What to look for when buying a used kayak?

used kayak buying guide

In case that you know what you’re doing, and you know how to shop, then it’s fine to buy a second-hand kayak from a knowledgeable dealer. Here’s what to look for

Buy the right kind of kayak 

There are many different kinds of kayaks, and their design, materials, shape, and weight vary wildly depending on what kind of kayaking they are designed for.

Recreational Kayaks

You can choose from a variety of kayak options available on the market that are suitable for a variety of kayakers, both experienced and inexperienced alike. You can enjoy a variety of activities, including kayaks in a variety of sizes. stable and perfect for handling Many recreational kayaks come with a sunken cockpit, preventing paddlers who are unable to sit upright from being able to use them.In addition to the type mentioned above, other kayaks similar to the one described above are also known by different names.Generally, recreational kayaks are ideal for flat water kayaking on a short trip, such as a lake.

Touring Kayaks

In general, touring kayaks are longer, narrower, and more stable than recreational kayaks.In addition, a touring kayak may have more storage space than a recreational kayak.There are also small hatches that can be opened with lids, suitable for carrying food and equipment on a longer voyage. The boat is specially made for longer trips and has storage for food and gear.You should look at your touring kayak and determine if it has a sit-inside kayak.Most of the boats are also equipped with skegs or rudders, which allow them to track over the water with better accuracy.

Racing And Training

The interior and exterior size of a single carbon fiber touring and racing kayak may be quite different from one another, despite the materials of construction. Because of the interior of the racing kayak being much narrower than the outside of a training kayak. A tour kayak, on the other hand, was designed for speed, rather than for being stable, as recreational kayaks do, so it can have a reduced storage capacity when compared to a touring kayak.

Do a visual inspection

When looking at kayaks, you can tell straightaway whether or not the one belonging to the owner has taken the opportunity to take care of the kayaks well. It is especially important that you pay special attention to the integrity of any ropes in the kayak, to its cleanliness, or any signs that it may have been left unattended for a period of time.

On the whole, it is a good sign if the seller takes good care of the boat when it is not on the water. 

After getting an initial reading of the kayak, the second step is to examine it critically physically. This physical examination is the last step, which entails putting the kayak through a rigorous physical inspection.See if there are any cracks, deformations, or other signs of weakness on the frame, the sides, or the hull by running your fingers over them.The installation process should pay attention to any cracks or gouges that may appear in the wood during the installation process.If you have trouble sitting comfortably in the cockpit, ensure that the cockpit is well outfitted with comfortable seating.Before you launch your kayak, you recommend loosening the ratchet straps if there are any located on the kayak.

Perhaps you would like to investigate the kayak by taking a flashlight inside it and checking it out with a flashlight. Check the kayak’s hull from bottom to top and check if there is any curved hull as you open and close the hatch. Flip the kayak over off its sides and check if it can be heaved in any directions.Be sure that the bulkheads are in good shape and that the shape of the hull will affect the way a kayak moves in the water.If there is any deformation in the kayak’s hull, then it will have a detrimental effect on its performance and will not perform the way it was intended to.

Ask how the kayak was stored

From my perspective, if you are going to consider buying a used kayak that you have an interest in, you ought to inquire about the quality of the kayak’s construction, whether it was properly stored, and if it has been used previously. An unprotected kayak can be utterly useless and lose its value if it is not properly stored.

I would assume that the seller of the kayak would have stored it above ground level and away from direct sunlight in an ideal world.For plastic kayaks, in particular, their hulls are particularly prone to deforming, especially if they face the water because of a lack of waterproofing.GenerallyThe, the only part of a kayak that is capable of taking on all the load is the hull. As a result, it is important to store the kayak so that the part of the kayak that is greatly influenced by the performance of the kayak gets all the load.An object suspended from the webbing is said to be a kayak. leaned up against a wallTaking its cockpit down and putting it on a rack, or by leaning forward or backwardThis will make it less likely that it will sustain storage-related damage.

The Fittings

It is in fact more likely that the fittings of a kayak will show signs of damage from wear and tear than their hull will be compromised by improper storage.It can be assumed that the majority of fittings on a kayak can be replaced, but the value of a damaged fitting might be adversely affected by it.I thought it’d be good if you were made aware of the following aspects:

Hatch Covers: 

Your kayak hatch cover protects your kayak compartments and the gear inside of its hull from rain and prevents water from getting in, as well as ensuring your gear stays off the water and out of it.Because of this, it is not unusual for hatch covers to rot, be broken, or even be missing, or for their rubber seals, which keep them water-tight, to be lost.

Foot Pegs: 

There are some designs that incorporate foot braces or pegs to keep the kayaker fixed with his or her foot in place so he or she can turn and paddle more efficiently.

Seats and Thigh/Knee Pads: 

It is commonly found that the seats of kayaks can be easily removed for easy cleaning and are usually constructed of durable materials such as polyurethane and nylon.Among the most important factors involved in a sitting kayak’s comfort is the design of the seat. It is usually the case that these thigh and knee pads are placed in the interior of the kayak hull so as to improve the fit and overall stability of the kayak.For those who are looking to buy a kayak and intend to take it with you, you must consider these factors. A good idea to ensure that the kayak you are considering comes with all these things is to make sure that it has the following features:Moreover, to ascertain whether the structures are still in good shape and in the proper condition.

Storage Cords: 

On the outside of a kayak, external storage can be provided by means of either a bungee cord or shock cord.This cord is not liable to be damaged by the elements, UV rays, and salt corrosion (which are two major causes of cracks in this cord) if stored outdoors. In order to avoid fraying, it is important to examine these cords for cracks or frayed edges.


In most situations, kayak fittings are attached to the hull of the kayak using stainless steel bolts or screws.During checking of these points for corrosion, it is crucial to examine for the presence of corrosion signs.If there is considerable corrosion to the bolts, then it is crucial that you do not use excessive force in order to unseal them as this could cause the bolts to break off from the hull.In order to free up the joint, it would be preferable to use a very high penetration oil before turning the bolt.It may be the case where the corrosion reaches the point where the bolt becomes so corroded that it must be replaced, and after that, reattached to the boat once again.

Rudder or Skeg: 

The inspection of the rudder lines took place over a period of time.The blades of the rudder must be assessed to ascertain whether they have become distorted or eroded; the mechanism used to control the rudder should also be assessed to ensure there are no malfunctions.You should think twice before deciding to purchase a kayak with a rudder if you have never used one.In order to find out whether the boat’s parts are still available either for the specific model of kayak you are considering or not, it is always very wise to check.In spite of the fact that a skeg or static rudder does not have any moving parts, it is still worthwhile to make sure that any possible impact or collision damage is reported to the blade of the skeg.There may need to be times when both skegs and rudders need to be extended or retracted.This is the case, and in view of that, one should ensure that the lowering and raising cables are free of damage, if that is the case.

Deck Rigging

As the deck lines and rigging refer to cords on each side of a kayak, the deck lines and rigging are often referred to as deck lines and rigging. There are multiple roles that deck rigging performs as mentioned above. such as providing grabholds for platformsWe offer paddlers places to attach their equipment, like bottles of water and wetsuits. backpacks with maps and paddlesFurthermore, There are numerous navigation assistance tools, including skegs and rudders, for use by sailors.There may be frayed, broken, and sagging lines in the kayak that indicate it has not been cleaned properly, or that its lines have grown distorted.


It is recommended that you do not leave rubber hatches out in the sun as all types of rubber degrade rapidly.There are some types of hatches that can be replaced. However, some companies do not have replacement hatches for the older models.

Do a water test

If you are in the market to purchase a kayak, you should make sure that it is the right kayak for you by going out for a test drive.The same is true when it comes to buying a car. You would not be likely to purchase one without driving it, and the same holds true with acquiring a kayak.

The seaworthiness of a kayak can usually be gauged by its appearance, which means that gouges and holes, as well as dents, will likely be readily apparent. In addition to these factors, there are other factors to take into consideration.If you paddle the kayak long enough, a test paddle might indicate that there are other problems, as well as the way it feels in your hands.The reasons for not being allowed to take a kayak out for a test ride could be various, so you may want to ask the seller about this.

Test paddle: What to look for 

On the contrary, it’s highly recommended to go out on a nearby lake or river when you’re taking a new kayak out for the first time, rather than doing it alone.As a result, you will be able to determine whether you have any issues with your kayak or not.Even when you are confident that you want to buy a second-hand kayak, you still need to be sure you will get a good deal on the kayak and make sure you have fully inspected the kayak before purchasing a second-hand kayak. 

Getting the right used kayak that fits your set of needs starts with being aware of the factors that should be considered before you even consider trying it out for the first time. 

  • Weight
  • Stability
  • Weight capacity
  • Deep scratches from dragging the kayak
  • Type of paddle
  • Length of tandem
  • Comfort
  • Accessories
  • Transportability
  • Storage capacity
  • Condition of the kayak
  • Location of where the kayak was stored
  • Stern condition
  • Cracks or leaks around scupper holes
  • Seals or area around extra stuff of your kayak
  • Deck fittings
  • Scratches
  • Wear in standing area
  • Wear in seating area
  • Wear in rear tank well
  • Rust or crack in the hatches
  • Seals – are they corroded?
    -Dents, discoloration or cracks on the hull

A quick summary

When you are considering whether or not to buy a kayak that was made some years ago, you may wish to consider the following questions. 

How old is the kayak?

When you look at a kayak from the side, what signs do you notice of the kayak’s condition when you glance at it?

Where was the kayak previously stored?

This kayak should not show any signs of sun damage if it is an [inflatable kayak](https://lovelykayaks.com/best-inflatable-kayak-reviews.

How long are the warranties and service coupons available for the kayaks on the market?

If you’re interested in conserving money rather than purchasing a brand-new kayak, you might consider buying a used one, rather than buying a new one.Getting the most out of your used kayak should be easy as long as you know a few key points that you must remember.