Going on a kayaking or river paddling adventure can be fun and exhilarating, but many times buying a new kayak is just too expensive. New kayaks start off at around three hundred and fifty dollars and can rise considerably until around five thousand dollars, not including all of the essential gear such as paddles, float bags, or helmets. There are important details to remember when buying a secondhand kayak, because making a wrong decision can set you back a lot of money, and can be quite dangerous.


Looking for a Secondhand Kayak

There are usually many secondhand kayaks for sale regardless of terrain, as kayaks can be used in most types of water. Checking online advertising websites, newspaper classifieds, and asking around in person are often the best ways to find the right kayak. Garage sales or outing clubs will often have a good market for secondhand kayaks, and you can spend some time asking the right questions about the quality of the kayak.


The Quality of a Secondhand Kayak

Once you have found some secondhand kayaks to peruse, it is time to ask questions and test the quality of the boat. Do not buy a boat sight unseen, as many of the characteristics of a good secondhand kayak must be appraised very meticulously. Bring along a flashlight, a small mirror, and a life jacket to aid you in your assessment.

When you first see the boat, check if it has been stored under a cover or inside of a shed when not in use, as light from the sun can be detrimental to the quality of a boat. Next, take a close look at the hull and deck of the kayak, and remove any extra parts such as float bags or hatches. Using your light and mirror, take a look at any deep gouges, scrapes, or cracks, ignoring harmless dents or scratches. Check for delamination by looking for any discoloration or wavy spots on the hull. If you see anything that looks suspicious, place the kayak on a soft surface and press very softly onto the area with the palm of your hand. If you hear any noises, delamination has probably occurred, and buying this kayak is probably not in your best interest, as delamination repair is quite expensive and time-consuming.

Next, check the seams of the kayak with your flashlight, making sure there is no separation or damaging delamination. The cockpit of the kayak should also be smoothly incorporated into the rest of the boat without damage. After you have checked the remaining parts of the boat, such as gunwales and thwarts, it is time to take your kayak for a “test-drive.” Throughout the examination, check to see if there are any leaks or cracks that you haven’t noticed before, along with any comfort issues in the cockpit. After your excursion, open up the hatches and check for any leaks.


Pricing a Secondhand Kayak

Once you have examined your kayak, and it has passed inspection, it is time to assess the price of your boat. Do some research before you come on the current retail price of the kayak you are looking at. Then, after adding in for any damage or wear, make an offer that is probably no more than half the current retail price. If the boat is badly damaged, or is in need of major repairs, offer much less. After you have agreed on a price, be prepared to pay in cash. Additionally, make sure to ask for a receipt that includes the Hull Identification Number, for safety and recall purposes. This number uniquely identifies a boat, and is equivalent to a VIN on an automobile.


Buying a secondhand kayak can be hard work, and may take a little more time, but can often pay off in the long run. You are able to enjoy the excitement of river paddling without paying an extreme amount of money, while also keeping your safety intact.