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9 Best Lightweight Kayaks in 2021 (Our Top Picks)

Kayaks represent the perfect kind of adventure for anglers out there. Kayaking also brings many health benefits. Such as strengthening your core, improving your cardiovascular health, and burning calories!

The thing about kayaks is that there is always one that will fit your needs. There’s the hard shell kayak, foldable kayaks, and a heavy kayak.

But if you get tired of lugging around heavy kayaks, lightweight kayaks may be the solution for you. From inflatable kayaks to folding kayaks, you have a lot of options to choose from.

Check out this guide to find the best lightweight kayak for you!

Our Top Picks

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Best Inflatable Kayak For Beginners
Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, 1-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump
Best Versatile Kayak
Sea Eagle 370 Pro 3 Person Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak Canoe Boat w/ Paddles
Best Airtight Sit-on-top Kayak
Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak Blue, 8'7" x 3'
Feature 1
Comes with aluminum paddles, air pump, and carry bag
Self-bailing drain valve
Backpack-to-seat system
Feature 2
Inflatable padded seat
2-3 person capacity
Airtight no-leak system
Best Inflatable Kayak For Beginners
Thumbnail
Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, 1-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump
Feature 1
Comes with aluminum paddles, air pump, and carry bag
Feature 2
Inflatable padded seat
Best Versatile Kayak
Thumbnail
Sea Eagle 370 Pro 3 Person Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak Canoe Boat w/ Paddles
Feature 1
Self-bailing drain valve
Feature 2
2-3 person capacity
Best Airtight Sit-on-top Kayak
Thumbnail
Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak Blue, 8'7" x 3'
Feature 1
Backpack-to-seat system
Feature 2
Airtight no-leak system

Best Lightweight Kayaks

1. Intex Challenger Kayak Inflatable Set

Best Inflatable Kayak For Beginners

Sale
Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, 1-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump
  • Nimble, durable kayak is made of durable welded material...
  • Cockpit is designed for comfort and maximized space, and...
  • Cargo net to store extra gear, and grab line on both ends of...

Key Features

  • Comes with aluminum paddles, air pump, and carry bag
  • Inflatable padded seat
  • Removable skeg
  • Two air chambers
  • Durable puncture-resistant vinyl

A great feature of this lightweight kayak is its durability. Beginners tend to drag their kayaks along rough surfaces. But no worries, the Intex Challenger Kayak. It’s made of puncture-resistant vinyl that can withstand most rough surfaces you’ll encounter.


2. Sea Eagle Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak

Best Versatile Kayak

Sale
Sea Eagle 370 Pro 3 Person Inflatable Portable Sport Kayak Canoe Boat w/ Paddles
  • 3 person/650 lb capacity, weighs 32 lbs, suitable for up to...
  • 370 Deluxe Kayak Package features two movable, super...
  • 2 AB30 7'10"" 4 Part Paddles with asymmetrical blade and...

Key Features

  • Self-bailing drain valve
  • Repair kit
  • Bow & stern grab line
  • 2-3 person capacity

The Sea Eagle kayak is a versatile model that you can take to almost any boating excursion. Its reinforced Polykrylar hull is built for durability, while it’s also lightweight enough to be carried by one person only.

The Sea Eagle also has a self-bailing drain valve that will come in handy when you’re traversing rough waves. Its two skegs also make the kayak easy to navigate and track.


3. Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak

Best Airtight Sit-on-top Kayak

Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak Blue, 8'7" x 3'
  • 5-minute setup lets you spend more time on the water
  • Easy-to-carry backpack system turns into the seat
  • 21-gauge PVC construction is rugged for lake use

Key Features

  • Backpack-to-seat system
  • Multiple air chambers
  • Airtight no-leak system

You can easily fold the Sevylor Quikpak into a backpack that you can carry anywhere. It has ample storage space and a bottle holder that puts your gear within reach. Additionally, the multiple footrests also allow you to rest comfortably during your trip.

But what sets the Sevylor apart is its airtight system that guarantees no leaks. It also comes with Double Lock Fast Valves and a thick PVC covering. It features multiple air chambers that will ensure your safety if your lightweight kayak gets punctured.


4. Oru Kayak Foldable Kayak

Best Foldable Kayak

Oru Kayak BayST Folding Portable Lightweight Kayak - High Performance for Fishing, Sailboats and Backcountry Trips
  • THE ORIGINAL ORU KAYAK – Meet the boat making waves in the...
  • FROM BOX TO BOAT IN MINUTES – Construct your kayak in...
  • SLEEK, DURABLE, & RELIABLE – Although your kayak is small...

Key Features

  • Lightweight design
  • Easy foldable structure
  • Easy storage
  • Rust-resistant covering

This origami-inspired foldable kayak has a sleek and sturdy design to face any weather.

The Oru Kayak also weighs less than your average fishing kayak at 20-40 lbs. This makes it easier to haul around, whether in your car or on a hike. No trailer hitch is needed!

Oru Kayak also has plenty of options to match any skill level. The Inlet and Haven TT are best for casual paddling. While the Bay ST is an intermediate recreational kayak.


5. Sun Dolphin Journey Fishing Kayak

Best Solo Kayak

SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Journey Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak (Olive, 10-Feet)
  • Great for lakes and rivers and to get to those excluded...
  • Lightweight, easy to carry.Retractable carrying handles
  • Tracks and paddles with ease while offering maximum...

Key Features

  • Retractable carrying handles
  • Maximum stability
  • Fishing rod holders

The Sun Dolphin is a great budget-friendly kayak for beginners. It’s lightweight and easy to transport, perfect for anglers who prefer paddling solo.

It has a spacious cockpit, with an extra Portable Accessory Carrier that you can use as storage compartments. It also features an adjustable padded seat cushion and molded footrests.


6. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

Most Spacious Kayak

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air Pump
  • Comfortable for anyone: Kayak includes an adjustable...
  • Dimensions: Inflated size 10 feet 3 x 3 feet x 1 feet 8...
  • Directional stability: Removable SKEG for directional...

Key Features

  • Adjustable backrest and inflatable seat
  • Easy maneuverability
  • Large weight capacity
  • Multiple air chambers

Like the Intex Challenger, the Explorer comes with a hi-output pump, aluminum oars, and a storage bag.

The Explorer difference is its 400 lbs weight capacity, inflatable seats, and a more spacious storage hatch. It’s ideal for two-person river paddling.


7. Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Sport Kayak

All-In Kayak Package

Sea Eagle 330 Deluxe 2 Person Inflatable Sport Kayak Canoe Boat w/ Pump & Oars
  • 2 person/ 500-b capacity, weighs 26-lbs, Suitable for upto...
  • Great package for two includes SE330 Sport Kayak, 2 AB30...
  • Lashed down inflatable spray skirts with storage underneath

Key Features

  • Suitable for up to Class III whitewater
  • 500 lbs weight capacity
  • Adjustable seat
  • Easy inflation and deflation

The Sea Eagle 330 has all the fixings you want in a good lightweight kayak! It’s a mere 26 pounds yet can carry up to two people and 500 lbs.

It also comes with inflatable spray skirts, deluxe valves, two skegs, a repair kit, and a grab line.


8. Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak

Most Kid-Friendly Kayak

Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak (Paddle Included), Blue, 6'
  • Ergonomic Cockpit Design Enhances Balance and Motor Skills
  • Molded finger handles on each side of the kayak
  • Reverse chine for enhanced stability with swim-up step

Key Features

  • Molded paddle cradle
  • Twin fin design
  • Multiple footrest positions

The lifetime youth wave comes amazingly light at only 18 lbs. It’s a great traditional kayak for younger kids, and its reverse chine feature also has an easy swim-up deck.


9. Stealth Profisha 475 Kayak

Fastest & Lightest Kayak

Key Features

  • Light and easy to maneuver
  • Adjustable rudder and pedal system
  • Central fish hatch

The Stealth Profisha was made with the lightest composite materials to make it fast on the water.

It has a large central fish hatch to store your fishing gear and an innovative live bait well. It’s also outfitted with several rod holders, drainer holes, and rudder cover.


best lightweight kayak
Kayaking on a quiet lake. Source: Guillaume Bonastre

What Should I Look For When Buying Lightweight Kayaks

There are numerous kinds of lightweight kayaks available on the market. So here’s how you can find the right one for you.

Length

Kayak length often determines your boat’s speed and balance. Long kayaks give you more stability, while short kayaks are ideal for making turns.

Recreational kayaks are usually short because they are built for leisurely afternoons on calm waters. Whereas sea kayaks are made to be longer to withstand large distances.

Weight

Picking the perfect lightweight kayak depends on the features that you prioritize. If you’re planning on going solo or going whitewater rafting, then small kayaks are best for you.

But, if you need a large storage space or want to accommodate your gear, then heavier kayaks may be preferable. Kayak weight also affects the performance of your boat.

For instance, the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame inflatable kayak may be a bit heavier. Yet, it comes complete with an aluminum frame and spacious storage.

Kayak Type

The best lightweight kayak type for you also depends on how you plan to use it. The best rated sit on top kayaks are suited for angling because of their spacious storage and easy maneuverability in deep water.

Some kayaks are also better suited for rougher waves (like whitewater kayaks). While some are more fit for a relaxing kayaking experience.

Sit in vs. Sit On Top

Sit-on-top kayaks are very convenient because you can simply jump on or off. However, you’re sure to get wet since your legs will not be covered.

On the other hand, a sit in fishing kayak is best for colder climates because the attached spray skirts protect you from the water. The Pelican Maxim 100x is a good example of this.

Durability

Plastic kayaks are the most common kind of kayaks. They are easy to steer and are durable. However, for angling, touring, and sea kayaking, more composite materials are available.

These materials range from wood to fiberglass and are typically lighter and faster than plastic kayaks.

Storage

Space is also a huge factor in choosing the right kayak. As an angler, you may prefer to have more storage space for storing gear and bait. Some even have a mesh deck cover, cargo net, or bungee cord. Many lightweight kayaks also offer these features.

However, if you want to prioritize speed, you may opt for shorter kayaks.

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Final Thoughts

Most lightweight kayaks can offer you a broad range of features that make for a great angling experience. Even though they are compact, they are made with the sturdiest materials.

The biggest advantage that this type of kayak brings is convenience. No worries about storing your kayak because you can easily fold and carry it in a bag or box.

All in all, the right lightweight kayak should give you the best of everything. You must consider your skill level, purpose, and preferences when choose a lightweight kayak for you.


The Anglers Behind This Article:

Johanes Godoy
Editor

Jon Stenstrom
Founder

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