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How Much Does A Kayak Weigh? You Might Be Surprised

Shopping for a kayak can be overwhelming; there are so many types of kayaks and factors to consider.  One common question people ask is, “how much does a kayak weigh”?  After all, you will be lifting, pushing, and pulling your kayak, so weight is critical.

This is a tough question to answer, as kayaks can differ wildly in their weight. Most of the time, it comes down to the type of kayak you’re using and what it is used for. Not to mention the materials it’s made of.  All of these factors determine the weight of a kayak. What you have to do is choose a kayak that fits your needs.

Kayak weight comes into play more than you might think. You have to lift it to put it on your vehicle and, of course, take it off when you make it to your destination. Then put it back on your vehicle when you are done kayaking. When it’s not in use, you’ll need to find somewhere to store it.

As you can see, you will be lifting your kayak multiple times on any given trip.

Heavier, bigger kayaks can be harder to lift and store, especially in small places. A garage or basement might offer plenty of room, but you still have to lift the boat in place.

As a result of kayak weight being so important, we wanted to dive into this subject below. Let’s get started!

How much does a kayak weigh?

This often depends on the type of kayak you are looking at. Before we get too far, let’s take a look at different types of kayaks.

Types of kayaks

As referenced above, the type of kayak you plan to use will matter. Below are some examples of different types of kayaks and their specific uses. These have different weights, even within each type. 

Fishing:

Fishing kayaks are typically a little larger, which makes them heavier. Also, with a fishing kayak, you can expect extra weight due to the add-ons and accessories.

For example, fishing kayaks are often equipped with tracks, so you can add a fish finder, fishing pole holder, or other accessories.  You may have an anchor or motor on a fishing kayak too.  You can see how this can all add up.

A simple kayak by itself can weigh roughly 35 pounds. However, this can differ drastically to the higher-end fishing kayaks that run up to 235 pounds.  This is the kayak weight before you add extras.

For more information on fishing kayaks click here.

Inflatable:

If you’re looking for a kayak perfect for getting on the water with friends, the inflatable kayak is a great option. They are easy to store when not in use, but also you do not have to worry about putting them up on top of your vehicle. They can be stored inside your vehicle, and then pulled out when you plan to use it.

Inflatable kayaks can be used for many things, but they’re often used for average fun on the water with friends. Of course, fishing is an everyday use too.

Inflatables typically weigh less and are much easier to handle alone. Most of them weigh between 30 and 40lbs. However, some smaller versions weigh slightly less than 20lbs. Inflatable kayaks used for fishing are often heavier, but the “backcountry” versions are not.

Funny enough, despite being inflatable, they can support a lot of weight, up to 500 pounds or more in some cases.

Click here for more information about inflatable kayaks.

Hardshell kayaks

Rigid kayaks typically weigh more than inflatables. It does not matter if you use it for fishing or other recreational kayaking. Pay close attention to the weight capacity on a hardshell kayak, depending on how much you weigh and how much gear you take with you. For more information on kayak weight limits, click here.

Depending on the weight capacity you need, that will affect the weight of the kayak. Ultimately, this comes down to size vs. size. A larger kayak will often weigh more than a smaller kayak (depending on what it’s made of).  An average hard kayak weighs around 50 to 60 pounds.

Kayak materials and construction

It is essential to understand how materials and construction affect the weight of a kayak. Kayaks are made out of a lot of different materials. Depending on the kayak (hard or inflatable), you could see them made of wood, plastic, composite (fiberglass), PVC, etc.

Inflatable kayaks are generally pretty lightweight, and that makes them popular.  They are easy to transport, store, and setup.  

Wooden kayaks are pretty lightweight and durable compared to plastic boats.

Composite kayaks are very lightweight and are fast and responsive on the water.

Polyethylene kayaks are what most “plastic” boats are made of and can be cumbersome.

For more information on kayak construction, check out my post here.

Single vs. Tandem

Tandem kayaks are generally heavier than singles.  The kayak itself is going to weigh more than a solo kayak because it’s larger. The moment you add in more passengers and gear, the weight will increase even more. You could see a small difference of around 10 to 20 extra pounds in a tandem vs. a single kayak. Yet you could also see a significant difference of 50 to 70 pounds depending on the model.

Kayak Size

It might seem obvious, but it’s worth pointing out. A longer kayak will typically weigh more than a smaller kayak. Of course, there will be differences depending on what the kayak is made of.  Lightweight materials on a longer kayak may end up being lighter than a shorter kayak made of heavier material.

Again, it really depends on the activities you want to do as to what size kayak you need.  In general, here are some guidelines.

Longer:

Longer Kayaks are well-liked due to how fast they are. They have impressive hull speed, making them faster than the shorter version. Another advantage you can have with longer kayaks is the ability to paddle easier. Due to the greater speed of the hull, you don’t have to work as hard. Every stroke counts, and you’re not going to be overworking yourself. Given this, a longer kayak may weigh more than a shorter variety.

Shorter:

While you might not have as much efficiency with shorter kayaks as opposed to longer, they will usually be lighter as a general rule. That means they are less cumbersome compared to longer kayaks. They are also easier to transport.

Shorter kayaks also tend to be less expensive as a rule, but this really depends on the material used. High-end, premium material used in a shorter kayak will result in a higher asking price.

Where Can You Find Kayak Weight?

Generally speaking, kayak weight is not hard to find. You can always look up average sizes, but the best thing to do is check into the specific kayak you’re interested in. Places you will order from online will usually tell you the weight upfront before add-ons. However, if you plan to go to a store to physically purchase one, you can do one of two things.

First, you can check out the box if it is present. This will allow you to see anything you want to know, as most boxes will provide a lot of information. If you still have questions, it is always good to ask an employee. They might know, but if not, they can look it up in their system for you. Most stores will have every bit of information on a product. Kayak weight will undoubtedly be part of that.

If neither suits your needs, you can always look up the brand and exact model online. Most brands have their own website where you can see all of their products. If anyone has an exact weight for you, the manufacturer most certainly will.

Accessories

The moment you add in other stuff to your kayak, you are going to add weight. You have to keep in mind your kayak can only hold so much weight before it is adversely affected. That can be problematic sometimes.

Of course, that all depends on your needs. If you add an ice chest to the kayak, that obviously results in more weight. And if you land a giant fish, the weight will be increased.

Even something as simple as fishing poles can increase your overall weight. Therefore, always remember to take accessories into account when you are figuring out your kayak’s total weight.

Terrain

I forgot to mention terrain. What does terrain have to do with kayak weight? When you get to the lake, river, or wherever you are kayaking, you may have to carry the boat over rocks, sand, or down a long boat launch.

You may want to know what you are in for before purchasing a too heavy kayak.  If that is the case, you may end up needing a kayak cart to help you get the boat from your vehicle to the water. 

Conclusion

How much do kayaks weigh - Two men carrying a kayak down a boat launchPin

You can see it’s essential to know how much a kayak weighs.  You will be lifting, pushing, and pulling the kayak when you transport and store your boat. Consider what type of kayaking you plan to do, and what gear you might need. The weight of a kayak and all that gear can add up in a hurry.

Steve Morrow Founder of Paddle About
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steve is an avid kayaker and founder of Paddle About. When he is not on the water, Steve enjoys outdoor activities, including fishing, camping, and hiking with his family. Read more.