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Best Lightweight Kayaks of 2024

Best Lightweight Kayaks of 2024

When it comes to buying a new kayak, we tend to associate reduced weight with a heftier price tag. Top of the line composite kayaks, made from expensive materials like carbon fibre, kevlar, and fibreglass, cost enough to make most of us dizzy.

2024 has, however, seen some new tech developed at Bay Sports. Two exciting developments have been: 

1) the introduction of the new thermoformed ABS kayak range, and;
2) further upgrades to the backbone of our inflatable kayak range– drop-stitch technology.

Although we don't love to toot our own horn, we can't deny that these changes in material and construction have helped to create some of the best lightweight kayaks of 2024.

This blog post will run through the specifics of ABS and drop-stitch tech, before listing our picks of the best lightweight kayaks of 2024.

Quest in water

One of the best– the Quest 520 with lightweight ABS construction

What is ABS?

ABS stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, which is an impact-resistant, engineering-grade thermoplastic that is considerably lighter than regular plastic. ABS is notable for its rigidity, resistance to abrasion and strain, high stability, and high surface brightness. As a thermoplastic (not a thermoset plastic) ABS can be liquified repeatedly, meaning that it is commonly made from recycled material.

For our dedicated blog post on ABS, click here.

Why invest in an ABS Kayak?

Most kayakers, whether newbies or veterans, can recognise a spectrum here. At one end, we have expensive, lightweight composite kayaks, and at the other, cheaper, heavier plastic kayaks. Between these ends, we find a niche that begs to be filled:

Enter ABS, the Goldilocks material of kayak construction.

ABS is the ideal solution if you are looking for a kayak that is lightweight and high-performance, but also durable and affordable. The acrylic surface of a thermoformed kayak is harder and more scratch-resistant than its high-density polyethylene counterpart. 

Put simply, an ABS kayak gives you the lightweight, high-performance qualities of a composite kayak, without sacrificing durability, versatility, or the bank account.

Best Lightweight (ABS) kayaks of 2024

Bay Sports' new range of super lightweight, ABS Thermoformed Kayaks include six epic boats to suit any style of paddler.

Whether you are a kayak fishing aficionado, a long-distance touring paddler, or an underwater explorer, there's an ABS kayak for you.


  • Perfect for: Smaller to Medium sized paddlers (5'1 to 6'1")
  • Kayak style: Touring
  • Length: 3.36m / 11'
  • Width: 0.67m / 26"
  • Height (Hull to Front of Cockpit): 0.31m / 12.2”
  • Weight: 19 kg / 42 lbs
  • Maximum weight capacity: 125 kg / 276 lbs



Quest 336 Lightweight Kayak


The Quest 336 Superlite is a super lightweight kayak that's hits the perfect balance between stability and speed. Think stability typically associated with a Sit on Top kayak, but speed expected from a Sit In kayak. For those starting out through to intermediate paddlers, the Quest 336 is not only extremely light, but makes you feel comfortable thanks to its flat and 67cm wide hull. 

Popular with older paddlers due to its compact and ultra lightweight size, loading and unloading this kayak is possible thanks to its ABS thermoformed construction, and impressive 19 kgs weight. Being shorter in length, it is much easier to manage both loading onto a vehicle, and carrying distances to the water.

The Quest 336 is fantastic for beginners and intermediate paddlers. Its stable multi-chine hull design gives great stability and the long waterline provides great tracking despite its shorter length, further assisted by a top-of-the-line SmartTrack Hybrid Foil rudder system. There's good reason it's a bestseller.


  • Perfect for: Smaller to Medium sized paddlers (5'1 to 6'4")
  • Kayak style: Touring
  • Length: 4.85m / 15'9"
  • Width: 0.56m / 22"
  • Height: 0.30m / 11.8"
  • Weight: 20.5 kgs / 45 lbs
  • Maximum weight capacity: 168 kg / 370 lbs
    Quest 485 ABS thermoformed touring kayak
    Quest 485 Lightweight Kayak

    Designed with small to medium sized paddlers in mind, the Quest 485 Superlite features a narrow beam, low deck height, and a featherlight build. The ABS material creates an exceptionally lightweight kayak, perfect for easy transport for paddlers of small to mid-sized stature.

    The Quest 485 Superlite excels in both durability and comfort, offering flexibility tailored to your needs. The premium ComfortFlex seat provides excellent back support for all-day paddling, is adjustable (forward and back), and elevates up and down at the front, so you can find your perfect seating position. 

    This kayak offers stability, generous storage space, and is well-suited for various water conditions, making it an excellent choice for both extended day trips and quick jaunts around the bay, ocean, river or lake. It's poised to become your go-to kayak for years to come.

    Looking for tips on how to transport a kayak? Read our dedicated post.

    The Quest 485 Superlite ticks all the boxes from performance to portability. Featuring a multi-chine hull, it excels in a variety of water conditions, and thrives not only in flat water, but ocean conditions. Pair it with a good fibreglass kayak paddle or carbon fibre paddle and it'll be sure to impress you with its speed and glass-like glide.


    • Perfect for: Small, Medium & Larger sized paddlers (5'2 to 6'7")
    • Kayak style: Touring
    • Length: 5.20m / 17'1"

    • Width: 0.59m / 23.2"

    • Height (Hull to Front of Cockpit): 0.36m / 14"
    • Hull Weight: 21.9 kgs / 50 lbs
    • Maximum weight capacity: 170 kg / 375 lbs


      Quest 520 ABS thermoformed sit in touring kayak
      Quest 520 Lightweight Kayak

       The Quest 520 is the largest single kayak in the ABS range. With an generous width of 0.59m, along with a flat-hull in the mid-section, this will provide good stability for mid-sized paddlers & a guaranteed fit for superior hip control and secure bracing. 

      The cockpit is wide and spacious, making getting in and out of the kayak easy and comfortable, a big benefit any kayaker appreciates. Once seated in the ComfortFlex seat, you'll experience the thick supportive padding for hours out on the water in comfort. The front section of the seat can be adjusted to raise up on an angle, to suit your paddling style and leg angle - a really nice feature.

      A foot-controlled rudder system makes this kayak track well while giving you excellent maneuverability. Bungee rigging bow and stern will keep gear secure above deck, while EPDM hatches (also bow and stern) provide watertight storage for your more delicate gear.


      • Perfect for: Paddling with a mate
      • Kayak style: Touring
      • Length: 5.48m (5.56m / 17'12" with rudder)
      • Width: 0.77m / 30"
      • Weight: 39 kg / 86 lbs
      • Maximum weight capacity: 249 kg / 549 lbs

      Quest 556 Lightweight Double Kayak

      Quest 556 Lightweight Double Kayak

      The Quest 556 Superlite is a fast, lightweight, tandem kayak with a stable hull. As with the other boats in the range, the adjustable premium comfort seat means both paddlers can find the perfect fit for excellent support, all-day long. 

      Despite being the largest boat in the range, Quest 556 comes in at a light 27.5kg, making it easier to transport than most other plastic kayaks of its length. Getting this boat from the roof of your car to the water’s edge will be a breeze. We recommend a dedicated sit-in kayak trolley to keep your boat in tip-top shape.


      A dedicated kayak trolley will keep your kayak in tip top shape


      • Perfect for: All-Rounder
      • Kayak style: Fishing and Leisure
      • Length: 3.15m / 10'5"
      • Width: 0.89m / 35"
      • Weight: 23 kg / 50 lbs hull weight or 28 kg / 61 lbs with seat and pedal drive  
      • Maximum weight capacity: 211 kg / 465 lbs 

      Pedal Pro 315 Superlite Kayak

      Pedal Pro 315 Superlite Kayak

       The Pedal Pro 315 Superlite with Impulse Drive is one of the lightest and most affordable feet propelled kayaks on the market. The Pedal Pro 315 Superlite allows for hands free kayaking with the Impulse Pedal Drive System, which is great for when your arms need a break or you need your hands free for fishing.

      The Impulse Drive pedal system is surprisingly straightforward, allowing for seamless and intuitive transitions between forwards and backwards propulsion. A side-mounted hand steering lever allows the paddler to track and maneuver effortlessly. Best of all, the pedal system is fully serviceable by the owner, and (if taken care of) doesn't require any complex maintenance.

      Whether you're fishing, swimming/snorkelling, or just going for a paddle, this versatile kayak is great for almost any activity on the water. The lightweight Pedal Pro is loaded with features you'll love, securing it as one of 2021's best lightweight kayaks. 


      • Perfect for: All-rounder
      • Kayak style: Fishing and Leisure
      • Length: 3.76m / 12'4"
      • Width: 0.87m / 34"
      • Weight: 31 kg / 68 lbs
      • Maximum weight capacity: 220 kg / 485 lbs 


      Pedal Pro 376 Superlite Kayak

      Pedal Pro 376 Superlite Kayak

       If you're looking for a lightweight sit-on-top kayak with great carrying capacity, the Pedal Pro 376 is the right boat for the job. It's slightly longer than the Pedal Pro 315, but features the same Impulse Drive pedal system. It's still a relatively short and wide kayak, making it stable, versatile, and great as a seated or standing platform for fishing. Thanks to its ABS construction, the extra capacity, stability, and storage space of this sit on top doesn't make it ungainly or heavy. In fact, the Pedal Pro 376 is an excellent lightweight kayak considering the number of features that it packs into a mere 31 kg.

      What are "Drop-Stitch" Inflatable Kayaks?

      In the past, inflatable kayaks have been criticised for their lack of rigidity and susceptibility to punctures. However, the technology going into them has come a long way. Over at Bay Sports, we've been upgrading our drop-stitch technology to bring our inflatable kayak range as close as possible to the performance offered by a hard shell kayak.

      But what on earth is drop-stitch technology?

      Drop-stitches are essentially tiny, interwoven fibres that fill the cavity inside an inflated kayak to create the level of rigidity and stiffness that hard shell kayaks are praised for. When inflated, these fibres stand up and interlock with one another to create a hard, stable, and durable paddling surface.

      Drop Stitch Construction Core
       A cross section of drop stitches in action.

      Like ABS, Bay Sports' advanced drop-stitch construction fills an important niche in the kayaking market, providing a lightweight kayak that is high performance and durable, but also able to be packed into the boot of a car. 

      Best Lightweight (Inflatable) Kayaks of 2024

      You'd be hard-pressed to find a material lighter than air, so when it comes to the best lightweight kayaks of 2024, inflatables are a serious category to consider.

      Bay Sports' 2024 range utilises the best in drop-stitch technology. For those looking for a compact and high performing kayak, the kayaks listed below will be hard to beat.


      • Perfect for: All-rounder, limited storage space
      • Kayak style: Leisure, day-trips
      • Length: 4.10m / 13'5"
      • Width: 0.82m/ 2'7"
      • Weight: 16kgs / 35 lbs
      • Maximum weight capacity: 220kg / 485 lbs
      Air Glide 410
      Air Glide 410

      When it comes to portability in the tandem kayak category, nothing beats the Air Glide 410. The entire inflatable set up– the tandem kayak itself, two paddles, two backrests, the dual-action pump, padded footrests, a 9" slide-in skeg, and an optional rudder system– fit into a high-quality 1680D bag that can be wheeled or carried easily with all-terrain wheels at its base, and backpack-esque straps on its side. All this comes in at a mere 26kg, with the double kayak itself only weighing in at 16kg!

      The Air Glide 410 is essentially an upgrade of its much-loved predecessor. Upgrades include improvements to the super tough 1680D carry bag, the comfort footrests, the aluminium paddle quality, and the replacement of floor drainage valves with a nose drainage bung.

      The Air Glide furthermore builds on the tried and tested features that made its predecessor perform so highly. Advancements in the rigid, molded V-hull, including a clever slide-in skeg, have ensured better tracking, easier paddling, and greater speed than the original 410 was capable of.

      To round it off, the Air Glide 410 is made of super-tough, abrasion-resistant material that most would find difficult to puncture.


      • Perfect for: Solo paddlers, limited storage space
      • Kayak style: Liesure, day-trips
      • Length: 3.85m / 12" 6'
      • Width: 0.77m / 2'3"
      • Weight: 14kgs / 31 lbs
      • Maximum weight capacity: 200kg / 441 lbs
      Air Glide 385 on beach
      Air Glide 385

      The Air Glide 385 features the same tech and upgrades as the 410 but due to its compact size, weighs even less, coming in at just 14kgs. This kayak is perfect for more adventurous solo trips, whether that be on the lakes, river, or sea, with plenty of extra space in the cockpit for gear, food, and water storage. The Air Glide 385 is also great for taking a child along with you, as the adjustable seating can make extra space in the bow end of the cockpit.

      Like the 410, the Air Glide 385 comes with a bunch of extra gear such as a wheeled backpack-style bag, a double valve pump, hi-back kayak seats, footrests, aluminium paddles, and a quick repair kit. This kayak is one of the best on the market for solo adventures, and the fact that it fits comfortably in the boot of the car (or on your back) makes it just that much better.

      If these two don't quite cut it for you, Bay Sports offers a couple of other great inflatables. Check them out here.


      It won't be easy to pick from such a great lineup. Check out our Kayak Finder for help choosing the best lightweight kayak for you. Featuring both Bay Sports' ABS and inflatable range, our Kayak Finder will help you decide in just a few clicks.

      Check it out here

      Kayak selector



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