Used Touring Kayak Buying Guide

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Used Touring Kayak Buying Guide

Touring kayaks, also known as sea kayaks, are designed to travel long distances in open water. They are longer and narrower than recreational and white water kayaks. Touring kayaks slice through open water efficiently, allowing the paddler to travel faster with less effort. These kayaks provide greater stability in less than favourable conditions and are ideal for those who wish to take a scenic tour on a lake or river. Touring kayaks vary in length, ranging from 3.7 to 4.9 metres. They can be made of various materials, including polyethylene, composites, or thermoformed ABS. The material used partly determines the weight and price of touring kayaks.

When purchasing a used touring kayak at retailers such as eBay, buyers should familiarise themselves with the various parts of the kayak and consider the different types available. Buyers should also consider other factors that help them to make an informed decision and understand the various materials used to make kayaks.

Parts of Touring Kayaks

There are several parts of touring kayaks that buyers should become familiar with. Understanding kayak terminology helps buyers throughout the purchasing process.

Part of Touring Kayak



Specially shaped for waves and rough water


Contains sealed hatch covers

Allow kayakers a place to store their belongings to keep them dry

Acts as a safety measure by trapping air so that the kayaker can stay afloat if the cockpit fills with water


Triangular, metal plate under the stern

Can be raised or lowered

Improves straight-line tracking

Helps kayakers to maintain control in currents or side winds


Paddle that attaches to the top of the kayak's stern

Lowered into the water with a hand lever

Allows kayakers to turn the boat with greater ease


Built for paddling efficiency


When searching for the ideal touring kayak, buyers should consider the size of the cockpit. Buyers should also understand the function of each part of the kayak to help them to travel safely.

Types of Touring Kayak

There are two types of touring kayak: day and multi-day. When choosing a type, buyers should consider the duration of their kayaking trip.

Day Touring Kayak

Day touring kayaks have limited storage space and are best suited for day or short overnight trips. These kayaks are lighter and easier to manoeuvre than their multi-day counterpart.

Multi-Day Touring Kayak

Multi-day touring kayaks are designed for lengthier trips. These kayaks have a larger storage area. Multi-day touring kayaks are heavier than day touring kayaks, which makes them more difficult to manoeuvre.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Used Touring Kayak

The characteristics of a touring kayak greatly contribute to its performance. When searching for the best type, buyers should consider their own personal needs as well as their height and weight.

Length of Used Touring Kayaks

When searching for a used touring kayak, buyers should consider its length. Shorter kayaks are easier to manoeuvre, while longer kayaks are better suited for tracking and gliding. It is also important to bear in mind the length of the boat's waterline. This is the line where a kayak actually sits in the water. This length can be significantly shorter than the kayak's overall length.

Width of Used Touring Kayaks

Buyers should consider the width of the used touring kayak. Wider boats offer greater stability and are able to hold more gear, while narrower boats are lighter, easier to track, and offer kayakers greater efficiency when paddling through the water.

Depth of Used Touring Kayaks

The depth of a used touring kayak, which is the height from the hull to the top of the deck, can range from 33 to 41 centimetres. When choosing an appropriate depth, buyers should consider their height and weight. Larger and taller people should choose a kayak with a greater depth as this ensures adequate legroom and space. Greater depth also helps to prevent water from spilling in and provides a greater amount of room for storage. On the other hand, kayaks with shallow depths are less likely to be affected by the wind and can, therefore, travel at greater speeds.

Weight Capacity of Used Touring Kayaks

The total weight capacity limits the amount of weight that the used touring kayak can carry safely. When choosing a touring kayak, buyers should consider the number of people that the boat will be carrying as well as the weight of any travel gear. If searching for a multi-day touring kayak, buyers should choose a model with a greater weight capacity.

Hatches of Used Touring Kayaks

When choosing a touring kayak, buyers should consider the various hatch types. These types include plastic lids, neoprene covers, rubber hatches, and toggled hatches. When closed, the hatch lid not only secures belongings safely, it also gives buoyancy to the kayak.

Hatch Type


Plastic lid

Has a gasket attached to the lid or deck

Closed with cargo straps

Difficult to use in rough water

Neoprene cover

Stretches over the hatch

Can be used in combination with a hard outer cover and secured with straps

Seals well if properly placed

Stretching can be difficult

Rubber hatch

Snaps to the hatch ring or moulded deck lip

Hatch straps prevent cover from becoming lost

Toggled hatch

Features a gasket and toggles to seal a plastic lid

In addition to the hatch type, buyers should consider the number of storage compartments that the kayak offers. Touring kayaks may have storage areas at one or both ends.

Size of Cockpit of Used Touring Kayaks

Cockpits tend to vary in size and comfort level. When seated, buyers should feel comfortable and have firm contact at every point where their body touches the boat. This includes the knees, thighs, bottom, and lower back. Smaller cockpits hold the occupant inside the kayak better and are more efficient in rough water conditions. On the other hand, larger or taller kayakers may prefer a larger cockpit, as it is easier to get in and out of. In addition, a larger cockpit allows the kayak to store more items.

Seating for Used Touring Kayaks

When purchasing a used touring kayak, buyers should ensure that the seat is in a proper working condition and has not endured significant wear and tear. Most touring kayaks have adjustable padded seats that can move up and down as well as backwards and forwards for greater comfort. Some seats for touring kayaks also have adjustable tilt angles.

Construction of Touring Kayaks

Touring kayaks are made of various materials. These materials affect the kayak's durability, weight, and overall price.

Polyethylene Used Touring Kayaks

Polyethylene is the most popular material used to make kayaks. It is less expensive than other materials and is easy to repair. There are two popular types of polyethylene: linear and superlinear. Linear polyethylene is less expensive and offers good performance, while superlinear polyethylene is lighter, tougher, stiffer, and more UV resistant. Polyethylene is both impact and abrasion resistant. When searching for a used touring kayak made out of polyethylene, buyers should consider the age of the kayak as well as any sun damage that is has incurred. Polyethylene tends to degrade over time and sun exposure can cause the kayak to become brittle.

Composite Used Touring Kayaks

Composite used touring kayaks are made of fibreglass, synthetic, and carbon blends. They are often preferred for their durability and light weight. Composite touring kayaks are more expensive that other types.

Thermoformed ABS Used Touring Kayaks

Thermoformed ABS touring kayaks are made of ABS plastic, which is then covered with an acrylic coating. This creates a glossy look. Thermoformed ABS kayaks are similar in appearance and performance to composites. However, they are heavier and considerably less expensive. When compared to polyethylene, thermoformed ABS is lighter and more resistant to dents.


Buyers looking to participate in a leisurely activity should consider touring kayaking. Touring kayaks are ideal for travelling on open water, such as lakes or rivers. When searching for a used touring kayak, buyers should consider the duration of their journey. Day touring kayaks are best suited for short day trips, while multi-day touring kayaks are ideal for overnight trips, where greater storage space is needed.

In addition, buyers should consider their height and weight. These factors help to determine the appropriate weight capacity of the used touring kayak and that it has a cockpit with adequate space. Buyers should also consider the length, width, and depth of the used touring kayak. These aspects determine the speed of the kayak and how well it can be manoeuvred. eBay can help any water sports enthusiast to buy the best used touring kayak for time well spent out on the open water.

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