Advice for upgrading

Hello, this my first post here.

Two years ago I committed heresy and bought a kayak from Dicks. It’s a 10 foot sit in Potomac Pathfinder. I think I paid $179 new.

Anyway, after two years I would like something better. My boat is a little sluggish and doesn’t track or glide well.

A place within an hour of me is having a demo/used sale, so they have a few Daggers, Perceptions, and Wilderness Systems for anywhere from $200-$300 off retail. I am trying to keep it under $500.

Another local shop told me not to bother if I am not spending more than $800, since a $500 boat isn’t any better than my $200 one from Dicks.

I just wanted to ask if it is worth upgrading, or is my price range too low to make a difference?

Thanks for any help.

Consider used
Actually, $500 could land you an excellent upgrade if you have the patience to look for a used boat. Just last month I picked up $2300 worth of fully loaded touring kayak with rudder, PFD, paddle, spray skirt and bilge pump for a total cost of $650 on Craigslist.

$500 is on the cusp between an el cheapo rec boat and a decent light touring boat, agreed, but if you can get a $700 or $800 boat for that you could definitely have an upgrade: something with front and rear bulkheads, a decent seat, narrower and longer for better performance. I bought one of my favorite kayaks new on sale for $730, marked down from $1100 a few years ago.

And if you can unload the cheapie you have for $100 or so you could put that into the budget as well.

If you could post some of the models that you find on sale we could give you feedback on those.

Thanks. The models I were looking at were:

Perception Prodigy 10 and 12

Perception Tribute 10 and 12

Wilderness Tarpons and Pungo (not sure if they still have these)

Dagger Zydeco 9 and 11

All of them are kayaks they used for their company and are now selling. Most were right at $500 or under.

Definitely consider used
Search your local Craigslist. I found a wonderful used Eddyline in excellent condition for $600 in late July. Absolutely love the boat and the material its made of. A major, major improvement over the Necky Rip 10 I started with this summer.

Don’t buy anything under 12 feet, not if you’re looking for glide and better speed.

your size?
What size are you? The Tribute is a lower volume boat designed for smaller people, like average women or shorter, lighter guys. If you are over 175 lbs or over 5’ 10" it would be a bit too small for you. The Prodigy and Zydeco are both a step above what you have in that they have stern bulkheads and are 2’ longer. Performance would be about the same and both need flotation bags in the bow section to be safe.

Honestly, for $450 you could get a Perception Sport Conduit 13 with dual bulkheads and another foot of length at the Mills Fleet and Farm stores if there are any in your area.—Blue/White/0000000206039?utm_source=googleps&utm_medium=shopping%2Bsearch&utm_campaign=google%2Bproduct%20search&gslfah&gclid=CjwKEAjw-JqgBRCAyqjoic27nlQSJABBTpFEY8rgl6D1RKvs-y-bD5CuO1h09QaEEyHxN9oFiFfoGBoCTHbw_wcB

my size
Thanks again everyone. I am 6’2" 230ish.

There are plenty of great used buys out there, as willowleaf said, if you’re patient. But I’d agree that if you want something faster, you’re not getting much at 12’.

The other thing I’d do if you haven’t, is once you get the boat, work on your stroke. You can pick up some pace just by improving your technique.

If you’re ambitious, think about how quickly it took you to get to the top of the learning curve in your present kayak.

Big guy
You qualify as a bigger guy and I don’t think any 12 footer is going to give you appreciable performance beyond what you experience in the Potomac “bathtub” boat. I take back the suggestion on the Conduit – too small for you.

Don’t know where you live, but I see kayaks often on Craigslist in various areas that would work for somebody your size and be under budget. (I am always on the lookout for suitable boats for friends and family in different cities.) For instance I just spotted a Necky Zoar 15’ higher volume kayak for $500 near Albany New York. I picked up a big guy sized touring kayak with a quality paddle, new spray skirt, good PFD and even a pump for $650 for the whole deal last month for my brother. And I have previously picked up used quality yaks for as little as $300. This is the time of year to find them, too.

Set up your profile here with your general geographic area or just tell us in a post and we can look at what might be on the market near you and make some suggestions.

Just to back up everyone else
The only kayak I ever regret buying was a 12’ Potomac at just over $400. Wasn’t much different than the 10’ I bought for my wife for less than half the price. $600-$800 takes you up to a whole nother level.

The shop owner is correct.
In fact, I feel that even at $800, you’re still not totally stepping out of your 10’ from Dick’s. If you really like kayaking, drop some money (and this can be on a new or used kayak, either way).

The difference between $500 and $1,000 is day and night, and if you’re talking about used boats, you can basically double the fun you can get for $1,000.

Another thing to consider is this; how many tiers of regret do you want to go through before you finally arrive at your final boat? Because if you but something retail for $500, you have at least one more instance of regret under your belt before you can reach the top, which is going to set you back roughly $2,000 retail or $1,000 used.

used prices vary wildly
They don’t start at the brackets you’ve established. Take a look and see for yourself.

A Valley Avocet could be the last boat you’d ever need. There was one for sale a few weeks ago for $500.

there are new deals under $1000
I’ve never regretted spending $730 (at 30% off) at an end of season sale at an outfitter for my Easky LV, so I think a blanket statement that you can’t get a great boat new under $1000 isn’t valid. Excellent used kayaks for under $1000 and even under $500 are common.

You misunderstand me.

– Last Updated: Sep-05-14 3:25 PM EST –

What I'm saying is this:

-The difference between $500 and $1,000 is day and night when buying retail.

-When you spend $1,000 on a used boat, you are getting twice the kayak you could get if you bought retail. (Get a $2,000 or better kayak for $1,000)

So we are agreeing with each other, really.

I don’t think you even read my comment.

You saw an Avocet for $500. I have seen a P&H Capella for $400. I have seen an NDK Romany for $1,500. There are always crazy deals!

But if you look at the average prices of used boats (at least in my area), people are looking for $1,000 for their used Tempest 165 Pros. That’s a $3,200 boat new. All I’m really saying is that you get more kayak for your money when you buy used. The numbers I used in my comment weren’t supposed to be fact. Just general benchmarks.

look used
I sold my Tsunami 140 last year for $650 if I remember correctly or was it $675 either way not much more than your budget is. Although at your size a 145 would fit better.My point don’t bother with another short boat at your size.Look used.

As already mentioned a Sport Perception Conduit 13 which Dicks sells at $550 is 13 foot with front and rear bulk heads but its a rather wide boat.I think its 26 inches wide were my now sold tsunami 140 was 24 inches wide. Plus no perimeter lines on the conduit.I have seen plenty of use kayaks on craigslist especially at the end of the season in the 600 to 800 range in the 14 foot long and up range.

Got it
Yes, I think we’re all in agreement.

Now the only challenge is to be able to find the deal and then be the one to snag it. I admit that I have a distinct advantage most people don’t enjoy in that I have a highly flexible work schedule and can jump in my car and show up with cash as soon as I see good boat show up in local ads. That can be half the battle.

Thanks again for the help

– Last Updated: Sep-06-14 6:48 AM EST –

I'm in the Wilkes Barre Scranton area of PA.

As a mountain biker, I made the mistake of buying cheap, then buying cheap, and then 3 bikes later getting a "good one" many years ago.

As a guitarist, I am a total snob and extremely picky about every detail.

I don't kayak enough to justify thousands of dollars, but I definitely do not want to buy a $500 boat only to find out it is the same as my $200.

The boats I am buying are from a local business who runs tours, so they sell demos and used boats. Two friend who are into the sport are very happy with their purchases from them. They are averaging $200-$400 off the MSRP and many don't even look used.

The big advantage for me is I get to try them on the river tomorrow.

My budget was $500, but I am willing to push $700 to get something really great for my size and needs. My wife hasn't heard that number yet, so I may be calling divorce lawyers next.

Sounds to me like a longer boat is what many of you recommend.

CL your general area
Found 4 man-sized touring kayaks in your general area:

This first might be a Looksha, if it is and in good shape that’s a great boat (same model I picked up for my bro.)

Another Necky, different model – I’ve rented one of these, also nice:

Very nice Looksha:

P & H Capella, excellent kayak:


Winter approaches. Used boat availability from Craig’s List, Ebay, and Paddlenet…and using Google directly may or may not peak during January and February but during winter prices are lower.

For Paddlenet, a casual observation is quality and number of available hulls increases as summer arrives with an early peak for white water hulls as spring approaches.

Owners needing mpney sell lower cost boats during winter while owners wanting a different boat (s) sell and buy during warmer use age weather.

$800 during winter is an operating figure for a significant upgrade from the piglet your paddling.