Buying Used Kayaks (14 Things To Keep In Mind)

Fact Checked By James A Rockey | Post Updated On: November 21, 2022
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Buying a used kayak is stressful work but there are a few factors that you can consider while buying an old kayak. You should consider the weight, stability, condition, paddle type, length, storage capacity, stern & scupper holes condition, deck fittings, etc. to ensure you are buying the right used kayak for you.

Key Takeaways

  • You can buy a used Kayak from Gumtree, Craiglist, Facebook Marketplaces, Alibaba,, etc.
  • If you are not an experienced kayaker and looking for a used kayak then you should pick a kayak that comes with superior initial stability
  • if you are looking for speed in a used kayak then you should opt for a longer kayak
  • You should buy a bent-shaft paddled kayak because this type of kayak offers great efficiency when paddling in flat water or calm water
  • Wear and tear could seriously affect the quality of a used kayak therefore you must look out for signs of wear and tear on the hull

Why You May Want To Buy Used Or Second-Hand Kayaks?

Kayaks come in a variety of price ranges. You will find expensive kayaks, as well as inexpensive ones. The price ranges are contingent on the material and the type/size of the kayak. Composite material kayaks are usually the most expensive ones. And, plastic kayaks are the least expensive.

Kayaking may be your temporary fixation or you. Or, you may not be a serious kayaker. Therefore, you don’t want to break the bank by buying a kayak. Whatever your reason may be, you can get a used kayak at an affordable price.

Fishing and tandem kayaks tend to be much more expensive, you can reduce much of your expense on one of such kayaks by purchasing a used kayak.

A brand-new kayak may come with a warranty and an additional servicing opportunity for an extended period. But, with a used kayak, you may not enjoy such features. Therefore, you need to consider additional factors and be more careful in purchasing a used kayak.

buying used kayaks

In this article, I am going to discuss the factors you need to consider before purchasing a kayak. Being able to buy the best-used kayak ensures that you enjoy kayaking with ease and thrill.

Where To Buy Used Kayaks (Some Best Places)?

There are plenty of sources you can go to and look for a used kayak. Even you can order a used kayak online.

Here are some trusted sources –

1. Gumtree

2. Craiglist

3. Facebook Marketplaces (different kayak groups)

4. Used Retailers

5. Alibaba

6. eBay


8. Garage Sales

What To Look For When Buying A Used Kayak

It is always suggested that you take the used kayak to a nearby lake or river for a test paddle (if the owner allows it) and see it live whether any issues exist on your kayak or not. But, generally, there are 14 things or parts (section of your kayak) you need to double-check while you are going to buy a used kayak. If you are really looking for a good quality used kayak, then considering these 14 factors or keeping these in mind is a must. Here you go- 

1. Weight & Stability

2. Type of paddle

3. Length of tandem

4. Comfort

5. Accessories (that come with your second-hand kayak)

6. Transportability

7. Storage capacity

8. Condition of the kayak (Fading or Cracks)

9. Location of where the kayak was stored

10. Stern condition

11. Scupper Holes condition

12. Seals or area around extra stuff of your kayak

13. Deck fittings

14. Scratches

Let’s learn more about them one by one – in detail. 

Weight & Stability Of A Used Kayak

Your kayak should be easy to store, transport, and launch. If you are going for a rigid model, choose a kayak that could be as light as possible. For this reason, inflatable kayaks are the best.

When it comes to stability, a kayak won’t have both initial and final stability. They may have either one of them, but not both. Opt for a kayak that comes with superior initial stability if you are not an experienced kayaker.

The longer a kayak is, the faster it will move. Therefore, the length of a kayak is important. However, speed comes with a price. It will be harder for you to maneuver a long kayak. Shorter kayaks are easy to maneuver and back paddle. Shorter kayaks will obviously be a bit slower.

Storage Condition

If you find a kayak that is covered with dirt or leaves or mud; then you can assume that the kayak was stored outside of a garage or it was not covered well with some shed or terpal (plastic sheet). 

Seals or Sensitive areas

If the kayak owners mounted any fishing poles, anchor lines, or lids then you will find some seals or gums/extra layers of plastics/leather to support those mounts. Just make sure they are not leaking water. 

Type of Paddle

Choose a bent-shaft paddled kayak. This type of paddle offers great efficiency when paddling in flat water or calm water. The reason why you will have great efficiency is that the paddle is set at the angle of the shaft.

Storage Capacity

If you don’t plan on using the kayak for a long period of time, the storage capacity shouldn’t be an issue. Always check the foot brace. However, you will only find the foot brace in a sea kayak.


You need to consider different factors that could affect the quality of a kayak. Look out for wear and tear that could seriously affect the quality of a used kayak. Hardshell kayaks are prone to wear and tear. Therefore, look out for signs of wear and tear on the hull.

When you are negotiating for a used kayak online, don’t be afraid to ask for more photos – photos that keep specific parts of kayaks in focus. The stern of a kayak sometimes is dragged along the ground. You may look for signs of wear and tear on the stern as well.

Sometimes people sit in the yak, thereby causing the hull to crack.

Sun Factor

A kayak may develop significant damage over the years if kept exposed to the sun. The sun may have weakened the plastic if a kayak is faded.

Stern Condition

People often drag their kayaks over the cement or concrete and thus you will often find scratches on the stern on the bottom rear of the kayak. See how colossal those scratches are on the stern. If it looks good and you can repair those – then go for it. 

Scupper Holes Condition

Pay close attention to the kayak’s back and inspect the hull. If the kayak owner seats over the kayak when it’s laid down on the beach or on any concrete basement; the scupper holes/drain holes become shoved out. Just make sure it will not cause any leaks when you will be in the water. 

Accessories That Comes With Your Kayak

So, while buying that kayak, will your previous owner give you the Paddles, anchors, Licensing documents, Suits, knives, or any PFD tools? Just make sure – these are available while buying. 

Used Kayaks Buying Checklist

Well, ask yourself these questions while you are investigating an old kayak. If the answers you find satisfactory – go for it. 

1. How old is the kayak?

2. What condition does the kayak reflect upon first look?

3. Where was the kayak previously stored?

4. Does the kayak have any sun damage if it is an inflatable one?

5. Is there any warranty or service coupon that exists for the kayak?

How To Determine The Value or Price of a Used Kayak?

If the deck and hull are in really good condition and the kayak has been used less than 50 times, then the used kayak value maybe 85% of the original price (new kayak).

If the used kayak is 5 years old – then offer 55% of the original price.

If the used kayak is 10 years old – then offer 15% of the original price (based on the present market).

Here is a video explaining everything about buying an old kayak –

Bottom Line

A used kayak may be worth it if you are looking to save money instead of buying a brand-new kayak. If you are considering buying a used kayak, this guide will prove very effective.


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