More and more it seems everyone I know orders their kayak gear off the internet. It’s not just kayak gear. People buy everything online these days. I’m surprised to see that there are still stores that you can walk into. I’m not sure what they are for really. I don’t know how much longer it will be until there are no more stores and we just order everything from our computers. Who wants to go outside anyway?
Why should you buy your gear from your local kayak shop instead of ordering it online?
- The people who work in your local shop are part of your local river community. They paddle the same rivers you do. You might even paddle with them. By getting your gear from them you are keeping your friends employed.
- When you buy gear from your local shop you have a person to go back to if you have any problems. Let’s say you order a kayak from the internet and you need help setting up the outfitting. Is the internet going to help you?
- Kayaking is not just a sport. It’s a lifestyle. Hanging out in your local shop is a great way to get to know other paddlers in your area. When you’re looking for a new boat, paddle, or whatever else, talking to the other people in the store is a great way to get the scoop on what gear is working well for people and what gear people have not been so stoked on. Sure you can read reviews online but do you know who wrote them? If you talk to the staff and customers in a shop you can actually get to know a person and understand their personal experience which lends some context to the review they might give. Plus, you get the added bonus of talking face to face to a real live person. Remember when people used to do that?
- Kayak shops usually have info on upcoming events in the area. Just stopping in once in a while is an easy way to keep current on festivals, competitions, community gatherings, clean ups, etc. in your area.
- Try before you buy. Sure most companies have fit guides on their websites but I prefer to know something is going to fit before I buy it. Suppose you’re looking for a new drysuit. If you follow the size guide and order online you still run the risk of not quite having the right fit when your suit arrives. Then you have to send it back and wait even longer. Wouldn’t it be better to walk into the store, try the suit on and be able to wear it on the river the next day? What if you’re looking for a boat? Everyone wants to demo new kayaks before buying one. You can’t do that if you order your kayak from the internet. Sure you could demo from your local shop and then order online, but do you really want that on your karma next time you head out to the river?