What to Look For
There are three basic structural types of kayaks--rigid, folding and inflatable. Each have their advantages and disadvantages and are available at just about any price point. Find great deals online, where free shipping and discounts on accompanying accessories can be found. Or, visit a sporting goods store to review the different styles in person.
Hard-shell or rigid boats are the least expensive, yet the heaviest. These boats can take a lot of wear and tear but once damaged are difficult to repair. Fiberglass boats are significantly lighter, but easier to damage. However, repairing these are easy. Composites such as Kevlar are more expensive but lighter still. Wood boats are pleasing to the eye and bring a nostalgic feel, however, these boats require regular routine maintenance. Folding boats are incredibly tough boats known for easy portability,storage and have great resale value. However, they also tend to be more expensive.
Where to Buy
Several familiar retailers offer great deals on-line. Backcountry.com, Altrec.com and REI.com are some of the most popular sporting good outfitters offering the best deals, including free shipping on most orders over $50. If you are shopping for your first kayak, it's best to stop in a store to look over the different models. REI has many nationwide physical locations as well. Or, stop in Dick's Sporting Goods store, where the knowledgeable staff can assist you in reviewing the various styles and current specials being offered.
The Ocean Kayak Yak Board Kayak is made of polyurethane and is offered at backcountry.com within the $320 to 330 range with free shipping. This versatile boat is ideal for ocean surf or families enjoying time on the lake. A 100 percent guarantee, one year warranty and free shipping is included with purchase. If you desire a folding boat, the Pakboat Puffin Saco 12 is the best value for your money and is offered at REI.com. This open-decked boat allows for easy loading and is highly recommended for island-hopping padding adventures. Altrac.com offers the Aire Lynx 1 (Air Flow), an inflatable model with an average cost around $1250 with free shipping. Highlights of this boat include fast hull speed, quick response and is light and maneuverable at 32 lbs. A 10 year warranty and repair kit is included with purchase.