When Is The Best Time To Buy A Kayak? A Guide to Save Money

It’s important not to make a rushed decision if you’re looking to buy your first kayak or upgrade your current one. It’s better to wait and gather as much information as you can about the kayaking market because usually the prices will be significantly lower.

So, what is the best time to buy a kayak? The best time of the year to buy a kayak is the end of the kayaking season or the offseason which is typically during late August and early September, that’s because the demand for kayaks will be lower in that time. Another suitable period to buy kayaks is during holidays like Christmas or Memorial Day.

Keep reading to learn more about how to choose the best kayak for you and how to get a good deal. If you are ready to go check out some Kayaks, you can check out my guide on the best Kayaks for less than $500 here.

What You Should Know Before You Buy a Kayak

Kayaks to show what is the best time to buy a kayak

There are many factors to consider before you purchase your kayak but first, you need to learn about some of the main types of kayaks in the market.

Types of kayaks

Sit-on-top kayaks

  • They don’t have a cockpit so the kayaker is positioned on top of the deck.
  • They’re easier to board and re-enter from the water.
  • They’re easier to balance which makes them good for kids and beginners.
  • They have scupper holes to drain the water that splashes onto the deck.

Sit-in Kayaks

  • They’re built with an enclosed cockpit.
  • They’re best for cold weather because they can keep the kayaker dry.
  • They’re faster and better when it comes to maneuverability.
  • They’re good for covering longer distances.

You can check my comparison of sit-on-top Vs sit-in Kayaks here with a deeper dive into when to use each and which one you should get.

Inflatable Kayaks

  • They’re portable and easier to store as they can be deflated to fit anywhere.
  • They’re not very fast and can be harder to steer.
  • They’re good for still water and calm currents.
  • They’re more prone to damage as they can get punctured easily.

Recreational Kayaks

  • They can be sit-on-top or sit-in.
  • They’re stable, easy to steer, and relatively comfortable.

Touring Kayaks

  • They are the best for camping and long trips.
  • They have more storage space to carry camping supplies.
  • They suit both beginners and experienced kayakers.
  • They’re very stable in fast current.

Fishing Kayaks

  • They come with built in rod holders to make fishing easier.
  • They have enough space to carry all your fishing gear.
  • They’re lightweight and easy to carry.
  • They’re stable and easy to steer.

Fishing Kayaks are kind of my specialty and passion, which is why you will find many guides on the site on them. You can check out this guide to ocean fishing kayaks, for example, or this guide on the best river fishing kayaks.

Whitewater Kayaks

  • They’re more suitable for experienced kayakers.
  • They’re harder to re-enter from the water.
  • They’re the best when it comes to maneuvering faster currents.

How Much Should You Spend on a Kayak?

How much you should spend on a kayak depends on many factors, the most important of which is your budget which can vary wildly from one person to another. So, instead, you should be looking at the average price for every type of kayak.

Check out the following table for the average price you’re likely to pay for every type of kayaks.

Kayak TypeAverage Price
Recreational Kayak$400-$650
Inflatable Kayak$500-$800
Fishing Kayak$750-$1,100
Whitewater Kayak$850-$1300
Touring Kayak    $1,000-$1,350

If you are looking for something more budget-friendly, check out my guide on the best fishing kayaks for less than $1,000 here. These provide superb value for the money, so definitely give them a look.

Factors to consider

Now that you’re aware of the main types of kayaks, there are some factors you should keep in mind to help narrow down your choices.

Let’s take a look at these factors.

  • Material

There are different kinds of material to choose from.  These include Kevlar, carbon fiber, inflatable plastic, fiberglass, wood, and hard plastic. 

Hard plastic is durable, but heavier in weight.  While fiberglass is lighter in weight, but usually more durable. 

Carbon fiber and Kevlar can be even lighter in weight, but are much more expensive and usually not a good idea for beginners

Wooden kayaks aren’t used much these days because they’re expensive to manufacture and they’re a lot heavier in weight.

  • Weight and load capacity

This is basically the total weight of the kayak, the gear and the kayaker. It’s important to be aware of this to avoid overloading the kayak. 

  • Shape and design

Kayaks are designed for different purposes and this has a great impact on their performance.

A longer and narrower kayak will be faster. while a shorter and wider kayak will be more stable.

Depth also affects the kayak’s performance because deeper hulls have more legroom and more storage while shallower hulls offer more resistance to the wind.

  • Storage and onboard space

The differences in design between kayaks will affect the onboard space and storage options. To put it simply, the bigger your kayak is; the more space you’ll have for your gear.

  • Stability and safety

Wider kayaks have a higher center of gravity, which means they have a higher degree of primary stability. On the other hand, narrower kayaks have a lower center of gravity, which means they have a significantly higher degree of secondary stability.

  • Performance

The Performance of a kayak mainly comes down to two things – speed and tracking. Speed is greatly affected by the kayak’s length and width. Tracking, on the other hand, depends on the actual design of the kayak.

  • Paddling environments

You need to take into consideration the kind of weather you’ll be paddling in as well as where you’re paddling.

If you’re paddling along the coasts, factors like wind, waves, currents, and tides need to be considered. But, if you’re paddling in calm open bodies of water like lakes, you can choose any sit-on-top or recreational sit-in boat. To navigate rivers, however, you can go with a touring kayak.

  • Seating and comfort

When it comes to comfort, one kind isn’t necessarily more comfortable than the other, it all depends on your preference.

In some kayaks, the seat is positioned higher above the water level. It can be a molded-in seat or it can be attached to the deck. While in other kayaks, the kayaker will be seated at water level and the hull will be covering most of the lower body.

  • Cost

The price depends on several factors including the construction, materials, size, capacity, comfort features, and the intended use.

How to Choose the Best Kayak for You?

Your choice will mainly depend on your situation and the kind of experience you are looking to get, so the best way to make a decision is to do your research on different types of kayaks and identify how and where you’ll be using your kayak.

I have a complete guide here on choosing the right fishing kayak for you here which can be really helpful especially if that’s your first time buying a kayak.

What Are the Best Times to Buy a Kayak?

Identifying which times of the year to buy a kayak is really simple. The prices will be lower when the demand for the kayak is at its lowest, which is during the off-season.

The prime kayaking season starts during springtime when the temperatures are pleasant enough for kayaking and typically lasts until autumn (specifically late August and early September).

During the off-season, the prices are going to decline which makes it the best time to buy a kayak. You will find great deals on older models since sellers will be buying newer models in preparation for the next season. While the worst time to buy a brand new kayak would be the start of the kayaking season because that’s when the demand will be at its highest.

The second best time to buy a kayak is during holidays such as Christmas (December) and Memorial Day (The last Monday of the month of May) because dealers, vendors and retailers will offer great deals and significant discounts.

3 Tips to get a good deal on your kayak

Aside from knowing the best time of the year to buy your kayak, there are other ways to get a good deal when you’re buying a kayak.

Here are some tips you can follow:

Consider buying a used kayak

Many people sell used kayaks online for significantly affordable prices. These sale opportunities come and go quickly, depending on the size of the used market in your area.

So it’s good to regularly check on websites like Craigslist or Facebook groups for used kayaks. This will keep you updated on the newest additions to these platforms until you find the best opportunity you are looking for.

Garage sales are also a great place to find a good deal on a used kayak.

Go for an older model

Local sellers usually discount at the end of the kayaking season, especially on older models. That is because sometimes they do not manage to sell their past season’s stock, so they will be looking to get rid of the older models to free up space for new stock for the new season.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that as the stock gets sold, you will have fewer options to choose from.

Sign up for email notifications

Try signing up for email notifications from a handful of manufacturers to keep track of all their remodels and release announcements. You can also keep updated on discount deals once they’re available.

To help you further here’s a list of some of the most reputable stores to get deals on kayaks

  • Outdoorplay  They have a good selection of inflatable and fishing kayaks for every skill level. They also have frequent sales, an excellent warranty.
  • Backcountry – They have a good selection of whitewater, inflatable, touring, and fishing kayaks.
  • REI – Their selection is limited but you can still find some good deals.
  • Bass Pro Shops / Cabela’s – They have a decent selection of fishing kayaks as well as frequent sales and the option of free shipping.
  • Amazon – You can find almost every type of kayak on amazon, however, good deals don’t usually last very long.

You should also subscribe to my notifications and email newsletters as always keep an eye on every deal out there and will always send you whenever I find a real deal.

Related Questions

How Often Do Companies Release New Kayak Models?

Kayak manufacturing companies go through a process to design and test new kayak models. This process averagely takes between 12 and 36 months. After the design and testing phase are completed, they start producing the new line of kayaks for the coming season.

What Is the Most Stable Type of Kayak?

The most stable type of kayak is the sit-on-top kayak. That is because sit-on-top kayaks have a high center of gravity and they’re relatively wide. This gives them a higher degree of initial stability which allows the kayak to remain upright.

 Helpful Resources 

Recreational Kayaking: The Ultimate Guide By Ken Whiting (you can also check the book on Amazon here)

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