In short a kayak can weigh anywhere from about 25 to over 100 pounds. This will be mainly affected by the length and width of the kayak as well as the material used in its construction.
Most modern kayaks are made from rotomolded polyethylene. This helps keep their weight down.
However, some kayaks are built with thermoformed plastic, carbon fiber or fiberglass. These kayaks can be even lighter.
One key drawback of thermoformed kayaks is that they are not as rugged as rotomolded kayaks.
As for carbon fiber or fiberglass kayaks, these will usually be more expensive as they’re more labor intensive.
This translates to 12 to 45 kilograms.
Kayak Weights By Type
Light Recreational Kayaks
The lightest kayaks you’ll find a usually plastic sit inside recreational kayaks. They range from about 8 to 10 feet long.
A kayak of this type will weigh between 25 and 35 lbs. These lightweight starter kayaks are very easy to carry and place on top of your car.
The downside of a kayak like this is that it won’t be very fast. Additionally, you won’t be able to stand on it and feel stable and you won’t be able to carry much gear. These kayaks are best suited for small ponds and creeks without rapids.
You should be able to buy one for between $150 and $350. Kayaks like these are easy to find. You can find one at most department stores. A good example of this type of lightweight kayak is the sun dolphin aruba.
These types of kayaks can normally carry about 200 to 300 pounds.
Intermediate Weight Kayaks
In the next kayak weight class, you’ll find your typical sit in designs as well as sit on top kayaks. Kayaks that weigh between 35 and 50 pounds will usually offer some additional length and width over the lightest models.
For example, a 12 foot long sea kayak made of rotomolded plastic can be found weighing in at around 50 pounds. This type of kayak will allow you to travel faster and carry more gear. You should be able to get dry storage compartments in this class.
Some kayaks of this type may also have bulkheads that divide the front middle and rear sections of the kayak. You can also find spray skits that will cover the cockpit and prevent water from entering.
In the sit on top category, you should be able to find a very similar kayak that’s 10 to 12 feet long and weighs about 50 pounds. It could also have storage compartments.
Kayaks in this weight class should also include hatches with lids so you can store gear. Sit on top versions may even have a tank well in the rear.
Just keep in mind that the more accessories a kayak has, the higher the weight can climb.
Kayaks in this category can normally carry between 250 and 500 pounds total.
Light And Fast Kayaks
The lightest kayaks you’ll find are not made of plastic. They’re made out of lightweight composite materials, fiberglass, or carbon fiber. You can get a 16 foot kayak that weighs just 55 pounds in this category.
These kayaks are usually sea kayaks that you sit inside. They’re made for single riders and include features such as storage hatches and bulkheads.
Normally longer, they range from about 13 to over 16 feet in length. This combined with their light weight makes them very fast. Kayaks like these can be paddled as speeds in excess of 5 mph.
Their downside is that they are not ideal for hitting rocks, or scraping across rough surfaces. They have hard finishes that can be easily scratched. These materials can also be cracked if you hit an obstacle with too much force.
The heaviest kayaks can easily exceed 100 pounds and even 150 pounds. These are usually large sit on top kayaks that have many accessories.Fishing kayaks can enter this weight class. They’re usually over 30 inches wide and over 10 feet long.
These kayaks are easy to stand on and are very stable. You will find many hatches and small compartments. If you’re into kayak camping, these kayaks can haul all your gear.
The downsides of kayaks that are this heavy are mainly related to transporting them. Getting a 125 pound kayak on the roof of your car is no easy task. Many owners will get a trailer to tow a kayak this heavy.
Kayak Weight And Transportation
If you’re going to cartop your kayak unassisted, keep in mind that you’ll want to check your roof racks weight limit. Many roof racks have a 100 pound weight limit.
Another good option for transporting kayaks is a pick up truck bed. If your kayak is heavy and long, you can use a bed extender that will facilitate the carrying of longer kayaks in a truck bed.
A kayak cart is also a good idea if you need to carry your kayak to the launch. These carts are basically 2 wheeled cradles that will slide under your kayak. You can then manually tow your yak to the launch area without scraping it on the floor.