Choosing a Kayak

Once you've determined these parameters, you can choose the kayak design that will fit your needs most of the time.Choosing a kayak is similar to choosing a canoe. Both move through the water powered by a paddle and both are used for similar activities. But there are several differences. To begin with, in a kayak you are using a double-bladed paddle, allowing for easier correction and extra speed. And you are sitting much closer to the water, which gives you better stability and allows for a narrower, lighter craft. As with canoes, it is important to remember that no single kayak can do everything. So choosing the right one for you means first coming up with an honest idea of how you intend to use your kayak.

  • What types of kayaking activities will you participate in most of the time?
  • Will you paddle mostly on calm lakes and ponds, in waves and whitewater?
  • Will you seek lazy days fishing and exploring wilderness rivers, or the thrill of competition?
  • Will you paddle alone or with family and friends?
  • How much money do you want to spend?

Once you've determined these parameters, you can choose the kayak design that will fit your needs most of the time.

Using This Site

Compare our available models in each of the categories. Look at their relative size, weight, cockpit size, capacity, materials and suggested retail price to find exactly the kayak for you.

When you know which models you are most interested in, link to our extensive Dealer Locator. Our Old Town dealers are great resources for helping you select a kayak that is best for you.

Also in this section is "Kayak Anatomy," a handy primer on the basics of kayak design to help you understand the terminology and technology, and how subtle differences in size, shape and configuration can make a big difference to your paddling experience.

Once you know what you would like to do with your kayak, and you understand the differences in the many kayaks we offer, you're ready to choose the model that will best fit your needs. At Old Town, we're confident that no matter what type of paddling you're into, we have a quality kayak for you.


Kayak Types

We've organized our line of kayaks into five distinct categories to help you decide which is best for you:


Sit-on-top kayaks have an open deck rather than an enclosed one. They are designed for the recreational paddler and are very easy to exit and enter. Paddlers with large body types, long legs, or limited flexibility may feel less confined paddling a sit-on-top.

Sit Inside

Most of our kayaks are sit inside kayaks meaning you sit inside a closed cockpit. That said, many of our sit inside designs have larger cockpit opening so even though you are sitting inside the boat, you may not feel as confined as traditional longer kayaks.


User-friendly kayaks for those who just want to get out on the water. Recreational kayaks are stable and easy to maneuver, making them ideal for quiet water paddling on lakes, ponds and class I rivers. These versatile kayaks offer great stability. Large open cockpits permit easy entry and exit, and allow you to stretch your legs as well as stow your gear. Recreation kayaks are a great choice for sportsmen, or simply an enjoyable way to get the family on the water.


Our tandem kayaks are stable, maneuverable family fun boats designed for two people and sometimes more. Ideal for all-around recreational use — paddling with a companion on lakes, ponds, and flat rivers.


Fishing kayaks are specifically outfitted for anglers and sporting use. Lightweight and extremely stable, they are packed with features to make life easier and more enjoyable on hunting and fishing excursions.

Choosing the Right Kayak

 Kayaks come in all shapes and sizes, and so this episode of Paddling TV helps you choose the kayak that's right for your style of paddling.



Allagash Stream
gturner1We started at Johnson pond, and finished at Chamberlain Lake.