Kayaking is a water activity that is increasingly becoming popular in modern times as more people embrace it as a recreational activity and as a sporting activity. As more people adopt kayaking as their thing, more and more people are buying personal kayaks which they can then use at their own convenience. As people go out to buy kayaks for their own use, it is important that they know the different specific features of different kayaks so that they can buy kayaks that will be ideal for their intended use.
There are many types of kayaks with different outstanding features that separates them. One of the major design features that separate kayaks is the type of material used to make the kayak. In the market the two major groups of kayaks based on the material used to make the kayak. These are the hard shell kayaks and the inflatable kayaks.
Hard shell kayaks are kayaks whose hulls are built with a hard solid material. These are kayaks that are built with materials such as tough plastics, fiberglass, canvas, or skins. The original kayak that was made by the Inuit people in Greenland was made of seal skins that were lashed tightly around a frame made of whale bones. Today’s hard shell kayaks are made of different materials depending on where the kayak is to be used and the preferences of the kayaker.
Hard shell kayaks are used mostly in rough waters or in waters where the kayak is likely to come in contact with elements that can be damaging including rugged or sharp rocks, twigs and debris. Hard shell kayaks are very good for tracking and are easy to control in water. The hard surface makes the vessel more agile in water and hence it can be steered more easily.
Due to the material used to build it, a hard shell kayak is heavy and bulky making it cumbersome to move around. Due to this weight it is also not very easy to use for a beginner, can capsize and sink easily.
Inflatable kayaks are kayaks that are usually made from PVC material, hypalon, or nytrlon. These tube-like kayaks are inflated to form a kayak which can be sailed. Due to the light material used to make the inflatable kayaks, these kayaks are ideal for beginners. They are very buoyant in water which also makes them very safe. The light weight also makes them very portable too, especially since when deflated the kayak can be folded and put in an easy to carry bag.
Inflatable kayaks are however not very good when it comes to performance in water especially when it comes to navigating through rough waters. It is not very agile in the water and cannot track very well. One needs a lot of effort to move the kayak and hence it is much slower compared to the hard shell kayaks.
Inflatable kayaks are cheaper than hard shell kayaks although they are not as durable.