For those looking to get fit and enjoy the great outdoors, nothing beats kayaking. But how do you find the right one for you?
When it comes to choosing a kayak, there are several things to keep in mind:
- How you will use your kayak
- Where you will use your kayak
- How much you are willing to spend
- How much does your kayak weigh
Kayak weight will depend on the size of the boat and the kayak materials used in construction, but popular models are generally lightweight. For example, an 11’ kayak weighs about 50 pounds.
These boats are typically designed to be carried by one person for short distances over level ground, or they can be loaded onto a kayak roof rack or kayak cart for longer trips, and kayak weight will be light enough to make this possible.
If you’ve ever wondered how much kayaks weigh, then you’ve come to the right place. Read on to discover average kayak weights and how to choose the right kind of kayak for you!
- The Main Types of Kayaks
- How Much Does a Kayak Weigh?
- How Does My Weight Factor Into My Kayak Choice?
- Which Kayak Is Right for Me?
- How to Haul Your Kayak
- Most Popular Models of Kayaks
- What Makes Your Kayak Unique?
- Work with a Kayak Expert to Find the Right Kayak for You
The Main Types of Kayaks
There are two main types of kayaks: recreational and touring. Recreational models are wider, shorter kayaks that have a flatter design for improved stability.
A recreational kayak weight will likely be a bit higher than a touring kayak, due to the materials used in construction. Of course, a tandem kayak will also weigh more because it is a bigger boat!
Touring kayaks offer sleek, narrow shapes to maximize speed through the water. Additional features can include a seat with foot braces to adjust your position in the cockpit and cargo well behind the seat to carry gear.
The average weight for most popular kayaks depends on the length of the design, with shorter boats typically weighing less than longer ones. A typical 11’ recreational kayak’s weight is around 50 pounds or more; touring kayaks are lighter, ranging in weight between 35 and 55 pounds.
The material of the kayak also affects how much weight the boat carries. For example, smaller recreational kayaks are typically made out of rotomolded polyethylene or thermoformed plastic, which reduce weight while still being durable for years on end.
Rotomolded kayaks and thermoformed kayaks are the best options for lighter kayaks on the market today.
How Much Does a Kayak Weigh?
Kayaks are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. Here’s a breakdown of the most common models and their weights:
14’ Recreational: 60 to 70 pounds
If you’re looking for a kayak with more speed and storage, this is the model to choose. This may seem like a heavy kayak, but the storage and stability offered in these models is hard to beat, and these longer kayaks also are often used for racing.
14’ Touring: 45 to 55 pounds
Offering enough space to carry large amounts of gear, these boats provide stability while kayaking without sacrificing speed.
11’ Recreational: 50 pounds
These are the most popular models, designed for stability, ease of use, and a comfortable ride. Those looking for a fishing kayak may prefer this type of single kayak.
11’ Touring: 35 to 55 pounds
These models are less stable than the 11’ recreational, but they’re also lighter, making them ideal for those who enjoy long trips on open water. Unfortunately, their lightweight design also makes them more expensive.
9’ Recreational: 30 to 40 pounds
Ideal for children, these shorter kayaks are sturdier than an 11’ design.
9’ Touring: 35 pounds
Ideal for long trips on open water, the 9’ touring model is typically more expensive than other types of recreational kayaks.
5’3″ Recreational: 20 to 30 pounds
Ideal for children and shorter adults, this shorter kayak is the smallest recreational model available.
5’3″ Touring: 25 pounds
This is used for open-water touring in a smaller craft. This kayak’s weight makes it ideal for riders under 130 pounds.
Also known as double kayaks or tandem kayaks, this twin-seater is designed to carry two people. If you’re looking for a kayak that will keep your kayaking buddy close, you can’t go wrong with a tandem kayak.
Tandem kayaks weigh about 50 to 55 pounds, and they’re great for those who are looking for speed and all-around water fun. Since you will almost always be accompanied by a partner when using a tandem kayak, the kayak’s heavy weight shouldn’t be a problem.
How Does My Weight Factor Into My Kayak Choice?
Your height and experience level should be considered above all other factors when choosing a boat for recreational use. However, it is wise to consider the weight limit of the kayak you are considering before you purchase it.
The kayak weight limit will vary from model to model. You should review the weight limits of the boats you are considering to ensure that the one you choose will be comfortable and safe for your next kayaking adventure.
Which Kayak Is Right for Me?
To pick the best kayak for your needs, consider where you’ll store it, how much gear you need to carry, and how often you intend to use it.
1. Where will you store the kayak?
If you’re limited on space, look for a smaller model. Shorter kayaks weigh less than larger models, which could benefit you if you will be lifting and carrying the boat by yourself.
You can also find space-saving options such as inflatable kayaks and foldable kayaks.
Inflatable kayaks are easy to store and need no extra equipment to transport. An inflatable kayak will likely be the lightest weight kayak around, with an average weight of 25 to 30 pounds.
2. How much gear do you need to carry?
Do you plan to fish or spend your days exploring the coastline? If so, consider a kayak with ample storage that can comfortably carry all your gear.
If you’re seeking a fishing kayak, it will be especially important to consider the cargo space of your kayak. You will also want to check the weight limit of each kayak you consider, because the more gear you have the more weight you will have as well.
Look for a kayak with a weight capacity that is a bit heavier than you, since the actual weight of the cargo in the boat will include your weight and the weight of your gear.
3. How often do you plan to use the kayak?
Consider investing in a high-performance touring boat designed for speed and stability if you’re an avid paddler. Recreational models are more affordable, but because they’re some of the heaviest kayaks, they aren’t as fast or efficient.
Look for a model that’s easy to maneuver with extra stability for newbies just getting into paddling.
4. What is your paddling experience?
Kayak models are designed to meet specific skill levels, so consider reading up on the different types of kayaks before you make a purchase. Your first kayak likely does not need to be the most sophisticated model on the market.
5. Do you have any physical limitations?
If you have any physical limitations, it’s best to consult a kayak expert. They can help you choose the right boat based on your experience level and limitations.
6. What is your height?
Most recreational kayaks are designed for riders 5’2″ or taller, but there are models designed for shorter riders.
How to Haul Your Kayak
The weight of your kayak will factor into how easy or difficult it is to transport your boat. Some single kayak models weigh less than 50 pounds and can be carried by one person; meanwhile, the heaviest kayak on the market weighs well over 100 pounds, so you might need help carrying it to and from the launch area.
There are a variety of ways that you can transport a kayak. You can strap a kayak to your car roof rack, invest in a kayak rack, or place it in the back of a truck bed.
If you’re going on a longer trip and need to transport the boat by vehicle, consider investing in a kayak trailer if your vehicle doesn’t have a large luggage rack or carrier. When choosing a transport method, keep in mind your strength level, the weight of a kayak, and whether you will have assistance when loading the kayak.
Most Popular Models of Kayaks
Kayak weight is largely determined by the different materials made to construct the boat and the length of the boat. As you do your research, keep in mind that most kayaks of various lengths and materials are designed for specific purposes.
If you’re considering models made specifically for fishing, you’ll find that fishing kayaks come with several features that make it easier to store fishing equipment and keep your tackle within easy reach.
If you’re planning on paddling in open water and going sea kayaking, look for a sea kayak designed with stability in mind. Sea kayaks are available in a wide range of weights — anywhere from 20 to over 100 pounds!
Whitewater kayaks, designed for fast streams and rough waters, are generally shorter and thus somewhat lightweight. A whitewater kayak will be made with a durable yet manageable hull material.
On the other hand, if you plan to float on calmer waters, consider a touring or recreational model with more maneuverability. An inflatable kayak is a solid choice for flat water, and if you’re solely looking for a lightweight kayak this will likely be your best option.
What Makes Your Kayak Unique?
What features make your kayak unique from the others on the market? Perhaps you want a kayak with a built-in engine or waterproof storage compartments, maybe a product with a generous warranty, or one that is produced by a company with a good track record.
How much a kayak weighs can make a big difference on how often you get out on the water — a heavy boat might make the whole experience seem more like a chore than a relaxing day out. On the other hand, when you consider your kayak’s weight carefully, you’ll be able to pick out a boat that perfectly fits your needs and desires.
Whatever your preference, there will likely be an option that will meet your specific needs and desires.
How much does a kayak weigh?
Kayak weight depends on its size, so the weight will vary depending on the length of your model. Most solo kayaks are lightweight and easy to transport, with inflatable kayaks being among the absolute lightest, but some can also be somewhat heavy — especially tandem kayaks. The weight of a kayak will be affected by the materials used in its construction.
What are kayaks made of?
Common kayak material types are either plastic or fiberglass, but carbon fiber single person kayaks offer increased performance and maneuverability.
A single composite kayak made with composite materials will almost always weigh less than a plastic kayak of comparable size.
How much do kayaks cost?
Kayak prices vary depending on the model, and you should be able to find a kayak for any budget. You can find basic models that cost around $290, but if you want a high-performance boat made from carbon fiber or Kevlar, be prepared to pay well over $1000.
What is the difference between fishing kayaks and recreational kayaks?
Fishing kayaks have many of the same features as recreational models, but they are often designed so there is a flat space on the deck for a wide variety of fishing equipment. A fishing kayak will also tend to be longer and more streamlined, so it glides through the water with ease.
What kayaks are best for beginners?
Beginners should look for a medium-size kayak that is designed to be stable and easy to paddle; models with a wider and longer hull would likely be the best choice. It could be helpful to speak with an experienced kayaker to learn more about more kayak models that are available and which ones might be best suited for your preferences and skill level.
Work with a Kayak Expert to Find the Right Kayak for You
Contact a kayak outfitter in your region if you’re looking for an expert to help you find the perfect kayak. These retailers are experts in all types of kayaks and can answer any questions you might have regarding different models or materials.
Now that you know the various weights available, it’s time to find the best option for your needs. Start shopping online or visit a local kayak outfitter to see what’s available in your region!