Touring Kayaks, Exploring Companion
How to travel well
Touring kayaks are used for long distance journeys – either full day or multi-day trips on large rivers, lakes and sea bays. When looking for a touring kayak there are several key elements you need to look out for: touring kayaks need to be fast, you’re covering a distance and you don’t want it to be too tedious; they also need to have plenty of storage as you’ll need to bring supplies, extra clothes and camping gear with you; finally they need to track well – you don’t want to spend all your time making correctional strokes in a kayak that doesn’t follow a straight line.
What to look for in a touring kayak
A good touring kayak should require less effort to paddle and should cover much greater distances than recreational or whitewater kayaks. This is because of its longer, narrower keel but all this comes with a price of increased ‘tipiness’.
When choosing a touring kayak think about the type of touring you’re planning to do. Do you want to travel short distances or are you planning a long trip? For shorter trips, wider, more stable boats, with one cockpit for storage are a good option. Longer kayaks tend to be easier to paddle over long distances however, and they stay on course better. So if you’re planning a long-distance trip you need a long boat. The average touring kayak is about16 feet long.
Longer kayaks are more affected by the wind however, so look for a model with a low profile so that you don’t get blown off course, and make sure you’ve got a rudder or skeg - not to turn the boat - but to help keep it tracking a straight line particularly when you’re struggling with a strong wind or current.
Touring kayaks should be sleek and narrow so that they cut efficiently through the water and have a fast cruising speed. However, the longer your journey the more storage space you’ll need, so look for boats with front and rear hatches and make sure it’s got a comfortable seat - you’ll be spending the best part of your day paddling.
If you’re planning to paddle with a mate consider buying a tandem kayak, they’re generally wider and have more storage space and can make your journey far more enjoyable.
Touring kayaks cost between $300 and $1500 but you can pick up good used touring kayaks in many places.