Are you planning on investing in your first kayak to start fun adventures in the great outdoors? Well, you’re not the only one as kayaking is becoming more and more popular throughout the US. If you’re starting off, then knowing the weight and size of a kayak is important.
If you’ve ever tried to lift a kayak, you’ll know it is not always an easy task. Unless you are lucky enough to live on the side of a lake or body of water, you will need to transport your kayak to an area suitable for kayaking. In order to do this, you’ll need to attach it to your vehicle.
Most of the time, this is done by securing the kayak to your car’s roof. This is why it’s critical you know the weight of the kayak so you know if you can lift it and not put your back out every time you try to pick it up.
Of course, there are many types of kayaks including inflatable models. These weigh a lot less and can be easily transported. However, most kayaks are made from polyethylene (plastic), wood, or composite materials which can weigh quite a lot.
As well as lifting a kayak, it’s important to know its weight so you can use it safely and efficiently on the water. For beginners, it’s recommended you don’t use a low-weight kayak or a heavy-weight kayak and instead opt for a medium-weight model to get to grips with.
Read on to discover the different weights of kayaks and what you should be looking for when purchasing a fun new kayak.
There are many factors that determine a kayak’s weight. Firstly, it’s important that you consider what kind of kayak would suit you best. Whether you’re a gentle paddler on glassy lakes or you love the thrill of whitewater hydraulics, you need to find a kayak that will suit your needs.
One factor that influences a kayak’s weight is its form. There are six main kayak groups which require different form and functions for their usage. There are:
- Recreational kayaks - These kayaks are made to be used on rivers, lakes, seas, and oceans. If you like a gentle paddle, these are the best choice as they are not tuned for high performance or speed. Average weight capacity - 35 lbs.
- Fishing kayaks - These kayaks come in all shapes and sizes. However, they all have a common goal which is to help the angler catch fish. Many of these fishing kayaks include accessories like fish-finding features and pedals which can increase the weight of the boat. Average weight capacity - 120 lbs.
- Inflatable kayaks - These are quite versatile as they can be used for high-speed and low-speed endeavors. These have a very distinct construction and unique characteristics that can impact the kayak’s weight. Average weight capacity - 30 - 50 lbs.
- Sea kayaks - This type of kayak is usually used by more experienced kayakers. You will often see these being used along coastal regions and they are usually long and thin shaped. This allows them to have more stability and maneuverability instead of going at higher speeds. Average Weight capacity - 55 lbs
- General kayaks - These are generally very safe to use and ideal for the paddling type of kayaker but also for the thrill seeker. Their shape is short yet highly durable and, when needed to be turned, can move very quickly. Average weight capacity - 50 lbs.
- Tandem kayaks - These are used with a partner where you both sit inside. These are best suited for gentle paddling down rivers and on lakes. Average weight capacity - 65 lbs.
Average Kayak Weight
The average kayak weighs about 63.2 lbs, measures 12.47 feet long, and is 30.5” wide. Generally, the average inflatable kayak weighs up to 30 lbs.
Tandem kayaks, which are used with a partner weigh around 40 lbs while fishing kayaks weigh, on average, 104.7 lbs. A sea kayak usually weighs about 54.3 lbs but all of these vary depending on the make and manufacturer.
On average, kayaks can weigh between 20 lbs and 60 lbs while some fishing models reach a lot more than 100 lbs due to additional accessories. Kayaks need to have a manageable weight to support you and for easy transportation.
When out in the water, a heavy, overloaded kayak is more likely to face rough winds, strong waves, and currents. Heavier kayaks are not as easy to maintain balance in, especially when trying to move quickly. This can be helped with a strong quality seat that will maintain your balance and safety on the water.
Influences on a Kayak’s Weight
The weight of a kayak is dependent on the material it’s constructed from and its size.
The most common types of material used to construct a kayak include:
- Fiberglass and carbon fiber - Fiberglass models tend to have a medium weight and are priced in the medium range too.
- Composite materials - These are generally lighter in weight but more expensive.
- Polyethylene - This type of kayak is usually heavier but far more affordable.
- Rotomolded - These are typically made from melted plastic pellets that are shaped into a kayak. This type is usually quite heavy.
- Thermoform - This what the top and the bottom of a kayak is generally made from and where the two parts join. These usually fall into the medium-weight category.
The kayak weight can vary, especially when you get out on the water. Depending on what you store in your kayak space, the weight can vary drastically. This is why you must take the weight capacity into account when investing in a kayak as you want to ensure it can support your weight as well as various items you may need.
Overall, a kayak’s weight depends on the material it’s made from and its size. Single-person kayaks are always much lighter than tandem models which need to be bigger and wider in size to accommodate two people at the same time.
If you’re looking for a lighter kayak, it’s best to opt for a shorter-length version. However, it’s important to know that these kayaks are at a higher risk of being overturned by strong current and tides and there won’t be as much storage space for fishing gear and other items.