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How heavy is a Kayak and how heavy should a good one be?

If you are looking for a new kayak, you will pay attention to a number of characteristics. The design, the size, the volume, the maximum load, the manufacturer, the type of kayak and the question whether an inflatable or a rigid one is better suited play a role in the decision.

The weight of the kayak does not matter to the majority of those interested, but is it important how much a kayak weighs? Should kayaks also be compared on the basis of their weight?

The kayak weight is important

When buying their first kayak, beginners sometimes neglect the effort it takes to transport the sports equipment to the water in the first place. The kayak must first be taken from the storage location to the vehicle, then safely stowed (preferably with roof racks) and finally brought from the parking lot to the water.

You can make the effort easier with the help of a kayak car, but the effort remains high. The effort depends on the weight of the kayak. With a model weighing 35 kilograms the transport will cost you more effort than with a boat weighing only 10 kilograms.

A kayak is often not enough. A backpack with drinking water, provisions, mobile phone, power bench, purse and papers is as much a must as the paddle and possibly a blanket and a life jacket.

For anyone who doesn’t want to be completely exhausted before the trip starts, the weight of a kayak plays a role. When buying a kayak, you should pay attention to the weight. Make sure that you can carry the kayak (or at least hoist it onto a kayak cart) without getting a lumbago.

The size and also the material used have the greatest influence on the weight of a kayak. In the following we will go into the different materials in more detail.

The material used

Various materials have established themselves in the production of kayaks. The individual materials have their own advantages and disadvantages and also have a great influence on the weight of the kayaks.

Plastic (Polyethylene)

Kayaks made of hard plastic polyethylene are durable and stable. The material often provides the basis for kayaks for beginners. The robust outer shell of these canoes can withstand one or two collisions.

The high weight of the plastic kayaks is a disadvantage. If you want to lift such a kayak onto the roof of your car, you will have the feeling that you are dealing with the stone of the Sisyphus rather than with a piece of sports equipment.

Inflatable kayaks

Inflatable kayaks are a new trend. The inflatable cases can be transported in a backpack. And even when inflated, most of these kayaks can be carried by children.

Inflatables are most often made of PVC or polyurethane. On the one hand, the material is very robust, so that it can withstand light collisions, on the other hand, the constant rolling up does not bother the material.

In terms of weight, the inflatable kayaks are convincing. All the equipment can be transported in one backpack, what more could you ask for?


Kayaks made of lighter (but also more expensive) materials such as fibreglass or Kevlar can be carried loosely by adults. The low weight is accompanied by a considerable price increase.

Foldable kayaks

Foldable kayaks are made of wood, plastic or aluminium. The special feature is that the cover can be folded. Compared to plastic or fibreglass kayaks, foldable kayaks are quite light. Foldable kayaks typically weigh 15 to 20 kilograms.


The dimensions of a kayak are the second decisive factor. Boots trimmed to a light weight are often shorter than normal models.

Short kayaks

The weight of a kayak goes hand in hand with the length. Accordingly, longer kayaks weigh on average more. However, you should be careful when making general statements. The material used plays an important role. A kayak made of polyethylene that is only 3 metres long can weigh more than a GFRP kayak that is 4 metres long.

Long kayaks

Touring kayaks or kayaks that can be used in the sea are longer. This gives the kayaks better directional stability, which is important for overcoming long distances.

When building a long kayak, more materials are used. This does not automatically mean that the kayak has to be heavier. If lightweight materials such as GFK or Kevlar are used, even long kayaks are not too heavy.

Tandem kayaks

Kayaks for two persons are heavier than solo kayaks. This can be explained by the longer and wider construction. The higher weight of the tandem kayaks makes transport more strenuous, but in the end you have a partner with you.

Two-person kayaks often have several handles so that they can be carried by two or more people. If, on the other hand, you are planning to go on a kayak adventure with your family, it is best to choose an inflatable tandem kayak.

The weight of a (fixed) tandem kayak is too high for a single person. If you are travelling alone with your child, the weight can become a problem.

There is some skepticism about inflatable kayaks. In recent years, however, the critical voices have diminished. Nowadays, inflatable solo and tandem kayaks make up the majority of all kayaks sold.

The early comparisons with air mattresses no longer do justice to today’s inflatable kayaks. When inflated, inflatable kayaks are rock-hard and hardly distinguishable from fixed kayaks.

The kayaks are extremely comfortable in storage and transport, while in the water they hardly differ from the conventional fixed models. And most inflatable kayaks have several separate air chambers. This ensures safety. Even in the event of a collision, you can still reach the shore with an inflatable kayak.


The next time you buy a kayak you should add weight to your checklist. However, there is no specific number of kayaks that are too heavy. The ideal kayak depends on your specific circumstances.

For someone who lives right by the water, weight is not a big issue. For example, people who don’t own a car depend on inflatable kayaks. If you see yourself in the middle between these two extreme examples, you can basically choose between inflatable and fixed kayaks.

Due to the enormous comfort in transport and storage, we recommend beginners to use inflatable kayaks. If you want to change to a fixed kayak later because you are planning longer trips, you should pay attention to lightweight materials such as fibreglass or Kevlar.






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