We don’t like to waste money!
Kayaking or canoeing equipment is evolving in ways that makes paddling more comfortable, more enjoyable and safer.
There are a lot of online sites that publish reviews, sh
ow videos or describe tests and the performance of different products.
And many brands have visibility on social medias like Twitter and Facebook.
There are many things that make it easier for all of us to buy online than to take the car and go shopping. Such as same day shipping, easy payment systems like Paypal and instant ordering.
But either way, there are a few things we must do before considering opening our wallet.
To ensure you’re making the right choices use these simple yet effective tips.
Calculate your budget
First things first!
Before even thinking of opening your wallet, calculate how much you can spend, or calculate some monthly payments that are acceptable.
It’s boring, but at least you won’t get any surprises when you’ll receive the bill.
So on a piece of paper write down your acceptable budget and then your absolute maximum (in case you stumble upon great savings).
Determine your true, real needs.
Yes that’s important.
You’ve seen a nice photo of a 16 ft sea kayak composite but is it really useful if you plan on using this boat solely on lakes?
No, I don’t think so.
So again, write down the purpose, the why’s and for what reason you want to buy an item.
And consider the whole family’s needs (kids included)!
Now sit down and do your homework
The next step is to get as much information as possible. You know (or you think you know) what you need and can afford. Can you confirm that? You need to read online with different reviews, find ideas, or go visit shops and ask questions… a lot of questions!
You have to match your needs with your budget. Only by doing your homework will you confirm the match.
It’ the longest step but absolutely essential.
Don’t think short term!
By now you have a pretty good idea of what you want. However if you already know that in 2-3 years you’ll need to expand (kids are growing, they’ll have friends who’d like to come too, or you’re very serious about paddling so you want to get a good quality boat right now, or you’re thinking of going paddling and fishing too…). So if you can and your budget is slightly flexible then don’t limit yourself. Get several options you can choose from when the time to spend the money comes.
Follow the industry trends
That’s a good idea and you should always check the trends of any new product you want to buy. However don’t sacrifice your own vision and dreams for a new trend! You’ll lose money and get sleepless nights.
Yes it’s nice to have a beautiful composite kayak with a rudder… or carbon-made paddles but then is it really useful for paddling a Sunday afternoon on a lake once in a while?
Name brands are more expensive but safer
That’s true. But then the advantage is that that they have been around a long time now, and devoted lots of research and tests to their product. If you can’t afford a new boat then go for a used one (plenty online sites to look around like kijiji.ca or ebay).
Check for waranties and guarantees
When I bought my canoe, I asked this question because I knew that this canoe could need repairs in the future. The answer was yes. I was reassured! Same thing for the kayak. There was no bungee cords on it so I asked the vendor to put some on. Any boat or any type of gears will at one point or another require some repairs. Make sure to ask that simple question!
Buy from a place your comfortable with
If you’re living in a mid-sized home or big cities then you may want to consider buying locally. Buying online has many advantages such as price and getting away from some suspicious dealers that may try to take advantage of you right out of the gate. Also you can always ask any questions on how to use that brand new piece of equipment or discuss techniques. Your vendor will appreciate loyal customers and be happy to answer all your questions! I know my mother who bought an inflatable kayak online because there was a good price. Accessories were not included. She then wanted to get the spray skirt and found one online with another shop. Got the package. But you know what? Although the spray skirt matched the kayak model and size, the zips never matched!?! That spray skirt is totally useless!! And of course, don’t expect to be reimbursed-)) Other online vendors are much better but you need to make sure you know exactly what you want before you buy. This is even if it means trying out a kayak at a local shop first then shopping online for the best price on the same model.
Are you ready to buy smart? Maybe you’ve tips of your own you’d like to share.
Don’t hesitate to do so in the comment box below.