Kayak for tourism - how to choose the best type for a trip

Types of kayaks

There are many different types of models on the market now. The following types of kayaks are considered the most common:

  • frame-inflatable;
  • frame;
  • inflatable.

Types of rafting vessels

Each type has its own specifics and shows itself at its best under specific conditions. It is important to select a design in accordance with user requirements and operating conditions.

Frame-inflatable kayaks

Combining the speed of frame boats and the stable buoyancy of inflatable vessels, frame-inflatable kayaks are an ideal boat for multi-day river trips.

The rigid frame is formed by struts, frames and a monokeel, ending with stems. The main material of the frame is duralumin tube. The assembly of frame elements is carried out sequentially and does not take more than 20 minutes.

Models of frame-inflatable kayaks are equipped with inflatable cylinders placed on the sides inside the boat. These cylinders are separated by internal partitions, which allows you to maintain the buoyancy of the kayak in the event of a breakdown of the outer “skin” and damage to one of the sections of the cylinder.

Compared to a frameless “inflatable” kayak, a frame-inflatable kayak is characterized by low windage, better course retention and excellent wave entry. The speed of such vessels is higher than that of inflatable ones.

Moreover, when compared with inflatable kayaks, their frame-inflatable counterparts weigh more. And they have less internal volume than just frame kayaks (cylinders take up some of the space).

Depending on the model, frame-inflatable boats are equipped with an open or closed deck and are equipped with aprons. These kayaks are reliable; when fully loaded, they can easily navigate difficult sections of a river route, such as pitfalls and rapids up to category 2.

Our rental of frame-inflatable kayaks

A multi-day tourist trip requires a reliable, spacious and fast kayak. Personal experience of kayaking on Bashkir rivers allowed us to select the ideal models of frame-inflatable kayaks, named below.

Khatanga-3 . This kayak is suitable for a tourist river tour with a family and friendly company of two or three people. With a length of over 4.6 m, Khatanga is equipped with a lightweight frame (two stem arches) and two side cylinders (two air compartments in each).

The carrying capacity of the kayak is 300 kg. Taking into account the rowers' own weight, this is 22 kg for each of the three people. The simple design of the frame allows you to assemble the Khatanga in 15 minutes.

Khatanga-travel-3 . Among kayak models for multi-day trips, this kayak is similar to a tourist liner. A long hull (over 4.8 m), a comfortable location for rowers and inflatable seats, spacious luggage compartments and a deck that protects the cockpit - the kayak is very, very comfortable.

Preparing the Khatanga for the rafting launch site will take up to 20 minutes. This kayak has an aluminum frame, two air tanks (each with two compartments) and a durable polyurethane woven cover (made in the EU) and is capable of achieving the highest speed for kayaks. The boat is stable and maneuverable, holds its course without wobbling.

Which kayak is better to buy?

Beginning athletes and tourists who prefer short walks on the water can use inflatable kayaks. They are quite versatile, suitable for fishing and river rafting.

Inflatable structures are equipped with a durable frame consisting of a pair of cylinders. Strength is ensured by a special coating of the main elements. Progressive models can also be protected against aggressive environments and mold.

When choosing exclusively for fishing, it is better to pay attention to frame-inflatable models. They are very difficult to turn over, so a person can easily stand on such a boat at full height. But it is not recommended to use devices for steep rafting.

To navigate raging rivers, it is better to choose an inflatable model. They are somewhat slower, but are more reliable. Double models require coordinated work of two rowers at once, otherwise there is a high probability of a coup or being washed away by the current. Single-seaters are considered the fastest and most controllable. Such models are usually short in length, which significantly reduces the load on the sides.

Which kayak is better? Comparing kayaks

Today we will try to conduct a small rating of different types of kayaks.
In this case, we will keep in mind the most popular types of watercraft discussed on our website. So, let's start with frame kayaks. The average speed of a sports kayak, judging by our own rafting experience and information received from various sources, is from seven to nine kilometers per hour. Of course, a frame kayak on calm water and with strong male oarsmen goes faster than in a headwind, with fairly inept teenage oarsmen, for example. That is, if desired, two trained men who decided to test their own strength will be able to accelerate a frame boat to ten to eleven kilometers. True, not everyone can maintain such a speed for a relatively long time. So, we have to admit: nine km/h is the maximum limit for framers.

Now let's talk about inflatable kayaks. Compared to the previous representative of kayaks, inflatable kayaks go slower by about three to four kilometers per hour. Their huge drawback - the lack of frame elements - makes them excessively prowling on the water. In addition, each stroke not only adds speed to them, but also directs them, since the vast majority of these boats have no steering at all. By the way, for the most part, exceeding seven kilometers per hour causes the inflatables to yaw even more, which again deprives them of speed.

A little about frame-inflatable kayaks. This is a transitional link between light inflatable “mattresses” with frame elements and frame frames. They have a slight advantage over true inflatables. The frame elements add about a kilometer and a half of speed to them. Most likely, this is how stability on the course manifests itself, when each movement of the oar does exactly what it is intended for - it encourages movement forward.

But still, the fastest among kayaks are representatives of the elite class - non-separable kayaks. Under all equal conditions - calm water, calm or wind in the stern, rowers with the same strength and skills - they bypass the frame boats by the same two or three kilometers that they “make” frame-inflatable boats.

In conclusion, let’s dwell a little on the veterans of Russian kayaking and consider the speed of the Taimen kayak. If Taimen is being cared for by its owner, its “skin” is not canvas, but made of high-quality PVC, which also gives advantages in speed. The Taimen kayak has a speed on calm water of about nine kilometers per hour. Naturally, this is not the speed of a boat with a motor, but it’s impressive for experienced kayakers, isn’t it?

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Author: Baydarkin.ru



Which kayak is better?
Comparing kayaks An extremely uninformative article... Generally speaking, the reader is away from the articles Which NNN is better..
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“Which kayak is better? Comparing kayaks» Section: Interesting articles

What types of kayaks are there?

There are many types of ships, differing in type of design, materials, and number of seats.


This type of transport consists of a set of metal parts and a special fabric that is stretched over the assembled frame. Often, inflatable cylinders are supplied along with collapsible structures to ensure stability on the water. A bag is provided for storing and carrying all elements.


One-piece models are created from polymer materials such as plastic or polyethylene. The non-demountable design is capable of moving quickly through the water, and is most often designed for one person. Typically used in sports.


Frame ship

The kayak has a rigid frame made of wood or metal. A sheath of PVC or other moisture-resistant material is stretched on top. Frame boats are characterized by speed, low draft and reliability. But the structure is quite large, which causes certain difficulties with transportation. In addition, for quick assembly you need to have some skills.


Now you can see two-layer and single-layer inflatable models on sale. Support on the water is provided by special cylinders into which air is pumped. There is no frame inside. The models are lightweight, stable and have good handling on the water. However, in strong waves it is better not to use them, since the low weight makes it possible to capsize.


Kayaks called frame-inflatable kayaks are best suited for backpacking. She is extremely stable on the water, moves well in shallow water and is almost impossible to sink. But the presence of inflatable cylinders reduces the space inside the boat, and the structure itself turns out to be quite heavy to carry. Assembly may require considerable time, especially if the user does not have the appropriate skills.


Plastic construction

The plastic kayak is a cast structure that does not allow water to pass through even with very aggressive rafting. It can accommodate one person and boasts high movement speed. But the non-demountable design causes certain inconveniences at the stage of carrying and preparing for rafting.


When talking about the size of rafting vessels, we usually mean the number of seats. Models with one or two seats are in demand. In some cases, three-seater or even larger boats are required.


Depending on the design, different materials may be used. Frames are usually made of high-strength alloys that are not too heavy. Shells are made from PVC or other good materials that do not allow water to pass through. For inflatable boats, pressure retention is also very important.

Comparison with kayak


Kayaks are often compared to a vehicle such as a kayak. In fact, these are names for the same design with a straight bow and stern, as well as a keel-shaped bottom. In both cases, control is carried out using oars.

However, there are some differences. Kayaks typically have one or two seats, while paddleboards can be more spacious. In addition, kayaks are most often used in sports competitions, and kayaks are the choice for fans of water travel.

But how do you actually choose?

If you have read this far, or went straight to it via the link, then you understand that it is impossible to say unequivocally that this boat is the best. For each participant-route-weather-... combination there will be an optimal boat, and you will have to decide whether you choose one boat that is most suitable for the conditions you find yourself in most often, and otherwise you will put up with its shortcomings Or you need to have a whole fleet of boats for different tasks.

Map of decisions on choosing a kayak or kayak

It is convenient to do all this in tabular form, where on one side you place the parameters of interest, and on the other, the models that seem suitable at first glance.

At intersections, it is advisable to indicate the significance of this parameter for you.

As a result, for each model from your choice you will form an amount, the size of which will characterize its attractiveness for your choice.

For example, the plate for choosing a kayak for low-pressure watercraft in the off-season does not indicate specific models, but classes of vessels. You can choose sequentially from classes, and then by models, or immediately choose from those models that you liked online or on the water.

CharacteristicsInflatable kayakSlalom kayakPolyethylene kayakCatamaran
Sales rate4443
Passage width4552
Build speed4553

An example of choosing a kayak for PVD in the off-season
Well, don’t forget to add the boats that your group uses to the decision map. Your boat shouldn't be much worse. Not because they will laugh, but because you will be too tired and will not have time to rest!

Universal kayak

Unfortunately, this is almost a myth. You can find a kayak that is average in many conditions, but it is impossible to find a kayak that will lead in performance in several operating conditions, because... speed and maneuverability are almost opposite qualities.

Inflatable kayak Lagoon

Sailing catamaran from two Lagoon prototypes

In my opinion, the most universal model at the moment is Laguna, from Free Wind. She is quite fast and controllable, and if you upgrade the category or want to go sailing, you can make a cat out of a pair of Lagoons. However, the optimal boat for you may be a slalom boat or a polyethylene alloy, or perhaps even an inflatable sofa with armrests.

Currently, TimeTrial is developing the next version of similar boats based on our order, and you have the opportunity to join the order.

And when versatility is not needed, then it is better to choose within classes.

Packraft - A means for crossing and throwing out on foot or on foot and water trips.

Traditional packraft
Based on materials and concept, traditional packrafts have the least suitable shape for optimizing performance, but they are the lightest and most compact among touring rafting vehicles. Well, if manufacturers start making them with more traditional contours, allowing them to move faster through the water, there will be much more people willing to buy them. We are waiting for such solutions to appear!

Kayak or kayak for weekend trips (PVD)

Here, much will depend on whether you have a car and the ability to drive it to the bodies of water you need. A slalom or rafting kayak, an inflatable or frame-inflatable kayak, and even a catamaran may suit you.

In addition to the Laguna mentioned above, boats like Ilexa seem to me to be a reasonable choice for PVD, although the taste and color...

Kayak or kayak for trips of 2-3 difficulty categories

When choosing a kayak for trips of the second or third category of difficulty, I would not recommend choosing a boat that is too potbellied. You still won’t go to six on it. In this case, you will not only be wearing too much, but you will also be slower in your studies. Although, by distributing the importance of training in the table proposed above as less necessary, you can get a completely different conclusion ;-))

Boats for lakes and seas (Siyaki)

Siyak surfing the wave
Here, your choice will be most influenced by your logistics and storage capabilities. On water, plastics or polyethylene will be preferable, and for transportation by public transport and storage, frame classmates will be preferable.

Kayaks and kayaks for trips 4-6 hp.

Polyethylene kayaks are superior to kayaks in cross-country ability, but require not only individual equipment, but also teamwork.
Yes, kayaks and kayaks are also accessible to rivers of the highest categories of complexity. The main thing is that the technical and physical level of the tourist matches the river and the boat. Most often in these categories there are polyethylene rafting boats, but with a lot of experience and lack of funds, there are successful cases of passing rivers of higher categories of complexity on KNB boats. True, among the best groups in the country.

Frame-inflatable kayak

What do experts advise you to pay attention to when choosing

Selecting a vessel can hardly be called a simple procedure, especially if a novice user is doing it. When considering the available models, it is important to consider several important factors, as well as ensure that the boat meets your specific operating requirements.

How much weight can it bear?

An important characteristic for any model. It is directly related to the number of seats and the availability of cargo compartments. To move a large number of things, it is better to immediately choose a roomy model with the ability to transport large loads.

Only rafting or walking trips are planned

Depending on your travel plans, a design of appropriate weight is selected. If you need to not only raft the river, but also move on land, it is important to use the lightest possible model.

Vessel length

Short boats are not particularly fast, but they are much lighter than longer and faster ships.

Long and short ships

Assembly complexity

Taking too long to assemble a boat can ruin the whole experience of the trip. Therefore, it is better to select designs that are assembled quite simply and quickly. If necessary, you can familiarize yourself with the relevant video tutorials and instructions in advance.


Some kayaks are sold with accessories, while others will require you to purchase the components separately. It is necessary to provide for all possible costs so that an initially profitable deal does not turn into truly tangible expenses. For comfortable movement, a rudder and a sail may be required, and inflatable models require a pump. Also, do not neglect special repair kits that allow you to repair a kayak for tourism.


The cost of kayaks can be in a wide range, since modern models are made from a variety of materials. Products from well-known brands will always be more expensive, but they are also characterized by high quality and durability. When selecting, it is worth considering where exactly the transport will be used. For walking, you won’t need an overly expensive professional kayak, whereas professional athletes have to buy the best.

Advice from professionals

A trip by water that you have long dreamed of can be ruined due to the wrong boat. Buying a good kayak is not a problem. There are many shops and websites offering services for selling equipment for water tourism. Here you can also find a description of the product, study the characteristics, admire the photograph and choose a color, since several options are usually offered. However, the purchase itself cannot be called simple, even if the functionality of the website allows you to fill out an application in one click.

According to experienced rafters, “that same” kayak should have specific advantages. What should you pay attention to first?

When choosing a dream boat, it is important to evaluate the following points.

The shell that covers the frame

The material is preferably durable, for example, awning or cordura. Nylon and polyvinyl chloride cope well with moisture. It is advisable that the bottom be covered with PVC viniplan material, this will increase the service life.

How much weight can it bear?

If you are planning to take a large amount of things with you, you should opt for a vessel that can easily withstand up to 300 kilograms.

Only rafting or walking trips are planned

Since the kayak weighs quite a lot, and the tourist needs to take a backpack with provisions, and not just equipment, you should calculate in advance how many kilometers you will have to walk, and even with decent luggage.

Vessel length

In a short boat you can’t count on great speed. The longer, the faster, but also the heavier.

Assembly complexity

If the buyer is not going to order a kayak online, then it is advisable to ask the seller directly in the store how to assemble the kayak. On the website, before placing an order, you should search and watch a video showing the intricacies of assembly. Inflatable models are simpler than frame ones. A good pump is needed here, but rehearsal before the trip is necessary to develop muscle memory.


The selection criteria also include this factor. You will need components, but the kayak is not always sold with them. For example, some “inflatables” come with a pump, while others do not. You also need to see if the rudder and sail are included, are sold with oars, or will you have to purchase them separately. Also, experienced rafters always take with them a “medicine” kit. It’s worth bringing repair material in case the boat has to be patched up on the road, you never know, for example, if it runs into a sharp stone.


Kayaking on the river

A kayak selected according to all the rules will be able to give its owners a lot of impressions. At the same time, beginners are definitely recommended to practice in calm water before going out on a stormy river, since rafting is a rather dangerous activity.

If any questions arise when choosing a kayak, it is better to consult with experienced athletes or tourists. Based on their own experience, they will be able to formulate the most important requirements for a kayak and advise the right option for each specific case.

Frame kayaks

These small vessels are structurally similar to Eskimo kayaks - a prefabricated rigid frame (wood, metal tube), covered with a technological “skin” (lavsan fabric with TPU impregnation).

Among other types of kayaks, frame kayak models are characterized by low windage, i.e. side or head winds have little effect on the course. The explanation for this is the low landing of the vessel in the water.

Frame kayaks are capable of developing good speed. The longer a frame boat, the faster it can sail, the easier it accelerates and maintains speed when the rowing intensity is reduced to an average level. At the same time, its exchange rate stability is maintained.

The disadvantages of a frame kayak include its significant weight (more than 40 kg) and the presence of frame elements more than a meter long - even when disassembled, the boat is quite bulky. Only an experienced waterman can quickly assemble it; a beginner will need over 40 minutes. Finally, any hole causes the kayak to quickly fill with water and flood, which is completely unsuitable for a tourist rafter.

These kayaks are more suitable for beginners learning to kayak and only on calm water.

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