Kayaks of different lenghts, widths and heights

Different Kayak Dimensions and Their Purposes (Updated)

If you’re an adrenaline junkie, kayaking should be up there in your to-do list. Not only is it a fun way of exercising, but it gives you a variety of options on what you can do in the water.

You can choose to paddle in the violent rapids or have a quiet day in the lake fishing.

That said, there are different types of kayak dimensions and each one of them has a special role to play. And today, we’d like to eliminate any kind of confusion you might be having in relation to shapes, depth, height, length, sizes, and their significance in yakking.

About Kayak Dimensions

When it comes to kayaks, the essential dimensions to factor in are its volume, length, and width, also known as a beam.

Let us analyze each dimension separately.

Also Read: How to Anchor a Kayak in a River

The Kayak Length

When a new kayaker is looking for an appropriate vessel to pick, the first prominent feature to look out for is its length. This is because there is a direct correlation between length and speed, i.e., the longer the vessel, the faster it should go.

This can be explained by the hull speed, whereby the longer boat tends to overtake its bow wave faster as it forms further away from the boat in comparison with a shorter boat.

However, with a longer boat, you have to contend with issues such as maneuverability and weight.

The Width (Beam)

The width of a boat is also quite crucial as it affects its stability. You must know that the wider the vessel, the more stable it is.

However, an excessively wide kayak can be tricky to paddle and is also much slower due to the increased contact area with the water.

Kayak Stability

Now that we have touched on the stability, let us briefly discuss the types of kayak stability that we should put in mind.

There is the primary stability which is the original stability in stable or flat conditions. Then, there is the secondary stability which refers to the balance in rough waters. This will be crucial if you intend to paddle through rapids or waves.

So, when looking for the ideal kayak to purchase, try to find the one where the manufacturer has been successful in finding a balance between primary and secondary stability.


Factors Affecting a Kayak’s Stability

Kayak Volume

The final dimension is the volume, and it is the vessel’s carrying capacity, and it varies directly with the length, as well as the user’s weight.

It is usual for most of the beginner and recreational kayaks to be high volume vessels to make the kayakers feel more secure. They are easy to use but are easily swayed by windy conditions.

When it comes to the low volume kayaks, they tend to be sleek and have minimum internal space. This feature is common with sea kayaks, and they tend to be superior performers in windy and unstable conditions. It is therefore normal to find such features with sea and tour kayaks.

Double Kayak Length

If you’re wondering how long a typical tandem kayak is, you have to keep in mind that these yaks are meant to be slightly longer than ones meant for one-person use. That said, we can work with average figures to provide you with an idea of the length your double yak should be.

The Ocean Kayak Recreational kayak measures 12 feet. Its competitor the Sea Eagle 370 measures 12 feet and 6 inches.

The Lifetime 10 Tandem is so far the shortest we’ve come across at 10 feet length.

The longest choice we’ve come across so far is the AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak which boasts a 15 feet length.

With that said, the 12 foot variety seems like the average choice.

The Roles These Metrics Play

Roles of diferent kayak lengths

At this point, we are going to analyze the various types of kayaks dimensions in regards to different methods of use.

Fishing Kayaks

Also known as anglers, these kayaks are designed to be stable and should remain steady when the fisherman casts the bait. The stability also means that the fisherman would comfortably bring with him all the necessary gear and equipment for a successful fishing expedition.

For the kayaks which are powered by motors, the stability should be higher to withstand this motion. They tend to be longer for better tracking.

Typically, the fishing kayaks are between 10 to 14 feet long and have a width that can reach 42 inches.

Recreational Kayaks

These are meant for leisure use and tend to be easy to use and highly stable. These features come at the expense of its speed and efficiency as they are intended for use in calmer waters. They are also shorter, and so the storage space should not be that big.

Their length lies between 9-12ft while the beam lies in the range of 28-34 inches. This combination of dimensions makes them smaller and lightweight and therefore, more appealing to the beginners due to the ease of control.

This category includes both the Sit-in and Sit-On-Top kayaks, with the Sit-in type having large cockpit openings to facilitate easy entry and exit. They are popular and some of the most affordable vessels in the market.

Ocean and Tour Kayaks

This type is designed for long-distance paddling for extended durations. They are typically long for extra speed plus have sufficient storage so that you can bring with you all the necessities you might need in the sea.

They are meant to withstand the rough oceans while they are also designed to give you the comfort that you might need during the paddling. However, you might find an issue with maneuverability and stability, unlike the shorter boats.

These kayaks tend to be 12-20ft long for the single kayaks while the tandem kayaks can get to 24ft. When it comes to the width, it usually lies at 18-24 inches.

Whitewater Kayaks

These are available in distinct lengths and designs. For instance, the Creek Boats are long with a high speed as they are mostly for use in the violent rapids. The Playboats, on the other hand, are short and easy to maneuver so that you can subject them to a variety of uses.

The River Runners on their part are versatile and feature a combination of both Playboats and Creek Boats’ features.

In Conclusion

When it comes to choosing the kayak with the ideal dimensions, there are several factors that you should consider. The first thing is that your pick should lie within your budget. After all, it would not make sense going for something that you cannot afford.

The intended use should also be a significant factor as you would not want to take a playboat to serve as a touring kayak.

It should also have sufficient storage so that you can take with you all that you need for your trip. You should also put into consideration as to how you intend to transport your vessel. If you plan to use your car form this task, ensure you get the roof racks which are specifically designed for holding kayaks.

With all that in mind, we hope you have all the information for a great kayaking experience.

Related: Is An Anchor Trolley System Necessary in Kayaking?

Erick Thompson

Hi, I'm a fishing & kayaking enthusiast who enjoys sharing tips and tidbits with newbies, intermediates, and experienced anglers alike.

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