How to Buy a Kayak

How to Buy a Kayak
Kayaking is enjoyed by thousands of outdoor enthusiasts across the country. A kayak can be used to experience a calm, serene afternoon on a river or for a thrilling, adrenaline-inducing trip down whitewater rapids. While kayaks can be rented, it's more economical in the long-term to invest in owning one. Discover your various options for buying a kayak to help you get the best kayak for your boating needs.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Select the type of kayak you need. There are four major types of kayaks, categorized by their use. Recreational kayaks are all-purpose boats used on open water and calm to mild rivers. Downriver kayaks are typically used for racing and intended for use by intermediate and expert paddlers. Touring kayaks, also known as sea kayaks, are heavy-duty kayaks designed to carry gear and supplies for long kayak trips. Whitewater kayaks are the smallest type of kayak and made to be very easy to manage and steer in river rapids.
Step 2
Choose a general length and width for your kayak. This can help you narrow down your kayak choices. The longer the kayak, the more stable it is and the easier it is to paddle. However, shorter kayaks are typically cheaper, lighter and easier to carry to your favorite waterway. The wider the kayak, the more stable it is. But wider kayaks are also harder to handle and steer. Specific lengths and widths vary widely by manufacturer.
Step 3
Buy a kayak that meets your needs from a local dealer, water sports store or outdoor outfitters company. This is the best option for individuals who want to interact with a salesperson, ask questions and inspect the kayak physically before choosing it. Stock is typically limited to what's on hand, though some stores may special order a kayak for you for an additional fee.
Step 4
Obtain a used kayak from a local kayak club. This is the best option for those who want to save money and don't mind getting an older model. Contact the United States Canoe Association (see Resources) or similar associations to find local kayak and canoe groups or clubs in your area. These clubs can connect you to other members selling used kayaks at discounted prices.
Step 5
Purchase a kayak directly from the manufacturer. This is ideal for those who want a specific type of kayak or have a favorite brand. Some manufacturers that sell directly to consumers include Langford Canoe & Kayak, TRAK Kayaks and Pelican International.

Tips & Warnings

A kayak is a serious investment, and you may find themselves spending $2,000 or more on a high-end kayak that will last for many years.

Article Written By Josh Duvauchelle

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.