You’ve decided it’s time to buy a kayak, and the thought crossed your mind to buy a used kayak. Here are a few simple tips to follow if you want to buy a used kayak.
Every day people decide to get rid of perfectly good used kayaks for a variety of reasons. It could be divorce, relocation, upgrading to a better model, changing to a different sport, or it just doesn’t get used anymore – no matter what the reason for the sale, you can really get a great value for your money when you buy a used kayak.
Follow these tips to get your next deal on a used kayak:
1. Pay attention to how the kayak has been stored.
Proper storage can extend the life of a kayak. The best possible option is that the kayak has been stored inside a garage and kept out of the elements. If a kayak has been stored outside for an extended period of time, it requires further examination.
Check the seat for wear; sometimes the fabric on the seat can look fine until you touch it and it reveals that it is dry rotted.
Check the seals on the bulk heads. They can crack and dry up over time and exposure, and the bulk heads may no longer be water tight.
Make sure the boat doesn’t have any dips and bends in the hull from being stored without the weight being evenly distributed. While the roto-molded plastic does have a memory and can return to its original position, this may take some time and render the kayak difficult to use until it happens.
2. Look for signs of repair.
The most obvious repairs will be to the hull of the boat. Turn it over and look for any signs of patching or other repair work. A boat is only as good as its weakest repair, so if you see signs of repairs, you need to test the boat and make sure it is still water tight. If you find that the hull of the boat has been breached, it may still be worthy of a repair, but you want to take that into consideration when you make your purchase.
3. Sit in the boat. I don’t care how silly you feel, get in it. You will thank me later.
You need to make sure the seat is comfortable and adjustable. As you are sitting in the seat, picture yourself in that seat for 4 hours. Will it still be comfortable? Can it be adjusted to make it more comfortable? You want a seat you can spend all day in comfortably.
Now, see how your lower body fits in the boat. Does it feel tight and claustrophobic? Can you adjust the foot pedals so that they are in the right spot to provide the support you need? Again, make sure the fit is good enough to be comfortable all day. Trust me, you won’t use a kayak that is uncomfortable and causes you pain.
4. Pick it up. Yep. Pick it up.
Can you pick it up and load it by yourself? Try it and see if it is something you can manage on your own. If you don’t think you will ever be in a situation where you need to load it by yourself, then maybe this isn’t that big of a deal for you. However, it is good to know whether or not you could handle it alone before you make your purchase.
5. Educate yourself to get the best deal.
Research the make and model of the kayak you are going to look at before you go. It is important to know the length of the kayak too. Find out how much the kayak costs new. Also search the internet for used kayaks of that same make, model and length kayak for sale. See what the range of prices are for the used kayaks. Search the internet for reviews of that kayak. See what others who have owned that kayak say about its performance and durability. If you find that most of the reviews online indicate that people weren’t happy with that particular kayak, then this may be a clue as to why this kayak is for sale.
You can literally save hundreds, and possibly even a thousand dollars by buying a used kayak. In addition to buying used from individuals, you can also buy demo boats from kayak dealers. Demo boats have been gently used and possibly rented for short periods of time. Again, this gentle usage knocks several hundred dollars off the cost.
Another way to get a great deal on a used kayak is to buy a kayak from a rental or excursion company. They will sell their kayaks after a set amount of usage and they replace them with new kayaks. Most of the time, these kayaks have been well maintained and are a good investment.
If you just have to have a new kayak and be the first one to put any dings in it, then I have one other tip to help you get a great deal. Many dealers that sell kayaks in the summer, also sell skis and winter sports gear during the winter. Before they change over their store from one season to the next, you should be able to get a great deal on the model year that has just closed out. It is easier for them to sell it at a reduced price than to store it over the winter, and next year have a new kayak that is a year old to try and sell alongside the new models.
Buying a used kayak can be a fantastic way to get a great value for your money. Many used kayaks are barely used and you could buy it and save hundreds of dollars.
Whether you buy new or used, do your research and try to get the most you can for your money. You will love your new kayak! The water awaits!