New to kayak purchasing, please help

Hi, I’ve been kayaking enough to know that I’m interested in purchasing one, I’ve recently been going with my girlfriend in a tandem and really enjoying it. I found a kayak somewhat near me (2 hour drive) and it seems to be in good shape, always stored indoors, and is being bundled with life jackets, paddles, and spray skirts. HOWEVER, the kayak is over 10 years old. It’s a Wilderness Systems Northstar, and looks like it’s in good shape, I’m just worried about the longevity of plastic, and if, even if stored well, if I should be concerned with the plastic being brittle, or prone to cracking while I’m on the water. To possibly save me from spending a ton of money and time on gas to go look at it, what should I check for and ask to see in photos?

let there be…

Plastics degass another phrase for loosing flexibility.

Earlier Corvette fiberglass degassed, Barbie Dolls, and yes, autographed Les Paul guitars. Degassing causes a lot of hand wringing.

If you place a floodlamp, and not directly heating the hull, you may see fine lines, cracks inside the plastic.

BTW, who wrote these questions ? Your style is nnnnnnn banal.

likely fine
In general, 10 years isn’t too bad for a plastic boat stored indoors.

What I would do is look for areas that area protected from the sin and compare the color to that exposed to the sun. easy one would either be under the straps over the hatch or the underside of the hatch itself. If the colors are different, that is a sign of more sun than they seem to be saying.

Last question and I’m set
He wants $1,250 for the kayak, which went for approx. $2,400 new, this seems like waaay too much for something this old. Hell, if it was a car it’d be worth like $350 by now. I tried offering him $500 but he wouldn’t budge. I’m not the crazy one here, right?

500 isn’t ‘bargaining.’ If the owner waits and waits someone will give him 1100…

if the hull looks GOOD !!!

The more affluent the owner, up to a limit upper middle class with children, less likely price will drop into your area.

1/3rd to 2/3rd
In general, boats go for 1/3rd to 2/3rd of new price. Age and condition impact where on the range, along with motivation of buyer and seller and how many other boats are out there for the buyer to consider as alternates.

If they are throwing in other gear (skirts, paddles, PFDs, etc.), that would add some to the price. But at most half of the new price for the gear, and usually lots less.

I’d Hold Off Buying If I Were You
It’s not like the guy is offering a great bargain. Look around and think about it some more.

if you want a $1000 kayak for $500 then you gotta work at that with 10 trips to 10 different sellers

not one.

not that bad a price
If the paddles are decent (like Werner fiberglass, the typical “package” paddles sold with them by outfitters) and the PFD’s and skirts are similar quality, then $1250 is really not a bad price. You would pay that much for a new Wilderness Experience touring solo kayak.

I’ve purchased several poly boats up to 20 years old over the years – as long as the hulls are not deformed and there is no dry crackling evident in the plastic, a well cared for kayak is just as good as a new one. Sometimes the deck bungie needs to be replaces (elastic goes slack over time) but that can easily be done for a few bucks.

The NEW plastic kayaks I’ve purchased
were never over $750. A brand new plastic Perception Acadia is only $600. Gear is expensive and used is just as good as new. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, if you really like the boat, buy it.

not the same type of boat

– Last Updated: Jun-21-15 2:17 AM EST –

Suntan, it's important to be clear on this: your example is not apples to apples. The Perception Acadia is NOT at all a solo equivalent to the North Star. The North Star is a full fledged open water expedition style touring/sea kayak with dual bulkheads. The Acadia is a short recreational style boat lacking full flotation chambers, a rudder or any rocker and it is suitable only for mild and shallow inland waters.

Solo poly boats that have the same equipment and functionality as the North Star tandem do indeed run from $1100 to $1500 new in poly.

Tandem, or solo?
You might want to think about whether you really want a tandem. What will you do if you want to go paddling without your girlfriend sometime?

I would advise you to spend some time at an honest to goodness kayak shop if possible and maybe try out a few–again, if possible.

The paddles and jackets that come with the tandem might, or might not be right for you and your partner, so the value of that is not for sure.