REI is a fashion company, not an outdoor goods retailer>cheapest kayaks are nearly 800
That's because you're not meant to buy the kayaks, they are part of the advertising budget.
Ever notice how REI puts kayaks/tents/hammocks in big conspicuous locations, but they have terrible selections for these? Meanwhile they dedicate ~75% of their retail space to clothing.
That's because the kayaks and tents are supposed to be there to make you feel like "I could be this cool, if only I bought REI. Maybe I should start by getting a jacket or boots, since I know I can use them even when I'm not going hiking"
It's the same thing that Cabelas does with their taxidermy. It's part of the advertising, and meant to make you think: "I could be sharing stories about taking a buck like this. Maybe I shold get a new rifle, or tree stand."