Is a Lighter Kayak Better?

Is a lighter kayak better?

Many people want to know if a lighter kayak is preferable to heavy kayaks. The answer depends on what you want to achieve while kayaking.

Is a light kayak faster?

It is certain for a lighter boat to have more speed. Estimation quotes that a 4% weight increase would create a 1% speed reduction, it is based on simplifying physical assumptions.

Is a lighter kayak better?
Is a lighter kayak better?
  1. Water’s drag force to the hull goes against the paddling force. The water’s drag is proportional to the immensity of the paddling force.
  2. The drag is equal to the submerged cross-section of the hull, also it could be equal to the summed up weight.
  3. The drag force is definitely equal to the square of the boat’s acceleration.
  4. The total drag force can remain unchanged if the acceleration reduces by 2% at the exact time the weight increases by 4%.

This corresponds because a 2% reduction in the boat’s acceleration rhymes with a 4% reduction in the square of the boat’s acceleration.

  1. Of course, unlike sailboats, a kayak’s weight is only a small percentage of the total weight (paddler + kayak + gear).

Therefore, a 1-% increase (decrease) in total kayak displacement weight would correspond to a very large change in the kayak’s weight.

A kayak offers an individual opportunity to do many things that cannot be viewed from the shore.

How does one know the kayak that is the best for the individual, focus on some essential facts:

Where does the individual wish to paddle? A lake, a seacoast or a river?  This aids in reducing the individual’s options.

Sit-in or sit-on-top? Getting the protection of the regular sit-in, or the openness of the sit-on-top, which would be preferred? If both are preferred, that’s cool.

Kayak weight and budget: materials, that directly affect the price of boats are the most important factor in the weight and longevity of the boat.

Where will the kayak be used?

The kayak’s bow on waters that are calm.

Boats are not classified according to water type, but it still aids to begin from the present to have thoughts about the environments, that is planed to be explored before selecting a boat.

Lakes: This one concerns the local lake, not Lake Superior. When the weather seems fair and the destination happens to be close, then a sit-on-top or the recreational sit-in boat could be used to play about.

In the appearance of whitecaps, then certainly a recreational boat would get beaten.

Coasts: This is a place of wind, waves, currents, tides, and many more come along for the fun.

So getting a sit-in touring boat with a rudder, attached tracking fin or a skeg (a down drop fin) is sensible.

When staying in a warm surrounding and will not mind having a swim or make plans to carry out some kayak surfing, a sit-on-top might be a good option.


Not speaking of technical rapids- whitewater kayaks are above the reach of this article.

When staying afloat on a river, and in search of a stable, strong craft that rotates fast.

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That could be a short, stable recreational sit-in or sit-on-top boat or day touring sit-in kayaks.

Rivers and lakes:

With plans to use the boat in flowing and still waters, then use a short recreational sit-in or sit-on-top kayak.

These boats that are crossovers has a skeg. This mechanism would aid making turning immediate, if the skeg is up and track more efficient if the skeg is down.

A short boat that has a rudder can also be a good choice, but rudders could be mostly gotten on boats that are longer.

Is a lighter kayak better? Is a lighter kayak faster?

Kayaks are categorized in various ways, not excluding where one could sit in them, their structure, and if they were constructed for a particular reason.

Sit-on-tops Vs Traditional Sit-in kayaks


Sit-on-tops were foremost made as boats for recreation in lakes and rivers that are easy flowing.

They might be used in warm coastal waters and some longer sit-on-tops have enough storage in case of an overnight adventure.

If in the case of being claustrophobic in a cockpit or does not want to have the knowledge or skill of doing a “wet exit” in case of a capsize, then certainly such a person is a sit-on-topper.

If not certain yet, but the following into consideration:

Sit-on-tops are not hard to get on (even in deep waters) and getting off too, so this makes them good for the casual purpose, like having fun beside a lakeside cabin, or as a boat for children or swimming area.

They would offer perfect relaxation if the air and water are warm (it makes the individual using it wet).

Scupper holes aids them to be self draining; then there won’t be a need to pump out water.

They are made with deck stash spots, and hardly accessed cargo space (inside the hollow hull).

They are certainly weightier than comparable sit-in kayaks.

For people with interest in fishing, some sit-on-tops have rod holders or maybe the choice of adding it.

Sit-on-Top kayaks

Is a lighter kayak better?
Is a lighter kayak better?

Sit-in kayaks get purchased as recreational boats, day touring and touring models.

These kayaks make fast moves, track straight and are made of covered cargo compartments, these makes them nice for paddling to a destination.

They get cozy when the air and water are nice. A spray skirt could be added, but a bilge pump would be needed when fully swamped.

Then, when purchasing a traditional narrow sit-in kayak, the individual must have a wet exit knowledge or skill.

Kayak categories

Categories of boat are meant to be noticed, but one should know that not all kayaks producers make use of the same words.

And one brand’s “recreational” boat could be approximated to another’s “day touring” boat. With that, here are few universal guidelines:

Recreational kayaks (sit-in and sit-on-top): cheap, stable, easy to get on and off it, and less complex to turn.

These kayaks are produced for flat water play or meandering rivers, not for adventures that are long, have waves or rapids.

Certainly storage here is limited to stash spots for a few important items.

Day touring kayak (sit-in):

These multi-purpose boats are sleeker and create more effects to move other than recreational boats- and are most times more expensive.

These kayaks also track straighter and provide more control for the kayaker in rough water unlike recreational boats.

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This seems so as, they are not as long as sea kayaks, day touring kayaks are easier to transport and handle. They provide a nice amount of cargo space.

Touring kayaks (sit-in sea kayak):

These lengthy, big touring boats are highly effective over distance.

They have nice tracking and have a rudder or skeg to handle the wind and currents.

One gets ample cargo space and higher cost from this category. (Note: if one is definitely stuck to long trips and coastal kayaking, then save money by heading to a sea kayak from the beginning.

If one is not certain, a day touring boat will be less expensive as an introductory boat, and offers ease in learning paddling skills. )

Specialty kayaks

These categories underneath are nice choices for certain special situations. Maybe when tight on space, and need to paddle with a partner or maybe, fishing remains the focus of the individual.

Folding kayaks:

when living in an apartment, having traveling plans, or hiking to location that seems remote, then having the kayak folded might be sensible.

It is not as rough as a hard shell kayak, but it provides relative handling and storage to plenty touring boats.

Inflatable kayak:

just as foldable boats, they also save storage space. They are rigid this seems unusual and they are multi-purpose.

Surely recreational models will not head to any location speedily, then they are the most excellent option for having fun close to the shore.

Wide, rough inflatables are nice for rivers that are flowing (they bounce off obstacles).

In addition, some inflatables are fashionable to become nice touring kayaks.

Tandem kayaks:

a boat or two boats? A couple could actually save few dollars by purchasing one tandem boat, other than two solo kayaks.

Tandem are certainly more stable unlike solo kayaks and happens to be a better option when bringing children along.

While using it a potential rescue boat will be left behind and the opportunity to go solo on next trips.

But being a super simpatico will obviously make both paddle together, a tandem boat is nice.

Pedal-powered kayaks:

With intentions of letting the hands-free for fishing, photography, or viewing wildlife with binoculars, search out for a boat with the complex pedal propulsion system.

They use bike-like pedals that turn a prop or push pedals that would power up a pair of fins.

A rudder that could be controlled by hand control carries out the steering. When sitting high, it creates more space for the paddling motion.

Pedal kayaks are usually large, providing a stable platform (in situations that are calm), and as the leg’s strong muscles are put to work, there might be an ability to get longer stretches, while being more relaxed.

It’s disadvantage would be that pedal technology put on an extra cost on the kayak; it will also need more care.

Then one has to check out for the props or fins underneath the kayak, while being in the shallows there is no ability to maneuver fast turns or rough waters unlike for kayaks that could be paddled.

Pedals kayaks have more weight than the regular kayak, which affects handling it in and out of the water.

Kayak materials, weight and price

A lighter kayak would be less stressful to lift, would be loaded with ease on a car (especially by the individual) getting up it’s speed is done with ease.

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A boat that is light weight enables an individual lift more gear due to it’s weight capacity has been consumed up the weight of the boat in use.

The important thing is that lightweight materials would cause a kayak to cost more specifically.

Polyethylene plastic is cheap and abrasion-resistant. UV rays from the sun will lessen the quality of the product after a prolonged time under the sun.

ABS plastic:

A bit more expensive than polyethylene, but it’s durability seems to be likened to it.

The price increases when there is a bit lesser weight than polyethylene, and extra UV resistance.

Thermoformed ABS boats’ exclusive two-tone design rise from letting the deck and the hull have independence and then joined together.


lightweight fiberglass and ultralight carbon-fiber boats provide a large difference in performance and cost.

UV rays would not be a big worry for these materials. But a pronounced contact with rocks could be.

Additional kayak Considerations

Boats that could be compared are certainly going to have similar attributes. Weight capacity and length might differ, although these are the most essential attributes to consider.


Weight capacity:

this is the summed up weight of the boat, the gear and the kayaker.

This attributes is essential when intending to haul gear for a multi-day trip.

When the boat gets overloaded, it seems to get low in the water and worsens the kayaker paddling potency.


lengthier boats move more effectively and provides more space for storage for the overnight touring gear, meanwhile shorter bulls rotates faster.

Some inches in height will not be important, but two feet or more will not go unnoticed.


Deeper hulls provide more space for long-legged kayakers, and additional space for storage. Hulls that are shallow are affected much by the wind.


Hulls that are wider provide more initial stability, although less wider hulls move with better speed.

Skegs, tracking fins and rudders:

They are accessories that enable the boat track straighter under the wind.

A skeg is a less complex drop down fin that enables in holding down the south wind from taking the boat off it’s route.

A tracking fin offers an alike benefit, unlike the skeg, it cannot get retracted once paddling begins.

It is generally found on kayaks that are inflatable. There is a choice of erasing the tracking fin before paddling, if there is an objective to turn speedily over the choice of remaining on course.

A rudder, a fin which slides down from the boat’s back, does the exact thing, but it is not stuck on a certain position.


A good seat can bring in an additional $100 or more to the boat’s general coat.

But a lot of time will spent on the seat, so possessing one that could get adjusted, padded more and more ergonomically fitted on the kayaker could be worthy of the additional dollars.

Cockpit size:

A little sized, fitting cockpit offers the kayaker better control and protection in situations that are rough. A cockpit that is wide enables ease in get in and off the boat.


They provide passage to storage areas that are interior. Touring boats that are bigger should have about two, however day touring boats and some recreational boat possess one.


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