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What You Should Know Before Buying a Kayak

RVers are always looking for toys to enhance their RV fun, and kayaks are at the top of the list. Let’s join Steve Gibons at Scapoose Bay Kayak and find out what we need to know before buying that first kayak.

Steve Gibons: Kayaking is a great sport for RVers. And if you’re thinking about getting into the kayaking RVing program, here’s some things to think about. The very first thing that you’re going to want to do with any kayak is you’re going to want to talk to somebody intelligently about what is the right kayak for your application. It isn’t always about the price as much as it is the size of the boat and what you’re going to do with it. The worst thing you can do is buy a boat for $300 because it’s a good price and then find out you don’t fit in it, or it doesn’t work your application.

The important thing that you want to look at is how the– how the boats are made, and also what the weight is because the weight varies on what the material is. When you look at boats like these, very well made boats, but they’re made by what they call a polyethylene. So, to keep their structural integrity, they have to be thick, and thickness means weight. When you go to other boats that look like this, they may also be made out of a plastic, but the design of the plastic makes them lightweight. The other thing that you have to consider is that that kayak will go nowhere without a paddle, and paddles vary as well. Paddles are really priced by weight as well as construction material.

A paddle like this will cost you about $80 or $90, but it’s going to weigh about 36 ounces. And although 36 ounces does not sound like a lot of weight, you can also but paddles like this that weight 24 ounces, but they’ll also go up into the $200 range. One thing to consider when you’re paddling a kayak is that this paddle is going to be in your hand every single second that you paddle, and weight will build up as you use it. So, consider that as you pick your paddle.

Another thing that is a requirement by law is that you must have an onboard life jacket. Good kayakers never take their life jacket off, they wear it all the time. But the law does say that you only have to have it on your boat. They’re designed to be large armhole–large armholes. They’re going to also have soft straps. They’re going to be short so that when you sit in a boat, it doesn’t come up and ride up on your face and give you what we call Winston Churchill looks. They range anywhere from $70 to hundreds of dollars depending upon the sophistication of the jacket. But all jackets have to be coast guard approved, and must provide and show a flotation characteristic that has to make it proper, what they call a type three. There’s also children’s lifejackets for some of the grandkids or your own kids that will need to have a lifejacket as well.

So, once you’ve decided that you want to be an RVer and kayak at the same time, you can determine first of all, again, the size of the boat that’s going to be for your application. Then you get the opportunity of picking either sit on tops, sit ins, thin lightweight thermoform boats, little bit heavier rotomod boats, a good paddle, a lifejacket, a whistle. And then go out into the thousands of places anywhere near the area that you might be that are great for kayaking. And again, always remember safety first on anything that you do.

Survey the water that you’re going to get into to make sure you understand what you’re going to be paddling in. Let people know that you’re out there. Regular safety tips as well for kayaking so that you can have a safe, great experience of RVing and kayaking across the country.