In and Around
Besides the folks mentioned here, clubs are probably your best source of equipment. Used gear can sometimes cycle through several club members before either being retired or taking up permanent residence with someone.
But you can buy your gear from various shops around the region; one place that I've had great luck with over the years is Tussey Mountain Outfitters, located near Penn State at 226 N. Water Street, Bellefonte, PA 16823, 814-355-5690. In addition to running the Red Moshannon downriver race each March, and the Dog Days slalom race each August, they have a great shop stocked with paddling and camping supplies.
Another place that's great to shop -- as well as being very handy to the Yough -- is the Riversport School of Paddling pro shop, PO Box 95, 213 Yough Street, Confluence Pennsylvania 15424; (814) 395-5744, (800) 216-6991. They have just about everything you can imagine in the way of whitewater gear, plus they're in Confluence which means that if you're halfway to Ohiopyle and figure out that you forgot your spray skirt...
Davey Hearn runs Maximum Whitewater Performance in Bethesda, Maryland; no web site, but you can reach him at email@example.com. He specializes in whitewater racing (slalom and downriver) boats and equipment, but also carries a lot of things useful to the general recreational boater, like Rapidstyle clothing and sprayskirts.
In south-central Pennsylvania, try either Uller's Ski and Board Shop, 2799 S Queen St, Dallastown, PA, 17313, or Susquehanna Canoe Shoppe, 894 Delta Road, Red Lion, PA, 17356, 717-244-6907.
PS Composites, 2535 Roundtop Road, Middletown, PA 17057, 717-944-1752, firstname.lastname@example.org. They make makes a variety of composite layup kayaks which can be custom-fitted to your body shape and size.
Rocks & Water, 6210 Chambersburg Road, Fayetteville, PA, 17222, 1-877-RAW-WATR, just opened up this fall and I don't know anything about them yet, other than their flyer...but they seem to be a paddling and climbing shop.
For general outdoor gear -- and some paddling stuff -- I've had good luck purchasing things at Eastern Mountain Sports. EMS has stores all over, including Ardmore, PA (610-896-0627) and north of Wilmington, DE (302-477-0859).
The Jersey Paddler, Route 88W, Brick, New Jersey 08724, (908) 458-5777, fax (908) 458-5666 is a bit pricey, and is way out near the coast, but does feature a large store with a lot of paddling gear.
If you find yourself in Connecticut, try Clarke Outdoors, conveniently located along the Housatonic near West Cornwall.
Down in Maryland, try Springriver Corporation, 6434 Baltimore National Pike, Baltimore, Maryland 21228; (410) 788-3377, fax (410) 788-3179. Or try River and Trail Outfitters, Inc., Route 2, Valley Road, Knoxville, Maryland 21758, (301) 695-5177.
A new place that's in south-central Pennsylvania is Fat Jimmy's Outfitters, 814-735-BIKE. They're in Breezewood, just off exit 12 of the PA Turnpike. Don't know much about them, but they appear to carry paddling, hiking, biking and other gear.
One of the best suppliers in the business is Mitchell Paddles -- I don't use anything else. They make wood and composite paddles for whitewater, flatwater, and sea kayaking; they also do paddle repairs. Contact Dave & Peggy at Mitchell Paddles, RR 2, Box 922, Canaan, NH 03741, (603) 523-7004, fax (603) 523-7363.
John "Kaz" Kazimierczyk, (603) 529-3919, is Millbrook Boats. He hand-makes canoes and kayaks, and does excellent work. (He can also repair your fiberglass boat if you've done something bad to it.)
Another excellent source of equipment is Lotus Designs, 1060 Old Mars Hill Hwy., Weaverville, North Carolina 28787, (704) 689-2470, fax (704) 689-252, or email@example.com. They make Cordura, coast-guard approved lifejackets in a variety of styles.
If you break your (plastic) boat, try Jack Kloepfer at Jack's Plastic Welding, firstname.lastname@example.org, 115 South Main, Aztec, New Mexico 87410, (505) 334-8748, fax (505) 334-1901. They do plastic welding and repairs -- not an easy task with some of the modern plastics used in boats. A few years ago, Jack fixed the seat of my Hydra Mustang after I destroyed it snow-surfing.
Used gear is also available via the web: check out Used Equipment For Sale, Kayaylink - Buy and sell used kayaks, Used Kayaks, suppliers, and Northeast Paddler's Message Board - Home. (This last one is also a useful resource for all kinds of other things related to paddling.)
Still more paddling gear, as well as all kinds of other outdoor equipment, is available via ORBS - Free Outdoor Classified Ads.