Need Info--Big Time Newbie

My wife and I want to get into kayaking but are both kid poor. Trying to do this with not killing the bank. I am almost ready to purchase 2 kayaks from Dick’s sporting goods–the lower priced models. We are both in good condition–I weigh 195lbs and she weighs 125 lbs.

Are we messing up by purchasing these lower priced models?

Buy used.
No matter what kind of kayak you decide on you get much more for your money by buying used. Beyond that, what kind of paddling do you want to do? Lakes, flatwater rivers, ocean, or what?

No you are not, BUT
Look here in the classifieds, on Craigslist, and check with local paddling clubs to see if there are any used ones for sale. Inexpensive rec boats are great for easy flat water day trips and exercise. They are much slower than sea kayaks but you won’t notice unless you start paddling with sea kayaks.

Every paddler I know has at least one inexpensive recreational boat around for slow twisty creeks and just knocking about.

If you are looking for the least expensive paddles as well, I’d get the ones from

They are much better than the cheap one from Carlise and are similar in price.

thank you guys for the quick replys. We live very close to Etowah river, mostly flat water river, but live about 1.5 hours from some class IIs

No. Those are good first boats
And will get lots of use. If you become a paddling addict, you will be buying other boats down the road. But there is probably no boat that is the “forever” boat for someone hooked on paddling.

My first boats were three used rec Old Town Otters bought from a local livery, with paddle thrown in for free. (One for me, one for my wife, one for our son.) They still use the Otters when they paddle (less frequently than I.) I am gradually accumulating a stable of boats and building a stitch and glue boat now.

Some folks will tell you that its not worth getting a boat if you can’t get a middle to high end one. But I undertand kid poor, and all the competing spending priorities families have. I’ve been there, and if I’d listened to those folks, I might have never got my first boats. Those boats have been worth far more than I paid for them, and still get a lot of use on family outings, or when introducing friends to kayaking.

If you have a little “extra” money in your bufget, the place to put it is in the paddle and pfd. A comfortable, well-fitting pfd and a lighter paddle will enhance your paddling experience in any boat.

thank you. I agree with you on all points.

I have looked at some of the used boats, but they are out of the price that I can pay. Remember, I am looking at everything times 2–boat, paddle, pfd. I am looking forward to getting into this sport

Aquabound and Bending Branches have
good starter paddles.The old style horsecollar PFD are certainly functional and very inexpensive. If you are a decent woodworker, you can make a couple of Greenland style paddles very cheaply.

Go get 'em!
And enjoy!

old school river runners
Not ideal for puttering around for novices because you’ll be working to keep going straight. but. Old school river runners are A) dirt cheap,i’ve seen quite a few going for about 400$ for boat+pfd+paddle+airbags , i picked up my crossfire for 200 bucks for very decent shape boat+airbags(btw, prices in canadian$). Outfitting is light years better than cheap recreational kayaks, so when youre ready, you can learn to roll,run whitewater, even play in ocean surf. Not a choice for everyone because theyre not the greatest flatwater boats because theyre meant to turn fast, not go straight, but they will make you a better paddler than a cheap bathtub rec boat will, for less money.

I don’t think you are "messing up."
Yesterday my wife, my daughter and I were in a class II river in our fifteen year old 9 foot recreation kayaks.

When we got them, they were the cheapest kayak on the market.

We now have long skinny plastic ones and long skinny light weight very expensive kevlar ones, but we will never get rid of the ones we were in yesterday. they are just too much fun.

Go for it!



You’ll always use them
As others have said, a couple of basic boats will always be something you can have around and use as guest boats, or for your kids, or take out yourselves on a hot day when you want an excuse to get wet but don’t want to hassle with paying entry fees for a beach with a life guard. One of the little secrets about kayaking is that you can use them as a way to go wading around in the water and cool off without having to worry about swimming permissions.

The issue you are most likely to run into is that if you really love it, you’ll crave longer or whatever boats very quickly. That’s why so many people are suggesting used. They’ve had the experience of having a starter boat for less than a season before wanting something more.

But we and a lot of people went thru exactly that and survived it fine. And some years later we are sitting here with a small assortment of very nice boats in the basement and hanging under the porch. And we’ve learned something from every boat we’ve had.

Definitely consider used, both the classifieds on this site and Craigslist and your local papers. A quick search of the Atlanta Craigslist reveals fiberglass canoes starting from $75, (looks like a heck of a buy on a 16’ tandem boat), and kayaks starting from $199, (looks like a Peception Swifty). The $75 canoe in Locust Grove claims to even include paddles. There’s no picture, but that might be a very inexpensive way to get hooked on paddling, if it’s not too messed up.

The cool thing about Craigslist, is that it allows more or less local sales, and can be a good way to try a boat for awhile and then sell it for close to what you paid for it.