Origins of Kayaking

It’s more than likely that you have seen a kayak once or twice before in your life. In today’s world they’re pretty hard to miss, as most of them are made out of a material with a very bright or eye-catching color. No matter if you saw it strapped to the top of a car, or being used in at the ocean or a river, you may have wondered where kayaks came from. Believe it or not, kayaks have existed for about 4,000 years. They aren’t recent inventions!

The Original Kayaks

It is said that the native Inuit and Aleut peoples were the first to make use of a kayak. These tribes often had to hunt to find their food, so many would hunt along the shorelines located in Alaska, Greenland, and even northern Canada. However, during this time, kayaks definitely weren’t as luxurious or eye-catching. In fact, kayaks were personalized. While you wouldn’t find the kayaker’s name on his kayak, the kayaks were made around the person’s height and weight, and were often fitted to be “worn” by that person. Many times the kayaker was tied to the boat and certain clothing was worn to stay warm in cold water.

They were made to be sturdy enough in order to carry a person and a few pounds of meat. Generally kayaks were made out of driftwood that was covered and protected by animal skins. A hole was usually cut into the kayak so that the person inside was able to fish. But, while the kayaks made 4,000 years ago weren’t nearly as safe and protected as the ones used today, they were safe and well-made enough to do their job.

Kayaks Today

Today kayaks are made more for exercising, adventuring, entertainment, and for sporting. It’s rare that you will see someone using a kayak in order to go fishing to find a meal to eat later. In 1894, John MacGregor created the Rob Roy, which was the first recreational kayak. He was then able to create a kayaking club full of enthusiasts and soon started kayaking competitions. Though kayaks today do still have a practical use, in the past they were extremely important. You won’t find as many wooden kayaks today either.

Kayaks made in today’s world are usually made of fiberglass or some other material that is sturdy. Some kayaks do use wood, but the wood is often covered by other materials to ensure that the boat is safe and secure. Some kayaks are made for just one person while others are made for up to four. You will often see the longer type of kayaks used when it comes to sporting events and adventure. For example, in the Olympics, four person kayaks are used to seat a team.

The kayaks you’ll find today are often made to suit people who are looking to go out on an adventure and kayak through tough waters. In comparing the original ancient kayak with the ones found today, it’s amazing how similar they are, but how they are used for such different reasons.

Choosing an Inflatable Kayak For Maximum Load Capacity Or Kayaks For Two and Three People

Hunting and Fishing trips on the water require a boat which is maneuverable, sufficiently comfortable for the necessary time to be spent on the water and large enough to store gear. The same applies to anyone wanting to go touring on a kayak.

The gear could be fishing rods and tackle or hunting rifles and ammunition. One can assume that the weight of a fishing rod would be minimal as most of them today are made of light- weight material like fiberglass and graphite. The tackle box might weigh more than the weights, flies and rods combined. A hunting gun would be a bit heavier, but still light enough not to have a lot of bearing on the load of the gear.

If the trip includes a night or two, then sleeping arrangements would need to be catered for. Perhaps a tent and sleeping bags. These would probably include a thermal cover to help keep the heat in if the weather turns very cold. Again, with modern materials, none of these weigh very much. Food would need to be carried and a means to prepare and cook the food but one thing you do not have to carry is fuel. Kayaking is a bit like kinetic energy, your body in motion produces the power needed to move the boat forward. So far then, the estimated weights would be 33 lbs (15kg) for the fishing or hunting gear, a tent and sleeping bags, 44 lbs (20kg) and the food area, say 22 lbs (10 kg). Of course here there is always the delightful hope of being able to eat the bounty if you are fishing or hunting.

Then there are the miscellaneous items like a compass, torch, radio, PFD jackets, oars, vacuum flasks etc. Do you agree that another 22 lbs (10kg) would cover these? If so, the total now reaches 110 lbs (50kgs).

Inflatable boats have come a very long way since their first inception. Just as an example we are told that the Sevylor Tahiti Classic has travelled the Amazon from end to end twice. One has to believe it was the same boat that made the whole of the first trip, a distance of more than 3093 miles. (though some say 4350 miles). It has long stretches of class V rapids! But was it the same boat that made the whole of the second run too? Either way, that is some journey and a remarkable achievement.

The weight inflatables are able to carry has increased with technology also.

When considering what best to buy, there are three areas where the weight should be calculated to avoid overloading. The first is the deflated boat and accessories, i.e. the paddles, seats, skeg etc. The next is the weights of the paddlers and lastly the weight of the gear.

What choices do you have?

The 420X Sea Eagle carries a maximum load of 855 lbs (388kg). It weighs 53 lbs (24kg). After the combined weight of the gear and food has been deducted, a generous 691 lbs (313kg) is left over to cover the weight of the paddlers, or you can adapt your weight distribution the way you want it. The boat specifications allow for 2 people with lots of gear or 2 – 3 adults plus less gear. Sea Eagle say their boat has a ‘crocodile hide’ able to withstand severe knocks. The boat is NMMA certified.

Sevylor then offer the Inflatable Ocean, sold as a two person but a seat for a third person can be added. It weighs 55lbs (30kg) and has a fully loaded weight of 800 lbs. It is specially designed for ocean travelling, and being longer – 17′ – can go at higher speeds.

Sea Eagle’s 380X carries a maximum load of 750 lbs (340kg) which would be suitable for two people plus their camping gear for the weekend.

The next package Sea Eagle offer is the Paddleski Deluxe. It weights 22lbs (10kg) and has a maximum load limit of 650lbs (295kg). It is a 5 in 1 inflatable catamaran. It’s two, widely spaced inflatable tubes give a very stable ride. Accessories like an outboard motor, a rowing frame and sliding seat, a sailing rig and a fishing seat enable you to change your use of it, all at a very reasonable cost. It is not recommended for more than two people.

Sevylor have a river Kayak Xk2 with a loaded limit of 650lbs (295kg) or 2 people. Weighing in at 45.2lbs (21kg) and being suitable for any type of whitewater that your skill may allow you to try. It comes with two seats and a carry bag and falls into the class of touring kayak. It is self-bailing.

These are the biggest for loaded weight. Very few others reach the 650lbs (294kg) mark.

Oddly, inflatable kayaks can carry more load than those of similar size but built of rigid material. Add this to the ease with which they can be carried to and from the water and you have a recreational opportunity of wide scope at a reasonable cost. It gives them a great market boost.