How Far Can You Kayak In A Day

Kayaking is a great way to get a sense of adventure and also to see the sights. Before you begin a journey, you should always take into consideration how far you can realistically paddle in a day. 

You don’t want to overestimate your efforts and then be left exhausted on your kayak in the middle of the night. You also don’t want to underestimate your paddling as you may spend hours just paddling around the same lake.

How far can you kayak in a day

So, how far can you kayak in a day? Today, we are going to take a look at some of the things you can take into account before kayaking. 

How fast can a kayak go?

Depending on the kayak you have, the speed of your kayak will vary. Now, if you want to get the most precise findings, you will want to do some calculations. 

You will need to work out how to calculate the speed of your kayak. To do this, you can multiply the square root of the kayak’s waterline by 1.34. This is otherwise known as the Hull Speed. 

The equation goes like this:

Maximum speed = (SQRT(Waterline length))*1.34

This calculation will show you the most precise speed your kayak can go. If you’re new to kayaking, the waterline length is the length of the bottom of your kayak. This is the part of the kayak that sits in the water. 

The longer your kayak is, the faster it can travel. However, some other factors impact the speed of your kayak. We will look into these factors further on in this article. 

How far can a human paddle a kayak?

Kayaking is a great sport to take up. It is a fantastic exercise for your core and arm muscles. As you can imagine, professional kayakers can travel a large distance in a short amount of time. 

In 2019, Sebastian Szubski accomplished 156.4 miles in 24 hours. This was an entirely flat surface area and worked out to be an average of 6.51 miles per hour throughout the 24-hour paddle.

Anjeanine Lees also accomplished the furthest distance covered by a female. She managed to cover 125 miles in 24 hours. This worked out to be a fantastic speed of 5.2 miles per hour. 

These distances were both accomplished by kayaking pros. So, don’t expect to cover the same amount of distance during your first couple of hours in the kayak. 

Use these examples as inspiration to push yourself further in the kayaking world!

How fast can you paddle your kayak?

So, let’s take a look at how fast YOU can paddle YOUR kayak. Research has shown that recreational kayakers paddle their boats at 33% - 50% of their maximum speed. 

How far can you kayak in a day

With this in mind, we can work out that kayakers that paddle at a light to medium effort can travel speeds of up to 2-3.5 knots. You may not be getting world record distances, but you can still enjoy quite a range of distances.

What could impact the paddling speed of a kayak?


Many factors could impact the speed of your kayak paddling. The main factor would be wind. Wind can work out well and badly for you depending on its direction. 

If the wind is blowing in the direction that you’re heading, then you can be expected to cover a lot more distance at a quicker speed. However, if it is blowing against you, then you could be in for trouble. 

If you find yourself in this situation, you may get exhausted quickly. You will be using up a lot more energy by paddling more and you won’t be traveling as far as quickly as you had expected. 


With wind, come waves. Waves can be hit and miss in the kayaking world. They can either be a fun enjoyment or they can hinder your distance goal. 

Riding a wave in your kayak can help you pick up some speed. This is especially true if the wave is heading in the same direction as you. 

On the other hand, they can stop you in your tracks and be quite frustrating. If you are hit by waves coming against you, then you may fall behind your planned journey.


Another force that can throw you off your tracks is the current. Current can either push you forward quickly or it can push you off your route. 

This rings more true if you are faced with a tidal current. Hitting a strong current can add hours to your kayaking time. So, make sure you have researched your routes before heading out on the water, especially if you’re a newbie. 

Weight of Kayak

Before setting off in your kayak, you must ensure that it is packed properly. Packing your kayak well will help to maintain the weight distribution throughout the boat. 

If you do not do this then you may face your kayak being plunged deeper into the water. The lower that the kayak sits in the water, the slower it will be when paddling. 

Packing your kayak well will help to increase the stability of your kayak. You can do this by placing heavy items in the middle of your kayak and lighter items towards the ends of your kayak. This is the perfect way to pack your kayak.

How Long Can You Kayak in a Day?

If you are an experienced kayaker, your kayak has a waterline length of 16 foot and the boat is empty, let’s see how far you could travel in a day. Five hours of paddling at 3.1 miles per hour would let you cover 15 miles roughly. 

Now, if we extend the paddling time to 10 hours, this could mean that you could cover up to 30 miles in a single day. Remember, that this has been worked out for an experienced paddler. 

Don’t go heading out on a 10-hour paddle if you’re just starting out. Start easy and work your way up!

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