Aging out and moving on

After 30 years of coastal paddling, i find that between my aging knees and my enjoyment of canoeing, it might be time to retire from decked boats. My dilemma is how does one get rid of all the kit one has collected ? Three boats, 10+ paddles, etc. Heck, somewhere there is a hand-pumped desalination unit. I would hazard a guess that i have more than 50-60 titles in my library. Profit is not really a consideration but the ease of moving it all along is.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated


Where are you and what do you have?

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I reached that with camping and hiking. I had four tents that had waterproofing peel off, had a relatively new -30 bag and Silva Ranger compass, hand made wood tarp poles . . . My kids now have most of it and now I visit them for the day when they camp.

Hard to do the coast, but maybe you can team up with a partner and canoe lakes. Not the same, but its still the freedom on the water.

I’m having similar thoughts but am not quite ready. I’m still casually looking at new boats.
Is there an active Boy Scout organization near you? I donated a boat to our local one.


Some equipment is not that hard to sell. I sold a canoe on the sales page here.
I like to give away miscellaneous equipment to the Boy Scouts.
I donated a small inflatable boat to our local fly fishing club.

I’m at the same point with a skin boat that I built. It’s a sweet ride but my back can’t handle it. I’m probably going to put an ad here and at QajaqUSA, but who knows if that will do anything.

Years back, I took a bunch of stuff to a yearly swap meet at a paddling club and sold it all, most to one guy just getting started. But I was a member then, not sure this is an option now. Anyway, if there’s a paddling group in your area, you might see if they have an open house or something. If you do sell a boat, throw in a paddle or two and some extras to clear out the stock.

Agree with @jyak re considering switching to a canoe. I still use my decked boats from time to time, but am choosing the canoe (Magic) more and more often. I can easily car-top and carry it to the put-in without assistance, and exiting is easier on the knees because the seat (and your center of gravity) is higher than when sitting on the floor. Of course, the raised seat makes it a bit tippier, but with your coastal experience I suspect that balance isn’t an issue.


@Buffalo_Alice, oddly, I’m more comfortable in the kayak, but the passion members have for their canoes intrigues me. There’s something appealing about the easy glide of a canoe. I plan to take mine out of retirement.

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Truth be told, I am still more confident of my abilities in my kayaks, especially in less than ideal conditions. However, I was more than satisfied at my initial level of comfort in the canoe, perhaps because the Magic’s hull is very similar to that of my Bell Rob Roy (according to Northstar). More importantly, I’m making steady progress each week, and my level of comfort carrying the 27 lb canoe can’t be beat.

There has been a trend in shops that sell NEW outdoor and wilderness sports gear in offering used gear that they sell on consignment basis for those wanting to get rid of it. Companies like Patagonia are taking some of their products back for resale or recycling. Depending on where you live, there may be a business that does this that is convenient for you. There are a couple of national companies that do this through the Web, like

I am fortunate in having a local outfitter (backpacking, climbing, paddling, etc – like an indie REI or EMS) shop here in Pittsburgh, 3 Rivers Outdoors Company), who has an entire consignment department and offers 50% cash or 60% store credit for any of the stuff I bring in to them if and when it sells. Since I was into so many wilderness activities in my younger days (XC skiing, snowshoeing, spelunking, backpacking, mountaineering) and had worked in the outfitter business, I had a lot of stuff that I knew I was no longer going to ever use.

In the 4 years since 3ROC opened I estimate I have earned nearly $4000 in credits for items I have dropped off to them, most of which I just leave in my account until I want to buy something.

I have taken just two minor cash distributions from it, but mostly I like leaving it there because it is a win-win on many fronts. First off, I clear space in my closets and garage without the headache of having to deal with buyers on Craigslist, FB Marketplace and other selling networks . Second, I am enabling folks with tight budgets and/or those just getting into wilderness sports to equip themselves well. Third, this really benefits my favorite local independent outfitter who offers such wonderful services to the paddling community – we lost half a dozen local indie outfitters over the past 12 years and this one has filled a huge void, since even REI closed one of their 2 outlets here and EMS left 20 years ago.

3ROC rents boats and SUPs, offers pool rolling sessions year round and have expanded to a seasonal second location at a municipal riverfront dock site from which they lead guided trips including sessions teaching paddlers how to lock through the nearby dam. So I really want them to be able to stay in business.

When I and others bring in used gear for them to sell, they don’t have to pay for it up front so, once it sells, they get to keep 50% of that income as clear profit if the consigner takes their full split in cash.

They profit even more from consigners like me who choose to keep the 60% split in store credit because I am taking new items in exchange for stock at full price (that they paid about half that much for.) So if I consign gear that they sell for $100 and l leave my $60 split in the store credit account, then use that credit to buy a new spray skirt from them (which they paid $30 for wholesale) they actually are keeping $70 in profit from that consignment sale, $20 more than if I took my split in cash. Since they have been averaging about $140 a month clear profit from my stuff since they opened, and they have dozens of regular consigners, this used gear recycling department really helps bolster their cash flow.

They have the space to offer consigned bicycles and paddle craft and nearly always have a used kayak or two in stock. I am only half joking when I tell them that I have to regularly buy things to keep my store credit balance below $600 so I am not tempted to buy yet another boat (my current fleet just hit an even dozen, though 4 boats are in “dry dock” awaiting repairs.) Though there is not much in the way of new gear that I need personally, it’s nice to have that store credit when I need or want to buy gifts.


Sell it not hard.

What is hard about selling your outfit, is all of the emotion tied up in it after years of paddling with passion.


Giving away smaller items such as paddles is easy. Large items that are hard to transport (e.g., pianos), not easy.

Canoes and kayaks might fall into the latter category, depending on the acquirer’s level of motivation. Some people wouldn’t travel to pick one up even if very low-priced or free. Others will take great pains to get it.

A lot depends on your location.

I gave a paddle to my former SK club in WA and a like-new PFD to a wonderful kayak rental company down the road from me there. Free stuff, lots of kayakers around—easy.

In contrast, I was unable to sell my Explorer LV in excellent condition, priced down to half the new price, when I lived near Denver. ZERO interest there. But after I moved to WA, it sold very quickly. Location, location, location. I now live in an even worse area, as far as lack of kayakers go. Everything is SUP.

I suspect the same will happen when I put my first surf ski up for sale, so it will be posted ONLY to a specialized site with sellers and buyers throughout the US. Having trouble getting legitimate buyers for my husband’s no-longer-used sea kayak, which would have sold immediately if we still lived in coastal WA. We are not going to firesale it down from the already-low price, but if you want to clear out stuff, that’s an option.

Willowleaf’s suggestion of consignment is also worth considering. There is one such place about 60 miles from here, but they take 50% commission. Too much.

Down south here round Atlanta there are not a lot of “nice” boats and gear for sale. By that I mean anything other than fat plastic boats. So nice stuff sells fast if priced well. I see all of the cool composite boats on the kayak classified FB page and they are all hundreds of miles away.

Point being your location might make a big deference. I do feel your pain though as selling stuff brings out a lot of crazies that are not fun to deal with.

Plenty of places you could donate to if that is your thing, or find someone that would like to learn but without the resources for all the gear.

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One advantage of living in a place where the biggest “city” in six counties has 8,000 people is that there are fewer crazies to deal with! To be clear, it’s not that they aren’t here - they are - it’s just that there are fewer of them, and in small towns, everyone already knows who they are anyway.
Sure, it probably takes a bit longer to sell specialty and/or higher-end items in sparsely populated areas, but I’ve found that serious buyers with genuine interest are willing to travel to get nice stuff at a good (but fair) price. Last week I sold a good quality low angle paddle to a gent who drove almost 150 miles one-way to get it. It’s not that hard to spot and filter out the bottom-feeders.
Also, Unless you find it entertaining to interact with some of the most “interesting” folks society has to offer, never ever ever post anything free on CL or FBM. Far better to donate to a legit charitable organization IMO.

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150 miles one way is a legit drive. He must have really wanted that paddle! I bought an ipod on craigslist years ago (one of the biggest ipod classics) that I still have. The kid I bought it from had like his whole family watching the transaction as if some Craigslist weirdo was going to show up to their house for the sale. That’s not even the weirdest part. When I got it home, I found out he never cleared it, and the ipod had like 50 photos of a bodybuilder guy in a speedo on it and one of the weirdest music playlists I’d ever seen.


Too bad about the high commission. My local indie shop has a sliding scale for the commissions with the higher the price, the lower the commission. On an over $600 sale (as with most boats) and they only take 30% if you take cash or you can choose 75% for store credit. But, of course, if one is trying to downsize, being tempted to buy more doesn’t help the situation.

An option that can work depending on your location is to see if there are folks on this forum who might be traveling point to point between you and a potential buyer. I’ve delivered two canoes and a kayak between sellers and buyers in the past 6 years (I am retired and travel around the Northeast and Midwest periodically, always with vehicles that have capacity for boat hauling.) I have never requested compensation (since the destinations were on the way to somewhere I was going anyway) but the buyers and/or sellers have always proffered some cash that did help with my gas costs – mainly I enjoy helping people get the boats they want and it’s been fun to meet new people. Had a nice day paddle outing here in SW PA with a local seller on the day he drove in to bring me his solo canoe to deliver to his buyer in Michigan. Buyer lived less than an hour from the cousins up there I was headed to visit so it worked out perfectly.


"Aging out and moving on " brings to mind a little story that Carl (of The Paddlin’ shop, known to some here) told me recently. He shared it some years ago at the memorial service for Phil Sigglkow of Black Hawk Canoe fame.
Ole and Lena had been married for many decades when Ole passed away. So Lena went to the newspaper office of their small northern town trying to think of what she could say in an obituary for Ole in a town full of people who had known Ole all their lives - and Ole’s siblings, and his parents, Their pets had known each other all their lives. So what is she, a rather taciturn lady to begin with, to say?
So she went up to the desk and wrote on a piece of paper “Ole died”.
The newspaperman looked at this and said, “Now Lena, you and Ole have been togeter for sooo many years now. Wouldn’t ya be tinkin about sayin’ a bit more? And de first five words is free, doncha’ know…”
So Lena thought for a bit and wrote, “Ole died. Boat for sale.”


Have u tried


Ibuprofen. Hell I moved on to opiates a long time ago for serious pain.