gung ho! and costs of kayaking

Was talking to one of the forum contributors last night on the phone and he made a comment that I was really getting involved with the whole kayaking thing. (I think he was being polite and not using the f word (fanatic)).

In six months I have gone from an Old Town 9.6 foot Rush to a 17 foot W STempest 170. Demoing and renting every weekend, and going out on the lake almost daily to practice edging, forward strokes, paddle float rescues, and just getting a good work out.

And it all seems perfectly normal to me! :slight_smile:

I think I read in the Wes Boyd pages that the cost associated with kayaking as an activity is extremely low. I find this to be true. For about a thousand dollar investment, I have been out for about an hour or two a day. Weekends more and some days during the week less but it evens out for the most part to 2 hours a day.

In six months, (roughly 180 days this translates to 360 hours.)

So… I have spent 2.77 per hour so far and this number will just keep getting less every day I go out.

Ok so far we have estalished that I could be/am a fanatic and I am cheap. I can be both and still have fun? Who knew? No gym fees and no therapist fees works for me!

Where else in the world are you going to find an activity that is a whole body work out, definitely reduces stress significantly, puts you on the water in the great outdoors, and gets cheaper every time you do it? Find me any other water sport that involves boating that is less expensive. I think you would be hard pressed to find many sports that is as cheap as kayaking all things considered.


It’s Okay To Be "Fanatical…"
about the activity as it brings joy and good health benefits. I went in deeper and quicker than you have so far because I really enjoy the technical challenges involved in the different disciplines of kayaking. Not that this is a race or anything… :slight_smile:

What is not okay – and it surfaces here every so often – is those who become fanactical that their “way” is the best or only way to enjoy time on the water.

Paddling is not a way of life but how we treat it does really does reflect a bit into our “way”, or how we approach life in general.


Couldn’t agree with you more. Am really looking forward to learning some of the technical aspects as they are of interest to me also. I think though, that it was and is really good for me to just get out there every day to the point where I feel comfortable. I find that every day I can lean over just a little more before I fall over, and that some of the things that I never thought I would be able to do such as edging while trying to sprint are becoming easier. Still take lots of swims but even this is getting more comfortable. I think that one of the most improtant aspects is getting comfortable falling out of the boat and getting back in as if it is no big deal. If I have done anything well, it is this. (hey you gotta be good at something and my particular forte right now is falling out of the boat) :slight_smile:

Wish I Could
get out as often as you are. I have owned my own yak for about six months, I rented off and on for about a year prior to buying. I usually only manage one evening during the week and one day during the weekend. Although I have taken a few multi-day trips this year, so far.

I can fall out of my yak with no problem at all. I can get back in either using a self rescue or an assisted rescue but either is fairly time and energy consuming for me so I try and limit reps in this area. Still working on smoothing out and getting a consistant roll. Maybe when I am able to do a re-entry and roll I wont mind falling out so much. In any case, its all fun.

My initial investment was a little more than yours but I do appreciate the cost per trip going down as I get out more. I am begining to think about cool weather stuff so I can extend my season into the winter, more of an investment. I am also enjoying the physical workout as paddling is much more fun for me than my daily three mile walk or every other day workout on the elliptical trainer.

happy paddling,


If I ran the number like that I’d be spending micro pennies. =:-0)

good stuff and to use the F word is OK. I’d say ‘focused’ would be more appropriate!

good luck


Chump Change
I see posts about how expensive it is to get into kayaking so it’s nice to see the other side of getting into this sport. Coming from a sailing and powerboat background I know the price of getting out on the water, and kayaking is a real deal.

I can buy the best carbon paddle for what it cost to reseal a lower unit or buy the most expensive yak for the replacement cost of a trailer, not to mention filling those 100 gal. tanks.

True a little pricey if all you want is a beach toy but if it turns out to be a sport it’s a deal…

I remember when lift tickets went up to 8 bucks a day! :wink:

Dedicated & Deal
I thnk of dedicated and deal when reading your post.

Kayaking is cheap compared to most activities. My financial advisor was shocked at how little our special order Brit boats cost. When we have discussedmoney we spend on paddling, he always thinks that it is not much for such an activity.

He conveys to us how much he and his wife spend on golfing!

Another couple have a very nice Watkins sail boat on which we occaisionally sail. Againm they are shocked at jhow cheap kayaking is compared to sailing.

This is all in the context of a couple of gear heads who spend far more than is necessay on stuff related to paddling.

I think the underlying theme is a feeling of peace and well being that comes from doing something in an area that is not ususally considered a natural environment for us. At least at this point in our evolution. In that respect it doesn’t really matter whether you are on a log or a boat, or whether it is whitewater or touring or canoing.

The feeling of being able to co-exist or at least survive within that environment increases my ability to focus in “normal” world applications. You tend to compartmentalize better, and to put things in proper perspective.

Kinda like endorphins for the mind…

Learning safety skills to the point where they are effortless, (which is what I am striving for first and foremost)is akin to learning the basics of art or photography. To break rules and accomplish “art” consistently is only possible if you know the basic and fundamental rules of the medium. Anything else is accident. (professional photographer in a past life here)

Hopefully that made sense.

After years of kayaking I’ve also taken
up rafting. Kayaking was chump change compared to essentially the same water sport. Have more dollars tied up in straps now then I had in my first kayak.

Costs May Vary
I admit I am a boat collector. I have a couple high end boats that don’t get much use. Seems like the cheapest ones get used the most.

But I bought most boats used, and even with that, it still is way cheaper than lots of other sports.

Prove me wrong
I strongly believe that the BENEFITS far outweigh the COSTS of paddling. No matter what the $ amount.



Heck, Paul, you still have a job and you still work, right? You’re still married, love your wife & kids. Still have a hacienda, still make payments on it. Still have a garage you’re still figuring out how to hang your boats in. Still have that car you’ve finally figured out how to carry 3 boats on top of. (Speaking of which, where’s my bread, Fred? L)

You’re not a kayak bum…

Repeat after me: I am NOT a kayak bum, I am NOT a kayak bum… I am NOT…


I guess what I was trying to say was I hope this isn’t a case of a shooting star blazing in the heavens and then just as fast estinguishing itself -a case of zooming interest, followed by burnout, culminating in abandonment, or close to it…

Heck, it took me twice as long to get 2 boats… but then again, you see -saw, literally, L -where all THAT led…

BTW, Vera’s car need a rack…???

Hey, here’s to a proficient roll; comfort in, as well as on, the water; fitness; more and better gear; more and even better boats; having fun and involving the whole family in paddling; and more of the time to enjoy it all as you


-Frank in Miami

shooting star
Hmmm. I have to admit I was concerned about this also but then I remembered that the last time I was this focused it turned into a 20 year career that spanned every continent except for Africa. (Antarctica doesn’t count does it?)

I may be a bit extreme in my philosophy that the more you know and the more you engage in what you know, and if you have a genuine interest, then it is prudent, especially with a sport that could kill you, to be as profficient and as knowledgeable as you can be right off the bat.

Not trying to be extreme here but all too often, as evinced by a lot of the posts in these forums, people who kayak don’t know how to do self rescues, assisted rescues, don’t have adequate flotation in their boats, don’t dress properly for water temperature, and don’t know a thing about navigation or weather.

As you said, I have a house, two incredible kids, and a wonderful wife that I would like to come back to every day. It only seems prudent to practice and be aware of as many aspects of the sport as possible. Not a couple of years from now…but now.

Yep, I am focused.

Repeating after you…

I am not a kayak bum…I am not a kayak bum…

it’s not working…


I don’t know if I buy that
"gets cheaper every time you do it? "

Isn’t that true of EVERY activity?

Coming from a cycling background, I don’t find kayaking cheap. The boats are as expensive as bikes of equal quality. And a rack is REQUIRED to haul the kayak around, while most people can throw their bikes in their car/SUV for nothing. Not to mention the boat on top hurts the gas milage a whole lot more than a bike INSIDE the trunk! Moreover, it takes a lot longer to load and unload a boat than a bike, which translate into less time actually paddling vs. pedaling (heck, half the time I just hop on my bike right outside my door!) So, that kind of work AGAINST the “more time you use it, the less expensive it becomes”.

Now, if you live very near to water, the whole situation changes. You can just drop the kayak into the water and go paddling away. But for those of us who are NOT near water, it’s not exactly what I call “cheap”, compare to many things. Swimming, while may not be much fun to many, offers as much full body exercise and cost next to nothing.

I’m not saying kayaking is expensive. On the other hand, I don’t have rose-color glasses on either. If you enjoy it, do it. If you feel the price is worth it, spend the money. There’s no need to justify how “inexpensive” it is or is not.

Again the emphasis was on watercraft and costs involved.

Specific costs vs. overall costs
The specific costs of kayaking are pretty high initially (kayak itself plus related gear, roof racks or trailers), but then the same could be said of any other sport except running or hiking.

The ongoing cost of paddling isn’t much: park fees/passes, replacing some equipment every few years (PFDs, straps, the like).

But I’ll stick my neck out and say that kayaking’s overall cost is quite high, for only one reason: transportation to the paddling location. You can’t kayak on the roads to the water. With a bike, you can just leave right from home. For the few who are lucky to live literally next to water (or who can store their kayaks there), there is no transportation cost. But for most of us, there is the auto mileage to consider.

costs per hour while boating.
In this day and age with gas prices as high as they are you have a very valid point. Again in any boating environment, the costs are more in lugging a large trailer, putting gas in the boat etc etc.

This thread deals with the costs associated with boating ventures, and the dollar cost per hour while boating.

Read Greyhawks’s post earlier in this thread.

Wasn’t trying to start a “my hobby is cheaper than your hobby thread” and I certainly was not trying to give any opinion about whether or not buying top of the line gear or bottom of the line gear was relevant to the thread.

I have two paddle floats, good pfd, good bilge pump, whistle, knife, first aid kit, a dry bag, a great kayak (tempest 170) and most importantly to safety and well being, the knowledge of how to paddle float rescue (practiced daily) and as of today, I am the proud owner of my very own roll! I was out this morning but we have thunderstorms all afternoon so here I am playing on the computer. Believe me I would rather be out on the water.

Safety cannot be bought. Safety utilizes things that are bought, but you yourself are the single most important aspect to safety.



– Last Updated: Aug-14-05 10:37 AM EST –

Congratulations on your first roll! Surely that warrants purchase of a new VHF radio!

1st roll, new sport, new equipment, soaking it all in like a sponge.

Just want to be knowledgeable and safe is all


Congrats Brazilbrasil

– Last Updated: Aug-14-05 2:39 PM EST –

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