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7 Things to Consider When Buying a Kayak for the Lake

This morning I spotted an innocent question in one of my Facebook groups asking for guidance on purchasing a kayak.

Being ‘me’, by the time I was done answering this poor fellow on FB, I had pretty much written a blog post LOL! I then realized that this info would be helpful to share with my readers…so here it is 🙂

Please keep in mind that our family’s experience with kayaking is limited to kayaking recreationally on a lake, no rivers or rapids. Should you wish to kayak on rivers or rapids, or use your kayak for fishing, this list would not be suitable for you as you would need to evaluate your purchase decision using different criteria.

For those of you looking to get out and paddle on the lake where exercise and serenity meet, this list should give you some guidelines to help you with your decision.

  1. SIT-ON vs SIT-IN
    We opted for sit-in, but keep in mind that spiders, webs and even nests will be a ‘thing’. We know many people who prefer ‘sit-on’, so this is a matter of personal preference.
  2. SIZE
    We opted for 10’ which has been user-friendly for adults and teens as well as visiting nieces and nephews, but there are different sizes. If you have younger kids in your gang, you may wish to consider a smaller kayak in your ‘fleet’ with the knowledge that it may need to be replaced with a larger one when the kids are grown. Make sure to choose a model that can be stored in both your summer and winter storage space(s). Transporting the kayak home from the store is also something to consider but a one-time situation that can find a solution and need not be the deciding factor in your purchase decision.
    We have not personally had any experience with inflatable kayaks but know others who have and are less than enthused. That said, an inflatable may be the right option for you if storage and / or transportation of a large kayak is an issue and you plan to kayak in different locations.
    Please keep the following in mind if you intend to kayak in different bodies of water: You must WASH -DRAIN-DRY your kayak, paddle and other other watersports equipment prior to bringing them to a different body of water- even if you are leaving them for days (or even weeks) in between. The reason for this is to prevent the spread of invasive species. This goes for both solid and inflatable equipment
    You may want to consider getting colours that are more visible from a distance, especially if (a) you are on a motorized lake and/or (b) you plan to let the kids out on their own. We were advised against getting blue or even green as they tend to camouflage. ( I personally notice green kayaks but that’s just me!)
    Our kayaks did not come with paddles. To be honest it ended up being a stroke of good luck as one of the paddles we purchased was a higher-priced model on liquidation for a fantastic price. It is extraordinarily light and makes kayaking much easier. Consider both weight & adjustability for your paddle.
  6. PRICE
    A great trick is to use the Flipp App and to search ‘kayak’ weekly or even set up an alert to be advised automatically. They go on sale from time to time. We got discounts of $100  and $120 off. Flipp can help you purchase on the right week and you can use the extra $ to get an extra great paddle!
    Costco offers a great kit annually – solid 10′ kayak plus paddle plus roof rack. If you can snag one before they are gone, the kit offers good value (even better when on sale- but they disappear quickly!). That being said, you may wish to choose your own paddle (see point # 5 above) and if you don’t have any intentions of transporting your kayak once it has arrived home or to the cottage, then the roof rack just becomes an extra thing to store. I would advocate putting your $ towards a better paddle rather than a roof rack…UNLESS you plan to transport your kayak often, at which point the all-inclusive kit becomes a very attractive option.

You may be wondering if we have a favourite in the Toledano household…we own two Pelican kayaks, both from Canadian Tire. While we enjoy them both tremendously, we all seem to gravitate towards the Pelican Summit 100 (Red).

Happy paddling!


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