Gear guidance for the beginner kayaker.
As I have mentioned, my brother got me into this sport. An avid kayaker and hoarder, the contents of his garage could outfit a dozen boaters for a month long expedition to Ecuador (and keep them quite drunk the whole time). I was very lucky to come into this sport with someone I could turn to for all the gear I would need to get started.
A lot of people are able to borrow gear to get them started. A lot of people aren’t. Regardless of which category you fall into, you’re going to need to start looking to buy gear of your own pretty soon.
Borrowed gear is great. The only problem is that it often doesn't fit as well as it should. And that’s fine for a while. Ultimately, you’ll have better boat control and be more comfortable in properly fitting gear.
I am proud to announce that after one year of kayaking, I am now 100% borrowed-gear free. My new Jackson Karma and the other gear I picked up at the NPFF silent auction take my total to two boats, two spray skirts, two helmets, a life jacket (PFD), a paddle, dry box, dry bag, dry suit, Hydroskin top, river shoes, throw bag, and a float bag/blow up doll named Gertrude. Seems like a lot, huh? But all of this was acquired by trolling Craigslist, hitting up online sales, and being very specific with my Christmas list.
Once you get everything you need, kayaking is only as expensive as you want to make it. But getting started can be a little pricey. The best way to manage the start-up cost of this hobby is by prioritizing what you need the most, and by being patient and flexible when buying it.
The following list will help guide you in your purchases….