Do you like having a locally owned kayak shop? Would you rather drive to Denver whenever you need something specific to real boating? Then the answer seems simple to me. Pay the extra and support local business. You probably get your machiato at Starbucks and your tires at Walmart so you can save 10%.
Locally owned business used to be the backbone of the American Dream. Do the right thing.
I bought my first throw bag on sale at REI for super cheap. I got what I paid for. It took little more than one swift water rescue class's worth of use to destroy the bag. The rope is still great, but not nearly as useful when it's a big tangled mess when you need it.
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