If you’re about to buy your first kayak, you might be wondering how to decide between a 10 ft /vs 12 ft kayak. And If I’m honest, there’s no easy way to answer; there are so many variables you need to think about.
The problem is:
Nowadays, kayaks are designed for specific tasks, which means you need to think about how you will be using the kayak before deciding on the size.
Think of it this way:
The answer is probably not because the kayak wasn’t designed to do that task. And this is why I wanted to write this article.
I wanted to discuss the pros and cons of a 10 ft kayak vs a 12 ft kayak and what activities they work well for.
So, by the end of this article, I’m hoping you’ll have an excellent understanding of the sizes so you’ll have no issues when it comes to making your buying decision!
Let’s start with the 10 ft kayak:
Table of Contents
Everything You Need To Know About 10 Feet Kayaks
A 10 ft kayak is what most people would have started in because it is the most common size for recreational kayaks.
These kayaks come in many shapes and styles, but…
One of the great things about using a 10 ft kayak is that they provide excellent stability, which is desirable for beginners.
They are incredibly stable to paddle, but they also have excellent maneuverability to paddle in tight spaces.
And it’s this maneuverability that allows you to switch from rivers and lakes to gentle rapids with very few issues. If you’re looking to take on more advanced rapids, you will need to opt for smaller kayaks.
Another great thing about 10ft kayaks is that they provide you with more storage space than your smaller kayaks. It’s also pretty common to have at least one storage compartment; that being said, you’ll probably need a dry bag.
And finally, you’ll find 10 ft kayaks are more reasonably priced than their larger counterparts, making them more desirable for people on a budget.
So, let’s take a look at some of the activities you can use a 10 ft kayak for:
The Pros & Cons Of 10 ft Kayaks
Which Are The Best 10 ft Kayaks?
In my opinion, this is an excellent recreational kayak for someone that needs to transport it to the lake themselves. And this is down to the lightweight nature of the kayak; it makes it extremely easy to load on a roof rack.
It’s also a very versatile kayak, thanks to its adjustability. It comes with multiple footrest positions and an adjustable seat. And this allows the kayak to be used by people of multiple heights without making too many adjustments.
I’d say this kayak is perfect for a beginner looking to mess around on the lake. It’s a pretty wide kayak, so it feels stable in the water. And its short length meant people didn’t have too much trouble maneuvering in tight spaces.
Overall, it’s an excellent kayak, I wouldn’t be taking it down whitewater rapids, but you should be OK on flat water. It performed very well in most aspects and felt very nice to paddle along the lake.
I feel that the Emotion Guster is one of the best 10 ft kayaks for beginners looking to paddle around their local lake. And this is mainly down to the stability and the tracking the kayak provides the user.
It was designed with a sharp keel, which helps to cut through the water at speed and increase the tracking ability. It also features a flat hull that provides excellent stability, something a beginner will desire.
Another benefit of the kayak is that it’s straightforward to transport. And this is thanks to the carrying handle on the bow and stern and the lightweight of the kayak. You shouldn’t have any issues getting it to the lake by yourself.
Overall I really like the Emotion Guster sit-inside kayak. It feels straightforward to handle and very stable in the water. It also comes with a 5-year limited warranty, so you have some protection if anything breaks.
This is another excellent recreational kayak for people that like to have a little versatility in how they use it. And this is thanks to the mounting points found at the front of the kayak, which allow you to turn it into a fishing kayak.
One of the things I loved about this kayak is how accessible the Perception made it. They provided you with a large cockpit area, making it easy to get inside. And when you add this to the adjustable seat, you’ll find it a very comfortable experience.
I also really like the storage options the kayak came with. They have a hinged lid hatch at the rear of the kayak, which is perfect for storing extra equipment. They also had an area at the front to hold your phone and water bottle.
Overall it’s an excellent kayak for people looking for something a little more than just being recreational. And this is all thanks to the entertainment dashboard found at the front of the kayak.
Everything You Need To Know About 12 Feet Kayaks
As you start to increase the length of the kayak, you’ll find that top speed also grows with it. And this is why 12 ft kayaks are a fan favorite for people looking to make a multi-day kayak trip and need to cover plenty of ground.
The downside is, the longer the kayak is, the harder it is to turn. The maneuverability of a 12 ft kayak is more limited than a 10 ft kayak, but it does make up for it with speed.
Most people find a larger kayak a little less stable, usually down to the length to width ratio. But you don’t get that with 12 ft kayaks, which is great if you’re worried about falling in but want to paddle fast.
Another great thing about longer kayaks is they work better on the sea; if you’re looking to sea kayak, you need to get a longer kayak.
You’ll also notice there’s a lot more space for storing extra equipment. This makes it the perfect option for people planning to go kayak camping.
But with all the extra space, it usually results in a heavier and more challenging transport of the kayak. But let’s take a look at some of the activities you can use a 12 ft kayak for:
The Pros And Cons Of 12 ft Kayaks
Which Are Best 12 ft Kayaks?
In my opinion, this 12 ft kayak is built for people that want to paddle calm rivers or oceans and don’t have a roof rack for transportation. And this is thanks to the kayak’s origami folding style design.
It can pack down to 33” x 12” x 25” and only weighs 26 lbs, which, as you can see, makes it very easy to transport. To make things better, it only takes five minutes to get everything together, and you don’t have to pump anything up.
Many people were happy with how well the kayak paddled and how stable it felt in the water. So, you shouldn’t have too many problems even if you’re a beginner.
Overall, it’s a pretty good kayak, but the design worries me a little bit, especially with the money you have to spend. Luckily, it did perform pretty well on the water and was quite fast down the river.
This is the perfect kayak for an intermediate paddler that wants to get out on the ocean. The long design and sharp hard nose allow the kayak to cut through waves easily. And the drop stitch design helps you feel stable at all times.
Sea kayaks are usually incredibly difficult to transport due to their large size. And this is why this kayak is such a great option. It’s an inflatable kayak so that you can transport it in the back of your car without any issues.
It packs down small and is relatively easy to transport to the beach. To make things better, it only takes 7 minutes to inflate. And this is thanks to quick inflation valves and the powerful pump that comes with it.
Overall, the kayak performs very well in the ocean; it easily cuts through waves and feels extremely stable. It was also great to see how small the kayak packed down and how easy it was to transport.
This is the perfect ‘yak for two people looking to spend a day kayak fishing on a lake or a river. It comes with seven rod-holders, so you’ll never be short of rods and can maximize your chances of catching a fish.
I also liked the amount of storage space that comes with the kayak. They have two waterproof storage compartments in front of their seats. They also have a large platform at the rear for you to store your tackle box.
It was also lovely to see the kayak come with two paddles; it meant you didn’t need to add an extra purchase on top of the kayak. And the seats that came with them were pretty comfy, so you won’t need to make an upgrade.
Overall it is a great fishing kayak. It has plenty of space for two people and loads of fishing rod-holders to use. It also felt very stable on the water, even when you’re in a battle with a large fish.
Key Insights & Takeaways
I hope I’ve helped explain some of the differences between a 10 ft and 12 ft kayak. When it comes down to which one to choose, it really depends on what you’re looking for.
But, by reading this article, you should be able to whittle down to see which size is going to suit your needs the best.
If you’re looking to travel long distances or go on the ocean, you’re probably best looking at a longer kayak.
If you’re going to be paddling in narrow passageways, down rivers, or recreationally around a lake, you should probably look at a smaller kayak.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is A 12-Foot Kayak Good For Beginners?
A beginner shouldn’t have too many problems using a 12-foot kayak, but, in my experience, using shorter kayaks is more beneficial. 12-foot kayaks can be a little bit harder to maneuver and slightly less stable.
Are Longer Or Shorter Kayaks Better?
It really depends on what activity you want to take part in. Each size has its own advantages and disadvantages. Personally, I tend to use shorter kayaks because I like going down whitewater.
Should I Get A 10 or 12-foot kayak?
Again, it really depends on what activities you’re going to be taking part in. If you plan on traveling long distances, you should get a 12 foot. If you want a more recreational kayak, you should go for a 10-foot kayak.
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