How Much Does a Good Kayak Cost?
There are many things to consider when buying a kayak: speed, comfort, stability, tracking, fishability, weight, budget, and how often you will be using it. The price spread is very wide, $179 for the big box special or $3500 plus for the fully loaded pedal/motor drive fishing machine. Before you go out and buy the cool looking one you saw on the internet, do some research!
What are you going to use it for?? Are you going to kayak fish, recreational paddle, nature photography, or kayak camp? Fishing kayaks are typically more expensive but offer more comfort and stability. Just because you buy a “fishing” kayak doesn’t mean you only have to fish out of it. The weight capacity is usually high and make them an ideal choice for kayak camping or if you are the “pack mule” of your paddling group. Recreational kayaks usually have less creature comforts but offer good stability.
How is it made?? Hull construction and thickness are very important things to consider when choosing a kayak. Hull construction is big deal. Is it one piece, roto-molded, or a seemed 2 piece, held together with fasteners or adhesive? Is the hull thick enough to withstand gravel, rocks, and submerged tree limbs? Typically, roto-molded kayaks are more expensive but offer more strength and durability than the 2 piece option.
Sit On Top or Sit in?? There are advantages to both. Sit On Tops are typically more stable and will not fill with water if you flip. Sit Ins offer you a dryer paddle, which is great in colder weather. Sit Ins are also typically lighter than Sit On Tops.
What features or options do I want? Do you plan to upgrade to a pedal drive? Does it have a comfortable seat? Can you add accessories that you may want or need, such as a fish finder? When you add options or the ability to add options you most likely will add to the cost.
New or Used? If you are on a budget but want a better kayak, check out used ones. This may allow you to get a 1 or 2 year old, higher end kayak for the same price as a new lower end kayak. Just be sure to check it out for any holes, missing parts, or major structural issuessuch as dents or creases. New kayaks will offer a manufacturer’s warranty and be backed by your local dealer, if there are any issues. Most dealers will offer “demos” so you can test drive the kayak before you buy to make sure it lived up to all the internet hype.
So how much does a good kayak cost? Is there a magic dollar amount? Unfortunately, there is no “you should spend this amount” answer. My advice would be to do your research, test drive the ones on the top of your list, check out new and used options, find local dealer that is knowledgeable, and ask questions. Please do not buy a kayak just because it is n your price range. You may regret your decision later. You are buying it to enjoy yourself, the outdoor and to get off the couch. If you do not like your kayak, you are more likely to stay on the couch.