Lightweight Kayaks Ranked: Best to Worst
Kayaks are great, especially lightweight ones, when camping near water. Getting out on the lake, river, or ocean gives you another sense of freedom and a different view of where you’re staying. It’s also exercise. Bonus!
When traveling in an RV or travel trailer, you’re always concerned with the weight of your rig and everything in it. On the other hand, you want to have everything you need to enjoy your trip with you, including your toys.
Finding a lightweight kayak hits all three goals, weight-conscious, different perspective, and exercise. Which one is right for you?
Let’s take a look.
Why You Should Choose a Lightweight Kayak
Lightweight kayaks are great for solo travelers who have to carry the boat by themselves. You’ll also see that some lightweight kayaks take up less space.
Furthermore, you can also pack more than one so that you and your travel partner can kayak together. And, there are even tandem lightweight kayaks that hold two people.
Folding Kayaks – Folding kayaks actually fold up. It sounds crazy, but it’s like origami for boats. They fold into small boxes that can be stored easily, taking up a small amount of space.
Hard Kayaks – Hard kayaks are the traditional ones you see for sale in big box stores. The kayaks are either sit-on-top or sit-in varieties. Travelers usually carry them tied to the top of a car or hung off the back of a trailer.
Inflatable Kayaks – Inflatable kayaks can be inflated and deflated, ideally with a pump. The sides and bottom are squishy like a blow-up tube or boat. They’re great because they roll up or fold up very small. But, there are drawbacks in that the boat can be prone to holes.
Does Length Matter?
Size matters when it comes to kayaks for some people. Longer kayaks cruise better and straighter, and paddle more easily. There is also more room for storing gear in a longer kayak.
Short kayaks are great for newbies, children, and shorter adults. They usually have a wider base, which means that the boat has better stability. Because of this they’re often used in fast water, rivers, and lakes.
Alternatives: The ultimate question…canoe vs kayak? Which one should you use?
Lightweight Kayaks Ranked: Best to Worst
Oru Kayak is based on the water in Emeryville, CA. They have four different kayak models to choose from at various lengths and price points. Each one is right for a specific type of water from the lake to the ocean. In addition, they have one tandem craft.
The Oru kayaks fold up like origami into a suitcase-type carrier that is actually made from the kayak. They are watertight and stable. The only issue is you might have to deal with a lot of gawkers when you’re putting together your kayak and launching it.
The Beach version weighs in at 26 pounds. And, the tandem weighs 40 pounds.
Intex Challenger Inflatable
The Intex Challenger Inflatable Kayak comes in a solo or a tandem boat. It’s made with durable welded material for lake or slow-moving river use. The package includes a paddle, pump, and carrying bag.
People who reviewed this item on Amazon rave about the durability of the construction. Additional pros about this kayak are that it’s lightweight, easy to pump up, and fits in small spaces.
Inflated, the solo is 9 feet long and 2 feet, 6 inches in width, and weighs 23.9 pounds. The tandem is 11 feet 6 inches long and 2 feet, 6 inches wide, and weighs 33.53 pounds.
Pelican Sit-In 10 Foot
The Pelican Sit-in 10-Foot Kayak is a great one-person, hard-sided kayak. The price is between the inflatable kayak and the Oru Kayak. It has a higher weight limit for passengers than the first two.
Reviews say it’s a bit wobbly in anything other than flat water. This does not come with a paddle or lifejacket. But, it’s a decent starter kayak if you’re interested in a hard-sided sit-in.
The Pelican Sit-In weighs 36 pounds and is 10 feet long.
Lifetime Sit-On-Top Lotus
Sit-on-top kayaks are great for beginners, people who like to tool around the lake, and those who like to fish. Moreover, if the kayak were to tip, the occupant simply slides off into the water. No barrel rolls are needed.
These types of kayaks are very stable and work well in slow-moving water. It’s easy to put on top of a car, in the back of a station wagon, or tie to the back of your rig. It holds up to 250 pounds. But, beyond that, you’ll lose stability and control of the kayak.
The kayak weighs 38 pounds and is 8 feet long.
Which Lightweight Kayak is Right for You?
You get what you pay for is reasonable to assume in this category. If you are an avid kayaker, love the sport, use the kayak for all different types of adventures, then you might want to go with something from the top of the list. However, if you’re looking for something to get out on the water with at the campground, then any of them would be acceptable to use.
Think about if you want to pump up your craft before launching it, or would you rather unstrap it and launch right away? These are things to consider before buying. Perhaps renting a few different kayaks before you invest is the way to go.
Whatever you choose, kayaking is great exercise, gives you a different perspective on your location, and it’s fun!
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