When buying a kayak, its weight is not normally the first thing you think of. While it does have an effect on its performance, a kayak’s weight isn’t as important as other measurements, such as its volume, waterline, rocker, or even how much storage it has.
It’s when the kayak is out of the water that its weight becomes important. Trying to transport, store, or even just move a 14-foot touring kayak down to the water becomes an exercise in planning and logistics because of its sheer weight. The longer your kayak is, it’s easy to say the heavier it will be.
Kayaks come in all sorts of lengths and weights, with ranges of 5 feet to 14 feet and weights as light as 20 pounds while some can go up over 100 pounds! You should definitely take time to figure out what weight and length works best for you, especially when you consider transporting to the water and back. Let’s take a look into what makes up the kayak’s weight.
Hull Material Makes a Difference…
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One of the things that makes a real difference to the weight of a kayak is what material the hull is made out of. As a rule, kayak hulls are made of durable plastics, such as polyurethane, or composite materials, such as carbon fiber.
- Plastic Hulls: Plastic hulls are heavier than the composite alternative, but they do have their advantages. Plastic-hulled kayaks are more durable and hard-wearing than composite hull and are less likely to crack due to impact damage, or if they are stored improperly.
- Composite Hulls: Composite hulls are lighter than plastic hulls and are more rigid, giving them better performance through the water. The are less resistant to impact damage than plastic hulls but are also less susceptible to warping over time.
… As Does Design
The design of a kayak has the most effect on its potential weight. Some kayaks are lightweight by design, built to be shorter in length, and of lighter materials. Inflatable and foldable kayaks are great examples of this. Built to be easy to transport, they can often weigh less than 30 pounds and fold down small enough to be worn as a backpack.
Some types of kayaking require a longer hull, such as sea kayaking or touring. These kayaks are often built with composite hulls, both to cut down on their overall weight and to maintain the rigidity of their longer hull. However, there are plastic-hulled versions of these kayaks on the market, making them some of the heaviest kayaks you can buy, weighing up to a hefty 80 pounds.
Quick Tips on Transporting a Heavy Kayak
Moving a heavy kayak can be a difficult procedure and, if done incorrectly, can result in injury to yourself and potentially damage your kayak and equipment. Here are a couple tips to help you move your kayak with ease, regardless of how heavy it is:
- Use a kayak trolley. This device helps transport your kayak to the water with no problem! It’s a cart on wheels that balances the weight of your kayak, regardless how heavy or long.
- Phone a friend – Two heads are better than one, and two people are certainly better at shifting a heavy kayak than one.
- Install a kayak roof rack. You can either purchase one or follow our guide to making one yourself.
Taking the Weight
The average solo kayak weighs between 20 and 80 pounds, but this can vary wildly between different designs and manufacturing materials. The weight of a kayak isn’t something that is often taken into consideration, outside of its effect on the kayaks performance, but it does make a significant difference when it comes to transporting it.
When you are selecting a kayak to buy, make sure you check its weight before you purchase it and plan accordingly when it comes to transportation. Following our tips can turn moving even the heaviest kayak into a much easier task.