Sorry to disappoint you if you were hoping for a list of used kayaks for sale here on this post. However, if you've not bought kayaks second hand before we'll try to point you in the right direction and offer some advice along the way. The great advantage of buying second hand is that if you buy wisely your purchase will not lose value the moment you have bought it.
If buying kayaks or canoes second hand there are a few options:
1. Many dealers have second hand or ex demo stock for sale. The second hand may well have been traded in against new stock or been paddled by members of staff. Check out their websites. Some will even keep an eye out for you if you know what you want.
2. If you are a member of a club some of the best deals to be had are by asking around. Someone is always wanting to change to change their boat. Look on club websites and see if they have a "for Sale/Wanted" section although be aware they are often a bit out of date! Look at the clubs social media and see if you can put out a request. If you are not a member but live locally its often worth sending a request for help to their website / contacts, especially if you are just getting started. If you find the right contact you should get some great advice from people that know what they are talking about.
3. Look on social media and online sites - We'll deal with this in more detail below
4. If you live near the sea or ocean take a look in local shop windows, or notice boards at the beach
By far the biggest market where you will find the most choice is on social media and online. However, you need to find the sites that are going to find you boats that are local enough for you to be able to collect or a means of delivery. You also want to find the place where they have the type of used kayaks for sale that you are looking to buy.
We are all very familiar with ebay, facebook marketplace, gumtree and a number of other global / national sites. Other ways to look more specifically are often a better source.
Facebook - There are all sorts of groups on face book offering used kays for sale of one type or another. Here are some examples that work well in the UK. There will be similar groups around the world, its just a case of finding the ones near you. If you find the right group and you want something specific its surprising how often someone will respond if you post what you are looking for.
The there are various websites for canoeing or kayaking with forums. The forums often have a buying and selling thread. A particularly focused one in the UK is a series of Forums for different types of kayak on the Rivers Guide book site (which incidentally has a good section on sea kayaks!). If you find a good forum for buying and selling through (wherever you are in the world) please send us details and we will add them here.
When looking at used kayaks for sale you want to ask yourself three things:
Firstly is this kayak right for me? If you have read some of our other pages you will know that it is no good buying a fast tippy racing kayak built for a skinny teenager if you are a big burly 90kg beginner. Equally although the skinny teenager looking for a fast racy boat may be able to paddle the beginners stable boat they will soon be frustrated by its weight and general slowness.
Likewise if you are going to be paddling on the sea or ocean you will want a boat suited for this environment rather than a boat built for clam rivers. If you want to shoot rapids you will want a nimble and manoeuvrable craft quite different to a boat for long distance exploration at sea.
If you don't know the answer to this question you might want to take a look at our page about What Type of paddling you want to do and / or What Type of Canoe or Kayak might be appropriate for you.
Finally a word of caution with some experience behind it. Don't try to go for something too advanced too soon. Better to start in something well within your ability and work up. Starting in something too advanced for your skills will slow down the rate at which you learn and lead to lots of frustration.
To know whether what you are looking at is value for money, first you need to have some idea of the value of what you are looking for new. Spend some time on google. Take a look at our databases of manufacturers and find the same kit or something very similar. Then go through some of the online sites we've mentioned above and write down the price asked for a series of items that look like they have been sold. Ask your paddling friends. From this you should get a good idea of what the going rate is.
Next you need to make sure the condition is as described and is that you have taken into account any problems. Check the hull for holes, scrapes and scratches. Check the seams to make sure they look sound. Seams are often a place where you find damage and leakage. If ti has a cockpit make sure it is well attached and not coming away from the boat. Does the deck look OK? Not quite so critical as its not under the waterline and its less likely to have taken knocks and more obvious if it has.
Look at the general fabric of the hull and deck. If its made of plastic a lot of fading may mean its been out in the sun a lot. This will eventually make the plastic brittle and can lead to cracking. If its made of fibreglass, kevlar or carbon the same is true. With fancy light weight constructions look for water ingress and puncture marks. If the boat is made of a sandwich or honeycomb material make sure water has not got into the honeycomb layers. This can quickly spread and add weight. If you want a particular weight of boat, take some scales and weigh it, don't just accept what you are told. If you think it might need some repairs and you don't plan on doing them yourself get someone who knows what they are doing to take a look at it with you before you buy.
Check that any fittings are not about to fall apart or break. Check that anything that is supposed to adjust will adjust and is not stuck tight. Look at the cost of any replacement fittings you might need to buy. The cost can add up.
Ask to try the boat out (this way you will see if water comes in from anywhere!) Make sure the rudder works if it has one or be sure you know how to fix it!
Having weighed all of this up only you can assess whether it is good value from money. Generally though you get what you pay for. Don't expect to get a bargain without some downsides.
We wish we didn't have to say this but sadly scams and scammers are out there. Don't send money to someone you've only met online unless you can verify that they are really who they say they are. If they can't talk reasonably knowledgably about the item, where it came from, why they are selling it etc. be on your guard. Ask where they usually paddle, look for common acquaintances (its a small world). If its an expensive item ask to see the receipt from when they bought it. If it doesn't sound very convincing make sure you don't hand over any cash without walking away with the kayak. Just run through your head.... might this have been stolen....
We recently bought a boat from someone selling on line. We looked at their facebook page, talked to them and spoke to them. It became apparent we knew people who each other knew, we could both talk about our shared canoeing experience and we developed a level of trust. We ended up happy to pay a deposit. That said, don't go mad. Even the most trustworthy of people can be unable to pay you back if the item they are selling gets stolen or broken before you take possession.
Be careful and if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is!