Your #1 source for kayaking and canoeing information.               FREE Newsletter!
my Profile

Advice, Suggestions and General Help New Topic Printer Friendly Version

  Dicks Kayak Selection
  Posted by: old_user on May-26-09 9:33 PM (EST)
   Category: Kayaks 

Looking to finally buy a Kayak after 2 years of looking. I recently found 2 on sale at Dicks this week, the Potomac 100es (179.00) and Quest Kayak by Quest (229.00.) The potomac is about 10 feet and weighs 37 pounds, the quest is just under 9.5 feet and weighs 45 pounds. I;m 5'7 and 170 pounds, would be using the kayak once a week in the chicago river and possibly beach on lake michigan. Which option do you think would be the best, or other options. I want to spend under 300.00

 Great Products from the Buyers' Guide:

Deck Rigging Gear

Paddler's Truck Rack

Paddling Gloves

Recreational Kayak Paddle

Table of Contents

Messages in this Topic


  Get a used boat
  Posted by: Dr_Disco on May-26-09 9:37 PM (EST)
You will get a better boat for the same money.
  Beginner Boats
  Posted by: ptofireman on May-26-09 10:14 PM (EST)
As the saying goes if you purchase a beginner kayak - how long do you wish to remain a beginner ? The previous post suggests buying a used kayak, I couldn't agree more. Most beginner boats are Rec. kayaks, they often lack a front bulkhead/hatch. This will affect how much waterr they can take on should they go over. If your looking for a fun kayak to use on the occasional summer afternoon on a smooth small lake, then Dicks is fine. However if your looking to grow into kayaking as a hobby, you might wish to rent some higher priced boats and see how you like the way
they handle. Do you want to check out flowing rivers, larger lakes, fishing from your kayak, then go to several dealers that specialize in canoes and kayaks: talk with them, check out their product lines and literature.
  Posted by: emanoh on May-27-09 12:22 AM (EST)
I wanted to offer a slightly different perspective on purchasing big box rec boats. This is reposted from the other string regardign new kayaks.

I agree that you should test as many boats as possible to test your comfort level and to see what style or fit you enjoy.

With regards to purchasing, I suggest buying something slightly ahead of where you are skill-wise, so you have some room to grow. So many times I see someone who spends hours and hours of research to get the best deal on a $300 Big Box boat. A boat with few features, outfitting and comfort features. The same person paddles for half a season, finds out they love paddling, but quickly outgrows their wide, slow and short boat. In every instance these people wish they would have taken my advise and purchased a more advanced boat.

I hope I don't sound like a rec boat snob. I like anything that introduces someone to the sport/hobby of paddling, but very rarely does a new paddler stay to their backyard pond or local reservoir. Skills quickly advance and before half a season is over they're looking to advance their skills, cover longer distances, camp, perform rescues, roll, etc. but find they don't have the proper boat. All the while they spent tons of time reseaching a $300 paperweight for their garage. After one season they're back at it reseaching a boat upgrade and looking for someone to purchase their old boat.

Up the ante a bit, if you were eyeing a 9 ft. rec boat, take a peak at a 12-15 ft transitional boat. If you're looking at a mid level boat, try out a 15-17 ft. touring boat. Your skills and pocket book will thank you.

The plastic boats of today are much better than yesterday, For less $$ you'll only save 6-8 lbs over a glass boat and today's plastics are much stiffer.

My two cents,
  Still Looking
  Posted by: old_user on May-27-09 1:55 AM (EST)
I appreciate all the responses so far. My number one concern is finding a kayak that is stable. The Chicago River is not a body of water you want to tip into. I have had 3 experiences on the river using a perception prodigy rental and lucky for me no tipping. I want to keep my purchase on a budget just to make sure this is something i will not fall out of love with. Do you have any suggestions on models to check out or good online store to look.
  used kayaks
  Posted by: old_user on May-27-09 2:01 AM (EST)
Keep an eye on Craigslist, also look around at the various canoe/kayak stores in the area. I'd highly recommend not looking at the big box sporting goods stores like "Dicks" as they don't know what they are selling, for them a kayak is just like selling shoes.

I'd look at the big brand names like Current Designs, Necky, Wilderness Systems etc. and at lengths at least 12 if not 14 foot, the short boats won't track (go where you point them).

Bill H.
  Falling out of love
  Posted by: Celia on May-27-09 8:21 AM (EST)
The one thing that is most likely to happen by starting with these bottom line rec type boats is that you'll fall out of love, and maybe very fast.

If that is your concern, you should start by seeking some group tours and lessons so that you can learn how kayaks work, get comfortable in them, THEN go looking for a boat of your own. Starting out being concerned about the boat's stability rather than your own ability to paddle has a high correlation with churning that first boat.
   my 2 cents worth ....
  Posted by: trout on May-27-09 6:22 AM (EST)
i've seen those boats at the local DSG store .....have you sat in one yet?... i seem to remember that a lot of DSG's boats were rather shallow and didn't leave much room for a upright foot had to angle your feet to fit ..maybe i'm wrong but that's what i recall.
  Posted by: jgalar on May-27-09 8:20 AM (EST)
I was in Dicks yesterday and took a quick look at those boats. They either had NO flotation or cheap foam just shoved into the boat. You will need to add some flotation bags to these models or they may sink if flipped.

I have a Swifty that I bought from Dicks and its not a bad boat for its size.
  Posted by: falcon on May-27-09 9:53 AM (EST)
You make an excellent point regarding the floatation of these boats and rec boats in general. They meet the minimum floatation standards set by the USCG in that they should not sink, but have no positive buoyancy. These boats should never be taken farther away from shore than you are comfortable swimming, as you will find it impossible to re-enter and remove the water. If the foam falls out the boat will sink.
  Don't buy from Dick's
  Posted by: old_user on May-27-09 8:29 AM (EST)
Find a local shop, or take a weekend trip to this place, two hours from Chicago.

The sales people at Dick's are minimum wage workers who know nothing about kayaking, and anything they tell you will be wrong. Plus, their boat selection is limited, and most of the boats they sell are junk.

Even if you don't buy from Fluid Fun, you will learn a lot just going out there to talk with the knowledgeable sales staff and trying boats. As for your concern about investment, if you buy a good boat you are more likely to stay with kayaking, and if not, you can easily sell it in a market like Chicago for 80-85% of what you paid for it on craiglist. So the investment risk is much more limited than you think. You can also search your local craigslist for used boats, but I'd urge you to take a fun day trip to someplace like fluid fun before you do anything. You will learn a lot.
  Good suggestions
  Posted by: dand883 on May-27-09 8:43 AM (EST)
There's alot of good advice to try a little more advanced than you want right now. I started out with a big wide rec boat, loved it for the first 2 months, then wanted a change, so i looked around untill i got a good deal on one of the rec/touring boats at 14 feet, then paddled it for a summer and upgraded to a 17 foot sea kayak. Like everyone, i wish i would have went with the 14 foot boat from the beginning, but at the same time, i got a good deal on the rec boat, and had a summer i wouldn't have otherwise been paddling. It also showed me good and bad about different boats, and really made me aware of what i wanted that each boat didn't give me. So if you look and can't afford a 14 foot boat now, i'd say get the rec one, these days kayaks sell like crazy with online classifieds and if you find you're outgrowing it, maybe by then you can afford an upgrade by waiting for a good used deal to come up and selling your rec boat. So if all you can afford right now is the rec, go with the rec, anything you can do to start paddling.
  Dick's Perception Montour
  Posted by: old_user on May-27-09 10:01 AM (EST)
Although I will agree that most of Dick's boats are junk and will be outgrown before the end of the first season, they have something good going with the "Dick's only" Perception Mountour. It was my first boat and served me very well on flat and class 1 rivers... and now 5 years later, I have an 18 foot kayak as well as a whitewater boat, but I refuse to get rid of the Montour. It's held up great and is a fantastic boat to lend out to other newbies. To the original poster, this may be out of your prescribed budget, but will give you way more bang for the buck.
  I say just get something.
  Posted by: zenrider on May-27-09 10:21 AM (EST)
Whatever you can afford is OK, really. Most folks here have more than one boat and learned what they like. Some think they might know what you like. You might even think you know what you like. You might find you like something different from your original thought. Almost can guarantee that last statement.

So, if you have a nice little budget, just get something stable that appeals to your eye and get out there. Soon you will see others doing the same and will discover different brands and features. You have time to learn this during two seasons of paddling. That is about how long it will take you to decide if you are upgrading, or just using your boat a couple times per year with your buddies.
  Old Town Rush
  Posted by: old_user on May-27-09 9:45 PM (EST)
I bought the Old Town Rush on sale at Bass Pro Shop and I love it. It is 9.5 feet long and tracks great. I could not imagine using a boat much larger on class 1 or 2 rivers. I am looking for another boat about the same size to use on the rivers in Kentucky. I sat inside of a Swifty but could not get my knees under the cockpit. I am 5'9" and weigh 210 lbs. Can anyone suggest a boat as deep and comfortable as the Rush?
  perception models
  Posted by: jgalar on May-27-09 11:34 PM (EST)
Dicks buys many kayaks from Perception that are made with discontinued molds. Example:the Perception Blast used to be the Victory Blast and before that it was the Wilderness Systems Critter.

Dicks is selling what they call a Perception Rhythm 11.2 which is actually an 07 Dagger Element. Its $499 but might not be a bad starter boat if you can go a bit higher in your price.
  Posted by: FrankNC on May-28-09 12:50 AM (EST)
Get a boat. Get one now! The end of the worl could come and you'll have missed out. Get the cheapest boat you can right now and go paddling in some safe and warm water.

As soon as you've done that, start looking for a good used 14 footer. Don't worry about stability. NO kayaks are stable in rough water! YOU must provide the stability. To do this you need a boat about 14 feet long and no wider than 26 inches wide. This will be long enough and narrow enough for any touring you need to do for the rest of your life. Below 14 feet boats get a lot slower pretty quickly.

Have fun! Get lessons. Don't go in the cold water without a drysuit or wet suit. Get real flotation bags for any boat you use in deep water. They will not have these bags at Dicks. So until you get the bags the boat is more like a pool toy.
  Obviously you have limited funds
  Posted by: Cliffjrs on May-28-09 10:05 AM (EST)
Just buy anything that fits your fancy then start saving. A decent used boat will cost you $600.00 or more anyway.
  Buy what you can afford
  Posted by: old_user on May-28-09 10:32 AM (EST)
Some of us dont have a budget that will ever allow $1200+ sea kayaks. And others of us may really just want a beginner kayak, something to play with and only go 4/5 miles on a smooth lake, river or creek. I have a Perception Rhythm 11 from Dick's. Its a nice light little kayak that does well for its short length. Yes, eventually I want to save up and get a Perception Carolina 14 with rudder, but until then I'm satisfied. I'm not a small person, and for now I need something with a decent sized cockpit to get in and out of, and the extra stability.

The OP asked for opinions on dick's kayak selection. Answer ONLY on what he asked for, because he obviously has a limited budget!

You could buy used. Ive seen some great deals on Craigslist, but mostly those kayaks are at least 5 or so years old, and with plastic kayaks ill buy new most of the time...
  did you miss when he said...
  Posted by: stickman on May-28-09 10:51 AM (EST)
"... or other options"? It appears to me most posted their response according to what he asked, which included "other options".
  I'd call this guy:
  Posted by: HappyCamperToo on May-28-09 11:36 AM (EST)
  there other cheapies here
  Posted by: bowrudder on May-29-09 8:27 AM (EST)
  Another perspective . . .
  Posted by: Angell on May-29-09 12:04 AM (EST)
Dicks doesn't just sell low-end kayaks. We got our first kayak from Dicks: an Old Town 138 Twin Loon, which is a fine boat for smaller people. I watched that boat all season, waiting until it finally went on sale that fall, then bought it.

Don't forget to include the essentials in your budget, as we did: paddles, PFDs, bilge pump, first aid kit and appropriate clothing and footwear.

We enjoyed that boat for for 4 seasons, until I realized my best option for our limited budget was to go the kit route and I built the Terns.

We still have the twin Loon - available to enjoy for fishing, taking our grand daughter out someday, paddling in rocky areas - where we don't want to put an epoxy finish, and to introduce kayaking to friends and family. Our lesson has been to buy a good boat somewhere - at Dicks, on sale, if your budget requires it - and get out on the water!
  look at Craigs and bounce what you find
  Posted by: old_user on May-29-09 7:04 AM (EST)
off of us.

I wish I'd done that, which would have saved me The Large Orange Embarrassment in January of 08.

I got the Large Orange Embarrassment on sale at West Marine for 325.00. It was a Mainstream Patriot that had sat outside for a season.

I'd paddled better boats belonging to friends for years, but this was MY BOAT.

I had it out in the Augusta Georgia canals several times and when I was passed by a older person in a solo canoe as I struggled with my too short paddle I realized I was missing something serious. Especially since it was as wide as it was long.

Needless to say, I replaced in last February with a series of better boats.

In the meantime I found really great boats on Craigs. None of them were what I was looking for, but someone got a good deal on something seriously more high end then my Large Orange Embarrassment.

There is a happy end to Large Orange Embarrassment - it too went on Craigs with the too short paddle, which found a newbie in the Target parking lot. She is happy and my husband had to let me buy the Romany : )

  Nothing wrong with Dick's
  Posted by: travisma on May-29-09 1:26 PM (EST)
They have boats for all but the very serious paddlers.

My son bought me an Islander Swifty 9.5 from there for Christmas 2007. He didn't have a lot to spend and I appreciated every penny he spent.

Is it the greatest boat in the world... of course not, but it was MINE, and it got me out of the house and on the water.

I learned to live/put up with it's limitations. Having a wide short boat that doesn't glide a lot can build up your arms pretty fast.

During the summer of 2008, I traded an old canoe for an RTM Tango SOT so I could get my wife to join me. That didn't work, but I was able to take my 3 year old granddaughter out with me on a couple of trips. It was faster, easier to paddle and a whole different experience.

This led to my latest (but first I spent $$ on) purchase, an Old Town Dirigo 140 with a jump seat for my granddaughter to sit on. To me it's a great boat, and I just got my first win (3rd place) in a race with it.

I'm sure purists will stick their nose up at each of these, but I've enjoyed all of them.

In fact, I took out the old Swifty on Memorial Day because it was the easiest to toss in the bed of the pick up. I was in a time crunch to get in some river time between the rain.

So take each persons advice with a grain of salt.

Do check Craigslist for bargains, but also know what you're looking for.

Take into consideration on how you're going to transport the yak, and figure in the cost of racks, trailers, etc.

I'm one of the lucky ones and have a pick up. makes life a lot simpler.
  Misses the point
  Posted by: Dr_Disco on May-29-09 1:34 PM (EST)
You have $x to spend and you can get a cheap, new, low quality boat from Dicks or you can get a much better boat used on Craig's List. Why would you choose the boat at Dick's???
  Don't limit your choices
  Posted by: old_user on May-29-09 2:31 PM (EST)
> would be using the kayak once a week in the chicago river and possibly beach on lake michigan

There has to be a lot of good kayaking up that way, you could be doing overnight trips in a 12-14 footer easily in some areas. Rather than buy new, you can get something a little larger used that will let you do more and keep you interested.

And if you fall out of love with the sport, you'll have an easier time selling that used kayak for less of a loss.
  Used is an option but
  Posted by: old_user on May-31-09 8:05 AM (EST)
I'm not sure its as great for everybody as touted here. I personally haven't found great deals and you are limited by what's for sale.
Dicks, Craigslist, stores and livery used boats...check them all and buy what seems best for you whether at Dicks or not.

  Used kayaks
  Posted by: old_user on May-31-09 8:43 AM (EST)
That's true. In many areas there are no good kayak shops and the only boats that come up for sale are clunkers from the big box stores. Don't buy someones mistake. It can take years to find a good used kayak in the local area.
  Posted by: old_user on May-31-09 9:07 AM (EST)
has a HUGE ever churning selection of used boats from the simplest rec boat to the very top of the food chain in seakayaks, both commercial models and some excellent strip built and SOFs.

The more people in the paddling world (vs. the retail landscape) you come to know, the more opportunities. Lots of multiboat owners here, club members, loosely affiliated paddling groups and great independent paddleshops w. demos, floor models and warehouse queens.

You have to be up for doing more homework on boat features and how to evaluate a used boat instead of subjecting your wallet to a salesperson at Dick's or Cabela's (or even REI and Moosejaw, depending on the location) who may or may not be informed. You have to be willing, maybe, to drive to see and test a boat, but that might be the case w. a big box store as well.

IMO, unless you want something so specific that it is rare or no longer made, or you have been kayaking for years and want that custom "last boat" the used market is the way to go - not only but esp. if you are starting out.



Follow us on:
Free Newsletter | About Us | Site Map | Advertising Info | Contact Us


©2015 Inc.