Are you are planning on buying a kayak, but don’t know exactly what to get or how to go about choosing? Kayak rental is always an option for people in these situations. Today we are going to talk about kayak rental vs. buying a kayak.
If you’ve never kayaked before, kayak rental gives you the chance to try out a range of kayaks before you buy. If you plan to only paddle for a couple of hours once in awhile, kayak rental is recommended. If you are only going on one trip in your life, you should DEFINITELY go with kayak rental. If your budget has no room for a kayak, go with kayak rental.
When you are going for kayak rental for the first time, go with a friend. If you want to go solo, the rental outlet will ask you to take a capsize/rescue course unless you can show some evidence of having done so. If you go with a friend, they will just explain the process of an assisted rescue and let you go.
Pick a kayak rental operation that can offer a good selection of kayaks and easy access to the water. If you are thinking of renting for a few days, try a couple of hours first. This will give you a chance to get a feel for the equipment, the size of the hatches, the types and condition of the boats, the outlet’s policies regarding picking up and dropping off, etc.
The operator will ensure you are familiar with all the equipment before setting off, but it’s best to check that you have all the necessary gear. The Coast Guard requires you to have a whistle, PFD, pump, throwline, and spare paddle. You should also be supplied with a paddle float and a spray skirt. Always check that the hatch covers are on before heading out. If there’s an inner neoprene cover under the solid hatch cover, make sure it’s in place, to ensure watertightness.
Kayak rental is best to do during the week when the staff can spend lots of time helping you to properly fit the kayak and explain how it works. Weekends are typically busier. Reservations are offered by some operators. Always ask about the cancellation policy. If you figure you will be renting a lot, look at a season’s pass or frequent paddler coupons which can save you money.
Buying a Kayak
If you can wait for the best time to buy, you may save yourself some money. Fall and winter are the toughest times for summer sports retailers. They incur many of the same costs they have in summer yet their revenue drops dramatically after the season has slowed down. To your benefit they can also spend more time with you then.
Most retailers will offer a limited rental credit towards a new kayak. Stock kayaks take up huge amounts of space better devoted to other items that will sell better and so the motivation to move the stock kayaks is definitely there. Retailers will often have incentives on floor models. Prices traditionally go up in January, so consider buying a new kayak before then.