TopKayaker.Net: Kayak Customization & Repair Articles

Used KayaksBuying A Used Kayak

by Alex of KayakCritic.net

When the time comes to buy a used kayak, some simple buying tips could really make this a much more pleasurable experience. If you plan on using your kayak on a regular basis and already know the model or brand you prefer, the time to grab a used kayak is here.

These tips are more geared towards experienced kayakers who already understand which equipment works best for their body and the water conditions in which they ride.

A person new to this sport might need some time test paddling kayaks before they find a kayak perfect for them. I would recommend renting a few times until you know what you want.

That being said, if you are comfortable with your buying choice, here are some important tips for making good decisions on a used kayak.

Choosing the Right Kayak
Unlike buying used merchandise where you are looking for a great deal on price, when it comes to buying a used kayak you are looking for a specific style and brand that works best for you. Our first consideration must be getting the appropriate craft for the conditions you plan to paddle in most frequently: flatwater streams, inland lakes, whitewater rivers, or the ocean coast.

Take a Closer Look
While many kayaks might appear to look perfect on the surface, there could be significant problems. Chances are the kayak is not going to be in pristine condition and most likely covered in sand or debris. Before you even consider buying it, you need to give it a good rinsing both inside and out. You might not realize it but the sand, leaves, and dirt, all could be concealing flaws and cracks in the kayak.

The Hatches and Gaskets
While you are using the hose to clean off the kayak and look for any defects in the structure, pay close attention to the hatches and gaskets. Take the hose and spray these areas with a generous amount of water, looking to make certain that they are watertight. The last thing you want to do is get the 'yak home and out on the water, just to discover water is leaking into it. Take a few minutes to ensure the boat is not leaking in these key areas.

Deck Fitting Bolts
The deck fitting bolts should be free of corrosion. If they are damaged significantly, it could be a challenge for you to get the fittings to stay secure. If this is the only problem with the used kayak, realize that they can be replaced with stainless steel bolts. This is not the end of the world if they are corroded, it just takes some time to swap them all out before you hit the water or you risk gouging your gear if they come in contact with the corroded bolts. In fact, this can be a great negotiation point you can use to lower the price even further.

The Deck Lines
Take a close look at the deck lines. The elastic materials that make up this accessory definitely will age quickly depending on how often they were exposed to direct sunlight. These deck lines can be replaced, just keep in mind that the more items that need replacing the more money you will have to spend. If this was the only problem with the used kayak, and it is a good price, definitely buy it. But as I mentioned earlier, use these problems to your advantage to get a better price on it.

Gouges to the Kayak Surface
Bring the kayak out into the sun and take a close look at the surface. If you see cracks and gouges along the surface in a few areas, this can be quickly repaired with an epoxy repair kit. If the entire surface is full of cracks, move on to the next kayak. For small repairs, use the crack as bargaining leverage to get a lower price, then simply follow these repair steps:

For composite materials:

  • Step 1: Purchase epoxy patches bigger than the crack.
  • Step 2: Sand the surface with a firm sanding block.
  • Step 3: Place two epoxy patches over crack, let dry, then sand.
  • Step 4: Paint the surface to match the rest of the kayak.
  • Step 5: Use marine wax to restore the shine to the entire kayak and hit the water.

Indentations in Polyethylene Hulls

With the kayak outside in the open, look closely at the hull for any indentations. One of the things you can use to your advantage when negotiating the price is that these indentations often look worse than they really are. Depending on the severity of the indentation, you can easily smooth out the surface gradually by simply applying weights to the area with a constant low heat source. Using a hair dryer while weighting down the area can easily restore the surface.

The Cockpit Coaming
Look inside the kayak at the coaming for jagged edges and cracks. While these areas can quickly be repaired using a fiberglass or epoxy repair kit, you want to be aware of them before you take the craft home and hit the water. These jagged edges could easily rip your gear or cause you some injuries to your legs and waist. Before hitting the water be sure to repair the cockpit location thoroughly.

The Kayak Rudder
If the used kayak that you are considering comes with a rudder, pay very close attention to the moving parts of this area. The cables running to the rudder could be frayed and need replacing. There are also several fastenings and mechanical parts that make up the rudder, so do a visual inspection while moving the rudder from side to side to make sure that it is working properly. It is a good idea to replace these parts if they appear worn before you take it for a ride.

Check With the Manufacturer
This is one of the most important tips when buying a used kayak. Take the time to make sure this particular manufacturer is still in business. You might not need replacement parts today, but when the time comes to replace something you want to be able to still get new parts or upgrades as they become available.

I hope that these tips will come in handy next time you are in a market for a kayak, without spending too much money on a brand new one.


We hope you've found this information helpful.
We appreciate your feedback & support.
Using these links to purchase or to participate makes TopKayaker.net possible.

Find more TopKayaker.net Affiliates


Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional