There is no better way to get on the water than a kayak but all the best waters are hard to reach and no one wants to lug a heavy boat around. Maybe it’s time to consider getting one of the best lightweight kayaks?
There are so many great kayaks on the market from so many great companies but many of them are far too cumbersome. There are a few specialty models that can weigh upwards of 80 to 90 pounds! That is simply far too much.
Of course, weight is a little arbitrary. Who is to say what lightweight actually means? It probably differs from person to person but we need a value to start with. Somewhere in the ballpark of 50 pounds or less should do the trick.
Best Lightweight Kayaks Reviews
We explored all of the options, consider all of the finer points, and came up with a solid list of the best the market has to offer. Take a look at what we found, surely there is a product perfect for your next outdoor adventure.
1. Riot Edge
We are going to start by somewhat breaking our own rule. This particular craft comes in at about 58 pounds but you get a lot out of that weight. This isn’t a cheap or cut-rate product but an exceptional quality, smooth sailing kayak that will give you the best performance of anything near this weight.
At 14 feet long and just over 22 inches wide, it’s no wonder it comes in a little hefty. But the added length combined with a steerable rudder means it tracks like a dream and can move at a pretty good clip. This is the perfect choice for getting around bigger lakes.
Being of a more refined nature, the Edge has much better than the molded-in seats you usually see. Instead, it has a custom fitted, well-cushioned seat that will save your back on those days you want to spend some serious time on the water. When it comes to weight, price, and features this is a no-brainer!
2. Ocean Kayaks Malibu Two
This is still a heavy option at 57 pounds but when you divide that by two people, the number this kayak can fit, it doesn’t seem that bad at all. And it’s made by Ocean which has one of the best reputations for overall quality of any small watercraft companies out there.
The Malibu comes in at 12 feet and can comfortably hold 425 pounds so you have plenty of capacity to fit two adults. To get it where it’s going, it has handled straps at the front and rear. When you get two people carrying, it seems to weigh almost nothing.
One thing that Ocean knows is how to make a kayak that gets around. While the seats may not be spectacular, you aren’t likely to notice with the way the Malibu glides across the water. This is easily one of the most stable options available no matter if you have one person or two.
3. Sun Dolphin Aruba
Coming in at just over 40 pounds, we are getting somewhere with the lightweight options. Made by Sun Dolphin, one of the most prolific manufacturers around, this is a great entry level kayak that won’t break the bank or your back trying to get it to the water.
This is our final 12-foot boat but it’s quite amazing to see one so light that is so large. It tracks beautifully and is perfectly suited for medium to large bodies of water. It’s stable, light, quick, and rides high in the water so you get near perfect paddle alignment with every stroke.
For such a budget price, the seat is fairly nice. It has both fore and aft storage compartments for keeping your lunch handy. Something you are going to need because this is one addictive little boat. Once you get out there, you are never going to want to bring it back.
4. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame
If you came here with one goal, to find the lightest of the light then this is it! At just 33 pounds, you can haul this thing just about anywhere you could ever want. This is because it is a hybrid inflatable kayak and come stored in a shoulder bag.
The Advanced Elements is just over 10 feet long when inflated but only 30 inches long when stored. It can be pumped up in minutes meaning you can wait to get to the water before getting the setup done. Transportation could not be easier with any other product.
Yea, inflatables have a bad reputation, especially when it comes to durability and tracking. You won’t have to worry about that with this kayak. It has a partial frame which keeps it straight and 3-layer poly construction to keep it safe. Short of nailing a large log or dragging the bottom, you are not likely to have any problems.
5. Ocean Kayak Frenzy
If you liked the two-person model you are going to love this single and its incredible weight. At only 40 pounds, this is a boat you can take with you pretty much anywhere. There are a few lighter models but not in my area.
At just 9 feet long, this a slick, maneuverable option for any of your small to medium waters. It’s easy to store, easy to transport, and an absolute blast to use. From lakes to skinny rivers, the Frenzy will serve you well and give you hours of adventure.
The seat in this model is a little better than that in the Malibu. It has more padding and a firmer back to start off with. While it’s short and stubby but that is its strength when it comes to getting in tight areas and down crowded streams. It also works amazingly well for kayak surfing.
6. Old Town Heron
If there is one thing that Old Town is known for, it’s the weight of its craft and not in a good way. But the Heron is an exception at just 39 pounds. It’s still just as tough and durable and stable as any of Old Down’s other options, it just weighs a whole lot less.
At just 9.5 feet long, the Heron is compact as well as low weight. This allows it to be maneuvered around very easily and get into tight places that other boats may not be able to handle. It also rides high in the water and can take on the shallowest creeks with ease.
The weight capacity maxes out at 300 pounds which is quite high for such a small kayak. The seat is amazingly comfortable everything considered. It may be one of the best seats you can get in this class of watercraft. Durable, stable, and quite fast. This is just a solid option all around.
7. Old Town Vapor
If you want the same quality as the Heron but you want something just a little bit bigger, the Vapor is a great choice and better on bigger water. It does weigh just a little more at 47 pounds but it’s not too much to manage.
This is still a single person kayak but at 10 feet long, you get a lot more space, leg room, and capacity. It can hold up to 325 pounds comfortably and still be among the most stable options on the market. The cockpit is huge making this a popular model with those who want to take their dog along for the ride.
The seat is essentially identical to that of the Heron which means is very comfortable all things considered. It is a minimalist seat to save weight so it can’t compete with the high-end, custom jobs but it won’t leave you sore after a day of paddling.
8. Lifetime Lotus
Pulling in at just 36 pounds the Lotus by Lifetime is among the lightest possible options you can get. This is truly an amazing weight for a sit-on style kayak but that is what Lifetime specializes in. They sell thousands of these popular recreational craft yearly.
At just 8 feet long, the lotus is minuscule! Yet it can hold up to 250 pounds but loses some stability. You are better off at under two hundred. These are a perfect option for kids and young adults but can work well for us grown-ups too.
Lifetime has a very good price on their products and this is no exception. What is better, you can pick these up in a 2 pack and save a ton of cash! Not bad at all for a stable, maneuverable, and fun small water boat.
9. Sun Dolphin Bali
Another great option in the sit-on category is the Bali. At just 40 pounds, this little monster is the near perfect leisure craft for both adults and children. It also works really well on a budget, being among the best values you can get in the boating world.
At 10 feet long, the Bali is reasonably sized. It is maneuverable and tracks quite well for something this size. It can hold up to 250 pounds and to very well in the water. At that weight, it remains stable and tracks wonderfully.
This model does have a molded-in seat so considering a cushion may be a good idea if you are going to be in it for a while. Of course, this means it’s more durable and nearly impossible to break. Everything is a tradeoff, but this may just be worth it!
10. Lifetime Tamarack Angler
If you are looking for a fishing kayak that is lightweight and easy to get around, nothing is going to beat a Tamarack, especially for the price. At just 52 pounds it is by far the lightest fishing model you are likely to find.
For a 10 foot long craft, you want something that tracks well and the Tamarack does. You want it to be stable, and with its flat bottom, the Tamarack is. It does everything you think it should and does it better than most more expensive boats.
For the weight, you get two rear-mounted rod holders and a single side-mounted holder. It has a dry well midship and in the rear cargo area. You are going to need all this storage to get your gear out there!
11. Sun Dolphin Aruba
We are going to close this out with probably the most popular option on the market today. The Aruba by Sun Dolphin can be seen on the luggage racks of cars across the country and invades lakes by the thousands every summer.
At just 37 pounds and 10 feet long, this great little craft can hold up to 250 pounds reliably. It tracks fairly but not great, making it a better small water kayak. They are designed purely for fun and they excel at that!
The seat is decent, the storage is quite good, and the leg room is great. For the size, this is one of the best options for a taller person. But at any size, this is easily one of the best options for a fun time on the water at a budget price.
Summer is approaching, it’s time to plan what you want to do with it. Those months go fast and you don’t want to miss a minute. Besides, the prices go up the closer summer gets. Don’t waste time or money. If your summer plans involve some time at the local lake or river, it’s never too early.