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    When choosing your right kayak, there are many factors to take into consideration. We recommend talking to your local Wilderness Systems dealer to help with this decision. Information provided here will help you understand our product line and steer you in the right direction.

    STEP ONE – PADDLING STYLE

    Where do you want to kayak and what will you be doing? Wilderness Systems kayaks fall into 3 categories. Each category has the right combination of size options, outfitting, storage, and performance features for the intended uses outlined below.

    ATTRIBUTES

    RECREATIONAL

    TOURING

    SEA KAYAKING

    IDEAL TYPES OF WATER

    Ponds, small lakes, bays, slow moving rivers. Lakes, bays, moving rivers, currents, limited ocean use Lakes, bays, moving rivers, rougher currents, ocean.

    TRIP DURATION

    Day trips (less than 10 miles) Day or weekend trips (less than 20 miles) Day or weekend trips, expeditions

    SKILL LEVELS

    Low to intermediate Intermediate to Advanced Intermediate to Advanced

    STORAGE CAPACITY

    Low Moderate Moderate to High

     

    STEP TWO – PERFORMANCE CHARACTERISTICS

    Once you’ve gotten a general idea of your paddling style, you are able to narrow it down more precisely by understanding the performance characteristics that are typical for each category. Below is a chart of how each performs relative to the other categories in each characteristic.

    ATTRIBUTES

    RECREATIONAL

    TOURING

    SEA KAYAKING

    STABILITY   

    Best Better Good 

    MANAGEABILITY 

    Best Better Good

    SPEED/GLIDE

    Good Better Best

    TRACKING

    Better Better Best

    MANEUVERABILITY

    Good  Better Best

     

    STEP THREE – FEATURES AND OUTFITTING

    Once you’ve decided on a kayak model or two that fits your needs, looking at the features and outfitting can help in making your decision.

    COCKPIT

    Cockpit outfitting is key to finding the best fit for comfort, safety, and control. Look for inclusion of a thigh brace or backrest, and adjustability if you will be doing longer trips or kayaking rough conditions. Pay attention to cockpit size to ensure it fits your body type.

    HATCHES AND BULKHEADS

    Located at either end of the boat, the hatch is the opening to store gear and the bulkhead is the vertical wall that seals the compartment. Also a great safety feature providing buoyancy to the boat.

    DECK RIGGING

    Deck lines, bungies, and toggles add safety in convince for certain types of paddling. A spare paddle, compass, navigational charts, and other items can be readily available on deck.

    RUDDER

    A mechanical device at the stern of the boat that is foot controlled and can aid in both steering and tracking.

    DROP-SKEG

    Mechanical device at the stern of the boat that can be deployed or retracted by hand. Aids in tracking, but not steering.