My Kayak: Frugal Fun on The Lake

They say that a boat owner has two happy days.  The first happy day is when they buy their new boat.  The second happy day is when they sell it.  That is based on the initial elation of having access to many bodies of water that are otherwise not available without a watercraft.  The costs tied to boat ownership, however, eventually erodes that elation over time.

I have nothing against boats.  My friend has a bass boat.  I have spent countless hours in his boat fishing at local lakes. My relatives also have a pontoon boat that they keep on a Lake in the Poconos.  The pontoon boat is great for parties on the water.

I was once planning on buying a boat.  I wanted a boat because I wanted to be able to take my wife out to the lake on our schedule.  I do not want to have to rely on anyone else’s availability.

When I first started looking at small boats, I stumbled upon kayaks.  I was intrigued.  They seem small enough to store in my garage, be transported on top of our Subaru Forster, and looked like they would be great fun on the water.

The more I read, the more interested I became in these small boats.  They provide exercise by paddling. They allow you to get into shallow spots where large boats cannot go.  They are also super stable and many models are designed for standing while casting.

As a member of the Financial Independence community, I do not rush into purchases.  I researched kayaks for a few years.  I finally decided to pull the trigger and made the purchase after renting a kayak when we were on vacation on a lake in Stowe, Vermont.

After much research and comparing prices, I purchased the Wilderness Systems Commander 120 Angler model.  It is a sit-on-top kayak that resembles a canoe.  It was purchased at an end of summer sale for $950 with free shipping.

This kayak is designed for fishing.  It has a ton of room for my tackle bag, a cooler, and comes with three-rod holders.  In the stern of the boat, there is also a large area for cargo.  The seat is adjustable and provides comfort for many hours while on the water.  It is also super stable.

Unlike a boat, I can take the kayak in hard to reach spots.  I can go in shallow water, swamps with overgrown vegetation, and over submerged trees that would have broken the prop off an outboard or trolling motor.  Those hard to reach spots tend to be nice hiding spots for big fish because they don’t see too much boat traffic.

I also purchased the Wilderness Systems Aspire 105 model for my wife.  Her Kayak is a sit-inside kayak that is designed for recreational use.  She uses her kayak to tour the lake and for relaxing on the water.  I purchased her kayak as a Christmas gift and paid $750 during a cyber Monday sale.

While the initial cost is not exactly cheap, it is much cheaper than if we decided to buy a boat.  First, we would have had to purchase a larger SUV or pick-up truck.  A used boat would have been at least a few thousand dollars more than we paid for the kayaks.  The boat would require an outboard or electric trolling motor to operate.  Plus, storage, trailer tags, maintenance, and boat registration fees.

After comparing the cost of the Kayak to a boat, the Kayak truly a great value.  Our total cost for the two kayaks, oars, PFDs, and a few accessories for fishing cost about $2500.  If I had to buy a truck and a boat, the cost would have been at least ten times the cost of getting started with a kayak.

Even though we had to spend some money to buy the kayaks, it was money well spent.  We use the kayaks during the spring, summer, and well into the fall.  We use them almost every weekend if it is not raining or we have a family event to attend.

As far as upkeep goes, it has been almost none existent.  We have had them for 4 seasons and the only part that had to be replaced was a handle on mine that cost $14.  Other than that, there is truly nothing else to break.

As I previously wrote, I have fished from a boat for years and will continue to do so when I go out with my friend.  I will also continue to enjoy the pontoon boat for family outings.  I won’t, however, have the expensive upkeep that comes along with boat ownership.  If you are frugal and thinking about how much fun a boat would be to own, consider looking at a kayak.  They are great fun at an affordable price.

4 thoughts on “My Kayak: Frugal Fun on The Lake

  1. Amy @ LifeZemplified

    I completely agree! We love our kayaks. Like your wife, we use them for touring the lake and just relaxing on the water, although my husband has fished from his a few times. They are perfect for the whole family, even my 69-year-old mom enjoys.

  2. Tim

    I agree with you as well. I’ve known many friends and family members that had boats – and it seemed like such a hassle for little outcome. I’m hoping to get kayaks some day, but luckily I have awesome friends that let us use theirs from time to time 🙂


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