Is It Important To Consider Weight When Choosing A Kayak?

kayak weight limit

Last updated on September 2, 2022

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Excellent design, innovative and useful features, and a reasonable price. These are some of the basic characteristics that good kayaks have. Most consumers ask for these characteristics when buying a kayak and you should too. Ascertaining, that the kayak that you’re about to buy is designed well and has unique features will make your investment worth it. But what about the kayak weight limit.

Nevertheless, aside from what I’ve said, there’s another consideration that most people. even yourself, don’t really care about it. When choosing a kayak, never ever forget to be fussy about the weight. Why? read on to find out.

I will cover the following topics today:

  • Why Is kayak weight Important?
  • What affects a kayak’s heaviness?
  • What is the ideal weight for a kayak?
  • How much weight can a kayak hold?

Why Is Kayak Weight Limit Important?

People tend to buy kayaks based on their design and features and forget the big role that weight plays when kayaking. Disregarding weight is perhaps the root of all complaints that consumers have about a particular kayak brand. It’s true that agreeable design and features are important, but without a reasonable weight, these things become useless.

What do I mean by reasonable weight anyway? To answer by saying ” reasonable” the lightness or heaviness of the kayak must cater to your needs. Choosing between light or heavy is really up to you. Whether light or heavy, what’s important is that your kayak’s weight isn’t bothering you.

What Affects The Weight Of A Kayak?

There are several factors that affect the heaviness of a kayak. In this portion of the article, I will talk a little about these factors.

Kayak’s Material Speaks A Lot

The material that a kayak is made of has a significant effect upon its weight. Usually, most kayaks are made out of plastic, fiberglass, or composite. Plastic kayak, polyethylene kayak, or composite kayak weigh differently. Furthermore, their prices also vary.

Most cheap kayaks sold online or in shopping malls are made out of plastic. Plastic kayaks are usually heavy compared to fiberglass and composite. On average, a short plastic kayak weighs 25 pounds, 35 pounds, or even more. However, there are special plastic kayak brands that use a kind of plastic that is lighter than the variety used conventionally.

Fiberglass is a bit lighter than plastic. Mid-professional-grade kayaks are made out of this material. A kayak made out of fiberglass is not too heavy nor too light. Aside from this, fiberglass is also more durable than plastic kayaks. Hence, it’s more expensive. On average, a short fiberglass kayak weighs from 20 pounds to 25 pounds.

A kayak made out of composite materials is very light. Apart from this, it’s very durable too. Hardcore kayakers prefer composite kayaks because they can be carried with ease. To give you an idea about the weight, a short composite kayak isn’t heavier than the heaviest short plastic kayak.


Short, long, and very long- the length of the kayak also affects its weight. A lengthy kayak isn’t ideal for kids since they can’t carry it by themselves. On the other hand, even though its light, a short kayak is useless for adults since it’s not very stable.

The following are kayak lengths and their corresponding weight:

  • 9 ft kayak = 25 pounds, 38 pounds, 45 pounds
  • 10 ft kayak= 30 pounds, 40, pounds, 50 pounds
  • 12 ft kayak= 50 pounds, 60 pounds
  • 13 ft kayak= 52 pounds, 65 pounds, 70 pounds

The Paddles

The paddles also affect a kayak’s weight. At least 5 percent of the total weight of the kayak comes from the paddles. This is the reason why you should put more emphasis on their weight. Typically, the lightest paddles weight about 2 pounds while the heaviest sit at 3 pounds or more.

Heavy paddles are not better than light paddles and vice versa. Choosing paddles is up to your taste. Personally , I like to use paddles that are a bit heavy because they allow me to ride faster.

What is the Ideal Weight for A Kayak?

There’s no recommended weight when choosing a kayak, Choosing according to weight really depends upon why you’re buying a kayak and who will use the kayak. For example, 20 or 25-pound kayak is perfect if kids will be using it. Conversely, a heavy kayak weighing at 50 to 60 pounds will be good if two persons will be riding it at the same time.

For whitewater kayaking, you should always opt to buy a light kayak. Even though it’s kinda easy to tip over, the good thing about it is that it’s highly maneuverable and will allow you to easily position yourself, evade rocks, and execute kayaking techniques.

Heavy kayak is ideal for kayaking on calm streams and rivers.

Limit: How Much Weight Can A Kayak Hold?

Just like all other watercraft, there’s a limit to how much weight a kayak can hold. The weight limit pertains to the specific weight that a kayak can carry before it sinks. Being knowledgeable about weight limits will help you prevent from buying a kayak that’s utterly useless.

Light to moderately heavy kayaks such as recreation kayaks, touring kayaks, may carry weights between 200 to 400 pounds. This means that persons weighing below 90 kilos or below 180 kilos may ride such kayaks without risking themselves to sinking.

On the other hand, heavier kayaks such as fishing kayaks have a weight limit of 440 to 550 pounds. This high degree of weight capacity is self-explanatory since fishing kayaks have to bear the weight of fishing poles, baits, and caught fish aside from the rider itself.

Bottom Line

Weight is an important consideration when buying a kayak. Being fussy about weight might make buying more time consuming but it will ensure that your money won’t go to waste.

Aside from this, weight also ensures that the kayak which you bought won’t betray its purpose. Think about it, buying your kids a heavy kayak that they can’t use won’t make them happy right?

Always ask if a kayak is made out of plastic, fiberglass, or composite materials. The material that a kayak is made of usually speaks a lot about its weight.

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