I’m considering an older Dagger Magellan kayak. It’s probably 15 years old. How much risk is there that the plastic will become more brittle and give me problems over time?
Very high probability
If the boat has or will be stored outside in the sunshine. I’ve got two poly boats that are over 10 years old and just like brand new, but they have been pampered.
OK if well cared for
I bought a 10 year old (at the time) Magellan about 9 years ago, which had been well cared for and stored indoors by the original owner. The boat was in excellent shape and, as far as I know, the guy I sold it to 4 years ago is still paddling it. The plastic in those old Daggers is heavy duty – I also picked up a Dagger Monterey 14 from the same era in similarly good shape which I gave to my brother who regularly uses it. As long as it isn’t exposed to UV and/or excessive heat for long periods, rotomold plastic holds up very well.
Check it over well for oil canning (flat or caved in areas on the bottom of the hull) and any surface that looks crackly or dried out. Surface scratching on the bottom doesn’t matter as long as there are no gouges. Older boats may need to have the bungee and perimeter fixed lines replaced but that is cheap and easy. And many people who used my old Magellan hated the seat back but it never bothered me. If I had kept it I would have replaced that with a Snapdragon back band.