Certain words pair with each other perfectly. Salt and pepper, peanut butter and jelly, mac and cheese, and Batman and Robin are perfect examples of these word pairs we’ve grown to love. Unfortunately, kayaking and winter are not one of these pairs.
Kayaking in winter might appeal to some people due to the lack of crowds, but most paddlers will hang up their boats. There may be one potential upside, however, in the area of discounted kayaks.
Kayak distributors often lower the prices of leftover kayaks in the winter to free up their inventories, as most customers tend to ignore kayaking during the winter. Early fall and winter are the best time to take advantage of these discounts but know that the selection will be somewhat limited.
All products are affected by supply and demand, especially if the product is seasonal. Kayaks are no exception to this rule. So if you’re intent on finding the best discount possible, it may be in your best interest to shop in the off-season. Read until the end to learn more about the pros and cons of shopping for kayaks in the off-season.
Why Kayaks are Cheap in Winter, But Cheapest in Fall
Kayaking may be an exhilarating hobby that’s adored by thrill-seekers everywhere, but it comes at a price. If you want to purchase a kayak of your own, you will have to part ways with a rather fair sum of money.
By doing a quick search on Amazon, you’ll see that kayaks range in price from $100 to $1000! With such a variable price range, it can be difficult to determine what’s worth the price and what isn’t.
The majority of the market lies in between the extreme ends of this price range. Like most other products, the more expensive kayaks typically possess more appealing features and are made from more durable materials. However, this does not mean that all high-quality products will cost you a large sum of money. On the contrary, if you’re smart about what you buy and when you buy, you can save a great deal of money.
During this time, prices drop considerably because kayaking activities essentially come to a standstill. For this reason, retailers and local shops are eagerly looking to dispose of their leftover stock as early as possible.
There may be deals throughout the winter from December to February, but they won’t be nearly as attractive. Most of the quality kayaking inventory will have already been discounted and sold by this time since the price markdowns start at the beginning of fall (source).
There are other reasons why September is the time to buy kayaks, as opposed to the winter months, which we will explore in greater detail below.
Winter Kayak Discounts Only Come Around the Holidays
The holiday season is largely considered the gifting season. This is the time of the year when people don’t mind spending money on gifts for their friends and family. Hence, retailers will lower their prices to entice more buyers and generate more sales.
If you’re planning to upgrade your kayaking gear, this certainly isn’t a shabby time to gift yourself a brand new kayak. The discounted prices and the free shipping offers from online vendors are definitely something you should keep in the back of your mind.
However, it’s important to realize that these winter kayak discounts reach their apex in December around the holidays. In November, December, January, and February, the deals will inevitably scale back.
Since the holidays are such a bustling time for customers everywhere, most paddlers prefer to buy during the beginning of fall. As aforementioned, the discount kayak selection is at its highest during this time.
Plus, you don’t have to deal with any other gift distractions that accompany the holidays. Other kayak enthusiasts might share your same goal of buying up the discounted kayak inventory. This might mean you will have to face some competition from other shoppers for the limited kayaking stock.
Kayaks are in Low Demand Once Summer Ends
We touched on it earlier, but it’s worth repeating that kayaking activities come to a standstill at the beginning of the fall. This is mainly because fair weather conditions slowly fade with summer’s end.
It should come as no surprise that people prefer to kayak during the warmer seasons. Kayaking is an outdoor sport, after all. The colder fall temperatures can be a turn-off for casual paddlers that want to enjoy a leisurely tour on the water. You can always add more layers to protect yourself from the sheer cold, but this isn’t always an appealing prospect to recreational paddlers.
Kayaks follow the rules of supply and demand like all other retail products. Any kayaks leftover in the warehouses of local shops and retailers are marked down in price in response to the low demand. This entices customers to buy, even though it’s the kayaking off-season.
Kayak Vendors Must Make Space for Winter Merchandise
Aside from the simple rules of supply and demand, outdoor vendors also discount their kayaking products for another reason. As the kayaking season winds down, other sports and activities—like skiing, snowboarding, and ice hockey—take their place because they’re more relevant at this time of year.
Thus, the demand for these winter products increases as the demand for kayaking products decreases. Unfortunately, retail stores only have so much room on the display floor. They can’t showcase all their summer and winter products at the same time. For this reason, retail stores must clear out their summer inventory on the display floor and in their storage warehouse to capitalize on winter merchandise sales.
This is why the discounts on kayaking products correlate directly with summer’s end. They don’t have time to keep this merchandise around for when the holidays come around, so they drop the prices to get these products off their hands.
Outfitters Sell Off Old Kayaks to Avoid Inventory Costs
The problem with selling physical products is that you have to store them somewhere safe to avoid unwanted damage. Storage of these items can cost quite a hefty sum of money, especially if you’re renting the space.
In addition to these renting costs, you also have to consider this inventory will depreciate over time. If enough time passes by, the inventory may not even be worth keeping any longer.
Kayaks are not small items. They take up a considerable amount of space in storage, and it can be quite expensive to pay for a location that can house a high number of kayaks. Factor in depreciation, and the expected profits of selling off these kayaks next season will probably not be too large.
To avoid all of these potential issues, retail stores choose to discount these kayaks and get rid of them at a lower price. In many cases, it’s simply not worth storing these kayaks somewhere and bleeding out resources in an attempt to store them for sale at a later date.
Expected Discount for Buying Kayaks in the Off-Season
You may be disappointed to know that kayaks are not the type of product to receive a colossal markdown in the midst of a huge sale. Typically, most retailers will give 10% to 30% discounts at best on kayaking products (source). Any rate that’s more than that is fairly rare.
In some cases, retail stores may not even offer discounts on their kayaking products. Instead, they may opt to add in “freebies.”
One attractive option for discount hunters is to become a member of an active kayaking or canoeing group. For example, the British Canoeing Organization offers 10% off on kayaks and paddles for its members. Other shops may send out regular discounts if you subscribe to their newsletters.
If you’re planning to buy your kayaks and paddles during the off-season, the best time to make your move is right when the prices started to drop. This is when you can make the most out of the kayaking discounts available.
To reiterate, stocks are limited! Like-minded shoppers are also going to try to snag good deals for themselves. If you wait too long, the stores you’re trying to shop at may lose out on all of the kayaking products before you even have a chance to browse them.
Another viable option to consider is the secondhand market. Kayakers often upgrade their equipment because new products and features come out practically every year. These secondhand kayaking products are rarely ever sold at retail prices because they depreciate over time.
You can see exactly how a kayak’s value depreciates year after year by clicking over to Do Kayaks Hold Their Value? (Here’s What to Expect).
Put simply, you can purchase quality used equipment at a fairly low price. Getting the most bang for your buck doesn’t necessarily mean buying brand new products.
Is Buying a Kayak in the Off-Season Worth It?
Hunting for discounts is an excellent strategy for those that are still new to this hobby and wish to learn more about the art of kayaking. However, this might not be a viable option if you’re an experienced kayaker that requires precise features and specialized gear.
So, is buying a kayak during an off-season deal worth it?
Like most answers, it really depends on your circumstances. Saving money is a great thing, but there’s no such thing as a free lunch. There are pros and cons to going through with an off-season deal.
If you want a better idea as to whether or not buying a kayak during the off-season makes sense for you, check out the pros and cons below:
- Buying off-season can save you money, which you can use to add more functionalities to your kayak or refurnish other kayaking accessories.
- You can gain access to high-quality kayaks with useful features without having to pay for the price of a brand new product.
- You’re offered the chance of receiving free shipping and other freebies for your purchases during off-season sales.
- The selection of available products is limited.
- Overstock products will be outdated in the next year.
- You will have to fight for the limited stocks against other off-season buyers.
- Storage after purchase can be an issue during the winter months.