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Is it possible to demo an inflatable kayak before buying?

Hi. I'm looking into buying an inflatable kayak but I would like to try one before I plunk my money down. Does REI have a way to try out kayaks? Special events for customers to check them out? I live in San Francisco.


Thanks, Jen

2 Replies

@jlr555 Thanks for the question!

We're going to connect with our local team in the Bay area and see what information we can find for you. We'll circle back with you here in the community when we hear back. 


At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Hello Jen (@jlr555), 

Welcome to REI Conversations! We do not typically offer kayak demos here in the Bay Area, and this is something we'd love to do in the future! For now here are a couple options:

Schedule a virtual outfitting appointment with a REI expert at . Here you can get 1:1 advice on inflatable kayaks, the differences between them, and other gear -- from the comfort of your home.

We also are now offering small group paddling tours and classes with our local REI guides here in the SF Bay Area. While we do not offer these classes in inflatable kayaks, you could check out some of our favorite paddling spots in the region in a hard kayak and discuss your options with our local guides who can help you determine how you might enjoy the inflatable boat. Check out all of the local tours and classes we offer HERE

If you are really keen to try before you buy, you could check with California Canoe and Kayak (CCK), they have a couple locations around the bay and offer paid demos of some of their boats (not sure if they demo the inflatables).

Hope this helps and wishing you happy paddles!!


At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.