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Kayak Vs. Raft

What’s the Difference: Kayak Vs. Raft

It’s a common question amongst people new to watersports - what’s the difference: Kayak Vs. Raft? A few differences, such as the boat size, are apparent to the naked eye. But you should know about the many more differences before making your decision.

First, the kayak can hold at most two people, whereas the raft is designed to hold up to 10 people. Since the raft can seat riders on both sides, its paddles only have one blade each, whereas the kayak uses double-bladed paddles. And thanks to its design, the kayak offers more versatility and speed when compared to rafts.

The raft is designed for group activities, whereas the kayak is more suited for solo adventurers. However, it would help if you always took proper safety precautions before going on either of the ventures.

What Is Kayaking?

Kayaking is an activity that involves a small elongated boat named a kayak. 

It’s a small boat that can accommodate up to two people, but mostly, it’s for one person. Kayakers are mainly people who like solo adventures and being alone in the wild. 

Ode to its elongated shape, the kayak was initially designed for transportation purposes in the Arctic. 

When traveling through a water body filled with ice, it’s better to take a massive kayak than any other type of watercraft. But presently, the kayak is used primarily for recreational purposes. 

Since it’s mainly for one or two people, the kayak uses a double-bladed paddle to help steer and push the boat down the water stream. 

But, before setting on an adventure, you must be fully prepared for it. Get your kits and gears ready. Don’t forget to take drinking water with you, since you’ll probably be going alone on this adventure and it won’t hurt to be a bit careful. 

And keep in mind that it’s not unusual for kayaks to tip over. If that happens in your case, don’t panic. Remember that it’s also easy to get back topside again.

What Is Rafting?

As its name suggests, rafting is the sport or activity of traveling on a water body on a raft. It is mainly preferred by those who are not very familiar with water bodies, such as tourists. 

Moreover, the raft can carry as many as ten people. So many prefer this group experience as a bonding opportunity.

While many think traveling on an inflatable raft is dangerous, it’s safe. 

First of all, rafting follows a code of strict safety restrictions. Moreover, the technology to develop these rafts protects the watercraft from wear and tear. 

Thanks to the aerodynamic design of the single-bladed paddles, you can row your boat quickly. And if that wasn’t safe enough, each rafter is made to wear safety helmets and life jackets before getting on the raft, so there aren’t any unfortunate incidents. 

As a safety precaution, always take your and your partners’ skill level before choosing where you want to ride.

There are different classes of streams. For example, if you’re a beginner, it’d be best if you stuck to the class 1 stream before moving on to the streams with higher difficulty levels.

Here are some technical variations between kayaking and rafting

It’s better to go through all the detailed explanations about the difference between the two watercraft. However, we understand that not everyone has the time to go through the detailed explanations. 

That’s why we’ve introduced a quick breakdown to help you get familiar in the quickest way possible.




Rider Housing Space

It can hold up to two people

It can hold up to ten people

Paddling Styles

Use single-bladed paddles

Use double-bladed paddles


Offers a more versatile ride

Prioritizes safety over versatility


A group experience

Solo adventure

What’s the Difference: Kayak Vs. Raft

Both kayaks and rafts are used for watersports. But that’s where their similarities end. 

While they don’t share a lot of similarities, the two watercraft have quite a few differences between them.

They’re as follows.

Housing Space

Kayaks can house at most two people, whereas a raft can carry up to ten people at a time. While a single person can manage a kayak since they can reach both sides in a kayak, you need at least two persons to row a raft.

But if you want, nine people can row together. A total of 8 people row on the side (4 on each side), and another person rows at the back. 

The one who rows in the back adjusts the boat’s direction. And finally, the one in the front is there to push the raft downwards to keep the boat from flipping over.


It’s one of the most noticeable differences between the two modes of transportation. Since the raft has to accommodate up to ten people whereas the kayak does two, the former is much larger than the latter.

Apart from the difference in size, the raft has a much higher weight capacity and storage space than the kayak to carry the weight of the larger body count and their gears. 

Paddling Styles

Kayaks feature a compact design so one person can reach both sides of the boat. That’s why kayakers use a double-bladed paddle for paddling. 

On the other hand, one person can’t reach both sides of a raft. That’s why they each use a single-bladed paddle for paddling purposes.

Riding Experience

The raft is built as a group experience. It can help build teamwork and deepen the bond among each other. 

As you need to work together, it helps you understand your friends and family. Finally, it will give you a story that includes all your closest friends.

On the other hand, kayaking is a solo experience. If you want to connect with yourself and the nature around you, kayaking is the way to go. However, ensure you let others know where you are going and take proper precautions. In the case an accident occurs, these things can save your life.


When paddling a kayak, the control rests solely upon your hands. Moreover, the elongated shape and the compact design help you maintain your speed through the water. 

Thanks to its aerodynamic design, you’ll also be able to make sharper turns. And you won’t have to worry about making corrections since you’re by yourself.

On the other hand, on a raft, you need to make a team effort to move the watercraft. Furthermore, the larger and flatter design makes it a safer but slower option. Also, you won’t be able to make sharp turns like the kayak. 


You may ask, how safe are these two watersports? If you stick to the guidelines, both activities are pretty safe.

The regulations are there to keep you safe. But if we were to compare, rafting is comparatively safer than kayaking. 

Apart from the safety precautions, in a raft, if you’re ever in trouble, you and your friends have got each other’s back. However, in a kayak, you’ll have to fend for yourself. 

However, by following the regulations, you can minimize the chances of such accidents taking place.

        | You may refer to Tandem Kayak Vs. Single Kayak to enhance your learning about kayaking.  

Final Words

Picking either of the options is a solid plan for a vacation. But now that you know the difference: kayak vs. raft, you should be able to make an educated decision rather than a random guess.

Simply put, if you want family fun, you should pick rafting since a raft can hold up to ten people. But if you just want to go on a solo adventure, kayaking would be the perfect fit. So, choose wisely and get the best watersport experience!

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