Top 10 Best Lightweight Kayaks

Last Updated on April 5, 2021

Find out which is the best lightweight kayak that you can purchase and use for your next fishing trip. Check out the buying guide to make a wise buying decision.  

Kayaking can be a fun and relaxing activity but not everyone wants the adrenaline rush of kayaking in fast water. If you are such a person, you should look at lightweight kayaks that allow you to enjoy not just kayaking but also fishing in slow rivers and flatwater bodies, like lakes and ponds.

However, finding the best lightweight kayak is not an easy task as there are so many different types available on the market. That is why we have done the hard work for you and shortlisted the 10 best lightweight kayaks for recreational use or fishing, depending on your preference. We have personally tested these kayaks and provided unbiased reviews based on our experience as well as other users’ experiences.

Related read: Pick the correct kayak life vest

Be sure to check out our buying guide that will give you an idea of the features you should look for when you are looking to purchase a lightweight kayak. The helpful buying guide will give you a roadmap to begin your search.

Best Overall Lightweight Kayak

Pelican Sit-in Lightweight Fishing Kayak

★★★★★

  • Made from heavy-duty polyethylene
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Extremely comfortable and spacious
  • Comes with adjustable footrests
  • Ample storage space
  • Can hold weights of up to 300lb
  • Weighs just 42lb
  • Highly stable
  • Easy to maneuver and control
  • Seating can be removed and used elsewhere
  • Comes with a limited lifetime warranty for the hull

Table: 10 Best Lightweight Kayaks

S.No. Product Name Rating Price
1 Pelican Sit-in Lightweight Fishing Kayak 4.7/5.0 Check Price
2 Lightweight Sit-in Argo 100X Kayak by Pelican 4.7/5.0 Check Price
3 Lightweight Kids’ Kayak with Oar by Lifetime 4.7/5.0 Check Price
4 Two Persons Inflatable and Lightweight Kayak by Intex 4.5/5.0 Check Price
5 Sit On Top Fishing Kayak by Pelican 4.5/5.0 Check Price
6 Inflatable Professional Kayak by Intex 4.4/5.0 Check Price
7 Challenger Fishing Kayak by Intex 4.4/5.0 Check Price
8 Pelican Recreational Sit-in Kayak 4.3/5.0 Check Price
9 One-Person Quikpak Kayak Sevylor 4.3/5.0 Check Price
10 One-Person K1 Kayak by Sevylor 4.2/5.0 Check Price

1. Pelican Sit-in Lightweight Fishing Kayak

If you are looking for a lightweight kayak that is easy to transport and carry, you should take a second look at this sit-in fishing kayak by Pelican. It weighs merely 42lb and you do not need help to carry it from your vehicle to the water.

Product Specs

  • Made from high-molecular-weight polyethylene
  • Sit-in kayak
  • Maximum weight capacity is 300lb
  • Weighs 42lb

Tip: You can remove the seat and use it anywhere else you fancy and that is what makes this kayak multi-functional.

Why We Recommend This Product

We love the spacious cockpit and found it very easy to get in and out of the kayak. It was not a struggle. The hull is durable and well constructed. It is extremely rigid but light in weight. The footrests are adjustable so you can adjust it based on your height. It has high-quality knee pads and a tie-down for the paddle. This kayak is easy to maneuver and can be used with relative ease by beginners and experienced kayakers. We loved the limited lifetime warranty on the hull and the one-year warranty on the fittings that the kayak comes with.

Info Alert: The kayak is equipped with two one-inch tracks for rigging and these can use used to mount your camera or any other accessory that you are carrying with you.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Well-constructed
  • Durable
  • Spacious
  • Portable seating
  • Footrests are adjustable
  • Specific storage for bottles and drinks

Cons

  • This back storage is not completely waterproof
  • The seat may not be comfortable for extended durations

2. Lightweight Sit-in Argo 100X Kayak by Pelican

This kayak by Pelican is renowned for its stability. This sit-in kayak has a spacious cockpit and that makes it easy to get in and out of the kayak. It is also lightweight and hence, transporting it is a breeze.

Product Specs

  • Made from high-molecular-weight polyethylene
  • Padded backrest and seat with cushion
  • Drain plugs
  • Weighs 36lb
  • Maximum weight capacity is 275lb
  • Limited lifetime warranty on hull

Tip: The bottom of the kayak is flat and that enables you to load it before you push it into the water.

Why We Recommend This Product

We liked the stability of the kayak. It did not wobble or dip to one side with the weight. It is definitely a lightweight kayak and we could carry it very easily to the water body from the vehicle. The cushioned seat is comfortable and the padded backrest ensured we did not get uncomfortable while paddling. The cockpit is spacious and has drain holes that ensure water drains out without a problem. It has ample storage space and the bottle holder on the seat was a nice and welcome surprise.

Info Alert: If you are a beginner and looking to master kayaking, this kayak by Pelican is a perfect choice. Just make sure you invest in a good-quality oar as it does not come with one.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Comfortable
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Comes with a seat cushion and a padded backrest
  • Comfortable
  • Ample storage

Cons

  • The footrests are not adjustable even though claimed by the manufacturer

3. Lightweight Kids’ Kayak with Oar by Lifetime

This kayak by Lifetime has been specially designed for children. So, if you are looking for a lightweight kayak that your child can use and hone their kayaking skills, this is a perfect choice

Product Specs

  • Made from high-density polyethylene
  • Comes with a five-year limited warranty
  • Has UV protection
  • Weighs 18lb
  • Maximum weight capacity is 130lb

Tip: You can attach a rope to the handle to ensure your child will not float away if they are learning kayaking.

Why We Recommend This Product

It is always tough to find a kayak that is designed for kids. This one by Lifetime is perfect for children. While it is designed for kids 5 years and above, even smaller ones can use as long as parents supervise them. It has a weight capacity of 130lb and since it is just 18lb in weight, parents will find it very easy to transport it. We loved that this lightweight kayak has a sloping end that comes with a step that makes it easy for kids to get onto the kayak if they are in the water. It is well-built and has adjustable footrests that can be positioned based on the needs of the kayaker. Above all, it comes with a limited warranty of five years. What more could you ask for?

Info Alert: This kayak is the perfect starter kayak for kids, and it comes with a paddle. It does not capsize so kids will be safe on it.

Pros

  • Ultra lightweight kayak
  • Designed for kids
  • Easy to transport
  • Solid construction
  • Easy to get in and out
  • Adjustable footrest
  • Designed to improve motor skills and balance of kids

Cons

  • The kayak is too bulky and heavy for smaller kids to drag it to the waterfront

4. Two Persons Inflatable and Lightweight Kayak by Intex

If you and your partner or best friend enjoy kayaking, this lightweight kayak from Intex is the best choice. It is designed for two people, and you will find that it is quite spacious and comfortable.

Product Specs

  • Made from heavy-duty vinyl
  • Has I-beam floor
  • Inflatable seats with backrests
  • Removable directional skeg
  • Maximum weight capacity is 400lb
  • Weighs 30.6lb

Tip: If you are taking the kayak in a river, remove the skeg. Use it just in lakes and ponds for better control.

Why We Recommend This Kayak

Kayaking is fun and when you have someone with you, the fun increases. This two-person kayak ensures you can enjoy this sport with a close friend or a loved one. It is spacious and there is no dearth of space for both kayakers. You will be very comfortable. It comes with a high-output air pump that allows you to inflate the kayak within no time. The seats are inflatable and you will find that they are very comfortable, thanks to the backrest. It comes with a removable skeg that you can use in still bodies of water, like ponds and lakes. The kayak has US Coast Guard ID and its bright color is highly visible in case of an emergency. Info Alert: This inflatable kayak comes with a convenient carry bag. You can disassemble the oars and carry them along with the bag.

Info Alert: This inflatable kayak comes with a convenient carry bag. You can disassemble the oars and carry them along with the bag.

Pros

  • Spacious and comfortable
  • Easy to inflate and deflate
  • Highly stable
  • Designed for smaller water bodies
  • Highly durable
  • Well-built

Cons

  • Some users have complained about the air valves on the bow, stern, and floor being of cheap quality

5. Sit On Top Fishing Kayak by Pelican

In case you are looking for a lightweight sit on top kayak, this one by Pelican is the right choice. It weighs merely 44lb and that makes it not only easy to take it to your favorite kayaking spot but also carry it to the edge of the water.

Product Specs

  • Made from heavy-duty and durable Ram-X material
  • Weighs 44lb
  • Maximum weight capacity is 275lb
  • Meets ABYC standards
  • Adjustable footrests
  • Tie downs for fishing rods
  • Flushed holders for fishing rods
  • Removable storage compartment

Tip: To clean the kayak, use warm water and mild detergent, and scrub gently. Dry thoroughly before storing.

Why We Recommend This Product

We found that this kayak is very stable even though some users complained that it tends to dip if they stood on it. We did not face this issue and could easily stand up and cast the fishing line and also reel it in. The construction is superior and the kayak is built to last. It is resistant to impact and abrasions. It has ample storage space and the footrests are comfortable. It has a drain plug to flush out water.

Info Alert: The floor of the kayak has rubber matting and this prevents things that you keep near your feet from sliding all over and creating a problem.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to store
  • Highly portable
  • Extremely stable
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Footrests are adjustable
  • Holders for paddle and smartphone
  • Removable compartment for storage

Cons

  • Standing on the kayak can make it dip on the sides

6. Inflatable Professional Kayak by Intex

This kayak by Intex can easily be categorized as the best lightweight kayak. It is made from durable high-molecular PVC that makes this inflatable kayak extremely resilient and long-lasting. It does not puncture or get abraded easily.

Product Specs

  • Made from high-molecular PVC
  • Aluminum oars of 86 inches each
  • Pressure pump with high output
  • Pressure gauge
  • Two skegs
  • Weighs 35lb
  • Maximum weight capacity is 400lb

Tip: Using the manual, it takes hardly 15 minutes to set up the kayak and make it water-ready.

Why We Recommend This Product

Even though this is an inflatable kayak, it is rigid after full inflation. It does not flex or rock. The seats are comfortable and using the high-pressure pump, it was very easy to inflate the kayak. It comes with two removable directional skegs – one is for deep water and the other is for shallow water. Once you deflate the kayak, everything, other than the oars, fit into the carry bag. We found it very easy to control and maneuver the kayak. It is spacious and we could use the rod holders for our fishing rods. The integrated footrests helped to brace the body weight during strong paddling.

Info Alert: Make sure that if you are using the kayak in saltwater, you rinse and dry it thoroughly before storing it away. It will improve the kayak’s longevity.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Resistant to impact and damage
  • Easy to inflate and deflate
  • Comes with a pressure pump and gauge
  • Has holders for fishing rods
  • Adjustable bucket-type seats
  • Footrests for comfort
  • Comes with aluminum oars
  • Comes with a convenient carry back and repair kit

Cons

  • Some users have complained about the seams splitting
  • The length of the paddles cannot be adjusted

7. Challenger Fishing Kayak by Intex

This one-person lightweight kayak is inflatable but made from durable material. It has graphics on the body for safety so that the kayak can easily be spotted on the water. It is designed for durability and performance.

Product Specs

  • Made from heavy-duty vinyl
  • Boston valves
  • I-beam base
  • 84-inch oar made from aluminum
  • High output pump
  • Weighs 27.2lb
  • Maximum weight capacity is 220lb

Tip: While deflating the kayak, it is best to do it like you would deflate a mattress as you are rolling it. It makes the deflation process quicker and hassle-free.

Why We Recommend This Product

The sit-in kayak is made from tough material. So, even if you drag it over rocks or abrasive surfaces, it will not show any signs of damage. The cockpit is spacious and the I-beam base provides adequate stability to get in and out of the kayak. It even has a cargo net at the front to store gear. The seat is adjustable, comfortable, and comes with a backrest. It comes with a directional skeg to keep the kayak straight while paddling.

Info Alert: The oars are collapsible, making them easy to transport. You will find that they work beautifully when you are paddling in the water.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Spacious and comfortable
  • Highly durable
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Comes with oars
  • An inflatable seat that has a backrest
  • Net for cargo storage

Cons

  • The carry bag is not of good quality
  • Folding the kayak after deflating can be tedious

8. Pelican Recreational Sit-in Kayak

In case you are looking for a lightweight kayak that is easy to transport and use, this one from Pelican is the best choice. It comes with handles in the front and the rear that make it easy to carry.

Product Specs

  • Made from Ram-X, which is resistant to impact
  • Maximum weight capacity is 275lb
  • Bungee cord storage hatch
  • Padded seat and backrest
  • Molded footrest
  • Weighs 39lb

Tip: The cockpit comes with a table that has a bottle holder for convenient access while kayaking.

Why We Recommend This Product

The kayak is really lightweight and can be lifted on and off your vehicle very easily. It does have a storage platform and a storage hatch to keep accessories and other things that you may require during your trip. We found the padded seat extremely comfortable and the molded footrest offered secure and comfortable bracing of the feet. The hull is strong and resilient. The drain plug at the bottom ensured that we could easily eliminate any water that entered the kayak while kayaking.

Info Alert: The hull design is shallow and that makes it easy even for seniors to get in and out of the kayak very easily

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • A lot of storage space
  • Easy to transport
  • Padded seat with an adjustable backrest
  • Drainage plug
  • Comfortable and convenient footrests
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Durable and long-lasting hull

Cons

  • Has a learning curve to prevent first-time users from tipping over

9. One-Person Quikpak Kayak Sevylor

This lightweight kayak is inflatable and hardly takes time to inflate. That enables you to quickly get on the water and enjoy kayaking and fishing like never before. It is easy to carry and comes with a unique carry system that is not just utilitarian but also convenient.

Product Specs

  • Made from high-molecular-weight polyethylene
  • Sit-in kayak
  • Maximum weight capacity is 300lb
  • Weighs 42lb

Tip: While the skeg is attached to the inflatable kayak, you can cut it off if you find that it does not help you during your trips.

Why We Recommend This Product

We loved the clever design of this lightweight kayak. The backpack converts into a comfortable seat and backrest once the kayak is inflated. We also found that this kayak is perfect for small water bodies, like lakes. It is constructed using heavy-duty PVC while the bottom is made from tarpaulin and covered with polyester. This makes the bottom section of the kayak puncture-proof and durable. It comes with multiple air chambers so even if one gets a puncture, the kayak stays afloat. It has ample storage and the D-rings allow you to connect accessories and equipment that you are carrying.

Info Alert: After deflating the kayak, remove the bladders from the inside covering so that you can dry out the water that bails out into the inflatable portions of the kayak.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Well-constructed
  • Durable
  • Easy to carry
  • Multiple air chambers
  • Easy to inflate and deflate
  • Spray covers
  • Bungees for storage

Cons

  • The paddle is not very comfortable to use
  • The kayak is extremely buoyant

10. One-Person K1 Kayak by Sevylor

This is one of the best lightweight kayaks with multiple air chambers. So, even if one develops a leak, the kayak will stay afloat. It is spacious and comfortable. You will find the inflatable backrest very helpful on long kayaking trips.

Product Specs

  • Well-built
  • Long-lasting
  • Comfortable
  • Convenient to carry and transport
  • Multiple air chambers
  • Best for still water kayaking
  • Footrests can be adjusted to multiple positions
  • Easy to inflate and deflate

Tip: If the water temperature is cold, let the inflated kayak sit in it for a while so that you can check whether you have inflated it adequately. If you don’t do this, the kayak may sag during your trip.

Why We Recommend This Product

We loved the heavy-duty construction and that meant it was resistant to punctures and damage. We found it very easy to inflate the kayak and it hardly took us 5 minutes to get it fully inflated. The backpack is convenient and allows you to carry the kayak with ease. The cockpit is spacious and even tall people will find that. The footrest can be adjusted based on your needs. It has bungee cord storage that is sufficient for one person. We found the backrest and seat quite comfortable.

Info Alert: To deflate the kayak, use the deflate setting on the pump and it will suck out the air, allowing you to quickly fold the kayak into its backpack.

Pros

  • Well-built
  • Long-lasting
  • Comfortable
  • Convenient to carry and transport
  • Multiple air chambers
  • Best for still water kayaking
  • Footrests can be adjusted to multiple positions
  • Easy to inflate and deflate

Cons

  • The two skegs are too small to be of any help

Buying Guide for the Best Lightweight Kayak

When you are looking to buy the best lightweight kayak, there are a few things that you need to consider before you finalize your purchase. It is prudent to remember that kayaks are either recreational or fishing kayaks. Hence, you should know the intended use before you buy one. If you are looking to just enjoy kayaking, opt for a recreational kayak. On the other hand, if you are a fishing aficionado, got a kayak that is designed for fishing.

Since a lightweight kayak is usually small and light, you will not find many issues with it. Nonetheless, here are a few things that you should consider before you choose the best ultra lightweight kayak.

Material:

The hull of a kayak is usually made from heavy-duty polyethylene, fiberglass, carbon fiber, or heavy-duty plastic. Since you are looking for a lightweight kayak, take a close look at the material it is made from. Most lightweight kayaks are made from heavy-duty polyethylene, PVC, or vinyl. These materials are often coated with UV protectant to prevent fading and damage due to sun exposure. Hence, the kayaks last long. These materials also ensure that the kayaks are more affordable than the ones made from fiberglass, carbon fiber, and heavy-duty plastic.

Shape of the Hull

If the kayak is designed for rough waters, it will have a V-shaped hull that will help it cut through the water. On the other hand, if the kayak is made for flatwater, it will have a rounded hull. Most lightweight kayaks are made for mild rivers and flatwater, and hence, you should ensure that the hull is rounded.

Inflatable or Rigid Kayak

This is a personal choice. An inflatable lightweight kayak should come with a high-output pressure pump. That means that you will not be spending a lot of time inflating the kayak. You will be able to inflate it within no time. Such kayaks are easy to transport. Furthermore, most inflatable kayaks come with a carry bag that makes it easy to, well, carry it. You also get lightweight kayaks that are rigid. Just make sure that you can transport it with ease and carry it to the water body without a lot of difficulties.

Resistance to Punctures

Inflatable kayaks at a higher risk of developing punctures. Hence, you should ensure that your inflatable kayak has tarpaulin at the bottom to minimize the chances of a puncture. Also, if it has multiple air chambers, you will still be able to paddle safely to the shore without sinking. Some manufacturers provide puncture repair patches along with the kayak. Rigid kayaks are usually not prone to punctures but can get damaged with use or constant exposure to sharp objects.

Level of Comfort

It is important that the lightweight kayak you buy is comfortable. So, check reviews by other users to find out if the kayak’s seat is comfortable or not. You also want to make sure that the seat is adjustable to your height as is the footrest and thigh braces. That will ensure you can embark on longer trips without experiencing discomfort. When it comes to comfort, do not forget to check the paddle. Some paddles can be uncomfortable to use and result in blisters. If your kayak comes with a paddle and you find it does not have an ergonomic grip, it is advisable to invest in a new paddle.

Storage Space

When you go kayaking, you may carry accessories, drinks, and food with you. Make sure that the kayak has ample storage space in front and/or at the rear to accommodate everything you want to take. Some kayaks are spacious enough to bring along Fido with you.

Related article: How to transport your kayak

Final Verdict

These are the top 10 lightweight kayaks you will find on the market. Out of these, according to us, the best lightweight kayak is the Pelican Sit-in Lightweight Fishing Kayak. It weighs just 42lb and is renowned for its sturdy and long-lasting construction. It is made from heavy-duty polyethylene that is resistant to punctures and damage. This kayak is designed for one person and it has adjustable footrests that you can position based on your comfort level and convenience. It has ample storage space, including storage for bottles and drinks. The seat is removable and can be used elsewhere if you intend also camping out. The kayak also comes with a rigging track to fix GPS, fishfinder, or camera. You will find that it has all the features that you are looking for in a lightweight kayak and will not regret purchasing it.

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