Should I invest in a kayak?

New to kayaking-only been 3x, but I LOVE it. Kayaking is not cheap, so I was thinking about buying a SOT kayak for myself (maybe a second so I can have a companion-I have 3 teens). I have no roof rack at all. Trying to figure out expenses w/kayak & roof rack and kayak racks etc. Getting to be pricey. Do I invest and what is the cheapest way to do it. I want a Perception Access 11.5 and have a 2010 Hyundai Tucson. I’m a single mom, 51 and an adventurer, but unfortunately I’m not rich. However, kayaking on easy waters makes my heart sing, and that’s what I’m looking for.

If you want to see if paddling is for you buy a cheap inflatable raft with some paddles for a couple hundred bucks. This is the lowest level possible and in the end I enjoyed this pursuit living next to the water for years before actually taking the plunge.

If you want to buy a kayak or three buy used maybe on craigslist and go with the higher end plastic ones. The cheap plastic ones are junk, don’t last and don’t have proper flotations amongst other things. But the higher end plastic can be bought relatively inexpensively and if you find out you don’t like the sport or don’t want to continue you can turn around and sell it for more or less what you paid unless it sustains damage or a lot of wear.

Forget about the “cheap inflatable raft.” They’re just pool toys.

You said you’ve been paddling a kayak a few times and love it, so start looking at the used market. Give the community an idea of your geographical area and you might get some help in your search.

I agree with Rookie. A raft would be a disappointment.

I’m on the south shore of Long Island,NY. Went kayaking 2x on Fish Creek leading into Saratoga Lake. They used the Perception Access 11.5 sit on top. Liked it a lot. Kayaked down the Nissequogue River in a sit in. Like the sit on top better cause I like to hang my feet over and drag them in the water. I’m searching Craigslist and Facebook. So many carrying systems and I don’t know one from another. I have a clean roof. No rack.

I’d also love a paddle partner.

In your search look for something that has front and rear bulkheads that seal the ends providing positive floatation. Likely this will have fore/aft hatches. If the kayak has these likely it’ll have a number of other features that’ll come into play as your kayaking develops Given your locale I would guess you will eventually venture to open water I you should have a craft that will not limit you.

See you on the water,
The River Connection, Inc.
9 W. Market St.
Hyde Park, NY
845-229-0595 main
845-242-4731 mobile

Check these folks out for people to hook up with. Can’t speak to their paddling level but it is worth a try.

Follow Marshall’s advice re boat. South shore of LI is not remotely the same risk situation as Fish Creek (which I have been on may times). Where you are is ocean, even if in an area called a bay.

The above group may have people looking to sell a used plastic boat that’ll do for you.

Long Island Craigslist is pretty active with used kayaks. I’ll bet once you get an idea what you’re looking for, with a bit of patience and persistence, you can find some great deals. My husband and I got our first (sea) kayaks off Craigslist for around $300 or $350 each including decent paddles. We’ve since re-sold and traded up a bit. Buying used also has the advantage that, if you get a good deal, you can almost always resell for at least close to the same price you paid. And, you won’t worry too much about taking out your “new” boat!

You might also want to check the rental places in last summer. Rental places want to winter over as few boats as possible and very often they’ll keep boats about two years. So often in September, you can get a boat that’s only a couple years old for about 1/2 price.

think “return on investment.” The more you paddle your own boat, the less each outing costs.

I would advise you not to limit yourself to an SOT–you can dangle your feet in the water from almost any kayak.

Three things: 1. Don’t go cheap on your pfd. 2. Get a good paddle of the right size for you and the boat. 3. You will probably regret getting anything under about 14 feet.

Your priority should be to equip yourself first; providing for a companion is probably an expense that can wait. It shouldn’t be that hard to find others who would be happy to paddle with you and even provide lots of instruction.

A couple of online reading suggestions. Check out

Specifically, issue #10 has an article on the different types of kayaks (sit inside versus sit on top, etc.). Your mentioned you like sit on tops, and your usage is probably fine for a sit on top. But good to know the pros and cons that this article talks about.

And issue #9 has an article on kayaking and small living places (which also provides info on kayaking and no way to transport a kayak). Talks about pros and cons of things like inflatable kayaks.

Your usage style could go with a decent inflatable from a reputable brand, like Advanced Elements. There are some styles which can be set for 1 or 2 people. Or if you could find it, look for one of the plastic sectional kayaks, like the Point65 Tequilla or Apallo sectional kayaks, which should fit in your car and also be set (with correct number of pieces) to be used as 1 or 2 (or more) people kayaks.

If you did decide you’re interested in a SINK, there’s a cheap poly Necky Eliza for sake on LI Craigslist. Good for a smaller paddler. $375.

I am quite new to all this as well. My $.02 is to slow down a little.

Don’t focus on specific boats you might have seen or heard of. If you are serious then spend a couple of hours reading this forum. There are a lot of “which kayak should I get” threads. Dig into them. There are very useful search tools here.

Then post some details about yourself. Specifically your size, weight, shape, fitness level, location, budget, etc. It is important to remember that a forum/thread that gushes over some boat might be for some big 6’4” 230# dude.

The cost of the kayak is the big ticket item but remember you will need the best paddle you can find (often 20% of the kayak price) plus spray skirt, cockpit cover, quality PFD, dry bags, roof rack system, etc, etc. But once you have decent gear the costs end, not like skiing or golf.

You can spend $100 or you could spend $7000. If you spend time reading this forum you will find that consistent info and suggestions get posted by the same great members, over and over again. They will mention solid, proven boats. I would work on narrowing down your list of potentials and then keep a sharp eye on Craigslist for used boats. It is much better to buy an older solid well loved boat with scratches and faded finish than it is to buy some cheap crap from a basic “sports store” or Walmart. Buying a popular proven kayak used means that you could sell it again if it proves not to be your long term boat. Quite often buying used means that all the other gear is bundled in with the price. Pay attention to the sizes of the extra gear as well. If the paddle, PFD, etc, are made for big guys they might not all be good for you if you are a smaller woman.

It was explained to me that a good kayak keeps potential hidden until you need it. If you are in ANY kind of water current you want a safe boat that will get you “there and back” while having fun. A good boat will also get you back quicker if you are not feeling well, the weather suddenly changes, you need a bathroom break or get an important phone call.

If you can try to go on a guided tour in a real kayak. Think about lessons as well.

Good luck!

PS: this venture is the classic rabbit hole. I am very new to this and I am on my second kayak already…

You don’t have to have an expensive roof rack to get started. You can use surfboard pad racks for cars that cost about $25 dollars or you can make a rack system with pool noodles, google around for the kind of car roof you have and how to adapt the pool noodle type systems, Buy your stuff a little bit at a time, kayak, PFDs, Paddle, roof rack and in the colder months you can go the wet suit route, without being rich. Be selective with advice from seakayakers, a lot of them have more money and gear than actual experience.

@SeaDart said:
Be selective with advice from sea kayakers, a lot of them have more money and gear than actual experience.
Be selective with advice from sea kayakers, a lot of them have more money and gear than actual experience.
Be selective with advice from sea kayakers, a lot of them have more money and gear than actual experience.

This totally needs the above emphasis.

1 Like

@Sparky and Seadart
Above is not helpful.
Op’er has been given a number of sources to read for themselves by people who are familiar with where they would be paddling.
If you have a problem with advice plz state exactly what the bad advice is and your alternative. Cautions about vague issues with what unnamed people may say are just confusing for a new paddler.

There is only a small difference between cheap and adequate, and cheap and dangerous. A $200 kayak may be fully adequate for your intended uses. The dangerous may be paddling alone, unfamiliar waters, after dark, lack of needed skills, lack of basic safety items, and potential bad weather (to name a few!) which you somewhat control by not putting yourself in those situations.

You have been given some great advice so far. By all means you should by a Kayak!!
I will second Marshall’s advice. Something with front and rear bulkheads. And (Given your locale I would guess you will eventually venture to open water I you should have a craft that will not limit you). I have paddled in your area many summers – Westhampton
Via Moriches bay. Great place to kayak you won’t be sorry !

Yes the costs of buying a Kayak and related gear seem daunting. They are really not at all. Compare to the cost of a family vacation a season of skiing golf or tennis, kayaking is down right cheap. I have had to save up for every kayak I own.

Craigslist is going to be your new friend. In finding a boat there are lots in your area.
Honestly a rack for your car could be your biggest expense but very worth it.

For paddle buddies. Well its