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  • Writer's pictureJared

How Much Does Kayaking Cost? Get Started Today!

Updated: Mar 31

Kayakers On Water During Sunset



As someone who has been kayaking regularly for about seven years and is a partner in a national kayak brand company, the question I often get from those who want to get in on the fun is, "how much does kayaking actually cost?"

They have seen kayaks in shops before, and the prices don't look appealing to many people.

Plus, you have the added expense of PFDs (personal flotation devices), paddles, accessories, transportation if you do not already have a vehicle capable, and other hidden costs that might pop up along your journey to becoming a kayaker.

However, kayaking does not have to be all that expensive to start doing, and you should certainly not be discouraged and let that prevent you from getting into the sport!

What kind of kayaking are you interested in?

This is an important question because when many think of kayaking, they imagine a daring individual plummeting down a class 5 river, fighting whitewater, and risking their life.

Kayaking has evolved into so much more than that and has arguably become one of the biggest outdoor industries today.

Recreational kayaking

Recreational, or leisure, kayaking is probably the most popular activity within the kayaking world, and it is also the least expensive.

You can grab a group of friends, load up a kayak and a cooler full of cold beverages and relax as you paddle around a body of still water. Or you could float down a relatively calm river.

You don't need to worry about fishing rod holders, landing gear, fish finders, or any extra accessories that go along with some other types of kayaking we will get to below.

All you need is a kayak and a PFD. The only accessory you want is a cup holder for that beer! Or, err, soda.

Also, between us, despite my working around avid kayak fishermen who treat their sport like a religion, recreational kayaking is still my favorite kind.

If all this sounds good to you, recreational kayaking might be your hobby.

And the great thing is that you can get a decent recreational kayak for a few hundred bucks, especially if you shop during the Fall and Winter months.

Kayak fishing

Now we will discuss one of the fastest-growing types of kayaking in the industry, kayak fishing. This is exactly what it sounds like; fishing out of a kayak.

I have never seen such a feral obsession as I have when I have been around kayak fishermen.

Kayak fishing is their lifeblood, and they will spend excessive money on their hobby.

This is where you will get into the high hundreds and even thousands for your kayak alone.

You will also need some of the above accessories to do it right.

I won't lie and say kayak fishing isn't fun because it certainly is.

However, it is a costly hobby to partake in. Some fishing kayaks cost $4000, not including your rigging gear.

If catching a big King Mackerel off the coast of Panama City Beach or Salmon on the Great Lakes sounds good, this is the hobby you want.

And hey, you might even get lucky and win one of the many kayak fishing tournaments that have come about and take home a $5000 prize for catching a few fish.

Whitewater kayaking

I have to mention whitewater as the last type of kayaking I will discuss in this article.

This will not be as cheap as recreational kayaking, but it doesn't need to be as expensive as kayak fishing.

However, I recommend something other than this type of kayaking to an absolute beginner. I am just bringing it up to give you some perspective on the price.

You can expect to pay around $1000 to $1500 for a new whitewater kayak.

And full disclosure, I have never kayaked through anything above a class 3, so I am not an expert in whitewater.

I would highly recommend taking some educational courses before jumping straight into this type of kayaking.


I hope this article has given you greater insight into how much kayaking should cost!

Fortunately, if you aren't planning on kayak fishing as a professional, you shouldn't have to spend that much money.

If you want to get into kayaking leisurely, pick a kayak up for a few hundred bucks at your local kayak shop.

People in the kayaking industry are some of the friendliest and most helpful people I have ever met, so don't be afraid to join some Facebook groups and ask questions!

You can also reach out to me with any questions or if you want some recommendations on gear.

Thanks so much for reading.

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