Very few activities can offer the same thrill and exhilaration that you get while kayaking. Kayaking in a beautiful river brings you close to nature in a peaceful, serene environment. It also gives you plenty of excitement and a chance to bond with friends and family. Above all, it isn’t as damaging to the environment as many other hobbies.
One of the things that people worry about is the cost of kayaking. People who have never gone kayaking before think it costs a lot to hire all the necessary safety and kayaking gear. In this blog, we will look at how much it costs to start kayaking and also consider some ways to lower the total cost of your kayaking experience.
Average Cost of a Kayak
Let’s start with the most important equipment, the kayak. An average kayak from a reliable store at Amazon costs around $400 – $1500. You can find kayaks for cheaper but we advise caution for buying something very low priced because the build quality will not be very good. Avoid buying from cheap Asian suppliers if you can.
Factors that Affect Your Kayaking Costs
There are three main factors that will affect the cost of your kayaking experience.
- Type and purpose of the kayak
- Design and comfort of the kayak
- Additional gear you will need
Type and Purpose of Your Kayak
The type of kayak you should buy will depend on where and what you will use it for. For example, if you are planning to go fishing on your kayak often, you will need a kayak with storage and fishing design. If you will use it for ocean tours more often, you should get a touring kayak.
A fishing kayak usually has a deep cockpit to provide space and a seat back for resting. They also include separate compartments and holes to place your fishing rod and catch. Fishing kayaks are sturdy but cannot handle a lot of shocks. They cost around $400 – $500 depending on their quality.
Ocean Touring Kayak
These kayaks are more expensive but very high quality. They are built to cruise oceans and can last for long trips, even on rough water. Generally, more experienced users purchase ocean-touring kayaks when they want to take their adventures to the next level. On average, ocean kayaks cost $1,200 – $2,000.
White Water Kayaks
These are the most popular types of kayaks that are used for going down rapids. Sturdiness is very important here and kayaks are designed to handle rough water and jagged rocks without breaking down. If you are into white water kayaking down rapids, these are the kayaks you need. Typically, they cost $800 to $1,500.
If budget is an issue, you can go for the really cheap inflatable kayaks. These kayaks will only last temporarily but they still allow you to have good fun kayaking on a river. They generally cost less than $100.
These are a simple design, all-purpose kayaks. People who are just starting out with kayaking will find that they offer a good mix between utility and price. The cockpit is large to make it easier to get in and out but they lack the advanced features you will find on the pricier models. They are useful to learn kayaking and cost around $250 to $400 on Amazon.
Design and Comfort of the Kayak
If you have been browsing online for a kayak you have probably noticed that they come at prices between $400 and $1,500. You are probably asking yourself.
“What is the difference between a $500 kayak and a $1500 kayak?”
The difference lies in three main areas; comfort, material, and shape.
A comfortable kayak has a well-designed, spacious cockpit that gives you plenty of legroom to spread your legs. The seats are more comfortable and designed with an incline to rest your back. If you are planning to go on long ocean tours for hours then you probably want to spend more on comfortable seats that support your back and allow you to shift around while kayaking.
Your kayak’s material will determine its sturdiness and drift smoothness on water. Good quality material means your kayak will last longer and withstand bumps during white water kayaking. The material should be the right weight to and heavy enough to prevent the kayak from tipping over. But it shouldn’t so heavy that it causes a drag on the water surface.
The shape of the kayak is important for two reasons. A hydrodynamic shape will make it easier to row and affect the speed of your kayak. It will also make it easier to balance the kayak in rapid falls. The shape is also important for aesthetic looks.
Additional Gear You Will Need
Apart from the kayak, you will also need additional gear that is necessary to have an easier and safer kayaking experience.
Personal Floatation Device
This is an absolute necessity for safety purposes. A floatation device comes as a specialized life vest that is worn while kayaking. Kayaking floatation vests have lower paddings near the neck and shoulders to make it easier to row with your arms. They offer plenty of mesh-paneling to make it easier to breathe and provide greater comfort. Floatation vests cost around $150 – $300 on Amazon
Paddles are used to move and balance your kayak in the water. A user of average height will need to use a paddle that is 210 to 220 cm in length, from tip to tip. If you are more athletic and prefer to paddle faster or will be working the kayak at sharp angles in a river, then purchase something shorter.
Paddles generally come with straight shafts which are cheaper and bent shafts that are slightly more expensive. A pair of paddles will cost you $80 to $150.
Most kayaks come with built-in floating bags that increase buoyancy in water. If your kayak lacks these then you may need to buy float bags that go in the stern and keep your boat from sinking if you fall out and the kayak tips over. They cost around $50 to $100.
Handheld bilge pumps can be used to remove water from your boat. It costs around $50.
Additional Costs of Kayaking
As you gain more experience in kayaking, you will notice that more advanced vessels come with plenty of features that can be useful. You will probably get kayaks that are comfier, built with nicer material and make your kayaking experience better. With better kayaks, the price will also go up.
Renting a Kayak
If kayaking is something that you will only be doing once a year, then you may also want to consider renting a boat on your next ocean touring trip.
Renting is a good option for people who really want to try out kayaking but not sure if they will enjoy it enough to invest any money into a kayak and gear. A large number of people prefer to rent out kayaks on a vacation instead of buying one because it saves them from the trouble of maintaining and carrying their kayaks to the venue.
Renting a kayak on your trip can be very economical and save you money. Most kayaking hot spots run a kayak rental service and charge around $15 to $25 for a full day of rental. The rental cost can be higher or lower, depending on your plans and you may have to pay more for renting the gear as well. Find out what’s offered at the venue before traveling to save disappointment.
The good thing about renting is that it gives you the option to take part in different activities on your vacation without feeling stuck with kayaking alone. You also don’t have to shuttle the kayak back and forth from home to the venue. You don’t have to worry about kayak storage or maintenance either.
The average cost of kayaking depends on where you are going, what type of kayak and gear you will get and whether you will rent out a kayak instead of buying one.
The price of the kayak is going to be the main cost to worry about and ranges between $500 and $1,500. Additional gear costs around $300 to $600.