Best Dick’s Sporting Goods Kayaks For 2022

Paddling Buyer’s Guide

General outdoors stores are an excellent spot for casual and semi-serious paddlers to pick up a recreational kayak at a great price. Dick’s Sporting Goods kayaks are a step above in terms of performance, comfort and selection from the more basic models found at stores like Walmart and Costco.

Still, like other box store kayaks, Dick’s kayaks are best for those looking to enjoy occasional outings on calm, sheltered water, rather than those wanting to develop their paddling skills and progress to more advanced, open water conditions.

Shop for kayaks at Dick’s if you want to spend a little more on a higher quality beginner boat for use in quiet water conditions on lakes and rivers. Recognize that most sales associates at Dick’s won’t have the same breadth of kayaking knowledge as a dedicated paddling store, so consider a specialty paddlesports retailer if you want to make a more serious investment in kayaking.

Know The Local Hazards
  • Check navigation charts before you launch.
  • Check with those who have local knowledge of man-made and natural hazards, e.g. low-head dams; sweepers, strainers and undercuts; tides and currents; and rocks and shoals.

Dick’s has a great selection of kayaks for many recreational applications, including paddling at the cottage, cabin or beach with your family (Dick’s sells kayaks for kids as well as adults). You will find a variety of options, including sit-on-top kayaks (with open decks for easy entry and exit), sit-inside kayaks (featuring an enclosed cockpit and deck to protect the paddler from the elements), and inflatable kayaks (which are fun to paddle and easy to store in smaller places). Dick’s is well-known as an outlet for hunters and anglers, and you’ll find a wide range of fishing kayaks (with features like rod holders and live wells, specific to anglers) at its stores.

Manufacturers represented at Dick’s Sporting Goods include Perception, Pelican, Advanced Elements, Old Town and Ocean Kayak. Prices for most kayaks at Dick’s range from $150 to $800. If this meets your expectations for a kayak, Dick’s Sporting Goods may have just what you’re looking for.

Our picks: Best Dick’s kayaks for 2022

Looking for a great recreational kayak? Dick’s is a perfect place to shop, with a huge array of kayaks. The selection might seem overwhelming, but we’re here to help you narrow your list. Check out our picks for the top types and brands of Dick’s Sporting Goods kayaks for this year.

Shop for Dick’s Sporting Goods kayaks

Dick’s Sporting Goods carries a great selection of kayaks from a variety of manufacturers. All of Dick’s kayaks are aimed at recreational paddlers, including general outdoor enthusiasts, families, anglers and beach-goers looking for boats to use occasionally in sheltered water locations, such as inland lakes, ponds and quiet rivers.

The majority of Dick’s kayaks are “hardshell” models (constructed of durable plastic), along with a few inflatables. These blow-up boats can be deflated and stored in smaller spaces but often lag behind hardshells in terms of paddling speed.

You can shop for Dick’s sit-on-top kayaks, which have open decks that are easy to enter and exit for paddlers of all sizes and skill levels. Sit-on-tops are ideal for sunny days and warm water, and this style of open-deck kayak is also the most common for fishing kayaks. By comparison, sit-inside kayaks at Dick’s Sporting are decked (or partially decked), providing shelter from the environment—though sometimes more challenging to enter and exit due to the enclosed cockpit seating area.

Like other box stores, the selection of Dick’s Sporting Goods kayaks will vary between locations and over the months of the year. Expect to find the best selection in the spring; late summer and fall is the best time to find Dick’s kayaks on sale. The links below will take you to our comprehensive Paddling Buyer’s Guide, where you’ll find all the best kayaks at Dick’s, including specs, prices and reviews, offering an unbiased view on what’s available from this retailer.



Shopping for a used Dick’s kayak?

It can be easy to find used kayaks on buy-and-sell websites like Craigslist, Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace. If you’re searching online for a used kayak, Dick’s models may show up. Dick’s Sporting Goods kayaks offer solid value and better performance than Walmart or Costco kayaks, coming in a range of options and models for recreational kayaking, family fun and kayak fishing.

Do some homework before you buy, taking the time to research the specific attributes of the make and model Dick’s kayak you’re considering; our Paddling Buyer’s Guide is the ideal place to start. Once you’ve found a contender, consider the following advice to make a good purchase.

Overall condition

Examine the overall condition of the kayak. Sun damage and soft spots on the hull (apply firm pressure to all parts of the kayak to test for stiffness—it shouldn’t feel spongy) are good ways to determine a kayak’s condition. After that, examine the deck (top) and hull (bottom) for damage including deep gouges (more than 3 mm or 1/8th 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).

Most kayaks at Dick’s 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.

Inflatables

Inflatable kayaks are also common on the used market. Leaks are the main concern with buying a used inflatable kayak; ensure the kayak holds air—both in the inflatable tubes that make up the hull as well as the valves. Though durable, inflatable kayaks are often cheaper and have a shorter lifespan due to punctures and defective valves.

Outfitting

Cheaper Dick’s kayaks from manufacturers like Sun Dolphin and Pelican often feature bare bones outfitting. Higher-end, more expensive recreational kayaks from Perception, Ocean Kayak and Old Town will have more comfortable and ergonomic seats. Regardless of the make and model, take a close look at 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 and are often absent in lower-priced kayaks; if they’re present, make sure they’re functional and not damaged by grit or sand. Some sit-inside Dick’s kayaks are also 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.

Dress For Immersion, Not Air Temperature
  • Your body loses heat much faster when immersed in cold water than it does when dry.
  • Avoid cotton clothing like t-shirts and jeans; they retain water and accelerate cooling when wet. Synthetic fabrics, or wool, are generally a better choice. If the water is very cold (60° fahrenheit or less), you should wear a wetsuit or drysuit.

Outfitting is the critical interface between the paddler and kayak, including the seat, back support, thigh rests and foot rests. Often these features lack refinement in budget-priced Dick’s kayaks. You will find more ergonomic seats and other comfort features in higher-end Dick’s kayaks manufactured by Perception, Ocean Kayak and Old Town. Examine these components 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. Think about how long you’ll be sitting in the kayak. If it’s uncomfortable in a quick test, how will it feel after an hour? Outfitting often comes down to personal preference; there’s no one-size-fits-all.

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.

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 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 in haggling a fair price.

Add some accessories

Accessories are key elements of fishing kayaks; if you want to do some kayak angling, make sure you examine features like rod holders, gear tracks and live wells.

If you’re offered a PFD as part of a used kayak sale 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.

Dick’s kayak buying advice

Dick’s Sporting Goods sells a wide variety of kayaks, ranging from budget-priced models for kids and adults from manufacturers like Sun Dolphin, to Ocean Kayak and Old Town sit-inside kayaks with comfortable seats, as well as quality fishing kayaks by Perception and other brands.

At Dick’s, you’ll find better selection, with a wider range of value and quality kayaks, than outlets like Walmart, Academy Sports or Dunham’s. Still, kayaks at Dick’s are meant for sheltered water conditions. If you’re serious about kayaking and want to progress your kayak touring skills in intermediate and advanced conditions, such as open water or overnight trips, you’re best to tap into the expertise of a dedicated paddlesports retailer to find a more appropriate kayak.

Education: Get Some!
  • Take a paddling safety course from the American Canoe Association (ACA), your local paddling shop or outfitter, or other reputable source.
  • Take a boating safety course from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadrons® or your own state’s boating agency.
  • Take on-the-water skills training.

One of the challenges of shopping for kayaks at box stores like Dick’s is that it’s virtually impossible to live by the adage of experienced kayakers and “try before you buy.” However, there are ways to make buying a Dick’s kayak feel less like a leap of faith. Test paddling can be arranged if you have friends or family who already own a kayak from Dick’s and are willing to share for a short outing or two. This sort of experience provides a sense of what’s available in recreational kayaks; paddling also allows you to appreciate how different kayak design elements fit your body and perform.

As mentioned earlier, Dick’s Sporting Goods kayaks come in a variety of makes and models: some make excellent budget-friendly choices for those who plan on paddling sporadically, while others offer comfort-related upgrades at somewhat higher prices. But in all cases, Dick’s kayaks are meant for use in benign conditions. This reality may fall exactly in line with your recreational paddling needs.

  • Dick’s kayak return policy

    Dick’s standard 90-day return policy applies to kayaks. A receipt is required for refund, and the kayak must be in new condition with no visible signs of wear, and include all original packaging and accessories. Dick’s Sporting Goods Warehouse locations honor a 30-day return policy.

Dick’s kayak reviews

It’s always a good idea to read a variety of reviews of the kayak models you are considering to help in your decision. However, this is an even more important step in cases where you’ll be unable to try the boat before buying. Read our expert reviews below to help you in finding the kayak from Dick’s that best suits your needs.

 

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