Why are kayaks so expensive to buy

What does a kayak cost?

Max Last updated: May 1, 2019

Before you start kayaking, the question of costs is crucial. Compared to other water sports enthusiasts, kayakers can get by with relatively little equipment, but the question of the price of the equipment is still important. We too often hear the question: "Is kayaking expensive?"

At first glance, kayaking looks like an expensive sport. It doesn't take much, but certain pieces of equipment are mandatory. The kayak, a paddle and the life jacket as well as various small items have to be bought first. At the beginning there is therefore a certain investment made by beginners.

However, nobody is put off by the price tag. Getting into kayaking is amazingly cheap. The upper end of the price range is admittedly quite high, but there are plenty of good and inexpensive kayaks out there for beginners. Inflatable kayaks are completely sufficient for beginners. The Inflatables have slashed the prices of kayaking, however what does a kayak cost?

A beginner kayak costs a little more than € 100. Fixed touring kayaks usually require a medium to high three-digit amount to be paid. Professional kayaks for kayak fishing or for use in white water 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 growing in popularity year after year. On the one hand, it's one of the best ways to spend a day on the water. It doesn't matter whether you want to paddle across lakes, rivers or seas. On the other hand, kayaking is a great full body workout that doesn't feel like a workout at all.

Kayaks are propelled with a double paddle. This distinguishes them from Canadians, in which a paddle is paddled. In recent years, inflatable kayaks have become a huge trend. In these models, the actual kayak is just a plastic cover that has to be inflated before it can be used. It has absolutely nothing to do with air mattresses. Today's inflatables, as inflatable kayaks are also called, are rock-hard when inflated and can hardly be distinguished from solid kayaks.

The lower material and transport costs of the inflatable kayaks ensure the much lower purchase price of these models. Inflatable kayaks are available for around € 100. The first fixed kayaks made of polyethylene start at € 200 to € 250.

Polyethylene is a sturdy, but quite heavy model. Oblong touring kayaks are mostly made of fiberglass or carbon for this reason. Both materials are light, but also have a higher cost. For this reason, fixed touring kayaks are priced in the mid to high three-digit range.

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

What type of kayak do you need?

The choice of the kayak type depends on the intended area of ​​use. Depending on what you plan to do with the kayak, an appropriate model must be selected. The type of kayak has a great influence on the price and the area of ​​use also depends on the equipment that is needed for the operation.

If you want to go kayaking, for example, you need a special fishing kayak that has additional storage hatches, is equipped with holders for fishing rods and is wide so that it is stable in the water, as well as other accessories. On the other hand, all-rounders are ideal for beginners, as these boats are suitable for different areas of application.

When researching, you should not forget the other equipment that must be purchased in addition to the kayak. A good start is our article on 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.

However, ask yourself what equipment you really need. Experience has shown that a lot of available accessories can be bought, but most of them are not really necessary. All you need to get started is the equipment that is absolutely essential for kayaking, transport and your own safety. All nice, but not necessary accessories can be dispensed with for the time being.

If you don't plan tours across the open sea, you don't need a GPS system. Especially since the same result can be achieved with a smartphone. Basically, all you need is a life jacket, a first aid kit that is stowed 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

  • All-round kayaks: All-rounders are suitable for paddling on lakes, calm rivers, canals, waters with slow currents and coastal waters. All-round kayaks are available as inflatables and made of polyethylene and are a good choice for beginners due to their stability and low price. Compared to other types of kayak, all-rounders do not offer as much storage space for luggage and equipment.
  • Touring kayaks: The longer and faster touring kayaks are particularly suitable for longer distances. They particularly shine when driving on the open sea and on large lakes. Touring kayaks offer more storage space and have a higher maximum load, so that they are also suitable for multi-day trips with camping equipment.
  • White water kayaks: Whitewater kayaks are designed for paddling in rapids and extreme whitewater. The boats are made of particularly robust materials and can even withstand collisions with rocks.

Another question is whether you want to buy a solo kayak or buy a multi-person kayak. If you are often out and about with another paddler, you can use a tandem kayak. Special family kayaks, on the other hand, offer space for two adults and one child. Triple 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 in online shops will be amazed at the dramatic price differences. The cheapest models sometimes only cost € 100, while other models cost more than € 1500.

You might be asking yourself something like, “What is the difference between a € 100 kayak and a € 1500 kayak? Both swim, right? "

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

  • Construction: Inflatable kayaks are much cheaper than fixed kayaks. The cost of materials is significantly lower and the transport is much cheaper. It is much easier to send a package the size of a backpack than it is to send a four-meter boat.
  • Shape: Expensive kayaks are typically built longer. These kayaks are well suited for long tours, but they lose stability in terms of stability. Cheap kayaks are usually a bit shorter and are more stable in the water. Cheap kayaks are therefore often more suitable for beginners.
  • Material: The material influences the longevity, robustness and weight of the kayak. Furthermore, the material has a strong influence on the driving 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 users who want to achieve high speeds. Beginners, on the other hand, prefer inflatable kayaks, which can be transported and stored comfortably, or (solid) polyethylene kayaks, which are particularly robust but weigh a little more.
  • Comfort: Anyone planning long tours in a kayak should attach great importance to a high-quality seat that can comfortably sit for several hours.
  • Special equipment: In contrast to inexpensive all-rounders, expensive kayaks are equipped with a range of special equipment. Many fishing kayaks, for example, have fishing rod holders, are built extra wide and equipped with a pedal drive.

With experience, the demands on the kayak increase and there are other factors. However, beginners should focus on the above features 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 an inexpensive, inflatable kayak that is good for beginners will only cost a little more than € 100.

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

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