The Bass Pro Shops chain offers a wide range of entry-level kayaks for recreational paddling. The inventory includes a range of sit-on-top and sit-inside kayaks from a variety of manufacturers, all retailing for under $1,000, making it a good outlet for casual paddlers or those on a tight budget.
A kayak from Bass Pro Shops is an especially good choice for kayak anglers; you can shop for a kayak while also picking up a new rod, reel and tackle—and, if you’re lucky, find a salesperson that’s familiar with the specific tackle that works well with a fishing kayak.
Of course, the trade-off in buying a cheaper kayak is often a less refined paddling experience in terms of the kayak’s paddling speed, maneuverability, weight, handling and safety features, as well as comfort elements like seating. Also be aware that general outdoor retailers like Bass Pro Shops may not offer the same level of expertise as a dedicated paddling store.
Our review of Bass Pro Shops kayaks will provide you with the knowledge you need to find the best kayak available there for your paddling needs.
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Shop for Bass Pro kayaks
Bass Pro Shops offer a wide but not overwhelming variety of models. It makes sense that many Bass Pro Shops kayaks are focused on angling, but you’ll find a few value-priced recreational kayaks in the lineup, too. Options include partially decked hybrid kayaks (which bridge the gap between a sit-inside kayak and a sit-on-top kayak), pedal-drive kayaks (to give you an option to use your feet in addition to arms) and inflatable kayaks (which deflate to allow storage in small spaces).
The links below will take you to our comprehensive Paddling Buyer’s Guide, where you’ll find every kayak available at Bass Pro Shops, including specs, prices and reviews. It offers an unbiased view of what’s available from this retailer.
Shop by type
Shopping for a used Bass Pro kayak?
Are you searching websites like Craigslist, Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace for a pre-owned kayak? Odds are you’ll come across a kayak that first came from Bass Pro Shops. Your first step in making a good investment is to research the specific attributes of the make and model of the used Bass Pro Shops kayak you’re considering; our Paddling Buyer’s Guide is the ideal place to start.
If it looks like you’ve found a contender, consider the following advice to make a good purchase.
Examine the overall condition of the Bass Pro kayak, taking note of fading due to excessive sun exposure. Apply firm pressure to all parts of the kayak to test for stiffness (it shouldn’t feel soft). Examine the deck and hull of the kayak for damage including deep gouges more than 3 mm or eighth of an inch deep; obvious abrasion (especially if the worn areas are a different color from the rest of the kayak); and deformities (which will make the kayak paddle less efficiently). Bass Pro kayaks are made of durable plastic that’s meant to withstand plenty of abuse; some damage is fine, so long as the shape of the kayak remains intact.
Consider the kayak’s outfitting, including comfort features like the seat (is it padded and supportive for your body type?). Foot rests are critical to give you purchase on the kayak to paddle efficiently; make sure they’re intact and well-placed. Some Bass Pro kayaks are equipped with a bulkhead, a critical feature for safety and seaworthiness that will keep a swamped kayak afloat: make sure it’s solid and intact.
Outfitting is the critical connection between the paddler and kayak and includes the seat, back support, thigh rests and footrests. Examine each of these parts individually and consider how well they work together as a whole—the easiest way to achieve this is by sitting in the boat (and ideally paddling it) to make sure it feels comfortable. Outfitting often comes down to personal preference; there’s no one-size-fits-all.
One of the drawbacks of a cheaper, general-purpose kayak from Bass Pro is substandard outfitting. Take a close look and consider investing in a more expensive kayak if you plan on more serious paddling. If you’re handy, outfitting is easily modified with some glue, foam and DIY time; consider any upgrades you could make to save a few bucks and get a custom fit.
Accessories are key elements of fishing kayaks; if you want to do some kayak angling make sure you examine features like rod holders and live wells.
On the water
The only way to fully appreciate the comfort and performance of a kayak is to try it before committing to a purchase. Arrange a meeting place with the seller that allows you to take a few moments on the water. Bring your usual paddle and dress in what you plan to wear while paddling. With a sit-inside kayak, be sure to assess how easy the boat is to enter and exit.
Make a deal
In general (that is, before Covid-19 put a premium on outdoor equipment) the typical starting point for a used Bass Pro kayak in moderate condition was about half its retail price. All that’s changed in the wake of boat shortages brought on by the pandemic, but you can use it as a starting point when haggling for a price.
Add some accessories
If you’re offered a PFD make sure it’s in good shape, fits properly and is Coast Guard-approved for the location you’ll be paddling.
For more tips on what to look for when selecting a used kayak, read our article on How To Buy A Used Kayak.
Bass Pro kayak buying guide
The best advice we can offer to prospective kayak buyers is to try before you buy. But that’s tricky advice if you’re shopping for a Bass Pro kayak, since these shops are often located in suburban areas, far from the water. You can get around that by taking spins in friends’ kayaks; not only will this allow you to get a sense of what’s available, on-the-water experience will allow you to appreciate how different kayak design elements perform and fit your body.
A general-purpose outdoor store like Bass Pro will never offer the same expertise as a dedicated paddlesports retailer. If you’re serious about paddling and want to develop your skills and invest in a dedicated hobby, you may be better off shopping elsewhere.
However, Bass Pro kayaks are cheaper and make for an economical choice for occasional paddlers. The important thing to remember in buying a Bass Pro kayak is that you’re not going to find high-end, performance kayaks at this store—and that may be perfectly in line with your recreational paddling and kayak fishing needs.
Here are expert answers to some of the most common questions about Bass Pro kayaks.
Does Bass Pro sell kayaks?
Bass Pro lists almost 20 kayaks on its website. Given the store’s focus, it makes sense most Bass Pro kayaks are meant for kayak fishing, however a few recreational models and one inflatable kayak are also available. You will find Bass Pro kayaks listed and sold online on the company’s website and available seasonally in Bass Pro Shops outlets.
What is Bass Pro Shops’ kayak return policy?
Bass Pro’s standard in-store return policy applies to its kayaks. Items must be returned within 60 days; after this period returns are handled on an inspection basis. The return policy does not apply to Bargain Cave purchases, which are made on a final sale basis.
Does Bass Pro have kayak sales?
Bass Pro offers kayak sales in its retail locations and online. Bass Pro kayaks come in many shapes and sizes, with a range of choices that’s not too overwhelming. Most models are meant for kayak angling but a few general purpose Bass Pro kayaks are available, too.
Wondering when do kayaks go on sale at Bass Pro? Your best bet is to shop at the end of the paddling season, in August and September, to find the best deals on overstocked kayaks. You may also find kayak sales in March and April, before the paddling season heats up.
Does Bass Pro finance kayaks?
Only U.S. shoppers can benefit from financing options on Bass Pro kayaks. U.S. outlets offer six-month, interest-free financing on many Bass Pro kayak models through Sezzle, which allows buyers to split their purchase into six payments. This option is not available through Canada’s Bass Pro/Cabela’s locations.
Bass Pro employee discount on kayaks
Many prospective kayak buyers will use Google search terms like “Bass Pro employee discount on kayaks” to try to find the best deal. But in practice, this rarely yields good results—unless you’re an actual Bass Pro employee. To get the best price on a Bass Pro kayak wait until the end of the season (August and September) when many models are offered on sale. Of course, options and colors may be limited depending on supply.
Bass Pro kayak reviews
Because you won’t be able to test paddle any of Bass Pro’s kayaks before making a purchase, your next best option is to read reviews of their boats. Doing so will at least help you get a sense for what environments, pursuits and paddlers each boat is suited to. Find our expert reviews below.
- Fishing Kayak Review: Ascend FS10
- Fishing Kayak Review: Ascend 12t
- Fishing Kayak Review: Ascend 10t
- Fishing Kayak Review: Ascend 128t
- Inflatable Recreational Kayak Review: Intex Explorer K2