Kayaks come in different shapes and sizes. If you are looking for a new kayak, there are certain factors that you will pay attention to like the type of kayak, the size, design, maximum load, volume, and the brand.
The weight of the kayak is the last thing anyone would consider when buying a new kayak. So that begs the question; does the weight of the kayak matter? And if it does, how much does a kayak weigh?
Simply put, the weight of a kayak matters and will depend on a number of factors that might include the length as well as the type.
With that in mind, an average kayak should weigh about 65 lbs. Kayaks however come in different weights from lights ones that weigh about 30 lbs. to as heavy as 144 lbs.
Why Does the Weight of a Kayak Matter?
As mentioned above, the last thing when buying a new kayak that anyone would pay attention to is the weight of the kayak.
However, it is just as important as the length, size, or brand of the kayak. Owning a kayak means having to deal with its transportation from one place to another.
First of all, there is the issue of bringing the kayak out of storage, and loading it to your trailer or roof rack.
After driving to your destination, you still need to unload it and take it to the water. Kayaking itself, whether you are doing it to explore or fish, is tiring.
The last thing you want is to be dragging around a heavy kayak that will leave you too exhausted to go kayaking.
If you go for a kayak that is too heavy, then you will definitely have problems transporting it unless you have someone to help you.
While 18 pounds may not seem like a lot, it’s only when you have to lift the kayak to the roof of your car that you will wish you had a lighter kayak.
Unless you have a kayak trailer, then the weight of the kayak should concern you when you are buying one.
Factors That Affect the Weight of a Kayak
There are so many factors that come into play when it comes to determining how much a kayak weighs.
Either way, these are factors that you need to consider next time you are buying a kayak.
Kayaks are made of different materials that impact the overall weight of the kayak from plastic to fiberglass.
This is a type of plastic that is hard and is commonly used in the manufacture of food crates, automobile body panels, and kayaks.
Kayaks made of this material are not only durable but tend to be cheap. While this might seem like a good enough reason to buy such a kayak, one thing you need to know is that such kayaks are the heaviest.
Unless you are planning on kayaking with someone all the time, maneuvering with such a kayak will be difficult.
Fiberglass is a plastic material that is usually reinforced with glass fibers. It’s the material used to make hot tubs, surfboards as well as swimming pools.
Kayaks made of this material are not as heavy as the polyethylene ones but they are also not as light as composite kayaks.
In terms of prices, they fall in the middle and are the best for anyone on a budget who is looking for a light kayak without spending so much on a composite kayak.
Composite is a light material and kayaks made of composite are the cheapest. What this means is that maneuvering with such a kayak is easy.
However, with the lightweight, comes a higher price tag. The price is however worth it in the end when you don’t have to use all your energy carrying your kayak to the water and back.
There are different types of kayaks depending on where and how they are used. These subtle differences also translate to the weight of the kayak.
White water kayaks
While water kayaking involves maneuvering through rapid and rough waters. When white water kayaking, you are expected to navigate through rough water while moving fast.
Kayaks made for such waters are made to withstand contact with rocks in the water. As such, such kayaks need to not only be durable but light enough to ensure that there is no damage to the hull when you are kayaking.
They are different from white water kayaks in that touring kayaks are designed to navigate calmer and predictable waters.
As such, they are a little heavier and are made of less durable materials. Depending on the materials used, such kayaks will be of average weight.
Kayak construction has evolved and today manufacturers are focusing on portability and ease of transport more than other factors.
That has led to the engineering of folding kayaks. They are easy to use as well as pack in that they easily fold up.
Folding kayaks are made of flexible material and a covering that is easily movable so that they can fold to ease transportation.
Such kayaks are lighter than the traditional kayaks weighing about 30 lbs. with the frame being made of aluminum or wood for easy folding.
Inflatable kayaks are also constructed with portability and easy transportation in mind. They are made of thick as well as flexible plastic and as the names suggest they need to be inflated when you need to kayak.
Inflatable kayaks are light in weight and some can easily be transported in a rucksack or a backpack.
Size of The Kayak
Kayaks come in all manner of sizes and this translates to the weight of the kayak in the end.
In most cases, shorter kayaks should be lighter than longer kayaks. However, that is not always the case due to the materials.
Some kayaks are shorter but will be made of heavy materials. For instance, a 10 feet kayak made of polyethylene will weigh about 60 pounds while a longer 13 feet kayak made of composite will weigh about 30 pounds.
At the end of the day, therefore, even when you consider the size of the kayak, you need to pay attention to the construction materials.
Some kayaks like touring and sea kayaks tend to be longer. The length of such kayaks has a direct impact on the stability and speed of the kayak.
Such solo kayaks tend to be lighter than other types of solo kayaks. A lot of the solo kayaks will be made from very light composite materials especially on the hulls which is meant to reduce the weight while still maintaining the rigidity of the kayak.
Tandem kayaks have two seats and are designed for those who like kayaking with someone. Due to this, such kayaks are heavier.
They are also wider and longer which means that you won’t carry one alone.
At the end of the day, if you opted for a tandem kayak, it’s because you didn’t want to kayak alone so you will always have someone to help you with the transportation.
Kayaks Vs Canoes
Canoes and kayaks serve almost the same purpose and at some point, you might have considered getting one over the other. Weight is an important factor to consider before you make a decision.
While at a glance it may seem like a canoe will be heavier because it is larger and bulkier, it’s never that obvious.
Naturally, canoes appear massive and cumbersome, while kayaks tend to be slender therefore seeming lighter.
Usually, the weight difference between kayaks and canoes is never as big as you would expect. Why?
A kayak has a deck that comes with an enclosed cockpit which adds to the overall weight of the kayak.
On the other hand, a canoe has a longer hull and an open deck that cuts off some of the excess weight. In terms of weight-to-load capacity, however, canoes carry the day.
How Do You Transport a Heavy Kayak?
You just bought a new kayak and didn’t think about the weight until you decide to go kayaking and realize that the kayak is too heavy to transport alone.
If you have a pickup that has a spacious and bigger truck bed, you have nothing to worry about when it comes to the weight of the kayak when you are transporting it.
The only thing you need to worry about is how you are going to load and unload it off the truck unlike when you have to lift it off a roof rack.
The easier option if you have a kayak especially a longer and heavier one would be to invest in a kayak trailer.
You could also invest in a truck bed extender that can accommodate the length and weight of the kayak.
On the other hand, if you have an SUV or a car, you need to be careful when buying a kayak. In such a situation, your major concern should be the weight of the kayak.
This is because you will have to load and unload it off a roof rack every time which can be tiresome if you have a long or very heavy kayak.
Another option when it comes to transportation of a kayak is using a kayak cart. Such carts attach under your kayak making it easy to tow it manually from one area to another.
Kayaking is fun and extremely rewarding. However, the whole ordeal of transporting, loading, and offloading a kayak makes all the difference. Most people often overlook weight when purchasing a kayak.
Weight plays an important role in determining not only how successful your kayaking will be but how easy a time you will have navigating different waters. Heavy kayaks especially if you are alone are difficult to transport. Therefore, next time you are buying a kayak, consider not only the functionality but the weight.