Whats it cost to get into Sea Kayaking?

Got plenty of cash? Wanna be a sea kayaker? Be prepared to fork it over… Oh, you say your spouse wants to get in to kayaking also? Better get a second mortgage!

$3500 Mid to high-end boat

$1100 Gore Tex dry suit with P-zip and booties

$ 400 Carbon fiber paddle

$ 250 back up paddle

$ 150 nice neo skirt with breathable tunnel

$ 350 High end Icom VHF

$ 100 Synthetic underwear for dry suit

$ 50 Water shoes to protect booties

$ 50 OR waterproof Seattle Sombrero hat

$ 50 Misc Dry Bags

$ 350 Nice color GPS with mapping software

$ 75 Decent hull compass

$ 50 safety signal kit (flares, mirror, smoke)

$ 50 Paddle float and bilge pump

$ 400 Decent rack and tie down equipment


Am I far off? Granted, you can get in for much cheaper, but if you were a dot.Com’er or DINK yuppie with little time and lotsa dough, I think this is what they’d spend.

Way low
Add about $40,000 for suitable Lexus, Range Rover or other high-end SUV to carry all that suff with.

wow, totally far off…
I have most of that and a LOT more in the form of multiple boats, paddles, skirts, dry tops, gear, etc. Total, I probably spent around what you listed for that single boat.

If you’re rich and just a casual boater, I don’t think you’d get a dry suit (you’d probably be paddling in cotton), backup paddle, flares, VHF, GPS, compass, or neoprene skirt (probably get nylon). I could see a casual beginner with money burning a whole in their pocket buying the high end boat, paddle, hat, accessories (pump, sponge, etc.), car rack, and maybe a splash jacket. Granted that still probably adds up to around $5000 but that’s cheap compared to most other sports frequented by yuppies (golf, jetskis, skiing, etc.)

Yuppies, don’t get mad at me as I probably fall into that category myself.

Maybe if they don’t
take the time to do some research and use patience in watching for “new used” gear and finding the sales.

I have 2 of almost everything you mentioned and don’t have half that much invested.

In my experience, most wealthy people tend to be rather thrifty.

that’s it?
what is a face turned up weather in wonder, covered in foam and salt just a grinnin’ and laughin’ and blessing the moment worth? what? your cheaping out now?

Way Off - Why Deter Anyone Interested
My comments in ()

$3500 Mid to high-end boat ($1100 Excellent Plastic Boat)

$1100 Gore Tex dry suit with P-zip and booties (Why is this needed unless cold water. Warm Water Swim suit. Okay, farmer john w/semi dry top $200)

$ 400 Carbon fiber paddle ($30 Aluminum Shaft paddle for starts)

$ 250 back up paddle ($30 Aluminum Shaft Paddle)

$ 150 nice neo skirt with breathable tunnel ($40 nylon skirt only if necessary)

$ 350 High end Icom VHF ($150 max IF you REALLY need it)

$ 100 Synthetic underwear for dry suit ($0 See Above)

$ 50 Water shoes to protect booties ($15 water mocs)

$ 50 OR waterproof Seattle Sombrero hat ($5 cheap sun hat)

$ 50 Misc Dry Bags ($20/each)

$ 350 Nice color GPS with mapping software (Is a GPS Needed?)

$ 75 Decent hull compass (Not necessary - $20/hand one)

$ 50 safety signal kit (flares, mirror, smoke)

$ 50 Paddle float and bilge pump

$ 400 Decent rack and tie down equipment ($50 foam block/tackle)

($ 50/PFD)


My total, well equipped to go in a group in warm weather in inland lakes/rivers, protected bays and sea coastal areas, Approx $1800 for a good start and well equipped 3 season kayaker.

3 boats, dry suit, wetsuit, pfd’s, paddles… well basically multiples of what you have listed. I’m in for about $4500. spread over ten years or so. Pretty good deal as far as I’m concerned.


Probably pretty close
But here is the breakdown of my favorite boat…

Nordkapp $600 plus

$150 for hatch covers backband and foot braces

Windswift $250

Neo skirt $100

pump float tow rope $120

Dry bags $25

Used truck camper shell with rack $150

Beale paddle $165

PFD $80 Compass $35 Comes to $1675 then add cold water clothing… $125 for dry top and bibs, $100 for gloves, booties, socks and hood and $50 for fleece under garmets… $1950 or just about 30% and that is being very thrifty… Holy Cow!

Agree with the numbers of Big Yaker
And Andy S bought a used boat that looks super, so another option for newbies is to have someone in the know help them buy used equipment (and let’s be frank, we all have used equipment we’d be willing to sell).

Just for comparison…

I saw an ad for a used 26’ open fishing boat today. Boat and motors only, $78,500…

Geez, you could get three or four kayaks for that…

You are correct about used
Used is a great way to get going. I have enough boats, paddles, skirts and PFDs to equip 4 paddlers and have not spent that much $$ yet. I do not have the dry suit but they are pretty much considered a must have in the NW. I have a dry top and farmer johns for cold water. I do have the VHF and GPS and the other goodies to keep from becomming a statistic.

It is just that I have seen folks walk in and buy “everything needed” in one day for many different activities. It has taken me a few years to accumulate the gear I have. And I can’t believe I omitted a PFD from that list! Paddle On.

And thats a cool camper shell to boot

"Getting into"
It doesn’t take anywhere near that to “get into” sea kayaking. That type of mentality is the same as someone who wants to “get into” skiiing, and buys all the top of the line gear that the ski pro tell him he “needs.”

In reality I think most sea kayakers aquire higher end gear over period of years. I’d bet that if you average out what many active golfers spend on new golf clubs, memberships and course fees, etc, over several years, and do the same for kayaking, kayaking comes out cheaper.

To “get into:”

$600 used poly boat in good condition

$200 used paddle & backup (or a $5 2x4 and carve your own GP)

~$100 for a spray skirt

$40 paddle float

$20 compass

$50 PFD

$18 bilge pump

$20 for foam cartopping blocks and straps

And with othe various odds and ends your looking at like $1200-$1300 to get into sea kayaking. You CAN spend as much as you want, but that doesn’t mean you HAVE to. Hell, with some bargain hunting I’m sure you could do it even cheaper.

I bought two 17 ft sea kayaks fully outfitted,(skirts, pumps,deck bags ) For 800.00 I already had paddles and swim where.


The Alternatives
for white water and surf kayaking (numbers based on equipment I have actually purchased used):

  • ww boat - $400
  • skirt - $ 50
  • Paddle - $150
  • Throwrope- $ 50
  • PFD - $100
  • helmet - $ 45
  • FJ - $ 75
  • Drytop- $125
  • Booties - $ 30

    Total - $1025

    Excitement - Priceless!

    Surf Kayaking - same as above but add on $400 more for a dedicated surf boat.

    Total $1425

    The STOKE - addictive “drink” from the “fountain of youth!”

    Given the above, no wonder the younger set are not gravitating towards seakayaking. Besides being expensive, it’s often seen as too mellow as practiced by most - essentially an “ole geezers’ sport.”


The expensive part is buying a sea.

It Is Not About Cost
I have really enjoyed paddling since getting into the sport. Paddling provides a great way to get a bit of exersize, get a bit of relaxation, and explore areas not normally available in other craft.

The last down wind sail I purchased, (about 8 years ago), cost more than my brand new kayak did.

Happy Paddling,


what do you mean
what kind of ‘sea kayaking’ do you want to prepare for? you can spend a lot of money getting ready for an expedition. it costs a lot less to paddle most places in mild weather. you can certainly ‘get into’ sea kayaking for less than $1000 if you shop around and buy used or less expensive stuff.

Here’s what REALLY happens…

– Last Updated: Jan-24-06 8:13 AM EST –

A newbie asks for advice about a kayak on p-net. "I know nothing about kayaking, but want a good quality basic boat that won't break the bank. I'll be using it mostly on rivers and lakes, but would like to take it in the ocean once in a while. If it does whitewater too, I'd like that. Any ideas?"

He disregards the fact that everyone says demo demo, and he does not even pay attention when everyone says there is no single kayak good for every condition. Foop, right over his head.

He buys one of the recommended kayaks after sitting in it for five seconds on the show room floor, and bases the final decision on the fact that it is $300 off, and it has a red and orange fade color scheme. Neato, man!

"Yeah, yeah, I know I need more stuff. I'll get whatever you tell me," he tells the store clerk. He walks out with a $40 plastic paddle, an oversized PFD, and a couple of waterproof boxes and bags to hold his camera and Snickers bars.

He posts on p-net six months later: "I am really getting into the sport, never thought I would. Really love it. But my paddle sucks, my PFD is childish, my waterproof gear already fell to the bottom of the lake, and my kayak hurts my butt bad and is slow as an mf'er. I think I'm ready for kevlar. Any suggestions?"

Yall forgot the most expensive…
Purchase of the all. Every good paddler needs a place to put all of their gear so you haft to go out and buy a new house that has a shop and storage room to be able to keep your gear out of the sun. Depending on the real-estate market in your area that can be very pricey. I am in the process of doing this right now and thankfully real-estate is not way over priced where I live. Tomorrow I will be signing on a 1500 sf house priced at only 76,000 now that same house somewhere else could run you as much as 200,00 if not more. Man am I grateful. So if you add that to your total mow it gets expensive.