Price being vs used

Hello all! Trying to gain some insight on kayakbuying new versus used. I’ve searched a lot and read several threads, but can quite find what I’m looking for. I’m looking for my first kayak and and trying to determine if, for the same amount of $, am I better off with a new boat of a certain level (I.e. Perception Conduit 13) or a higher level used boat (Carolina, Pungo, Manitou, etc). FWIW, I’m 42 YO, 5’9", 200#. I should also add that I don’t ever expect to see salt water in this kayak–lakes/ponds/maybe the occasional river or creek.

Anything anyone can provide will be greatly appreciated.

I don’t know the boats you are referring to (so do not infer quality or junk) but cared for quality used can easily beat new junk.

Fwiw, poorly cared for quality can be expensive junk. I recently saw a very sweet Kevlar boat that I was Jonesing for on a classified. I was going to call the poster, hit the bank first thing in the morning, and race to snag a treasure. Then on a different picture I saw the massive UV damage due to storing the boat in the sun. It might continue to float for a few more seasons, or completely delaminates the next time on the water. My opinion of it wheat from “treasure” to essentially unrepairsble. (Perhaps it is repairable (I really don’t know), but not economically by me).

I advise starting with used for several reasons. First, as a beginner it takes some time to figure out exactly what you want, where and how you like to paddle, and how committed you want to be to the sport and its costs. Second, you can save a substantial amount of money. Third, you can buy and sell used kayaks on Craigslist, upgrading with each purchase. Soon you will have the great new kayak you thought you couldn’t afford—for free. Aka flipping. I turned a Loon 111 into an Eddyline Journey with about 6 flips and had money left over in the end. Amazing how many people buy an expensive kayak and a carbon paddle, use them a few times, and then want to sell them to you for hundreds less.

Either way, get something you won’t plateau skill or terrain wise. Go for something with fore/aft sealed bulkheads, full perimeter lines/rigging and thigh braces. Lastly, get something that fits you so you can control the kayak rather than just perch in it as if it were a raft.

See you on the water,
The Connection, Inc.
9 W. Market St.
Hyde Park, NY
845-228-0595 main
845-242-4731 mobile

Like Marshall says… it works out better to not limit yourself on your first boat. The result can be what I and my husband and many others went thru, by the end of your first season you will want another boat. And have to sell that new one you got at a huge discount., especially if it is a rec boat which always sell quite low.

Once you have a boat you may find yourself wanting to take it places you had not originally planned. If you do decide to take a week of vacation on someplace bigger like a really big lake or the ocean, would you leave your boat at home and just look at the water from the beach? Not to say it doesn’t happen, but odds are decent you will want to paddle that bigger body of water. Having a boat with the features Marshall mentions will give you more head room to do that with some safety, and you can get more boat by buying used.

Thank you, folks, for your input and advice. I’ve been trolling FB Marketplace, Craigslist, Ebay and reasonably located dealer websites for a couple of weeks now. Really trying to keep my investment to under $600 here. After reading tons of reviews and threads, I’ve narrowed down to the following options. Is there anything here that stands out as a definite ‘GO FOR IT!’ or ‘RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!’?

Clearwater Designs Gaspe @ $500
Dagger Magellan @ $600
Jackson Journey @ $675
Prijon Seayak @ one at $500, one at $675
Wilderness Systems Cape Horn @ $725
Perception Carolina 14 @ $500
Perception Carolina 15.5 @ $650

Thank you all in advance for your input!


Jackson Journey is a fine boat. One of the most comfortable cockpits I’ve been in. I’m 6’1" and 230 so the 14 foot version fits me better, but the 13.5 foot version also works. At 14 feet it isn’t a speed machine but the kayak handles very well, more of a sea kayak hull than a rec kayak hull.

So, I’ve come to find out that a local shop has a new, past year (2013) Perception Essence 16.5 on its hands that is marked down to $660. Reviews seem pretty positive about this yak. Anyone have any input they may be able to share?

I paddled with a woman who has an Essense. She loved it.
That price is probably dealer cost. If it fits, go for it!

I have a 165, in my current fleet. Had it for ~ a year. I sold my Tempest 165, prior to getting the Essence 165. The Essence is a little roomier, than the Tempest. I wanted the extra room, for drysuit season.

The Essence is a fast boat, for it’s size. It tracks well, and has good primary stability. The Essence 165 straight ahead speed, is quicker than a Tempest 165. The Tempest ; with more rocker, is a better in rough water. But, the Essence is fine. The E 165, is an easy kayak to roll. But not as easy, as the Tempest. The Tempest has a lower deck and more rocker.

I used my Essence 165, in a 50 mile down river race; earlier in the year. The race course had ~6-8 class 1- 2+ rapids. The E 165, handled them well. I was the 3rd sea kayaker, to finish. The folks in the V7s, smoked the field.

The Essence 165, should work well for you.

Dang it. Someone beat me out on the Essence as I called the shop to pull the trigger. Back to the used boat drawing board. After some more reading and searching what’s available in a reasonable location I’m at:

EMS Shearwater 17 (rebadged WS Cape Horn) (awesome condition, but afraid may be too much boat for me, esp if doing any paddling with my young kids)
Necky Manitou 14
WS Cape Horn
WS Tsunami 14
WS Tsunami 16
Perception Carolina 15.5 (researching this and noticed it was only produced one year, 2006. found that odd)

Sorry if I’m chewing all your ears off, I don’t know anyone with kayak expertise to talk to. Thanks again for your time!

I’m a beginner, too, but now, thanks to Craigslist and the helpful people here, my spouse and I have two kayaks we’ve been using to get out in the water and gain some experience.

We initially purchased a WS Tsunami 145 for a good price, but have since learned it’s really designed for a much larger person than either of us. Recently we got another used boat for a smaller person, which fits us both much better. So, we intend to keep looking for another smaller boat and then sell the Tsunami. But for now we’re very happy to have it just so we can kayak together. Therefore, even though we bought the “wrong” boat, we’re glad we did, just to get in the game.

I think it’s hard to know when you first start out what boat you’re going to end up wanting. So my plan is to keep learning, & invest in some lessons next spring, and then I can flip any boat we decide no longer suits us.

So my lay-person’s advice is to buy a boat that seems good to you now (try it out and make sure you feel good in it; ask here to make sure it’s a decent boat), and assume it won’t be your forever one. Use it, learn, & plan to trade up. And if you decide kayaking isn’t for you, you can always re-sell it.