Bringing the right toys camping is all part of the fun! Understanding kayak types is important before you commit to one. If you are thinking about what kind you might want for your adventures, you’ll want to understand the pros and cons of different ones. On top, inside, inflatable, hard side? Consider the type of water where you will be kayaking, how much weight you want to add to your gear, and what kind of space you have for your toys.

TAHE Beach LP1 Inflatable Kayak


Pros: Lightweight; easy to transport; compact; buoyant and likely won’t sink; come in a wide range of prices; wide range of types depending on the type of water you want to paddle on (flat water, fast-moving water, ocean) 

Cons: Because they tend to be flat bottoms, don’t track well (consider adding a keel); less expensive ones can be less durable; takes effort to inflate; seat can be uncomfortable; tend to get wet more 


Pros: Lightweight; easy to transport; compact; track well in the water and come in a variety of sizes 

Cons: Learning curve on how to assemble and dis-assemble; not meant for fast moving water; can be pricey; may not take a hard impact on the water well; seats tend to be uncomfortable; could be a challenge getting back into if dumped out on the water 

Hard Side, Sit In 

Pros: Durable; usually have onboard storage; track well in the water; can remain fairly dry with an added skirt; versatile as to types of water they can be used on; come in a variety of prices ranges; stable 

Cons: Heavier weight; challenging to transport; can be difficult for some to get into them 

Oru Kayak

Hard Side, Sit On Top 

Pros: Easier for some to get into; some are designed to fish from; easier to self-rescue if you fall out 

Cons: Easier to fall out; likely will get wet; sun exposure to your legs; heavier weight, challenging to transport; typically, are flat bottom, so may not track well; not meant for fast water. 

This article appeared in the spring issue of Girl Camper Magazine and was written by Lesa McDermott. Subscribe to the magazine for more great content like this!

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