Am looking to test drive different manufacturers and models of kayaks for recreational use. The only place I’ve found locally (Washington, DC area) that holds demo days is Blue Mountain Outfitters in Marysville, PA. Anyone know of any other places that sponsor demo days or similar events?
If you find one, let me know -
In the DC area just about all demo days are over as far as I know.
Earlier in the season, these are the shops to watch for: REI, HTO (hudsontrail.com), EMS, paddleva.com (farther south).
You also just missed the cpakayaker.com "gear day". You can join one of their "piracy" groups to paddle along and test other people's gear.
Or rent some rec boats at Jack's Boat House under key bridge.
Potomac Paddle Sports also has free weekly "clinics" where you can try a small sellection of sea kayaks as well as WW boats. The Sea kayak is on Tuesday nights if it is still going on, not sure when the WW is - both at Angler's Inn on the Potomac a little under Great Falls. These are free events, no need to be part of a class to attend but the selection of gear is limited.
For Epic kayaks specifically, there is a rep who is often at hand at local paddling events and can let you demo Epic boats and paddles. Just don't try a wing paddle unless you are prepared to buy one -;)
The guys and gals at Potomac Paddle Sports are top notch. You’ll likely get a bit of instruction as well as being able to try out some of the better boats around.
… you can demo any boat that you want for $10/boat (or they offered me- $20/3 boats). If you buy from there, they take the cost of the demo off of your final boat purchase.
I’ve demoed one boat with them and did a rental another day with them. For the rental, I actually took 2 friends and we each did all day rentals.
As kocho said - EMS does demo days earlier in the year. And the folks with CPA are always very accomodating. I’m sure you could probably test paddle any boat that someone brings to their piracy groups.
forgot to mention that they currently (as in “now”) have a good sale of demo boats from the season that they will most likely let you try.
And as the above poster says - good advice they got. In my own personal experience with several of their sales foks, they know their stuff, unlike every single one of the dozen or so inexperienced sales people in the large stores that I had the chance to talk to…
Responding to Dsetzer’s: what is the name of the place in Annapolis which allows one to demo a variety of boats
It might be too far for you to drive, but Great Outdoor Provision Co. in Raleigh, NC, has a demo day on Thursday, Sept. 4, from 4-7 pm at Lake Crabtree off I-40 west.
Hope the link works …
… http://springriver.com .
The previeous owner for 35 yrs. has sold SpringRiver , but I believe all else is staying the same .
The policy reads , “everyday is a demo day” here at SpringRiver , right from our dock .
This outfitter use to allow you to take the boat you rented out of state also .
Full line of kayaks I think ?
Locations in Annap. and Rockville
Brad sold both locations, and the Rockville store is Potomac Paddlesports.
Demos at Spring River
I have been to Spring River, now Potomac Paddle Sports, but they do longer rent recreational kayaks. They will rent sea kayaks for some trips. That’s where I went first and that’s why I’m looking for other demo opportunities.
Annapolis Canoe & Kayak
It was previously known as “Springriver”.
Haha, I’m a dunce, I had the name in the subject of the post, but then rewrote it.
So maybe call the Annap. location …
… what ever it’s new name / owner is ??
That is the one I was familiar with …
remind them of the old motto , everyday is a demo day and see what they have to say about that …
Annapolis Canoe & Kayak
Dave was the manager of the old Springriver at this location & is the owner of the new business. Worth a trip - but note that they do charge for demos (except during their annual demo day at Sandy Point State Park). Rates are $10 for plastic or rental composite and $20 for new floor composite for 20-30 min. demo, cost applied to purchase of the boat. I’ve bought a boat or two from them - but then again, I’ve bought boats from others too.
I was at the Annapolis store today returning a hat I bought for my wife (somebody please hit me if you ever see my buying an article of clothing for a woman again).
Lots of kayaks on sale/reduced. And they had a flyer “Yak Attacks Try Before you buy” - a free service to EMS customers but registration is required (410-573-1240) every wednesday evening from 5 to sunset at CBEC (eastern shore) and on thursdays in Edgewater Sept 4, 11, 18, 25 from 5 to sunset.
I don’t work for them, not a sales pitch.
Thank you all for all your suggestions! I’m finding this website to be very useful, particularly the product reviews, guidelines, buyer’s guide, etc. Being new to the sport, I need all the help I can get.