Why Are Kayaks So Expensive? Top Reasons Explained

This article will explain the top reasons why kayaks can be expensive to purchase.

If you are in the market for a kayak, you know the prices can be high. Because of their simple design and size, one would think these water vessels would be more affordable.

Many people have become interested in kayaking over the last few decades because of the fun experience with nature and the beneficial exercise these vessels provide.

Although many people want to go kayaking, the cost of kayaks leaves them scratching their heads. What is it about kayaks that make them so expensive?

Man with paddle for sport boat kayak in store
Man with a paddle for a sports boat kayak in a store

Reasons Kayaks Can Be So Expensive

There are multiple reasons that make kayaks so costly. We will explore these reasons below so you can better understand the causes and appreciate all the work that goes into creating beautiful kayaks.

1. The Materials

One of the top reasons kayaks are so expensive is due to the materials. While less expensive kayaks are made of plastic, which is a cheap material, the best kayaks feature other materials, including fiberglass.

Kayaks made from materials like fiberglass are going to be more expensive. Although they cost more, most kayakers feel they are worth the added expense because they last longer and hold up better in the water.

Those who only kayak a couple of times a year will likely be satisfied with a cheap plastic kayak. If you kayak frequently or participate in races, cheap plastic simply will not hold up in the long run.

When choosing a kayak and its cost, always consider the materials before deciding. Select a more durable material, such as fiberglass, if you are an avid kayaker that depends on durability.

several kayaks laying on pavement

2. The Features

The features can also impact the cost of a kayak. Some people do not realize how many features are available with kayaks. It can be quite overwhelming.

Some kayaks are made for fishing and offer rod holders. Most kayaks have some degree of dry storage available for stowing gear.

The number of seats featured on the kayak will also impact the cost. Those with more than one seat are going to naturally cost more.

In addition to these common features, you may see cup holders, roller bars for dragging the kayak, and paddle racks. All of these features make for a better experience on the water but also cause the costs to rise.

3. The Type

There are four main types of kayaks, and each one is going to have a different price tag, depending on its purpose. Consider the following.

  • Deep sea kayaks must be made of durable materials that often include fiberglass. These vessels are the largest type of kayak and are the most expensive.
  • Slalom kayaks are meant for racing and must hold up to the rigorous demands of the sport. These are typically made of heavy-duty plastic or fiberglass.
  • River running kayaks are meant for casual kayakers and are made of different materials. You can purchase cheap plastic or better models made of fiberglass.
  • Freestyle kayaks, often called rodeo kayaks, are the smallest of the bunch. These are also typically the least expensive, depending on the materials.

4. The Accessories

The accessories that come with the kayak will also affect the price tag. Although you will pay more for accessories, you may find these packages a better deal than trying to purchase each one separately.

Kayaks that come with paddles are going to cost more because paddles are expensive. You should know that a pair of paddles can sell for $200 or more dollars when purchased alone.

If you are on a budget and unsure whether you will like kayaking, it would be wise to purchase a base model first. Base models without accessories are more affordable, and you can always purchase extras later if you stick with kayaking.

kayak paddles standing upright

5. The Manufacturing Location

Where the kayak is made can have a significant influence on how much it costs. Some countries use cheaper materials to manufacture kayaks. Just remember that you do get what you pay for in most cases.

You should also consider the location from which the kayak is being sold. Kayaks sold in small shops are often more expensive than those sold online.

While most people want to sit in a kayak and try it before they buy, purchasing a vessel online will help you save money.

If you purchase a kayak located outside of the country, you are going to end up paying extensive money for shipping. It is better to purchase locally or via an online shop that offers free shipping.

Are There Alternatives to New Kayaks?

Since new kayaks can be unaffordable for some, it is essential to explore alternatives. One of the best options for saving money is buying a used vessel.

It is especially beneficial to purchase a used kayak if you are unsure about your commitment level and just want to try the sport. Used kayaks can save you money and allow you to purchase a better vessel than you could afford new.

You can also rent a kayak if you plan on going on vacation and do not want to shell out the cash for a vessel. You can rent most kayaks by the hour or day, saving you money.

kayak rentals on a beach

Choose Your Kayak Carefully

While price is an essential consideration when purchasing a kayak, it should not be the only one. No matter the price of the kayak, you must consider the materials, features, and accessories.

Owning a kayak allows you freedom on the water. Renting or purchasing a used kayak can save you money if a new one does not fit your budget.