Hidden Costs?

Hi all! Okay, so I am completely hooked and renting boats is getting pricey so I’ve started looking (found really) at the kayak that is going to work for me (at least for now). I have a question though:

Are there any additional costs I might be missing… particularity in the area of boat maintenance?

I have just returned to school so finances are tight. I can afford the boat I want but it isn’t going to work very well for me if I run into a whole bunch of additional expensive owning a kayak (I don’t want a pretty boat sitting in the corner that I can’t afford to use because I can’t maintain it.)

The kayak will be an inflatable, the exact model still wavering on but…

This is what I do know: Obviously I’m going to need a PFD, a paddle (seems like a couple of paddles is generally recommended) a pump, and probably a wet suit so I can paddle year around (I live in Phoenix so water and air temps aren’t going to get terribly cold, even in the middle of the ‘winter’) so a dry suit is really only something I’ll likely need if I venture further from home, which I’m only likely to do in the summer anyway… and a patch kit.

That seems to be about the basic up front costs… (If I’m missing something please feel free to elaborate :slight_smile: ), what I’m not sure about is any additional expenses I might run into (out side of usage fees and the like).

Any advise or experiences would be appreciated! Thanks.

Probably need
A dry bag and/or a dry box to make sure the things you carry with you like spare dry clothing, jacket, your wallet and phone, etc. will be protected.

A spare paddle is really good to have. At this point I would go as cheap on the spare as you can. Maybe even a single blade canoe paddle. It most likely will never get used. Once you paddle for a while you probably will want to upgrade from your first paddle to a higher end one. At that point the first paddle becomes a high quality spare.

If you have regular rain gear (jacket and pants) that can do at first. Later you may want a paddling jacket and pants with wrist, neck, waist, and ankle seals which help you stay even drier than the rain gear can.

There is an endless list of accessories that you may want to acquire over time. However, most of them are not necessities, but they can make things a lot more enjoyable on the water.


gas money
And if you get into whitewater, plenty of it.

Do you have to register kayaks in your state? I have to pay $40 where i live.

Cheap to keep…
No bottom paint, dockage, timing belts, brake pads, fuel pumps, trailer tires, it doesn’t eat. Virtually no recurring costs.

I tell people I can have the best carbon fiber paddle for what one fuel pump on my outboard costs.

You are correct, gas is my biggest expense and I do not do white water. In the past four years I have spent more on gas than my two boats, five paddles, spray skirt, PFD, new tent, camping fees, boat registrations, and roof racks combined.

Hey, anyone planning to paddle the (river of opportunity) this weekend? It’s only a hundred miles away. :slight_smile:

That’s a good thought
I’ll have to check AZ laws. I suspect not, but one never knows. $40.00 a year isn’t going to break the bank… even for me.

Gas is a good point… I could see myself spending a fortune on gas but that is at least controllable, in the sense that if I can’t afford the gas I can just go somewhere closer. Ironically enough, being in the middle of the second largest desert in the world, I have a plethora (ww and flat water) of places to kayak close to home, most with in about 30 miles of my house… go figure. Of course I’ll have to watch the 'It’s only an 8 hr drive to Colorado, that would make a good week end trip…" mentality. :slight_smile:

Thanks everyone for all the thoughts! I’m glad to here there isn’t a lot of uncontrollable expenses… though I have already discovered it is pretty easy to spend a fortune on options… :slight_smile:

To start with, I doubt you are going to need a wetsuit in your area unless you head way up north in the winter time. I’ve done a lot of paddling on the Colorado River (Arizona) in the winter and never found a need for anything but shorts.

Next and you’re probably not going to want to hear this, but it won’t be long until you will be looking at either a rigid boat, or a folder. There simply is no comparison between an inflatable and rigids.

Yeah, a wet suit is pretty low priority for me at the moment, given my area.

I’m very interested in folding and ridged kayaks, but at the moment they aren’t very practical. The folders are both too expensive for me at the moment and don’t look like they are very versatile (none of them seem to be recommend for even mild white water).

Hard shells are a simple impossibility for me right now I have absolutely no place to store it unless I can find away around the laws of physics…

I’m pretty aware of the limitations of IKs but for the moment it is the only practical way for me to get out on the water. Once I’m out of school (again) and am bringing in some money I will most likely be looking at a couple of boats, most likely hard shells, or maybe an expedition folder and hard shell for WW… but for now, as with all things in life, I have to work with in my limitations (space and budget.)

Thanks for the response! :slight_smile:

neoprene socks

vinyl see thru dry bag

Campmor sells excellent wet suits

NRS sells inflatables and PACK RAFTS. Search Pack Rafting and in Utube

I live in AZ during winter, There is a drought tho Ondile is headed your way after other rains.

Blythe to Imperial Dam is a park run. I’m for the San Francisco but not in summer flood.

Take a look at what is that dumb name ? Sunday Afternoon’s ? SA sells an effective sun hat.

Serious sun glasses. research that.

Point 65 modular kayak
given the limitations of inflatables, it may be worth reading reviews of the Point 65 modular kayak. It is a SOT that is sold as three pieces that snap together like Legos. It is compact enough to store in a small apartment, and is rigid enough to offer a better paddling experience than an inflatable.

I do not own one myself, but from what I’ve seen it should paddle better than an inflatable, and will let you bend the laws of physics.

I just checked Amazon, and it looks like they can be purchased for under $500.

Get creative
Kayaks make great wall hangings and celling mobiles, coffee table stands

You know your spouse really loves you when she lets you put your kayak

Other options
I used to keep my kayaks in our extra “formal” living room (converted garage) we never used or really decorated. I don’t think storing your kayak in the house is all that uncommon.

I guess my wife doesn’t love me anymore since they are all outside now.

If you want to do more white water kayaking, you have the advantage that they are smaller and tend to be cheaper used. Even if you go for a hybrid you have 9’ footers to choose from. Indoors kayaks store well standing on their end in a corner of a room.

I bet if you start making local kayaking friends you probably will find someone willing to let you store a kayak in a spare corner of their yard.

I have also come across lakes that sell dry “mooring” permits for kayaks for the summer.

Paddle, pfd and a way to transport it
Other than a paddle and PFD, you could carry it on the car with the foam blocks and straps.

You can use street clothes, rain parkas and things like that according to what type of paddling you are intending on doing. Just be cautious as the summer ends and the water gets cold. Then you need more protective clothing and on and on. I think everyone assumes you will be paddling on calm water - along shore.

I’ll primarily be paddling flat water, smallish lakes and mild rivers (Class I, II maybe) to start. Eventually moving up to some class III, IV rivers but I want more experience and some more classes before I tackle anything more than than the I’s and II’s I’m familiar with.

As far as close to shore, the lakes around Phoenix aren’t particularly wide, 2 maybe 2 1/2 miles from shore is the furthest you could get out if you were right in the middle of the lake, which is less than my daily swim work out, so worst case scenario (assuming I’m not injured in some fashion) that is a pretty easy swim for me (though I need more practice swimming with the PDF on as it forces some limitations in motion). The water never gets particularly cold out here but it will dip into the mid to high 60’s in the winter which is plenty cold enough for hypothermia so I’m thinking a wet suit is a good idea, at least for winter paddling.

I’m fairly well situated as far as wilderness and water survival goes. I’m trained in open water rescue, First Aid, CPR, and wilderness survival but I would at some point like some training in swift water rescue (I’ll probably try and find some WW courses that include this as part of the curriculum)

I’m sure I will want to do some kayak camping at some point, and as far as expenses goes there should be a fair bit of cross over with my backpacking gear… as long at it will fit in the kayak so I realize there are likely to be some additional expenses there.

The white water stuff I’m not real sure about as far as additional expenses goes. Obviously, aside from the training courses, a good helmet, thigh straps (for an IK), a rescue throw bag and some sort of solution for my eyes since I can see for a damn with out my contacts, would be needed…

The list of course goes on an on. Given the classes I have my eye on, plus the additional boats I would like to eventually get I can see how this gets expensive in a hurry but it looks like most of the expenses are foreseeable and won’t leave me looking forlornly at a boat I can’t use/maintain. :slight_smile:

Thanks for all the responses everyone, I appreciate the input.