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8 Best Kayaks to Buy for a Kayak Rental Business

Do you want to start a kayak rental business and you don’t know what type of kayak to buy? If YES, here are 8 best kayaks to buy for your business.

You will need adequate funding to start a kayak rental business. Note that you are expected to buy several crafts of different types and sizes, these boats can easily be as much as $1,000 each. You will also need jackets, paddles and helmets, and your rental kayak will have to be large enough to stow all the crafts and equipment overnight.

If you intend to rent out boats for long-term rentals, then you will probably need an appropriate vehicle and trailer to transport the boats. Note you can buy fewer craft, store them in a cheap storage area or even your own garage then take the boats to inexpensive launching places to rent them out.

When shopping for a kayak, first consider these two very important questions: where will your customers use the kayak? And how much money are you willing to spend? With this information sorted out, you are ready to start weighing other options such as kayak design and type, stability, length, weight and materials.

Have it in mind that no one kayak does it all, but there are plenty of models designed for a variety of applications and a range of paddling experience levels.

Different Types of Kayak to Consider

With plenty companies producing hundreds of different models, there is a kayak for every style of paddling and every type of paddler. There are different types of kayaks designed for specific water conditions, trip lengths and activities. There are also variations within some of these categories you will need to consider.

For example, if your customers will paddle in open water and big seas, look at touring kayaks, which tend to be longer, narrower kayaks with smaller keyhole cockpits. If they ought to paddle in protected lakes and quiet rivers, check out shorter, more manoeuvrable recreational models.

Photographers, anglers and birdwatchers will appreciate the stability of a wider hull and the easy access of a larger cockpit or sit-on-top design. Rough open water play boaters will want an ocean-play kayak with plenty of rocker. Touring and camping aficionados will benefit from a longer waterline, higher volume and two, three or even four hatches for storing gear. Below is a guide that will take you through the different types of kayaks:

  1. Recreational Kayaks

These types of kayaks are ideal for paddlers who spend most of their time on lakes and slow-moving rivers. They have a flatter hull and are wider than most touring kayaks, giving them greater stability. Agreeably, the extra width also means they will drag more in the water and wind, making them a little slower than some other types of kayaks.

Recreational kayaks are usually 10 to 12 feet in length, which may translate into improved manoeuvrability and worse tracking and efficiency than a longer design.

  • Best Buy Old Town Sorrento 106 Kayak
  1. Touring And Sea Kayaks

These kayaks are typically 14 to 18 feet in length, making them longer than most other types of kayaks. Note that the long waterline of these boats lends itself to superior tracking; however, the drawback is they are more difficult to turn.

Their length also allows for ample storage space for overnight or multi-day trips. Touring kayaks also tend to be narrower and sit lower in the water, these features allowing for greater speed and efficiency as the kayak cuts easily through wind and water.

  • Best Buy: Old Town Castine
  1. Fishing Kayaks

These kayaks are built for stability and durability, and usually not speed compared to others. They generally have lots of storage space for fishing tackle and gear, in addition to specialized features such as rod holders, mounting brackets, bottle holders and anchor lines, among others. Some have pedal-drive systems or trolling motor mounts so anglers can reach the fishing grounds faster.

  • Best Buy Old Town Topwater 120 PDL
  1. White-water Kayaks

These are designed with exceptional manoeuvrability to negotiate rapids. They are shorter, and can have rounded bottoms or flat planning hulls, and more rocker (upturn in the ends) to deal with waves. They are not enjoyable for touring, because they are difficult to paddle in a straight line.

  • Best Buy Dagger Mamba 8.6 Kayak
  1. Tandem Kayaks

Tandem kayaks are designed to hold two paddlers at a time. Some kayaks, like Advanced Elements’ Advanced Frame Convertible Elite, have modifiable seat positions that allow for solo or tandem paddling. You can find specialized tandem kayaks for everything from fishing to touring to white-water.

  • Best Buy: Brooklyn Kayak Company Tandem Sit On Top
  1. Pedal Kayaks

The ability to have the hands free on the water can be of great benefit whether customers are fishing or taking photos. With a pedal-drive kayak, they can use their feet to push on pedals that move fins or a propeller attached to the bottom of the kayak.

There is also a rudder to steer the vessel. Pedal kayaks do have reduced clearance, meaning they will not be able to get into shallow water the same way a paddle kayak can. However, they are faster and conceivably require less work as they make use of our strongest muscle group (the legs rather than shoulders).

  • Best Buy – Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12
  1. Sit-On-Top Kayaks

These kayaks are self-draining and easy to scramble back aboard after an upset or capsize. Note that the open deck makes it simple to hop on or off, and these designs are usually more stable than their opposite counterparts are.

  • Best Buy– Vibe Sea Ghost 110
  1. Inflatable And Folding Kayaks

Folding and inflatable kayaks come in a huge variety of styles, suited to everything from tame pond paddles to extreme expeditions. These boats are lightweight and easy to store and transport.

  • Best Buy: Intex Challenger inflatable

Things to Consider When Choosing Kayaks for Your Rental Business

Choosing a boat means mulling over a long list of characteristics and compromises. Be wary of anyone who tells you about the “best” kayak overall, there is none. There are, however, a few guidelines to help you decide which boat is best for you:

  • Length

Note that longer kayaks have a number of benefits: they are usually easier to paddle, more stable, and capable of carrying heavier loads with less loss of performance. They also track better, move faster, and glide farther with each stroke than shorter boats, allowing greater efficiency with less effort.

While shorter kayaks, on the other hand, are lighter, less expensive (depending on material choice, of course), less cumbersome, and easier to transport. However, their most important virtue is quicker turns.

  • Width

It’s pertinent you know that the width of a kayak has a definite influence on the boat’s handling characteristics. The main function of width is stability. However, handling is sacrificed for that extra width, and a narrow kayak does not work very well in strong currents. Extra width does add to a boat’s carrying capacity (though not as much as length), but kayaks that are wide require a lot of effort to paddle, because the hull has to push aside a lot more water.

  • Hull Shape

The key principles of kayak design are really quite simple. Hulls with flat bottoms, hard chine (sharp, nearly right-angle edges where bottom and sides meet), and greater flare (curvature of the sides outward) have greater stability. Conversely, round hulls with soft chine (a gradual curve where bottom and sides meet) and less flare have less stability, but are more nimble and easier to roll if they should tip over.

Have it in mind that a long, skinny kayak with a bow shaped like a narrow V will be fast, because the bow slices through the water rather than piling it up in front of the boat.

  • Rocker

Note that the upturn of the kayak’s hull from one end to the other (as viewed from the side of the kayak) is called rocker. Kayaks with a lot of rocker pivot easily, because their ends sit higher in the water and offer less wave resistance.

However, they do not track well. Kayaks with little rocker track much better because they resist the turning forces of waves, current, wind, and inefficient paddling strokes. As a result, they do not turn as easily when the paddler applies a proper turning stroke or lean.

  • Chine

Meanwhile, the transition between the bottom of the kayak and its sides is called the chine. An abrupt, nearly right-angle transition is called a hard chine, and a smoother, more rounded one is a soft chine. Flare is defined as the angle of a kayak’s sides outward from the hull. Kayaks with flared sides have greater stability, but are more difficult to roll.

  • Single or Tandem

Although one person can paddle a tandem alone, it requires sitting in the rear of the kayak while ballasting the front. The kayak will move, but not at its optimal level. On the other hand, it is a lot of fun when clients come with a partner, often safer, and usually cheaper than buying two boats. A few tandem sit-on-tops have a jump seat between the front and rear seat wells.

  • Kayak Materials

Plastic, fibreglass or composites are some common kayak materials. Plastic (i.e., polyethylene) is used in most recreational kayaks. It is extremely durable, requires little maintenance and is the least expensive option. The downside is that it is heavy in comparison to other materials. Fiberglas is often used in touring models.

It is lightweight and relatively durable, but more expensive than plastic and can chip if impacted. The term composite refers to the use of various materials like Kevlar, fibreglass and carbon. Companies will blend these materials to produce different ratios in the areas of lightness, impact resistance and strength.

  • Symmetry

Kayaks are either symmetrical, which means that the front half and the back half of the kayak have the same shape, or asymmetrical, which means that they do not have. Howbeit, Symmetry affects not only the efficiency of the boat as it moves through water, but also its ability to turn.

Symmetrical boats are better for quick manoeuvring, as in negotiating small streams or white-water. Asymmetrical boat designs usually lengthen and streamline the bow for more efficient and faster passage through the water. Directional control is increased, but turning ability is decreased.

  • Volume

This is literally the amount of space inside the boat, which is expressed in terms of gallons or litres. These days; there are more kayak designs from which to choose than ever before.


When buying a fleet of kayaks for your rental business, you have a couple of options. You can buy them directly from the manufacturers and have them shipped to your location, which has the benefit of a uniform, professional look for your fleet.

Many manufacturers offer bulk discounts for large buys, however they may have minimum purchase amounts that might not be ideal for your situation. If you do not need to buy many kayaks in bulk or do not want to pay the shipping charges, it might make sense to purchase a smaller number from local outdoors stores. Keep in mind that retailers may not offer “rental-grade” equipment that is worth the investment.

Sourcing used boats is another option; consider placing ads in local papers to buy used canoes and kayaks from people. This can give you a large assortment of different craft for lorwe prices, however you will need to ensure that each one you buy is safe and in good condition.