How Much Does A Kayak Weigh?

How heavy is a kayak

So, you’ve decided that you need a new hobby and kayaking seems like the perfect fit for you. Thanks to all the excitement and the burning desire to test your new purchase in the water, you might forget something. Have you wondered how heavy a kayak is? No? Well, today we’re going to explore this topic.

How heavy is a kayak

Does it matter how heavy the kayak is?

I admit that weight is rarely on my mind when I buy something. I look at measurements, capacity, storage space, price, etc. You probably do the same. And when it comes to choosing a kayak you have to consider first:


​And when it comes to choosing a kayak you have to consider first:

  • ​Paddling destination – lakes, rivers, or seacoasts
  • ​Type – sit-in or sit-on-top, for example
  • ​Shape and size (capacity, length, width, depth)

Weight is usually not as important as these characteristics. Of course, the lighter the vessel, the easier it will be to control it and get it up to speed. However, speaking frankly, a difference of 5-10 pounds in the weight won’t matter much when it comes to the performance.

But it matters if you have to transport the vessel to your car or carry/drag it from your home to the river bank. Then you’ll feel these extra pounds on your back. The last thing you want is to get winded even before you start your water adventure, right? What’s more, think about the difficulties in finding a place to store a heavy kayak.

How heavy is a kayak?

Unfortunately, I can’t give you a definite answer because the weight varies from model to model. On average, a kayak weighs between 20 and 80 pounds, but depending on several factors the weight might be even close to 100 pounds. That’s a lot to be dragging around, right?

What you can do is pay close attention to the description of the product or do research on the model you’ve liked. You can read reviews, see what other people have to say or contact the manufacturer if you want additional details.

You should also consider the following:

What is the material?

The factor that plays the biggest role when it comes to the kayak’s weight is the building material. I don’t think I’m shocking anyone with this statement, right?​

​We can distinguish the following types of kayaks based on the material:

  • ​Polyethylene plastic – affordable, but heavy
  • ​ABS plastic, also known as thermoformed kayaks
  • ​Composite – light, but expensive

The excellent thing about plastic kayaks is that they are more durable and less likely to crack upon impact than the other models. On the other hand, composite ones perform better and won’t wrap over time quickly.

The thermoformed kayak is not as heavy as the plastic one, but still very resilient to impacts. It could be the perfect choice if you want something not lighter than plastic and less expensive than composite.

What about the design?

One way to lose some weight when it comes to kayaks is to make the hull short. One of the disadvantages of this design is that you’re going to have less storage space available. You’ll have to take only the necessary stuff, and it still might not be enough.

On the other hand, a short hull means that the boat will be easy to turn, but it won’t be as fast as the long hull one. Also, consider the kayak’s width. Wide hulls are stable, while narrow ones are fast.

Tandem or solo?

Of course, if you’re buying a tandem kayak, it will weigh more than the solo one. After all, two people take more space than one, which equals to a longer boat. However, a tandem also means that you have two people carrying one boat so it won’t be as hard as doing it on your own.

Are inflatable and foldable kayaks a good choice?

If you are looking for easy to transport kayaks, one of your best bets would be inflatable ones. They are designed to be light so that you can carry them around without breaking a sweat. What’s more, once deflated/folded you can store them almost anywhere you wish. In addition to this, they are not expensive.

However, the thing about inflatable kayaks is that they sink. Of course, all kayaks might sink, but think about it for a moment. You pass close by some sharp rocks. A plastic/composite kayak will probably get scratched/slightly damaged, while the inflatable one might get pierced.

The other disadvantage is that it might take you a while to inflate the boat, especially if you have to use a pump.

As you can see, the weight of the kayak depends on different factors. My advice is that you check the specs of the model you want carefully, especially if you’ll have to lift it up on the car roof. Also, don’t forget to pay attention to the weight capacity besides the actual weight of the vessel.

Were we helpful in explaining how heavy a kayak is? What type of kayak would you recommend? Share your tips in the comments.