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I love kayaking; it’s my favorite way to sit back, unwind and relax, especially after a tiring week or month.

To keep the experience mellow, I always choose a kayak that’s easier to carry. It saves me from extra exertion and the hassle of lifting and dragging the kayak to and from the destination. I just don’t want to be tired before and after such an enriching experience!

So you may ask, how much does a kayak weigh?

Although, there is no definite number to answer the question of how much a kayak weigh. We can only give a range or estimate. Usually, most kayaks weigh anywhere from 20lbs (9kg) to over 80 lbs (36kg). This is because they are made from different materials, come in different sizes, and serve various purposes. 

Are Kayaks Heavy Or Light?

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Each type of kayak weighs differently. First, you need to identify the purpose you need it for. Casual recreational kayaks range from 35 lbs for a single-person kayak and 65 lbs for a tandem kayak. Fishing kayaks are usually the heaviest and can easily cross 120 lbs, considering you will not want to compromise on quality.

When choosing a kayak, you should look for an estimated weight that you can carry easily without getting tired. I would personally always prefer a good lightweight kayak as long as it is of a good standard and serves its purpose well.

Carrying a kayak depends on your age, ability, and strength. Only you can decide whether you can carry a 50-pound boat or you’ll be good with a 30-pound max.

To decide if the kayak will be heavy or light for you, refer to the online size guides of different kayak models. Or you can visit a store and ask for kayak manufacturer specifications of different types of kayaks. Based on the reference you receive, decide what will be manageable for you.

There is one more thing to keep in mind. Kayak weight and kayak weight limit are two terms with very different meanings. Kayak weight is the weight of the kayak itself, and the kayak weight limit is the boat’s maximum weight capacity. It includes the paddler’s weight, gear and equipment, and kayak weight.

Does Kayak Weight Matter?

The weight of the kayak matters in more than one way. The most obvious reason being the ease of transport for you. Especially if you are going on solo rides, the kayak’s weight must be effortless for you to carry.

However, the main purpose of a kayak is to float on water, and weight plays an important role in deciding how efficiently a kayak can do that. It affects your boat’s stability, buoyancy, and storage limit. 

A lighter and smaller kayak means less stability and a lot of extra balancing and maneuvering at your end. Also, lighter boats mean less room for you and your gear. Motorized kayaks are often much heavier than normal kayaks due to engines.

So, if you own a heavy kayak or decide to buy one, it is essential to implement ways to make it easier for yourself to carry, load, and offload your kayak.

There are a few ways that can help you in moving your kayak more easily.

  1. Use a truck roof rack: It is easier to lift your kayak to your waist length and put it on a truck or kayak trailer than to lift it up to the car’s roof rack and go through the hassle of tying it up.
  2. Have a Helping Hand: Simply having someone help you lift the kayak can take half the weight off your shoulders. You can take someone along or ask for a simple favor in a time of need.
  3. Use a kayak dolly: A  cart will help you as a lever and make it easy for you to slide your kayak from one place to another instead of dragging it along the ground.

Why Kayaks Weight Varies?

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The weight of a kayak never depends on a single factor. There are many features and specifications that contribute to the total weight of a kayak. 

To give you an idea, let us discuss what factors determine how much weight a kayak has.

Material Used:

The types of materials used in making a kayak significantly affect the weight. Based on the materials used, kayaks can be divided into two types:

  1. Hard shell kayaks:

These kayaks have a hard outer body. They are typically made from plastic, composite, or fiberglass materials. A few of them can be made of wood too. They range in size with an average weight from 40 to 180 lbs.

  1. Inflatable kayaks: 

Inflatable kayaks are made of PVC plastic. They can be inflated when needed, and upon use, they can be deflated and carried in bags. The lightest weight kayak weighs anywhere in the range of 25-30 lbs.

Inflatable kayaks are lighter and more preferable where ease of transport is a priority. They can be conveniently carried around in your car’s trunk and inflated in a matter of minutes.

Dimensions and Features of Kayak:

The dimensions of the kayak also determine whether the kayak is heavy or light. A wider, longer kayak will weigh more than a shorter kayak. That does not mean that narrow or shorter kayaks are preferable. The purpose of use holds the most significance in deciding which kayak should be used.

The covered cockpits and decks also add to the kayak’s weight. The kayaks with storage compartments and pedals also weigh a little more.

Types of Kayaks:

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Different kayaks have different weights depending on the type of water they run on and their function. Here are some of the most common types of Kayaks.

Single recreational kayaks:

These kayaks are used for leisure purposes and are made to be used on flat calm waters. A single kayak can weigh anywhere from 20 to 70 lbs. But most generally, they are around 35 pounds. 

A recreational kayak is primarily a single-person kayak and offers minimum capacity storage. Hence, a recreational kayak is lighter in weight than a tandem kayak.

Tandem Kayaks: 

An average tandem kayak weighs around 60-75 lbs. Tandem kayaks can seat two or three people. Hence, tandem kayaks tend to be heavier than recreational kayaks. 

As tandem kayaks weigh heavily, they have several handles so you can carry them with your partner or family members. Dividing the weight will make it easier for you to carry them.

Fishing Kayaks:

Fishing kayaks tend to be the heaviest of all. A fishing kayak on a lower-end weight spectrum can be around 45 lbs, but it would not perform the best in function. As you move toward a high-quality fishing kayak, expect to find a fishing kayak as heavy as 130lbs.

A good quality fishing kayak will have a lot of storage compartments to carry out the fishing accessories. These features add to the weight and make it the heaviest kayak.

There is no way you can single-handedly carry a fishing kayak along with the fishing gear. You will need to prop it up on a cart to be able to transport it. 

Inflatable Kayaks:

An inflatable kayak, even with its weight holding capacity and bigger size than the heaviest kayaks, weighs way less than the heavy kayaks. They usually weigh between 25 to 35 lbs at their lowest and way over 50 pounds for some high-quality kayaks.

You should consider that a lightweight inflatable kayak might mean that you will have to compromise on the quality. If you need a kayak with durable, high-quality materials, you should expect them to add extra weight too.

It means that inflatable kayaks may save you space but they might not be of top-notch level.

How Material Affects Kayak Weight

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To answer ‘how much does a kayak weigh, one must know what materials are going into making a kayak.

Fiberglass Material & Carbon Fiber

The kayaks made from fiberglass materials and carbon fibers are usually lightweight. This feature also comes with a higher price rate. Hence, this might not be the first choice for rookies. 

Composite Materials

They are one of the finest and lightest materials for manufacturing kayaks. They are used by professionals and are the most expensive.

Polyethylene (Plastic)

Polyethylene or plastic materials are used to make hard-shell durable kayak bodies. They provide strength but are also heavier. Kayaks made of this material are hard to carry or load onto the top of your car. You will most likely need a cart or a kayak trailer to be able to move these to places.


Rotomolded kayaks are built by melting plastic pellets that are molded into the shapes of kayaks. These types of kayaks are heavy to carry.


To make thermoform kayaks, the top and bottom parts of kayaks are made separately and then molded together. These are medium-weight kayaks and are inexpensive. They can be a good choice for beginners.


PVC material is a lightweight material used for making inflatable boats. They are lighter than polyethylene plastics but heavier than composites. They are the easiest to carry around.

Does Kayak Length Affect Its Weight?

Yes, kayak length has a direct impact on kayak weight. The longer the length, the heavier the weight will be. The same goes for other factors like the width and height of a kayak. Longer kayaks weigh more but are steady and move easily in water with more control. If your weight is more than 300 pounds you must consider the kayak for big guys for you.

Final Thoughts

Whenever you shop for a kayak or other equipment, the product’s weight might not seem like a primary concern. You might be thinking about other factors, like the boat’s quality, design, color, or price.

Although all of these are valid and justifiable concerns, knowing the kayak weights is just as equally important as anything else.

Although the best way to answer the question ‘How much does a kayak weigh?’ is in estimates and ranges, you are now fully aware of all the factors that play a role in deciding the weight. Most people prefer to buy a lightweight kayak to keep things easy at their end!

So, whenever you decide to buy a new kayak, check the weight first and thank us later for all the weight we have lifted off your shoulders, literally. 

Categories: Gear


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