Ordering Kayaks by Internet

-- Last Updated: Mar-01-10 8:41 PM EST --

How do companies package kayaks for shipping when ordering through an online company? Are kayaks usually boxed or are they wrapped in bubble wrap? Are they likely to be scratched up when shipped?
Lastly, how are paddles generally shipped?


bubble wrap
I had my WS Tsunami Duralite shipped from a place across the country, it was in a sweatshirt material-type fabric sleeve (I presume from the manufacturer) and then it had 3 layers of thick bubble wrap. it was well protected, and shipped via R+L Carriers. they did a great job of taking care of it, and the rate was decent because I had it delivered to a business address.

Hey Joe,
I think you should ask the seller.

Seems a fair question, and you’ll get the real answer.

One of ours came bubble wrapped, with a corrugated paper wrap over that. Came through fine. Via air freight.

The next one came on the manufacture’s personal delivery van, or whatever they used. Came in chipped.

There ya go. No matter the system, you are at the mercy of the weakest link.


packaging of kayak for shipping
Eddyline is the only company I have direct shipping experience with. They have shipped two composite kayaks to me. Eddyline makes an impressive “crate” from extremely thick cardboard, well taped together. This “crate” will protect the kayak from most damage, but is vulnerable to a direct hit from a forklift tong.

The first kayak shipped came through unscathed. The receiving depot of the second kayak shipped insisted that I sign for the kayak BEFORE opening the cardboard “crate” for inspection. There was visible penetration from a forklift tong. I refused to sign without prior inspection. After a few minutes of discussion I was allowed to inspect before signing. Inspection reveled that the forklift tong went under the stern of the kayak, there was no damage, I signed.

So, the two composite kayaks Eddyline shipped cross country came through undamaged. Many other folks shipping composite kayaks have not been so fortunate. Be sure you have a replacement arrangement or full value insurance coverage and inspect the kayak before signing (which is accepting the kayak) as the carrier’s insurance only covers a small amount per lb.


Shipping question
Thanks everyone.

internet or dealer
Kayaks are packaged the same way. How they are handled after being packed though is different. Many dealers pick up their own boats and are much more careful than are those shipped commercially.

Bill H.

Scratches aren’t the problem
Some of the commercial shippers have a knack for running a kayak through with a fork lift or something along those lines. The key is to inspect the boat thoroughly BEFORE accepting the shipment – don’t sign unless you are satisfied. The delivery guy will want to drop it and run, but that is your best shot at making sure you don’t get screwed.

Voice of experience.


Forklift damage
Kayaks shipped by Forward Air are actually shipped by truck (don’t know where the AIR came from).

Kayaks in shipment are transferred a number of times between trucks or depots during the trip. All those transfers are by rushing forklift drivers, leading to possible or actual damage-Inspect before signing!


Shipping kayaks
If buying from a manufacturer, they probably have figured out how to ship the boat, but if purchasing from an individual, you should stay away from large shipping companys, since they tend to pick up the item, ship it to a central location, then put it on another truck going in the right direction, then possibly transfer it again. This requires lots of handling and the possibility of damage from carless handling.

We have had some success with using “Uship.com”.

You go to the site and list what you have to ship, where it is located, and where it is going. This could be kayaks, dogs, or whatever.

Independent truckers subscribe to the service and if they are going that way, and are interested, they call you with bids on what they will charge and how they would handle the shipping.

With this service, you are likely to hook up with a driver that will pick up and deliver the product with a minimum of handling. A few of my friends have used the service and were very satisified.

Bubble Wrap
I just had one shipped from Canada to Chicago. The packing job was bullet proof. It was a Clipper Sea 1. You can see the packaging photos in my review at:http://www.solotripping.com/community/showthread.php?2519-Review-Clipper-Sea-1-Solo-Decked-Canoe

I definatly agree with what was said earlier,haveing it shipped to a business address is cheaper than haveing it shipped to your house.

My Popper even had a large package shipped to the Sheetz gas station.The driver called when he was almost there and dad met the driver to unload.

The trick is being home for the phone call but 2 miles of driveing saved him about $30.

Or even ship it to where you or a good friend works.

Remember a GOOD friend, some of my friends would suddenly get a new boat and mine never happened to show up.

Bill shipped me a Lumpy (GP) in PVC pipe. I’m saving it so he can use it again.

bullet proof
Of concern is not is whether the packing/wrap job is “bullet proof” (It is unlikely that the shippers will take pot shots at the canoe). The major concern is whether the packing/wrap job is “forklift tong proof”, as that is the most likely source of damage.


Well, QCC uses big boxes: http://www.noggintops.com/page.cfm?p=156

I had a skinboat shipped by Forward Air in bubble wrap and sticky-back cardboard - luckily there was no forklift punctures.

I bought a really expensive AT carbon paddle, and it came in a gigantic box with a couple of other items and no packing material at all - weird, but it was not damaged.

Boat haulers
If you can find a dedicated boat hauler coming your way that is the way to go. I bought a boat from Ranger Canoe a couple of years ago and Mike at Ranger hooked me up with a couple of people that only haul boats. One of them was making a pickup at Wenonah, and a delivery to a Store in MPLS. The arrangement was to meet him at the store. He had a tractor trailer rig set up for boats w/racks floor to ceiling in the trailer. All hand loaded. The cost at the time was $200. You may have to wait until he’s coming your way.

Forklift Damage
I had experience with Forward Air. They contract out to other shippers. The damage occurs in loading and unloading. The boats should be moved by hand but the forklift guys don’t want to get off the forklift to do that. So they show Forward Air their anger by ramming forklift through the boats. I had a wooden tandem kayak that was rammed 3 times and destroyed. The cargo terminal manager told me they just do it on purpose to get Forward Air from shipping boats. The insurance claims are really a hassle too.

REI shipped my new paddle UPS
in a 4 ft long cardboard box. I opened both ends of the box and gave it to the cats, who think chasing each other in and out is the greatest thing since Whiskas treats.

The paddle was in perfect condition.