Every day a few dozen kayaks get listed on Craigslist, fishing forums, and Buy/Sell/Trade lists. On these lists are people with buyer’s remorse, listing these kayaks as “never seen the water” or “only used twice” or some other variant. If you follow these tips when you get ready to purchase, the chances of you having to flip that kayak to try to get your cash back will be lessened significantly.
#1 TALK TO YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER
One of the biggest issues I see constantly are folks who go buy a kayak without discussing it with their spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend or fiancee first. Obviously this really only applies to those that have shared bank accounts or shared financial responsibility but a good discussion of why you want it, how much it will cost and what it will be used for will lay the groundwork. I see a LOT of big box store kayaks back on the market a couple of days after purchase. This is because big box stores usually don’t take returns on kayaks. Communication on a large purchase is always advisable.
#2 DEMO, DEMO, DEMO
You are tired of hearing it by now I am sure. If at all possible demo a kayak before you buy it. I’m speaking from experience. I’m a knucklehead and have broken this rule MORE THAN ONCE. Find a buddy with the kayak, take a drive to a shop, do something to make sure that the kayak you are about to drop that hard earned money on is actually the right fit. Save yourself some heartache.
#3 DECIDE FOR YOUR SITUATION
Don’t buy a kayak because you want to have the same adventures as the people in the commercials and videos. You can create your own adventures. Don’t buy a kayak because you think it will get you into a new peer group. If they don’t like you before they aren’t really your friends. Don’t buy a kayak for $200 and expect it to be the most comfortable thing in the world. There is no perfect kayak for every person in every situation. If you ever hear someone say Brand X is the perfect kayak, they are almost always speaking out of their own experience. The human body comes in innumerable sizes, shapes and weight distributions. Everything from core strength to belly fat can come into play. Only you can decide what the best kayak for you is. Frankly, it rarely is the first one you buy. #2 will help with this.
#4 MAKE A LIST
Sit down and make a list of all the things you want in a kayak. Make a list of all the places you’ll be fishing. Keep the list realistic. I bought a kayak once because I wanted to fish BTB (Beyond the Breakers) more. It didn’t result in anymore trips than normal and didn’t get used for what I bought it for. It wasn’t realistic. I fish lakes and rivers 10 times more than saltwater. It’s a proximity thing. If you are nine hours from the nearest beach, buying a kayak specifically for BTB might be a bit pie in the sky, especially if it’s the ONLY kayak you will have. Ask lots of people what they like about their kayaks. Then you need to ask them what they would change. Take all of this with you when you go shopping.
#5 DON’T RUSH
The little kid in me has come out with a few kayak purchases in the past. I’d sell of some gear, get $250 in my pocket and go buy just what I could get. Literally less than a week from when I had the money in hand, it was gone. What I should have done was take my time, follow all these other tips, save some more money and gotten something I would have liked for the long term. Don’t buy a one night stand kayak. Look for the long term relationship.