Cost of New vs Used in Whitewater by Jessica Yurtinus | Nov 30, 2019 | Antix, Rockstar 4.0, Whitewater Feature, Zen | 5 comments How much does whitewater kayaking really cost? I like to kayak. Because of this, I spend quite a bit of time at the Reno Whitewater Park in the Spring and Summer. Our park is smack dab in the middle of downtown, so inevitably there are lots of people out enjoying the weather, eating lunch next to the river, or spectating. With all these people around, I must get asked once a week, “How much does one of those things cost?”. I never really thought about the numbers. I’ve been lucky to have friends and family help me out along the way with used and borrowed gear. But, what if you are starting from scratch? What gear do you need and how much does it all cost? Can I afford new, or should I look for used gear? Lets figure it out. First question is what do you need? Let’s make a list of all the necessities to get started in whitewater kayaking. Essentials: – Kayak – Helmet – Personal Flotation Device (PFD) – Drytop/drysuit – Sprayskirt – paddle Important: – baselayers – booties – throw rope – nose plugs – float bags – whistle Used gear is always a good option when you are tight on money or maybe just want to try things out to make sure this is a sport you want to be a part of. You can always check out Facebook marketplace or Craigslist for gear, but one of the best places to look is the classified section of your local whitewater forum. Websites like boof.com on the west coast, boatertalk.com on the east coast, or mountbuzz.com in Colorado are good options. You can often find killer deals on barely used stuff. With one search I was able to find somebody selling an almost full starter kit. . . kayak, paddle, skirt and pfd for $700. In general a used kayak is about $500, helmet $40, PFD $50, drytop $100, paddle $150, and sprayskirt $50. The cons of used gear, especially as a beginner, is that it is used. Beginners aren’t always familiar with quality brands or what to avoid. You also might not realize the boat is 20 years old and maybe doesn’t have the most recent trends in boat design that make learning to kayak slightly easier. Boats might be scratched, possibly leak, or you can find damage on your hull which will affect it’s performance. Who knows what’s been in a used helmet? And drytops might have torn gaskets you need to replace. Now lets price out new gear. Remember the more expensive does mean higher quality, however new less expensive gear will keep you just as dry. Also. . . there is usually a warranty, and new gear has new technology for possibly easier learning. Here are the numbers. A new paddle is between $200-$400, drytop $400, sprayskirt $200, PFD $130, and a new helmet $80. A new boat is going to be your most expensive. A new Jackson kayak is about $1400, but the good news is there financing available to help you get that new rockstar 4.0 or Zen 3.0. So there are the rough numbers. . . Used for $1000, new for $2500, or mix and match to get exactly what you want. Whatever you choose, welcome to the sport and maybe your new addiction. Jessica Yurtinus 5 Comments Ian Law on December 1, 2019 at 10:46 am Sadly over hear in the UK we are seeing an increasing about of paddling kit and boats being stolen. It is a sad reflection on our paddling community that amongst us are paddlers who are prepared to steal from their peers. This may be a reflection of the increasing cost of brand new kit. Perhaps some people are not prepared to start off down the second hand route hand more. On line sales platforms like eBay make it too easy for thiefs to sell on their stolen good quickly. One of my friends had a brand new sea kayak stolen from our club compound and found it quickly for sale online and the Police wouldn’t respond at all. This will only encourage and enbolden those who are prepared to steal from their own paddling community. Reply Clay Wright on December 2, 2019 at 3:19 pm That’s such a shame Ian! Always take a photo of your boat and serial number to access quickly, I add stickers on the deck for quick ID and also sharpie my name somewhere in most everything I own to prove it’s mine no matter what story they tell. We have security bars with star screws but yes, we know that’s not failsafe. Good luck protecting your investments! Clay Reply Quinn Hoffman on December 16, 2019 at 7:34 pm I wish I had some stickers… 😉 Reply Cornelius Peeler on December 9, 2019 at 4:00 pm I’ve always been able to get a return on my kayaking gear! So… buying new gear is almost always a good option. It’s doesn’t necessarily need to be the latest greatest model. If you purchase new gear you can always sell it when you get ready to upgrade. Nothing wrong with used gear, but a broken boat/paddle is pretty much useless… unless you are paddling south of the border where broken and repaired equipment is the norm. A PFD will last you for years. Some brands warranty their products for the useful life of the product which could be a decade or better depending on how well you maintain your gear. Keep your new gear out of the Sun when you store it, especially plastic kayaks. Wash your gear with mild soap. A full water bottle is critical part of any boaters gear! Reply liouk lopiu on June 24, 2020 at 3:52 pm it too easy for thiefs to sell on their stolen good quickly. One of my friends had a brand new sea kayak stolen from our club compound and found it quickly for sale online and the Police wouldn’t respond at all and also what about the lightweight canoe paddles for my trip. Reply Submit a Comment Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.