Kayaking on the Hudson

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Choosing a Kayak: New vs. Used

Should you buy new or used?  It’s up to you.  If you buy new you will have your choice of any kayak that is currently in production, but you may end up spending more money.  If you buy used, you can only choose from the kayaks that are available in the used market.  You can save money buying used, but not necessarily.  I’ve seen some great sales on new kayaks where the price was about the same as buying a used one.
Of course some people just like the idea of a new kayak and that’s fine.  You can get the exact kayak you want and you can get it now.  Also, most dealers give you a discount off of paddles, vests, and other equipment when you buy them with the kayak.  Good outfitters will let you try or rent a kayak before purchasing.  You can also get great deals on rental boats from outfitters when they sell them off after the season is over.

If you are looking for a specific model it may be very difficult to find a used one.  On the other hand, if you are flexible you can save lots of money buying used.  When new models are introduced, the old models tend to drop in value so you can get a 5 or 6 year old kayak for ½ the price of a new one.  Of course, the new one will have all of the latest features.  Where you’ll get stuck is buying a new kayak for full price, unless you intend to keep it for a long time.

Let’s look at an example.  A man buys a new kayak for $1200.  He only uses it a few times so it’s just like new when he decides to sell it one year later.  He figures he’ll ask $1100 and probably sell it for $1000.  The problem is that he paid full price and you could get the same kayak new for $900 on sale.  So the used market is only going to give him $800 for the kayak.  So he loses $400 when he sells it.  The person who bought it on sale will only lose $100.

See you on the water,
Don Urmston
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