First Kayak Purchase!! eek!

-- Last Updated: Apr-20-05 12:39 AM EST --

Well, ever since ocean kayaking on the coast of the Corcovado rain forest in Coasta Rico, I have appreciated the immediacy of Kayaking.

I have cannoed(sp?) on the rivers of kentucky, and rafted in wyoming, but all of it was very organized. I am a complete novice, and looking to explore kayaking.

So here is the deal. I am considering purchasing a two man kayak, but am leery of the length, and the tracking. It is my understanding that two man kayaks are cumbersome. Although I don't think I will be doing much whitewater kayaking, I would still want the option. Mainly I want tour kayak (lakes and slow rivers), and ocean/sea kayak all in one. Now, is it impossible to get everything I want in one kayak(a compromise of course, not a master of all trades)? Should I save even MORE money and purchase TWO kayaks? What are the top brands of Kayaks, and what are the best buys (econmic AND good quality)? And whats up with inflatable Kayaks? I would say my price limit is 2000, though I would really like to buy used, and for MUCH MUCH cheaper than that (like, under 600. I realize this is very cheap, and that kayaks run 5000-8000 pretty regularly)

Sorry for the longwindedness. Thanks for any help

I would go with 2 singles
and go used. Check the classifieds here and on Ebay and any local paddling club websites. You’ll be surprised what you can find.

I would also suggest 2 singles
Tandems are heavier and therefore, more difficult to transport. Personally, I would tend to use single boat(s) more often because of this. If you buy a tandem and really enjoy kayaking you will likely be adding single(s) to your fleet very soon anyway. You will spend more than you think as well, so look for a good quality used boat. A good quality paddle is probably as important as the boat. Figure to spend $150+ for a decent new paddle, but look for used paddles as well. Also, comfortable (i.e. designed for kayaking) PDFs run $50 and up. You can usually find good ones new for $75 or so. Look for last years or older models which have been marked down. You can find used ones as well, but PFDs have a relatively short useful life (5-10 years? - depending upon use and storage) so be careful. I bought a paddle first, then a PFD and used these when test paddling several different boats before I bought my first. And now, my first paddle is a spare since I found I like a shorter length better.

Hope this helps.


I have to agree…
I was advised NOT to buy a tandem for our first boat. We went ahead and did it anyhow, and THEY were right. Although we like it, we have since bought 4 singles. Inflatables are nice in the warm weather, and easy to transport, but I would not reccommend for your only boat. Best as an addition to your fleet. :slight_smile:

i would suggest getting
1 boat first, geared toward wherever/whatever you think you will use most, then decide on a second boat somewhere down the road.

what should I look for in classifieds
Alright, So if i start shopping around on here and ebay, what are some key factors to look for? I think i will purchase a touring kayak first, what do I need to look for in one? Can I get two singles for under 1000 that are still decent?

Now we need more info about you …
Height and weight for each person (assuming you want two boats). We need to know if you will be comfortable in a smaller boat or if you will need a larger boat. What area do you live in (are there any good paddlesport shops and/or clubs in your area that members of can point you toward). Many independent dealers take trades on used boats and will let you try them out (rent, test paddle, etc.), so you can see if they are right for you - or maybe you are a few hours drive from a major paddlesports demo weekend where you could test several boats in a day (a few good ones coming up in the NE). Also, where do you expect you will use your boat the most? Hint: whatever water is closest to where you live. I would pick a type of boat that is appropriate for the area you are likely to paddle most frequently. You can always rent a different type of boat for an occasional special trip somewhere more exotic!

My first kayak was an Ocean Kayak Scrambler. I’ve had it for about 8 years and have took it in the ocean (obviously), rivers, lakes, and whitewater and I’ve always been impressed with it. It’s an awesome all around starter boat. I believe Ocean Kayak has discontinued the Scrambler but now sell the Scrambler XT instead. Those are a bit larger I think but basically the same.


experienced novice
I have never gone ocean kayaking so I don’t know what is really good there, but I have been on quite a few lakes and rivers. I had a Victory Classic 12 (which is now the Navigator)(and I belive the mold was an old Wilderness Systems). The 12 foot boat was VERY comfortable, tracked well and stored alot of cargo when needed. I think the cockpit is too open for the ocean, but I can’t tell you that.

Now I have a 9’ 6" “sportier” boat. I like it, but I miss the old one. I am adding to your little thread here because of your frugelness. My Victory boat was only about $400 or so new. If you are interested in finding an affordable first kayak (I am with everyone else here on the two singles) I would start by looking at your local sporting goods stores. I bought both of mine at Dick’s. I picked them up, carried them around, sat in them, tryed on different PFDs while sitting in them, and could compare to basic boats in the same price or size range. Granted, the first time inthe water could be a little surprize, but at least you know that the seat fits your butt.

Spend the money for a comfortable PFD!! I am still using one that is a generic livery style “one size fits most”. I know that it is my fault that I don’t put the 70 bucks aside (well I do, but I keep blowing somewhere else) but I think about the nicer ones EVERY time I am in the water (in the boat that is…mine works fine, from experience)

Good luck in your searches! and enjoy the waters.