Is Kayaking an Expensive Hobby? (Nine Beginner Considerations)

Kayaking is a popular hobby in which you spend your leisure surrounded by beautiful nature.

Whether kayaking on still lake waters, fast-moving rivers, or open seas, it’s one of the exciting experiences.

However, before you get into kayaking, the cost will probably be one of your concerns.

So, Is Kayaking an Expensive Hobby?

While kayaking might seem like the type of hobby that would cost you so much to start, it can be relatively cheap if you do proper research. Buying a kayak is the main expense, with a kayak going from as low as $200 to as expensive as more than $2500 based on its quality.

As a beginner, you can consider hiring a kayak to feel the experience before making a long-term investment. Other costs associated with the hobby include; licensing fee, paddle, safety gear, and transportation fee. Let’s look at the various factors that influence the cost of kayaking.

Nine Kayaking Hobby Considerations

1. The Type of Kayaking You Want To Do

The kind of kayaking you want will affect the type of gear you require to get and the overall price.

For example, if you want to fish while kayaking, you need to consider the cost of the fishing gear you require.

Therefore, as you research how expensive kayaking will be, ensure to include the cost of supplemental gear that you may require.

The cost can add up over time based on what you plan to do.

To avoid spending on gears that you might not need, ask yourself if you will use them before purchasing.

If it is a no, you can save extra cash by not buying that particular item.

However, always ensure you get all the necessary safety gear. For instance, each kayak should have a first aid kit and always ensure you have all the personal flotation devices for your safety.

2. The Quality of Kayak You Need

A kayak is the most expensive thing you will purchase when starting kayaking as a hobby.

However, when looking for a kayak online, you might probably wonder the difference between a $1500 kayak and a $300 Kayak as they both sail on water.

But in addition to floating, the kayak’s material, comfort, and shape will affect its price.


The material of your kayak affects its durability and longevity as well as its overall weight.


If you plan to tour with your kayak for long, you will probably prefer spending the adventure on a more comfortable seat that supports the back.


The kayak’s shape influences the speed and balance of the kayak.

In Addition…

As you get more experience in kayaking, you will find out other factors that influence your choice. However, for beginners, these are the main factors to consider.

If you go for a more comfortable kayak featuring a nice material and better or streamlined shape, it will be more expensive.

To start with a more affordable quality kayak, you should find a good balance of the three qualities perfect for your needs.

3. Paddles

Other than the type and quality of kayak you choose, the paddle is another essential factor in your kayaking performance and overall cost.

The cost of the kayak paddles will depend on the length and material of the paddle, which will be determined by the width and height of your boat.

Plastic blades featuring aluminum shafts are ideal and affordable for recreational kayakers ($25 to $80). the more lightweight paddle made of fiberglass blade and shaft goes for around $30 to $90.

Super ultralight carbon fiber paddle has top performance but has a more costly price tag.

4. Method Of Transportation

Do not forget that you will have to find a way of transporting your kayak to the launch area.

If you lack an open bed truck, the perfect option is getting a kayak rack for your car, which goes for around $40 to $200 for your car so that it can be easily transported on the highway or long trips.

If you are going kayaking on moving water, you will require one car at the launch point and another at the place where you pull out.

Therefore, you might require more than one car rack based on where you plan to go for kayaking.

5. Licensing

Before launching your kayaking hobby, ensure to check the state’s requirements for licensing and watercraft.

States like Ohio need all the watercraft to be licensed, including kayaks.

This costs about $25 for a three-year license before the operation. If you fail to comply with the state’s laws, this might result in a significant fine.

6. Personal Floatation Gear

Regardless of your kayaking area, you must have a personal flotation device (PFD).

A life vest is a must-have gear before you get on board.

Fortunately, it is a low-cost investment that costs about $40 to $50.

In most states, you must have a PFD, but regardless of where you stay, it is very important to have one. Unpredictable things can occur anytime in waters, even in shallow areas.

7. Extra Kayaking Accessories

Now that you have all the necessities, there are extra ways of enhancing your kayaking experience.

Some of the stuff that is not a must-have but fun to have include;


If you are kayaking on fast-moving waters, a spray skirt helps prevent the splashes from getting into your yak.

Costing around $30 to $100, a spray skirt is an ideal investment that saves the effort and time you will need to bail out the water that collects in the cockpit.

Fishing gear

Are you looking to combine kayaking with fishing?

This can be a lot of fun? Some of the fishing gear you might require include; fishing line, rod and reel, bait, hook, etc., and their price varies depending on quality.

Dry box or bag

A dry box refers to watertight equipment that keeps your phone and valuables secure on the water.

Depending on the number of your materials, a dry bag is bigger than a dry box. for about $7 to $25, you can store your spare clothes, snacks, and other items dry.

Indoor storage

When you are not kayaking, you will most likely prefer to store your kayak out of the sun and off the ground from creatures that might get into your kayak.

The indoor storage charge goes from $40 to $300 depending on your location and will significantly protect your kayak from theft and damage.

Seat upgrades

The standard seats that come with your kayak are not the most comfortable.

You can consider upgrading your kayak seats to an increased padded seat for about $25 to $100.

9. Kayak Maintenance

One way of ensuring you don’t spend a lot of money on kayaking is properly maintaining your kayak.

If you consider the types of repairs that might be required on a poorly cared for kayak, it could begin to get costly.

If you maintain your kayak properly, this means you will need to spend on repairs, and the kayak will last longer.

Regardless of the type of kayak you purchase, you should always make an effort to maintain your kayak more regularly.

Bottom Line

Ultimately, kayaking can be a cheap or expensive hobby, depending on the type of kayaking you want and the quality of kayaking equipment you buy.

However, regardless of the type of kayak and gear you purchase, you can be sure that kayaking is an exciting and worthy hobby to pursue.

It will give you breathtaking nature views and fun experiences perfect for leisure. Remember to stay safe!

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