these essential questions in mind while reading the rest of this article will help pinpoint that exact kayak for you. The first deciding factor is whether you want a sit-inside or sit-on-top kayak.

Rock Sit-In


The sit-in kayaks are fantastic for adventurists who like speed and staying dry while on the water. These are known to glide effortlessly due to their streamlined shape. The downside to this type of kayak is that they are much harder to recover if flipped over. This is due to the kayak filling with water and taking its stability away before being emptied/pumped out.

Baikal Double SOT

Sit-On Top

These types of kayaks are known for being easy to use. This is due to their simple get in and out process, stability, and freedom of movement for the user. These kayaks come with multiple drainage scupper holes that self-drain the water. This is another aspect of kayaking that the paddler doesn't have to think about, making it an excellent option for children too.

Now you have decided what type of kayak you would best suit, the following options to tackle are your kayak's ideal size, lengths, and weight.‍

Kayak Size / Length / Weight

Understanding the length and width of your kayak are relatively simple. If you're looking for a fast kayak, you will want an increased length and a decreased width. This makes it more streamlined in the water. If you are looking more for something nice and stable, you will want an increased width. The downside to this is the fact it will be slower.

The kayak's weight often reflects on the extras put on it and the size of the model you have chosen. If you will be kayaking alone and you are not fully confident in getting it onto your roof rack, a lighter weight Compact option may be the way to go. However, suppose you are a confident, experienced paddler and have a trolley/kayak wheels. In that case, weight/size may not be an issue.

Categories of Kayak

There are 3 basic categories of kayaks, leisure, fishing and touring kayaks.

Leisure kayaks are known for being pleasant and stable on the water because they are designed for everyone to use. They often have a larger seating area for movement giving it an open feel. They can be shorter in length, making them much more manageable. These can vary anything from 8 ft up to 12ft. Our no.1 seller in the whole range falls into this category called the Timo Kayak.

Fishing kayaks often come within built rod holders, attachable rod holders and upgraded stadium seats for that extra bit of comfort. It is also not uncommon to see pedal drive systems in the fishing range, as shown below on the Nova Kayak.

Touring kayaks are mostly long and narrow, and this is because they are designed to take on all types of water and be fast in the process. A small confined seating area is specifically designed to give you more control over the kayak. Our prime example of this is the Rock Kayak.

In conclusion of what we have covered, I have made an easy-to-read table showing various models available and how they rank in each important decisive category.

This will help you pick the perfect kayak for you.

Once you have had a browse of the table below, select either Single Seaters or Double Seaters to browse the range in more detail.

All prices include: Kayak, Seat, Paddle and Attachable Rod Holder. This is what id covered in NTB's Kayak Bundles.