Folding Kayaks

Can anyone figure the incredible rise in prices for Feathercraft Kayaks. I think they are marvels, but a 65% increase in price over the last 10 years seems out of line. Any ideas?

Maybe the builders get paid better.

apples to apples?
Are you comparing apples to apples? Are the models from 10 years ago the same as now? Have they made improvements that also make it more expensive?

Better skins
and the US Dollar is just about worthless

The buck
is just about on par with the Canadian dollar. I paddled a Wisper last week [first folder of any kind that I’ve paddled] and wanted one until I checked the price, $4127. Last time I checked, a few months ago, I think the price was a little over $3800 USD. I need to find a used K-Light.

one owner’s opinion
I’ve owned a 1995 K-1, a 2003 Kahuna and currently have a 2008 Wisper. They have definitely improved the kayaks all along with innovations, to a degree few manufacturers do over the life of their models. They have also invested heavily in CNC machines that allow accurate production of both prototypes and stock boats. ALL their kayaks are hand constructed at their small shop on Granville Island in Vancouver by a skilled and conscientious (and decently paid) crew.

I’ve visited the shop twice and was extremely impressed with the company. They still stock or can produce parts and pieces for their old models and their customer service is second to none. They are proud to give a tour of their whole shop and while I was there the second time they loaned me a new Wisper and Klatwa paddle to take out on a demo around Vancouver Harbor for half a day. Think of what you would pay for a top of the line car handbuilt in a single shop that offered service like that?

When I consider the quality of materials and assembly and the number of hours and the precision that went into constructing my Feathercrafts, plus the performance of the boats and my pleasure and convenience in owning them, I don’t find the prices to be out of line. I tend to be a thrifty bargain shopper for most things I own, but I have never resented the money I’ve spent on these kayaks. In fact, I have spent more on Feathercrafts over the past decade than I have on my cars! Besides, resale is so good on them that if you care for a boat properly you can always get back at least half or more of what you paid initially.

You simply can’t compare them to rotomold kayaks mass produced in Asia. They charge what is a reasonable markup on what it actually costs to build them, in material and labor. I’m glad they do and hope they can continue to stay in business, building a unique and outstanding product that is ultralight, highly portable and a delight to paddle in any conditions. Sure it would be great if they could be cheaper, but I doubt they could sustain the quality and do that, as well as continue to provide jobs for the people who build them.

Price = high

Value = priceless

Except for the car analogy
Willowleaf makes some valid points. Good quality boats hand-made by skilled craftsmen paid decent, middle-class wages in North America rather than China is a fine thing to see but that sort of ethic is expensive. I haven’t written the Wisper off by any means, regardless of the price, but it will have to be my main boat to justify the cost and I just haven’t determined if it’s that good a boat or not.