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Buying a Yak

Yak Wisdom | read time 2 minutes

Get Out! Get Wet! …GET STARTED!

You’ve decided you can physically handle recreational yakking and want to commit further, now you just need to get your hands on a yak.   Of course, the easiest way would be to just run to your closest sporting goods retailer or Walmart and buy one.  The smartest way would be to first talk to some people and friends that go regularly, and tell them you have a real interest in learning and would like to take a trip with them.  From my experiences, yakkers are pretty tight knit communities that are willing to help and give advise if you ask.  They, too, were once in your Chacos.  Most would have no problem with a tagalong and letting you borrow an old yak for a trip. You can also hop on facebook and find yakking groups or click here to see a list of yakking groups in the southeast you could look into.  Just one trip could help you seriously narrow your options.  

Personally, I just talked to a lot of people (not just the salesman) and read a lot of online reviews to help me choose the yak that best suited me.  I could have borrowed a friend’s yak and had offers, but I’m about as graceful as claustrophobic yak in china shop and didn’t want to risk damaging one. Now, knowing the resiliency of kayak, I would be much more comfortable borrowing one. 

There are more options than ever when it comes to buying a yak.  All of the big sporting good stores have a great selection in store and even more online.  You can always get a good idea of the sizes and weights of the yaks by visiting “ye ole brick and mortar” stores.  When it comes to the actual purchase, your online stores have readily available reviews and can also have some of the best deals. Before pulling the trigger on that first purchase, make sure the yak you’re buying is suited to you physically and to the water you’ll be using it on.  Most kayaks have a recommended weight range, stay well within that range.  If it says it can handle up to 250lbs assume that weight doesn’t include arms and legs. If you are too big for your yak it can make it very unsteady and you will get yo tail wet. Also climb in and make sure you can reach the foot pedals and the backrest is comfortable.  Also make sure you’re buying the right yak for the water — don’t buy a 5ft whitewater yak to take out on a lake or river.  

There is no right or wrong amount of money to spend on a yak.  Everyone has a different budget and needs.  But for the most part, as with most things, you get what you pay for.  Always remember it’s easier to start on the bottom and trade up.  If you spend $200 on a yak, but wish you had went with that $400 angler edition yak, all is not lost.  There are a ton of aftermarket accessories you can use to upgrade your Yak. Click here for a list of our favorites. You can sell it and recover most of it.  However if you start off buying a $3500 Hobie Angler and decide that 120lbs of yak  (without gear) might be a little much for one yakker, good luck downgrading.  I know some people that wont spend $3500 on a car.  Kayaks are like cars, except a $10,000k candy apple red yak isn’t going to up your game. In fact you can usually get a really good yak for under $500. Below we have a list of our top 8 yaks for under $500 and links to buy them.

The most important thing is to just get out, get wet, and GO YAKHAPPY!  


A few great yaks under (or almost under) $500