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What does a Kayak cost?

Before starting kayaking, the question of costs is crucial. Compared to other water sports enthusiasts, kayakers can manage with relatively little equipment, but the question of the price of the equipment is still important. We also often hear the question: “Is kayaking expensive?

At first glance, kayaking seems like an expensive sport. It doesn’t take much, but certain equipment is mandatory. The kayak, a paddle and life jacket as well as various small items have to be bought first. In the beginning there is a certain investment for beginners.

However, nobody is deterred by the price tag. The entry into the kayak sport is surprisingly cheap. The upper end of the price range is admittedly quite high, but for beginners there are plenty of good and inexpensive kayaks. For beginners inflatable kayaks are completely sufficient. The Inflatables have reduced the prices for kayaking extremely, but what does a kayak cost?

A kayak for beginners costs slightly more than $150. For fixed touring kayaks a medium to high three-digit amount is usually required. Professional kayaks for kayak fishing or for whitewater use are in the price range from $1000 to $4000. The large price range is explained by the size, the materials used and the additional functions of the kayaks.

How expensive is a kayak?

Kayaking is becoming more and more popular from year to year. On the one hand, it is one of the best ways to spend a day on the water. It doesn’t matter if you want to paddle over lakes, rivers or seas. On the other hand, kayaking is an excellent whole body workout that doesn’t feel like a workout at all.

Kayaks are powered by a double paddle. This distinguishes them from Canadians who paddle with a paddle. In recent years, inflatable kayaks have become a big trend. In these models, the actual kayak is just a plastic cover that has to be inflated before it can be used. This has nothing to do with air mattresses. Today’s inflatable kayaks are hard as stone when inflated and can hardly be distinguished from solid kayaks.

The lower material and transport costs of the inflatable kayaks provide for the considerably lower purchase price of these models. Inflatable kayaks are available for more than $150. The first solid polyethylene kayaks start at $250 to $300.

Polyethylene is a robust but quite heavy model. For this reason, Touring kayaks are mostly made of fibreglass or carbon. Both materials are light, but also bring with them higher costs. For this reason, fixed touring kayaks are priced in the mid to high three-digit range.

For the use in special areas like kayak fishing or in whitewater special models are required, which are considerably more expensive due to the complex production, the equipment with numerous extras and the low quantities. The purchase price of these kayaks starts at around $1000 and is at its peak up to $4000. For this considerable sum, there is a lightweight boat that resists the environment, is extremely robust, has additional storage space and additional features such as adjustable seats, rod or paddle holders.

What kind of kayak do you need?

The choice of kayak type depends on the intended area of use. Depending on what you intend to do with the kayak, you will need to choose an appropriate model. The type of kayak has a big influence on the price and the area of use also determines the equipment needed.

For example, kayak anglers will need a special fishing kayak that has additional storage hatches, is equipped with rod holders and is wide so that it is stable in the water, as well as other accessories. For beginners, however, there are all-rounders, as these boats are suitable for different areas of use.

When doing your research, don’t forget the other equipment that has to be purchased in addition to the kayak. A good start is our article about the really important kayak accessories for beginners. The costs for this equipment should not be neglected in your estimate, as they can add up quickly.

But also ask yourself which equipment you really need. Experience shows that a lot of available accessories can be bought, but most of them are not really necessary. All you need for the start is the equipment, which is absolutely essential for kayaking, transport and your own safety. All nice but not necessary accessories can be renounced for the time being.

If you don’t plan trips across the open sea, you don’t need a GPS system. Especially since the same result can be achieved with a smartphone.  Essentially, all you need is a life jacket, a first aid kit that is stored in the kayak, a kayak paddle, a bag for transporting provisions, equipment for transporting the kayak and of course the kayak itself.

The different types of kayaks

  • Allround kayaks: Allrounders are suitable for paddling on lakes, calm rivers, canals, waters with slow currents and coastal waters. Allround kayaks are available in inflatable and polyethylene and are a good choice for beginners due to their stability and low price. Compared to other kayak types, all-rounders offer less storage space for luggage and equipment.
  • Touring Kayaks: The longer and faster Touring Kayaks are especially suitable for longer distances. They shine especially on the open sea and large lakes. Touring kayaks offer more storage space and have a higher maximum payload, so they are also suitable for multi-day trips with camping equipment.
  • Whitewater kayaks: Whitewater kayaks are designed for canoeing in rapids and extreme whitewater. The boats are made of extra strong materials and can even withstand collisions with rocks.

Another question is whether you want to buy a solo kayak or a kayak for more people. If you often travel together with another paddler, you can reach for a tandem kayak. Special family kayaks offer space for two adults and one child. Three kayaks are the largest kayaks and are even driven by three people.

What causes the price differences?

Most of the initial investment is in the kayak. Anyone looking for online shops will be amazed at the dramatic price differences. The cheapest models cost only $150, while other models cost more than $1500.

You might ask yourself something like: “What is the difference between a $150 kayak and a $1500 kayak? Both swim, right?”

Yes. Hopefully both kayaks swim. The main differences are the different construction, the material used, the boat shape and the comfort of the kayak.

  • Construction method: Inflatable kayaks are much cheaper than fixed kayaks. The material is much less expensive and the transport is much cheaper. It is much easier to ship a package the size of a rucksack than a four metre long boat.
  • Shape: Expensive kayaks are typically longer. For long trips these kayaks are well suited, but lose stability. Cheap kayaks are usually shorter and more stable in the water. For beginners cheap kayaks are often better suited.
  • Material: The material influences the longevity, robustness and weight of the kayak. Furthermore, the material has a strong influence on the riding characteristics. The material used is also clearly reflected in the price. High-quality materials such as GRP and carbon are particularly lightweight and therefore better suited for advanced kayakers who want to reach high speeds. Beginners are better off with inflatable kayaks, which are comfortable to transport and store, or with (solid) polyethylene kayaks, which are particularly robust but weigh a little more.
  • Comfort: If you plan long trips with your kayak, you should attach great importance to a high-quality seat in which you can sit comfortably for several hours.
  • Special equipment: Expensive kayaks are equipped with a range of special equipment in contrast to cheap all-rounders. Many fishing kayaks, for example, have rod holders, are extra wide and equipped with a pedal drive.

As experience shows, the demands on the kayak also increase and other factors are added. However, beginners should focus on the above when looking for their first kayak.


Your own kayak is a great way to spend an afternoon (or even the whole weekend) on the water. And a cheap, inflatable kayak, which is well suited for beginners, only costs a little more than $150.

A professional fishing kayak, on the other hand, comes with a clearly four-digit price tag. Also the care of the kayak should not be neglected. A well maintained kayak will last longer. This will save you a lot of money in the long run.

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