Should you buy a used folding kayak? You can save a lot of money doing so. What you give up is a warranty and dealer support. Still, you can save a lot of money- if you know what to look for. Used boats can have a lot of hidden flaws, like rot in the wood frame, tears in the core of the hull fabric, an old rubber-coated hull that’s breaking down, or corrosion in metal parts. Before you buy, you’ll need to educate yourself on how to insypect a used folding kayak.
The best source of information on inspecting used boats is Ralph Diaz’ Complete Folding Kayaker; in it you’ll find a checklist for inspecting wooden and aluminum parts, fabric and other details, and advice on repair as well.
The single best source for used folders, until its recent demise, was Ralph’s Folding Kayak Newsletter; each issue contained a full page of ads for boats. A good place to look for used Long Hauls, Kleppers, iLong Haul and Klepper Accessories and custom pieces is the Classified pages on Long Haul Kayak’s web pages. For used Feathercrafts, see the free classified ads on Folding Kayak Adventures’ web site.
There’s a free Classified section in the Folding Kayak Forum for buying and selling used boats and accessories.
Ralph Hoehn runs a “Folding Boat Forum ” on his PouchBoats web site, and in the Equipment Exchange section you’ll find a few boats for sale.
David Scott wrote to suggest the exhaustive list of boat brokers at http://www.boat-links.com/linklists/boatlink-04.html#forsale as a very good source of used kayaks, and adds “The best sites on here are those that post classifieds from local newspapers. I found a Klepper Aerius II with a sail rig for $300 and a Klepper Master for $400 this way. ”
Ebay usually has a few folding boats; try searching on “kayak”, “Klepper” and variations on “folbot/foldbot/foldboat” et cetera. You’re bidding against a lot of people on Ebay, but deals are occasionally to be found. A paddling partner tells me a friend of ours picked up a new, unused Poly-Tech Feathercraft K-Light for $1400. Not a steal, but a fair price
Most of the dealers listed on the dealers page sell used boats as well, and of course will guarantee the condition of boats they sell- something to consider. One of my Aleuts purchased used arrived having been put away wet and left in the bag for a year; there was a lot of corrosion, a broken coaming piece, mildew and a number of broken rivets. The seller (not a folding boat specialist, and not one listed on the dealer page) made good on the costs of repair, but had never inspected the boat before selling it.