Top 10 Helpful Tips Before Buying A Kayak
So you want to buy a kayak, here are our "Top 10", helpful tips to consider before you purchase that kayak on sale.
So while you were wandering around that local sporting store, you end up in the Kayaking section. You never looked at seriously buying a kayak before, but owning one has always been on your bucket list. Your friends on Facebook keep posting such beautiful pictures and adventures from outings with their kayaks. While staring at a kayak, you daydream about being out on the water with your friends and being surrounded by the beautiful scenery. Out of playful curiosity, you flip the price tag over and are instantly excited. It's on sale! You thought the price would be so much higher for a kayak, but this is something you can actually afford. You don't know a lot about kayaks, but they all seem pretty much the same; how much difference can there be? You decide at that moment, "I am going to do this. All I have to do is find a sales assistant to get me set up."
Take a breath. Be mindful that the salesperson you find may know even less about kayaking than you do. Remember that a salesperson is there to help a customer purchase items and help the store make a profit. As much as you want to get out on the water and have fun, we want to help you make an informed decision of what you should consider in purchasing the right kayak for you, and not "just buy a kayak." The right kayak for you can save time, effort, money, and even your life.
Here are our "Top 10" things to consider.
1. Consider the type of water you will be using your kayak in.
Kayaks are built and designed with specific water classes in mind. The primary uses are advertised on the sales tag such as Ocean or Sea, Fishing, White water, Recreational. What type of waterways are near you, what activities do you plan on doing with the kayak, and is this kayak the right type for that activity and waterway?
2. Usage and length of time you plan on keeping the kayak.
If you are entering into the kayaking world, you will quickly learn what you like and dislike in your first kayak. If you plan on weekly or monthly usage, you may want to do extra research and invest a bit more to help save money in the long run. Most kayakers will upgrade at some point, trying to match their personal preferences to kayak designs and abilities as they become more experienced. How long will this kayak last you before you want an upgrade?
3. Paddle versus Pedal versus Powered.
What do you think the average distance will be when taking your kayak out on the water? How athletic are you? Do you have any injuries that would prevent you from paddling or pedaling? When buying a powered kayak, can you afford the kayak, the motor, and the state registration fees? Each drive system has its pros and cons. Propulsion is a significant factor to consider. When you are on the water in strong tidal currents, winds, and waves, it can be the difference between a good day on the water or your worst day.
4. Safety limitations from the manufacturer.
Take the time to read the safety instructions. It is imperative to understand the weight limits and specifications that the kayak can function safely. You will want to consider not only your body weight but account for wet clothing as well. Ensure your kayak can also accommodate any equipment weight such as paddles, anchors or chains, fishing supplies or coolers, and emergency supplies.
5. Cost and Manufacturer warranty
Cost is often the primary topic people focus on when deciding which kayak they are going to purchase. There is a broad market range for kayaks, and prices can vary from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. Not all expensive kayaks are great, and not all inexpensive kayaks are bad. Cheaper kayaks with a great manufacture warranty can be better than a more expensive kayak with a lousy manufacture warranty. Where is that kayaks' closest repair center located to you?
Not all kayaks are created equal. The first time you sit in a kayak, you will know if it is comfortable for your body style. If the kayak feels small, or the seating is hard and uncomfortable from the start, it will only worsen. Keep in mind; you are purchasing something you are planning on sitting in or on for hours at a time. Does the kayak allow for pedal or foot adjustments or changing out the seat?
7. Customization capabilities
Customization can be another fun part of kayaking for those crafty people. You can add dozens of additional items to a kayak, such as fishing rod holders, fish finders, paddle clips, milk crates, anchor systems, and even camera systems. The modification of your kayak will give it that personal feeling and make it truly your kayak. Can you add to this kayak to suit your needs?
8. Weight and length of your kayak
When choosing the right kayak, bigger is not always better. Kayaks come in a magnitude of different sizes and weights. Keep in mind at some point, you will probably be lifting your kayak into a truck or onto a car. The heavier and longer the kayak is, the harder it is to handle in and out of the water. Experienced kayakers know kayaking is a fatiguing sport, and when returning to shore, you still have to be able to lift your kayak to get it home. Are you able to lift your kayak by yourself?
9. Transportation and storage
There are several ways to transport your kayak. People who own a standard car have various options, from $20 foam pads and tie-downs to $300 roof racks. Trucks with beds can also add a bed extender; make sure to pad the metal bar to help protect the bottom of your kayak. The more expensive choice is to have a lightweight kayak trailer for your vehicle. Protection from the elements is essential to the life of your kayak. Before purchasing, measure your garage or shed. Will your kayak fit?
10. Resale of your kayak
If this is your first kayak and you are fairly certain you will be upgrading in the future, consider the sale price you may want in the future. Kayaks are like cars, and the value will depreciate with age. An $800 kayak today will not be worth $800 next year, be willing to take a loss when it comes to parting with your kayak.
Hopefully, we have opened up a new line of thinking for you when purchasing a kayak and answered some unasked questions. Tell us your experience in deciding what's important to you and about your kayak. Please share with us what you think we missed and what tips you have that might help them decide on the right kayak for them?