Why Are Kayaks So Expensive? All About Their Price

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When you’ve decided to get into kayaking as a fun outdoor activity, you might initially be very surprised at just how expensive kayaks can be! This begs the question: why are kayaks so expensive?

Why Are Kayaks So Expensive?

Sure, you can find cheap models as well, but those lower-priced models must be missing something, right? Their features, to be sure, aren’t as well fleshed out as more expensive models, but what is it that is worth paying for on an expensive kayak?

Let’s check out the details about the cost of a kayak and what you should be expecting to pay to get into this new hobby!

1. It’s More Than Just Plastic

While you might look at a basic kayak and believe that it is just a simple piece of plastic that should cost next-to-nothing, there’s actually a lot of specific design energy that goes into the plastic.

One of the significant differences between a $100-plastic kayak and a $400-plastic kayak is the level of precision and features that it has. The more expensive kayaks have more well-balanced and quality design. They’re made to be durable, easy to use, and lightweight.

If you look at a kayak and think that it is nothing more than a plastic hull, you are missing out on a considerable portion of what a kayak really is.

There are things like:

  • Customized seats
  • Cup holders
  • Storage space
  • Dry space
  • Paddles

The exact features that you will find in your kayak depend on what brand it is, what purpose it has, and who it was made by.

2. Different Types of Plastic

While many of us are accustomed to thinking about plastic as an incredibly cheap material that is used to make low-quality goods, there is a huge variety in the types of plastics used to make different kinds of materials.

Kayaks, for example, aren’t made from cheap, inferior plastics. If they were, they wouldn’t be able to stand up to the wear-and-tear of trips into lakes, rivers, rapids, oceans, and everywhere else you take them. Do you want to risk having your kayak fail on you when you are miles from home or even from shore?

We didn’t think so.

For that reason, kayaks can be quite expensive because you are paying for a higher-quality blend of plastics than you would get in a cheaper version. And for that matter…

3. Not Plastic At All!

That being said about plastics, many kayaks are not even made out of plastics! If you’re new to kayaking and kayaks, you might not yet know that high-end kayaks are made out of fiberglass, particularly for sea kayaking purposes.

The assumption that kayaks are wholly made or molded out of plastic isn’t always correct, and the material used can make a difference in the final price of a kayak. These days, lightweight carbon is a very popular material for kayaks, but it is also one of the most expensive.

4. Made to Last

Another reason that kayaks are so expensive is that they are made with durability in mind. Rather than be an item that you have to buy every one or two years, kayaks don’t need to be replaced often. In fact, kayak design 10 or 20 years ago was barely different from today.

The main difference when it comes to comparing kayaks from back then to kayaks today is their weight! Expensive kayaks today are usually a bit higher in price primarily because of the higher cost of manufacturing a material that is lighter than the materials that were used 20 years ago.

5. Type Changes The Cost

If you look at general kayak costs, you might find out that some kayaks can cost up to $10,000! Why are kayaks so expensive in situations like that? Well, the answer is simple: those kayaks are made for deep sea kayaking!

Depending on the specific type of kayaking that the kayak was created for, it will have different features, materials, and costs! For basic recreational kayaking on calm waters, you’ll find that the price is much more palatable for most people.

These differences really do matter. After all, you would never want to use a lightweight kayak that is made for small rivers in the ocean, right? Not only are the materials simply not durable enough, but the style of the kayaks is also slightly different, which means that you would be prone to flipping over more often.

Similarly, whitewater kayaks are made for rough waters and tough conditions in which the kayak might take a beating. Without the right kayak on a whitewater tour, you could end up permanently ruining your kayak.

6. Paddles Cost More, Too!

If you’ve finally managed to come to terms with how much a kayak can cost, it is essential that we also remind you that you will have to buy paddles if they are not included with the kayak. Super lightweight carbon paddles can cost as much as $500 for a set while fiberglass paddles usually come in under $200.

It’s crucial that you match the quality of your paddles to the kayak itself. You may even want to buy a higher grade pair of paddles than the kayak itself so that you can be sure that they will not break easily.

Regardless, making sure that you own good-quality paddles and outfitting them with floatation devices, so they do not get lost easily is essential.


It’s true that getting into kayaking can cost quite a bit of money. From the cost of the kayak to the cost of the boots and supplies, there are a lot of different areas that require hard work from the community.

When you are trying to decide which type of kayak you should choose, keep the following important details in mind:

  • Where will you be kayaking?
  • What are your kayaking goals?
  • What type of features do you need in your kayak?

With these as your guide, we are confident that you will be able to pick out the right kayak in no time!

You are viewing this post: Why Are Kayaks So Expensive? All About Their Price. Information curated and compiled by Kayaknv.com along with other related topics.


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