To save $$, when/where should I buy kayaks for the family?

What have you observed with pricing throughout a given year? I’m interested in purchasing three basic kayaks (similar to those sold at Walmart/Dicks). Have you noticed a trend with any price reductions at certain times? I’m in Virginia.

Early/late season will probably be cheapest, neither of which are now

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For basic rec boats, usual wisdom is to wait until end of season and catch any places selling off some of their rental boats. No reason to buy these things new.

That said, after a year of CoVid the usual wisdom may not work as well. Are there rental places within some range of you that are putting boats on the water now?


Yeah I figured after summer would be best but, to further clarify, just wondering what kind of price reductions can I expect?

On cheap boats? Probably very little. They don’t have trouble selling them.

I’d just buy when you can find them and get out paddling


You are talking about rec kayaks and between Walmart, Dicks, and some of the upper end models there is quite a bit of difference in what you get for what you pay. There is some overlap like what the best model Walmart may sell is more like the cheaper model Dicks may sell and Dicks better model would be like the average model a company like Old Town might sell.

Seeing as how this was your first post it is really hard to say that the best bang for your buck is going to be what Walmart or Dicks has marked down at a certain time of the year. Even these rec boats should be taken seriously and matched to your sizes and weights and how and where you plan to use them safetly.

They are a bit more than toys. :canoe:

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time is money…also return on investment can justify price. Clock is ticking, and none of us have been able to stop aging, or to keep our kids young, cute, and wanting to hang out with mom and dad…


In a normal year there would likely be a reliable way to gauge that. This is not a normal year. Many places are still having problems even getting their hands on longer boats for their customers. While l don’t follow rec boats, l would not be surprised if there was a lot of variation even with the availability l have seen of rec boats in shops.

That is why l suggested looking up places that may be doing rentals within driving range, get a sense of whether they plan an end of season sell off.

Where are you physically, as in area of the country? Someone on this board may be able to help w more specific ideas.

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I’m surprised nobody has mentioned Craigslist. Rec kayaks are usually the main item for sale on it, in my state. This year, who knows if the usual holds.

Costs nothing to look in your local CL sites, so it’s worth checking.

I agree with those who said time marches on awfully fast if you dither over price discounts. You can’t buy back lost time, especially with kids growing.

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I was in the market this spring for a good quality rec kayak something like the OldTown Vapor. I started local looking for maybe used on CL and FB and there was nothing. I then started looking new at local sports stores and again nothing I was told they were late coming in and what they were getting were already spoken for from last year and over the winter, but if I waited maybe some of them may fall thru. I then went to the big box sports stores including Dicks and they had hardly nothing telling me everything was backordered because of covid19. So I start looking on line and now Dicks has rec kayaks ready for delivery. They can’t get them to their stores but I can buy one and get it shipped to my house. I ended up buying a OT Trip 10 from the comfort of my home and they said 2 week delivery and it showed up on my porch in 6 days.

I still look daily for a deal on something used as we could use a third for when we have company and I have only seen a couple and they were priced high enough I might as well buy another new one. The local sports stores did get a bunch of cheap SOTs in as well as Walmart. Honestly they don’t look like something I would trust putting friends and family out on the water on based on capacity. Maybe a smaller adult or a child. I see people using them on our river though and they seem to make it ok.

The idea of resale value mentioned above has some merit if you think in a year or two as your kids get bigger you may be wanting to upgrade. :canoe:

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I actually checked the VA Craigslist for the area I am in after reading this post initially… Looked like a bunch of crap for generally too much money

I feel like it’s pretty random. The key thing is to know what you want, to check Craigslist and FBMP often, and to be ready to jump with cash in hand and a method of transport when you see a good deal.

Welcome to the community, Stewsey.

Here’s an example of what to avoid. These are being sold at a local grocery store! A store that’s been around for 70 years and known for high quality food.

No paddles or life jackets offered; just cheap kayaks. Crazy.

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“Basic kayaks” is a misnomer. The cheap molded plastic tubs sold at hardware and discount stores bear little functional resemblance to actual kayaks. They are sluggish, can be unstable regardless of wide width, are totally unsuitable and quite unsafe for anything but a shallow warm pond. Also their “one size fits all” approach means “one size fits nobody”. Too wide for kids, who will bang their hands on the gunwales (sides) and too small volume for big dads, who are likely capsize or even sink them. If you MUST go cheap and new, probably best to stick with inflatables, but you will still need to up your budget to some of the better quality brands like Advanced Elements and Sea Eagle. But far better use of your budget to watch for used boats on Craigslist and Marketplace. Also bear in mind that you need to be able to transport them and loading a family’s worth of wide heavy boats on or in a vehicle can be quite difficult. This will be another reason to consider inflatables. And if the kids are younger, some inflatables can convert from tandem to solo so you can but the littler ones in with Mom or Dad until they get big enough to be in their own boat.


Buy boats when it snows
Buy snowblowers when it’s beach weather


Box stores don’t want stuck with kayaks all winter. So a time will come when they don’t order more. Shop for what you want and buy it now. Life is short. Your not going to get 50% off on a cheap item. If you live in FL or year round use place prices probably don’t drop.

I have found several nice rec kayaks and two canoes on OfferUp .com. I recently picked up an older Perception Acadia II 14 tandem for $300. Right now in my market area there are quite a few bellow $600 and above box store quality.

I felt compelled to come back after six months to post that I bought three kayaks from Dick’s last week (at a pretty substantial discount I might add). I also wanted to say that this particular comment resonated with me…I thought of it many times since posting because the clock is indeed ticking and, like many adults and parents I suppose, we can drag out feet waiting for perfect scenarios while our kids move on from boredom or broken promises. I’ve never wanted to be that Dad although I am still guilty at times (less and less fortunately). And while I should have purchased the day I posted, it feels nice to have them ready to drop in for the upcoming Spring and Summer.

Thank you all and have the Merriest of Christmases!


Merry Christmas to you as well. Congratulations on the instant fleet, the anticipation they’re creating, and the memories they’ll provide.


There is a great paddle shop, in Virginia. Appomattox River Company is based in Farmville Virginia. Nice shop with a knowledgeable staff. The owner and his family are all paddlers. Mr Bob the founder was a big time WW paddler, in his day. They can answer questions and fit your whole family.

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