The utility of kayak color?

This is over analytical, but what are message boards for? I was curious about your observations or experiences about kayak color selection benefits. I appreciate the great look of red and blue and safety/looks of bright colors such yellow, orange, and lime green. But From a non-aesthetics standpoint, what utility aspects beyond safety can be offered in color selection? For example, I have enjoyed my sand colored recreational kayak, and am thinking about custom ordering a new LL WW crossover boat in the available sand color, for the following reasons, which are not that big a deal, but I figure, all things equal, why not?:

  • Every once in a while, I have hidden my sand colored yak in the woods while I go on a hike or whatever. The kayak becomes practically invisible and don’t have to worry about someone trying to take it. I am thinking about some various overnight trips where this could come in handy.

  • Although not really a nature boy, I like thinking that I might get one or two more seconds to view wildlife in a sand colored boat than if I were in a brightly colored boat.

  • In my experience with my sand colored boat, it doesn’t seem to show scratches as much as say a blue boat. I think maybe yellow boats also don’t show scratches much. Scratches are part of the fun, but this old speckled sand Pungo I have shows almost nothing after years of beating.

    So I think my new spring boat purchase will also be sand/natural colored, but I wanted to see if anyone thought I could be missing something.

    Thanks in advance for your insights,


a few
Some colors are less UV and/or fade resistant than others. Red for example, fades more than other colors.

Dark colors get hotter in the sun than light colors. For plastic, that could mean that a dark boat gets softer on your car roof in the sun than a light boat. Also, heat degrades both plastic and epoxy or poly resins.

Can’t fault your reasoning, given the
goals you have. But I wouldn’t be surprised if, some day, the Coast Guard or some states tell us that we have to have high visibility boats. Not that they should, but it’s the sort of thing that comes to their minds.

(L)I’m sure the CG would first like to stop all those black hulled go-fast boats running around S. Florida before they worry about kayaks…

The almond colored gel coat that Bell used to use with their ‘white gold’ layup hid scratches better than any other gel coat color I have seen.

It’s not the most attractive color, but it doesn’t show it’s scars.

Natural colors
I prefer olive or some similar natural color so I can hide the boat while camping or hiking.

I’m still kicking myself for buying a bright red Mad River Explorer. I saw a green one for sale not long ago and thought about buying it and selling my red one.

I guess from a safety standpoint bright colors are better though.

For whitewater, on rare occasions a
boat will swamp and disappear. Bright colors can help locate it for recovery. But a light sand color is not the worst color for underwater visibility.

Another thing to think about… Do you want to show up in photographs?

I really like black
but unfortunatly its not a common color in kayaks. BTW- did anyone see that jet black rockpool kayak in TITS 2 (At the bitches tital races)?? It was really nice. The color alone made that kayak stand out from the rest. I wish I could have an all black Pamlico 140 along with my Red Pamlico 140.

As for other colors, I prefer brighter, shinier colors. It looks newer and higher end, in my personal opinion.

OT Granite is another great color…
Another great color for hiding scatches is granite. We just sold two granite OT Loons, and with a coat of 303 they look as good as the day we bought them! If not for the visibility concerns, I would have looked for another granite kayak in a second.

something for everyone
color is such a personal choice. the bright colors are certainly more visible from a distance and “pop” on camera. but I can see where some people might theink they’re loud and want more conservative, even stealthy colors. the “eco green” of my recycled Necky is a funky olive shade that I wasn’t sure about at first but it kinda grows on you.

Not all wildlife see the same colors that people do. Some don’t see colors at all. That is why hunters can wear bright orange, yet still not scare the deer.

I Really Don’t Like Loud Colors
Regarding safety I don’t think the key is color but CONTRAST. If the water appears dark a bright white hull stands out. If the water is reflecting a lot of glare a dark deck really shows up.

For safety
avoid red if you paddle much late in the evening. Red is the first color to go as the light fades. As far as hull color goes, white scratches white as do all the colors. Lighter is better for the bottom. If you paddle in higher traffic areas safety would dictate yellows and oranges.

BryYak that’s the same reasoning i use for ALL my gear. Including my vehicles, except for the Street Bike, I actually DO want cars to see me when i am on it. I would rather disappear and blend into the environment as best as i can rather then stick out like a sore thumb. However one consideration i also use is HEAT, as in Dark colors get hot! Sand is a great choice for the sunny south. I have 1 sand colored boat, One olive, and Two that are Sand colored with Olive trim. Much of my gear is Uncle Sam Issue, so i am totally color coordinated! and that’s all that really matters! L Now If i could get a Digitial Camo pattern painted on my QCC 700s that would be too cool! Or maybe have them painted like big sharks with a mouth at the front.

Red is faster

Yellow is the heaviest…

I like that color too

Pink is the noisiest
:slight_smile: little joke, Happy Holidays!

Blue attackes bugs
Unfortunately I didn’t know this whn I bought my kayaks (which are all blue). My husband saw a study where they showed bike racers shirts. The blue ones wer covereed in misquitoes while the other ones were not. Ugh.

then there’s always clear

so you can see if they’re really using their legs :wink: