Some Of The First Original Early Kayak Designs Were Made Of Seal Skin And Carved Out Hollowed Trees And Logs

What Did The First Kayaks Look Like?

Early kayaks were used by the native people around the world for hunting, gathering, war and exploring other areas just like explorers did with ships. Some were only large enough to fit one person and others were quite large and similar to a canoe. They were made out of natural materials such as skin, trees, and tree bark.

Original Designs Of Early Kayaks


Early kayaks were designed similar to some of today’s designs, however they differed with the materials they were made of and along with some parts of the design.

Some of the earliest models were constructed were by the Intuit tribe and the Aleut tribe of the Artic. These early inhabitants depending on these watercrafts for providing food and constructed these early styles from driftwood, seal skin and whale fat.

This is not the only place that kayaks were constructed, the Eskimos put the craft to use not only for hunting and fishing but also as a means to move people and transport goods, there is record of a model that was constructed for just this purpose and it was named the Baidarka. It was known to seat two or three people, they also constructed another model that was called the Umiak, and this style was an open deck and could be paddled by several people. This Umiak ranged from seventeen to sixty feet, to be used by hunting parties as well as transportation for Eskimos and their goods. These crafts were constructed slim so that if it was tipped in rough waters it could be turned upright, this in another type of craft could prove deadly in these icy waters.

These crafts were built with similar materials as the ones from the Artic tribes, with wood frames and the covering was of sealskin or even sea lions skin. This skin covered with whale fat made them able to withstand the waters that they would be used in as well as the other uses that the rest of the seal or sea lion and whale could be used for.

Another feature of these were the use of air filled bladders that made these styles unsinkable in the rough waters that they were to be used.

There is also evidence that the kayak was constructed in other cold weather places for hunting and fishing and the designs varied depending on the type of water they would be used in. there were crafts constructed by people who inhabited lands surrounding the Bering Straight, these kayaks were constructed shorter and wider to make them more stable.

One item that was constructed in these crafts no matter the region was a large enough area for storage of game and fish or other goods that were to be transported. For these early kayaks were a means of transportation and not for recreation purposes like today.