10 ft vs 12 ft Kayak (Which is Best For You?)

Kayaking is a recreational activity that is loved by many people. As beginners join the trend, they get confused between 10 ft vs 12 ft kayaks.

Choosing a 10 ft vs 12 ft kayak takes some time. You must consider factors that contribute or may hinder your aquatic adventure such as the accurate measurement, capacity, and structure of the kayak.

No need to get confused because we’ve compiled enough information to resolve your worries in selecting a kayak.

Does size matter?

Generally, size does not necessarily matter in evaluating how good you are at kayaking.

However, we should also be concerned about the physical dimensions to assess the capacity of the kayak to deal in water.

Before we delve into other significant factors, let us discuss first the difference between a 10 ft and 12 ft kayak.

10 Foot Kayak

For recreational activities, 10 ft kayaks are frequently purchased. They are offering extra storage inside for day trips, and an open compartment found at the bow and stern areas.

10 foot kayak
Pelican Maxim 100X Sit-in Recreational Kayak 10-Foot Lightweight

A beginner and budget-friendly kayak that primarily aims to go on calm water. It has various designs and shapes available which will give you a blast in kayaking.

Aside from that, this kayak is recommended for paddling maneuvers particularly on tight areas in swamps or rivers that require precise navigation.

Another perk of 10 ft kayaks as mentioned earlier is their storage area. They have enough capacity for those who wish to keep their belongings dry or out of the water. You can also carry additional supplies as much as possible.

12 Foot Kayak

If you aim to enhance your basic skills for longer paddling trips, we commend you to look for 12 ft kayaks. It was proven that the longer the kayak, the faster it becomes.

Talking about retaining balance, speed, and maneuverability, a 12 ft kayak is what you are looking for. It exceeds the speed of a 10 ft kayak and is convenient to paddle on narrow streams.

12 foot kayak
eMotion Spitfire Tandem Sit-On-Top Kayak, Yellow, 12′

The large body appearance improved length and width, and the ratio speeds up the kayak.

Intermediate kayakers would love to choose the 12 ft kayak because they can cover larger areas on their trips for a short period.

Considerations in Choosing a Kayak

Kayaking may be fun, but most people are bothered about which size to buy. Here are several things to refer to before buying one.

The Purpose

The major factor to consider is where you will use the kayak. Kayak’s size varies especially when the purpose is for calm water and slow-moving rivers or rapidly flowing water.

For example, kayaking in an open water source like the ocean, expect to encounter strong waves that may overturn your carrier.

Hence, a larger kayak should be chosen in this play for it offers a higher quality of stability to big waves than the small ones.

On the contrary, small boats are quite advantageous in terms of navigation. They are driven with lesser effort, along with increasing agility than big kayaks.

Also, paddling big kayaks while in a hurry will likely consume your time before reaching the shore.

Get the Measurements

The next factor to consider after figuring the purpose of the kayak is to assess if the measurement or ratio of the kayak is enough to maintain stability while in the water.

The necessity to this evaluates how good can a kayak stay on the water without sinking when having passengers. Moreover, it helps analyze the speed of the kayak and its maneuverability on the water.

10 ft vs 12 ft kayak

Observe the structure

Before we delve into choosing colors, and eye-catching designs, you should also consider the structural design such as the hull which may or hinder your kayaking performance.

The hull is the bottom structure of the kayak that rules speed, maneuverability, and stability. It is necessary to distinguish the hull’s design whether it is round, flat, v-shaped, or pontoon.

Rounded ones are good for speeding capacity with maintained stability. V-shaped hulls are great for straight navigation and are built to conquer strong winds and currents.

While flat hulls are frequently designed for fishing which have great angle and balance. Lastly, pontoon hulls are less common, but still, have good stability and are recommended in novice recreational kayaks.

On another important note, get a kayak with a thick hull. If you opt to speed up kayaking with thin hulls, it will turn over sideways if you are not good at balancing.

Leg Space

To fulfill the joy of kayaking, your legs must be comfortable enough. This is one of the important things to look at when buying a kayak.

Getting in and getting off the kayak must be always convenient even in emergencies. Significantly assess if you have long, short, thin, or thick legs, before purchasing which are commonly forgotten by some beginners.

Tight leg spaces give you less control over the kayak and make you uncomfortable throughout your trip. So, reserve a room for your legs with just enough space.

Weight Capacity

Another thing to add to the checklist before buying a kayak is its weight capacity. Each kayak is made to hold a certain amount of weight only.

Calculating the weight capacity and the passenger’s weight could identify the lowest position the kayak sits in when used.

Choose a kayak that has a bigger weight than the passenger for this will likely sit higher in water. However, too high can be vulnerable to strong winds. Plus, paddling can be difficult and takes much effort to dip the paddle into the water.

Ensure to make equal calculations in which the kayak can hold your weight, and your extra baggage. Note that a lightweight or overweight kayak has its risks, and the worst scenario might lead to sinking.

Cockpit Dimensions

There is nothing more important than considering the driver’s area. In kayaking, one must sit down with legs side by side, heels angled towards the center and the toes pointed outward for a long period.

As a guide, use the thumb method to have a clearance. Measure four thumbs from the kayak to your body. The extra space promotes flexibility and comfortable movement during paddling.

Concerning the above-mentioned leg space, assess the cockpit and determine the satisfaction of your knees’ placement while kayaking.

Forgetting to notice will either be a hindrance or else will be an uncomfortable adventure for you.

Storage Capacity

Kayaking is getting more popular these seasons and many people enjoy paddling that they opt to go farther. In consequence, you’ll need several supplies on a day trip, thus, larger storage is a must.

In selecting a kayak, the capacity to hold both passengers and the baggage should be always considered.

Some kayaks are featured with open compartments or sit-on kayaks. This is preferable for a day tour and short trips only with storage found in front of the kayak’s seat.

Bringing a phone, wallet, or a few snacks only, a small and open compartment won’t be a problem. Furthermore, if your bag is waterproof, there is no problem for open storage to be in contact with water.

Sealed compartments on the other hand are a better choice for longer or multi-day trips. It’s spacious and provides security from getting your essentials soaked in water.


We’re looking forward to learning from this article, you get to see the difference between a 10 ft kayak vs 12 ft kayak and identify which best suits your water trips.

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