How much your kayak, canoe or paddle board weighs may seem like an odd question to consider, but it can be an important factor in usability. When carrying your equipment to the water, or loading onto a roof rack, the weight can affect how often you decide to use it and how tired you are before you even hit the water. So, weight is important.
In this article we explain the different weights you might expect from different types of kayaks, canoes and SUPs to help you when making a decision on your purchase.
How much do kayaks weigh?
Let's start with how much does a kayak weigh. There are many factors that affect how much kayaks weigh, including the materials used, size and purpose.
Why does kayak weight matter?
Firstly, why does the weight of a kayak even matter?
Think about how you're going to use your kayaks and where you will launch them. Most people will have to get their kayak out of storage, and lift it onto the roof of your car or trailer. You then have to get it down from your transport and carry it to the water.
If your kayak is much too heavy for you to handle, you'll be pretty tired by the time you even hit the water. You then get even more tired while kayaking and have to reverse the process to lift your kayaks back onto your car roof and home.
Kayak weight can affect both your enjoyment of the activity, as well as how regularly you will choose to go kayaking.
If you're planning to paddle solo, then your kayak needs to be light enough for you to manage on your own. Different people will have different weight limits that they're prepared to bear.
Weight isn't everything
It might then seem like a less heavy kayak is better, but this is where things get complicated. While weight is an important factor in your decision making, it isn't the only thing to consider when buying a kayak.
Other important factors for your kayak choice include:
- Buoyancy - how well it floats and how much weight capacity it has.
- Stability - shorter and less heavy kayaks might be harder to paddle.
- Space - the lighter your kayak, on average the less room there is to stow your gear.
It's worth noting that a couple of extra kilos might give you a much more versatile kayak.
One of the main factors that affects the weight of a kayak is the construction material.
Hard shell kayaks
There are four primary materials used in hard shell modern kayak designs.
- Rotomolded kayak weight - at the heaviest and cheapest end of the scale are rotomolded kayaks. These are solid, one-piece plastic moulded kayaks. Essentially, plastic pellets are melted down and then moulded into the shape of a kayak. This makes them cheap to produce, but heavy both to paddle and carry.
- Thermoform kayak weight - unlike a rotomolded kayak, thermoforms are moulded as two separate pieces before being sandwiched together. Almost as light as composite kayaks, and nearly as durable as a one-piece kayak, they're also inexpensive. This makes them a popular beginner choice, or for paddlers who want a versatile and affordable kayak.
- Fiberglass or composite kayak weight - the lightest kayak option is usually a fiberglass, kevlar and graphite composite material kayak. They are light, and very smooth and fast in the water. However, these performance benefits make them more expensive than other options.
- Wood kayak weight - depending on the wood type and fiberglass resin used to waterproof them, it won't surprise you that wood kayaks can be heavy. Although they're beautiful, they are expensive to build and easily damaged.
Some of Bay Sports' hard shell kayaks have a unique 3-Layer Sandwich Foam Core Construction. This signature 3-layer foam core blends HDPE with a foam core, to provide greater strength whilst allowing for a lighter kayak.
Size and type of kayak
The other important factor in a kayak's weight is its size and purpose.
On average, single kayaks weigh in anywhere between 15 and 30 kilos, depending on the materials used and accessories included.
For example, the Expedition 2 is a 5.15m kayak with a width of 0.59m. This makes it a true solo touring kayak, but despite its signature Bay Sports 3-layer foam core, it still weighs 28kg. It also has a weight limit of up to 155kg.
Kayaks like the Quest 309 weigh only 18kg, but have a smaller weight limit than a heavier kayak
Whereas the Quest 309 ABS Superlite kayak is 3.09m long and 0.72m wide. This Thermoformed material kayak is extra light at only 18kg, but its maximum weight limit is 104kg and it is significantly shorter than the Expedition 2.
Its important to balance the capacity and length you want, with the weight and purpose for your kayak.
Tandem kayaks weigh more than their single counterparts simply due to their larger size. However, you'll also have two pairs of hands to carry and paddle it, so in the long-run you might find a tandem lighter per person.
Tandem kayaks tend to weight between 25kg and 45kg which, when split between two, is very manageable.
The Hug Sit-In Double 5.1m kayak, for example, weighs 36.5kg, but can carry up to 280kg in weight. Given its price point and build quality, this tandem kayak is the choice of many kayaking clubs and is known as Australia's best value 2-person touring kayak.
If you're looking for shorter kayaks, then the Hug Mini is 4 metres long instead of The Hug's 5.1m, but it does weigh in at a heavier 41kg. However, the advantage is a greater internal volume, making for a more comfortable tandem paddling experience for the larger paddler, or those craving a more stable boat.
Whether you're fishing, taking photos or sipping on a cold beer, pedal kayaks are built for optimal hands-free enjoyment.
With the pedals and wider width of most pedal kayaks, a pedal kayak weighs more. The Pedal Pro Fish XL, for example, weighs in at 33.5kg, with an additional 7.5kg of pedal weight. However, there are some superlight alternatives, such as the Pedal Pro 315 ABS Superlite, which weighs in at only 23kg - very similar to a standard single kayak.
A fishing kayak weighs more than other kayaks, due to the additional accessories they require and space for your gear. They can weigh anywhere from 16kg to over 55kg, depending on the features included.
At a certain kayak weight, you will want to look at options for transporting your kayak, including kayak trolleys. This isn't just because of the weight of the kayak, but also all your fishing accessories which will be loose and add clutter to your kayak.
Kayaks like the Bighead Angler are very light for a fishing kayak, despite its generous storage compartments
The Bighead Angler is at the lighter end of the scale, weighing in at only 19kg. It's an extra stable model, at 83cm wide and only 2.65m in length. However, it still manages to not weigh much despite the generous storage compartments for your bait, tackle and catch of the day. This is partly due to being shorter kayaks, and partly the materials used.
At the other end of the weight scale is the Angler Pro XL, which is significantly longer at 4.3m, and weighs 34kg. The length and additional features lead to this weight, including extra aluminium track rails and 8 copper inserts for mounting more fishing accessories.
Inflatable kayaks weight
It might seem that inflatable kayaks are in their nature lighter than their hard shell counterparts. However, this isn't always the case. The main thing you get from inflatable kayaks is space saving and ease of transportation.
Inflatable kayaks can weigh anywhere from under 9kg to over 25kg, depending on the materials used and manufacturing techniques.
Inflatable kayaks can be a great choice for people looking to have versatility when transporting their kayak
Examples include the Bay Sports Air Glide Hybrid which weighs only 11kg, but its super rigid floor gives it the feel of a hard shell kayak. The weight makes it a breeze to transport these inflatable kayaks to all of your adventures.
However, there can be a disadvantage to the weight of inflatable kayaks - they can't withstand all the conditions that hard shell kayaks can. For example, you have to be very careful on windy days with inflatable options. So, despite their weight, these kayaks may not be right for all paddlers.
Now that we've considered how much a kayak weighs, let's look at some other water sports companions.
How much does a canoe weigh?
At a glance, you would assume that canoes weigh more than kayaks - they're bulkier, larger and so you assume that they're also heavier.
However, for the most part, the weight difference between canoes and kayaks isn't as significant as you would expect.
Like kayaks, there are different types of canoes, using different materials and sizes.
A kayak's deck with largely enclosed cockpits can add kilos to the weight of a kayak. On the other hand, a canoe normally has a longer hull, but the open deck can save some weight.
A recreational canoe like the Escapade 300 might weigh in at 45kg, but it has a maximum capacity of 425kg, which is significant capacity for its weight. Compare that to the Hug Mini kayak, which weighs 41kg, but only has a capacity of 280kg, and you can see why some families prefer a plastic canoe.
How much does a SUP weigh?
Finally, what about SUP board weights?
There are two main types of SUP boards - inflatable and hard boards. What you choose will depend on the type of paddle boarding you'll be doing, as well as your storage space.
SUP boards can weigh anywhere between 7kg to 18kg, depending on their size and materials used.
Lighter boards are easier to carry and transport, while heavier boards might take two people to carry them. However, larger boards can be more stable and durable.
A standard SUP board is normally around 3.5m long. They tend to be light enough for one person to carry, good for beginners, and have enough buoyancy for medium to heavier paddlers. As a bonus, they transport on the roof of most mid-size cars and aren't too difficult to lift.
They can weigh anywhere between 9kg and 14kg, depending on the type of board and the materials they're made out of.
A longer SUP board will be more than 4 metres in length. Coupled with the additional length, these boards are also often thicker, which adds to the weight.
They have increased stability and are ideal for cruising. For light weight paddlers, they provide a faster and more manoeuvrable ride. Heavy riders will benefit from the added stability.
Inflatable boards are designed to be portable, and therefore to a certain extent lighter than hard boards.
They are a great option for those who want to take their SUP travelling, but have limited storage and transport room. They can weigh as little as 8kg, up to around 10kg. Whereas a standard hard board will have an average weight of around 14kg.
You will be surprised how durable and stable some inflatable boards can be. They are suited to beginners as well as more experienced paddlers, and you don't need to worry about roof space on your car.
Check out the SUP examples in the Bay Sports range, which demonstrate how many different options there are to choose from.
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