15 Best Lightweight Kayak in 2023 (Our Top Picks)

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The Intex Challenger Inflatable Kayak Set is the best lightweight kayak in 2023 that will make your kayaking more enjoyable. It has two separate air chambers and Boston valves for quick deflation and inflation. It also comes with a repair kit, air pump, carry bag, aluminum paddles, and instruction manual, thus making it a perfect choice for beginners. The presence of puncture-resistant vinyl enables you to move even on the roughest surfaces. Our first runner-up is the Sea Eagle 370 Pro Sport Kayak. This is a perfect choice for people prioritizing versatility. Although this kayak weighs only 32 lbs, it can comfortably hold a weight of up to 650 lbs for three people. It also comes with a repair kit and self-bailing drain valve, and these features allow you to traverse even in the roughest waves comfortably.

Lightweight kayaks are the best option for avid anglers or adventurous campers, as they are simple to store, carry, and move from one place to the other. They are typically more effective and accrue numerous health benefits. Here is our top list of the best lightweight kayaks in the market today.

Best Lightweight Kayaks

1. Intex Challenger Inflatable Kayak Set

Best Inflatable Kayaks For Beginners

Key Features

  • Boston valves for quick inflation/deflation
  • Two separate air chambers
  • Heavy-duty puncture-resistant vinyl
  • Inflatable l-beam floor for rigidity
  • Comes with an air pump, repair kit, aluminum paddles, carry bag, and instruction manual
  • Removable skeg
  • Inflatable seat

The Intex Challenger K1 Kayak is ideal for starters who want to test the waters. It has a puncture-resistant vinyl that enables you to maneuver even on the roughest surfaces you’ll encounter. The kayak has a sporty, pleasant design that is streamlined for simple paddling. Furthermore, its assembly is quick and simple.

This Intex blow-up kayak is quite noticeable in the water because of its vivid green color and sporty motifs. It’s suitable for one adult and great for exploring lakes and calm rivers on your own.

High-buoyancy side chambers provide extra safety, while the low-profile deck and an inflatable I-beam floor ensure a stable ride. The cargo net enables you to come with some supplies, and the removable skeg offers outstanding directional mobility.

2. Sea Eagle Inflatable Kayaks

Best Versatile Kayak

Key Features

  • Two skegs on the bottom
  • Two paddles, foot pump, and carrying bag
  • Open and close drain valve, five deluxe 1-way inflation/deflation valves
  • Three-person capacity
  • Repair kit

The Sea Eagle Inflatable Kayak is a lightweight model and a fantastic option for people seeking a versatile kayak that can handle some rapids. This kayak weighs only 32 lbs, making it the lightest kayak that is highly portable by one person.

It can hold up to 650 lbs, and three people can comfortably sit inside though it has two seats only. The tandem kayak gives beginners and avid paddlers the best overall paddling experience. Its self-bailing drain valve comes in handy when traversing rough waves.

The kayak’s reinforced Polykrylar hull is built for durability, while its two skegs make the kayak easy to navigate and track. It’s one of the best lightweight tandem kayaks for any angler.

3. Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak

Best Airtight Sit-on-top Option

Key Features

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

The Sevylor K1 QuikPak Kayak is one of the best lightweight kayak for recreational use. It enables you to get close to the water, and the multiple footrests allow you to rest comfortably during your trip. The kayak has ample storage space and a bottle holder that puts your gear within reach.

This inflatable kayak functions exactly like a traditional sit-on-top kayak, except when packing, it folds into a backpack with integrated shoulder straps that fit inside any car or truck. The lift handle enables you to easily carry the watercraft over shallow water.

It has a sturdy, flat bottom and three-chamber design that ensures the kayak has a stable base on water and provides more security when you become tangled. The Mini Double Lock Fast Valves and Double Lock Fast Valves facilitate quick and fast inflation and deflation. Besides, the airtight system guarantees no leaks.

4. Oru Foldable Kayaks

Best Foldable Option

Key Features

  • Sleek and reliable
  • Easy foldable structure
  • Lightweight design
  • Easy storage
  • Rust-resistant covering

One of the most popular lightweight options is the Oru kayaks series. This is due to the fact that they have a special folding design that does not require an air pump or kayak rack. This foldable kayak has a sleek and sturdy design to withstand any weather while providing the best relaxation experience on the water.

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

It also has plenty of options to match any skill level. The Inlet and Haven TT are best for casual paddling. The Bay ST is great for recreational paddling, while the fold-out Bay ST offers a stable platform for beginners, and its contoured shape makes it easy to maneuver stronger waters too. The Oru Kayak Beach LT is also an excellent choice for a spontaneous outing on the water for remarkable memories.

5. Sun Dolphin Journey Fishing Kayak

Best Solo Kayak

Key Features

  • Two flush mounts
  • One swivel fishing rod holder
  • Retractable carrying handles
  • Adjustable foot braces
  • Self-bailing and storage compartments
  • Protective thigh pads

The Sun Dolphin is a great budget-friendly kayak for beginners. It’s a light kayak and easy to transport, perfect for solo paddlers. It is made of robust UV-stabilized Fortiflex high-density polyethylene, which is dent-resistant and will last many years of use on water.

The lightweight kayak features a large cockpit with an innovative and detachable P.A.C (Portable Accessory Carrier) that you can use as additional storage space if need be. It has protective thigh braces and a large adjustable seat cushion, providing extra comfort on longer trips.

The 10-foot adjustable braces accommodate any paddler’s height, while the paddle holder keeps you safe as you fish. The kayak has a weight capacity of 250 lbs. 

6. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

Most Spacious Kayak

Key Features

  • Inflatable seats with backrests
  • Grab handles on both sides
  • Three separate air chambers
  • Heavy duty puncture-resistant vinyl
  • Inflatable i-beam floor for rigidity
  • Boston valves for quick inflation and deflation

If you are looking for a lightweight kayak for kayaking with your spouse or friend, this Intex Explorer K2 Inflatable Kayak Set is the best option for you. The two-person kayaks come with a hi-output pump, aluminum oars, and a storage bag.

It is made of durable vinyl material and is a study and game for paddling while sitting on the inflated seats and backrests while exploring calm lakes. The inflated seats are adjustable for more comfortable rides while on long trips.

The grab handles, grab lines, I-beam floors, and streamlined design offer great stability and easy paddling. It can hold a maximum weight capacity of 400 pounds.

7. Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Sport Kayak

All-In Kayak Package

Key Features

  • Adjustable seat
  • 500 lbs weight limit capacity
  • Ideal for up to class III white water
  • Super easy inflation and deflation
  • Compact package

This is the most popular portable kayak on the market. It has every feature you could possibly need in a decent, lightweight boat. The kayak comes with inflatable spray skirts, deluxe valves, two skegs, a repair kit, and a grab line.

It only weighs 26 lbs. It can be folded up so little that it can fit even the smallest car trunk. Don’t be fooled by the kayak’s low weight; it’s a tough vessel that can carry two people or 500 pounds while still being small enough for one person to carry and paddle. The inside space is ideal for two small paddlers or an adult and child.

8. Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak

Most Kid-Friendly Kayak

Key Features

  • Multiple footrest positions
  • Molded paddle cradle
  • Twin fin design
  • Swim-up deck

The Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak is the best traditional kayak for kids. It is ultra-light as it weighs only 18 lbs and can carry up to 130 lbs. The wide stance offers a stable platform for paddling, keeping your child secure in the kayak.

The kayak’s slanted back end and swim-up step make it simple for the rider to get back in from the water. It is made of high-density polyethylene material for durable and lightweight construction. The kayak is also UV-protected; hence it will not fade, split, or crack.

The twin fin design helps to offer great tracking and surf riding, while multiple footrest positions provide enough space for different-size riders. The reverse chine gives your child enhanced stability on the water.

9. Stealth Profisha 475 Kayak

Fastest & Lightest Kayak

Key Features

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

Stealth Profisha 475 Kayak is constructed with the lightest materials for fast speed and better performance on the water. It is made using epoxy-based resins and CNC technology that keeps it extremely sturdy and lightweight.

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

10. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Light Kayak

Key Features

  • Molded, low-profile rubber handles for easy transport
  • Tracking fin system
  • Padded foam seats
  • Spring valve and Twistlok valves

The advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Kayak is another inflatable option ideal for kayaking on flat waters. It comes with a heavy-duty duffel bag to enable you to carry the kayak to your preferred destination.

No assembly is required; simply unfold, inflate, and get on the water, thanks to an improved design that simplifies setup and boosts kayak performance. Similar to tracking a hardshell day-tour kayak, the rigid bow has aluminum frame support that glides through the water with ease.

The kayak provides ample onboard storage without reducing legroom, making long distances much more pleasant. Strong, triple-layer polyester fabric with a double PVC covering provides excellent puncture resistance, while welded seams guarantee an extended life.

Use the bungee deck lacing and D-ring tie-down points to stow gear, and water-resistant zippers give you access to the hull storage. Don’t under-inflate! Advanced Elements advises that you inflate using a 12V electric pump and top off with a good hand pump to the appropriate pressure.

11. Pelican Maxim 100X Lightweight Hardshell Kayak

Key Features

  • Molded footrests
  • Adjustable Ergoform backrest with seat cushion
  • Storage hatch with bungee cord
  • Carrying handles, Bottle holder, and Drain plug

The Pelican Maxim 100x sit-in is a perfect kayak for beginners and intermediate paddlers who are looking for excellent maneuverability. It offers exceptional tracking for people who want to go long distances with little effort.

It is constructed using RAM-X impact-resistant materials that make it more durable, lightweight, and sturdy. The kayak’s UV-resistant paint ensures that the kayak lasts for years of usage without fading.

It weighs 36 lbs and can support a maximum capacity of 275 lbs. The watercraft also features a cockpit table and a storage compartment with a mesh cover where you can store your essential equipment and personal stuff. Its V-shaped hull reduces water resistance and aids in maintaining stability in the water.

12. Lifetime Lotus Lightweight Sit On Top Kayak

Key Features

  • Multiple Footrest positions for different-size paddlers
  • Center carry handle for easy Transport to the waterfront
  • Easy to paddle
  • Molded paddle cradle
  • Shock cord strap to secure loose items

The Lifetime Lotus Sit-On-Top Kayak is perfect for all outdoor adventures, from fishing, exploring, and surfing to paddling in open water. Its hull design offers great tracking and ultra-stability. 

Due to its small size, it can easily fit into a typical apartment or house closet, and the kayak can stand straight due to its flat back. Additionally, the kayak’s interior has numerous built-in footrests to keep users comfortable as they paddle.

The Lifetime Lotus kayak lacks an enclosed cockpit and weighs only 38 lbs, making it one of the most portable polyethylene kayaks on the market. But with a 250-pound weight limit, it isn’t the most durable kayak. Of all, it’s made for single paddlers, so most kayakers probably won’t have an issue with this restriction.

13. Aquaglide Chinook 120 Inflatable Kayak

Key Features

  • Easy-to-use Boston valves
  • Quick-release weedless fin
  • Hook-and-look closure paddle holders
  • Open-cockpit design

The Aquaglide Chinook 120 kayak has a 500 lbs. capacity to carry two adults and a child, plus enough storage for a dog and other gear. It is perfect for tandem paddlers who often prefer to paddle alone.

The boat’s open-cockpit design makes getting on and off simpler. The hexShell 600-denier ripstop polyester delivers exceptional UV protection, durability, strength, and puncture resistance.

The two core seats provide thickly padded cushions, supportive and breathable high backrests to cool you down on days, and quick-release straps are used to adjust the backrests. A child’s detachable, inflatable booster seat allows your child to take pleasure in the voyage.

Your youngster or paddling partner may face you and maintain eye contact with you while you are paddling, fishing, or having a picnic on the water, thanks to the face-time seat placement feature. The kayak has three chambers that you inflate and deflate using simple Boston valves.

14. AIRE Tributary Tomcat Solo Inflatable Kayak

Key Features

  • Multiple cargo loops
  • Thermal welded seams
  • Adjustable inflatable seat
  • 3 air chambers with Summit II valves
  • Self-bailing floor
  • Flip handles on the hull underside

The kayak is made of PVC and vinyl materials, making it the most inflatable option. Weighing 45.76 pounds, it is among the heaviest inflatable kayaks. It also comes with an extra cost, but the higher price tag is due to its durability and ability to maneuver easily on whitewater and rapids.

AIRE Tributary Tomcat Solo Inflatable Kayak is the smartest choice for adventurous travels. This is because it has multiple air pockets that drain any water that gets inside, while the specialized air valves allow air to enter but prevent it from escaping.

15. Pelican Argo 100XP Angler Kayak

Key Features

  • Adjustable Ergofit G2 seating system
  • Swivel, flush, and vertical rod holders
  • Premium knee pads
  • Molded paddle rest
  • Bottle and smartphone holder

The kayak is suitable for an occasional angler for recreational expeditions or kayak fishing. The ergonomic carrying handles enable you to easily carry this 41 lb. kayak anywhere you want.

Thicker ergonomic padding is used in the adjustable Ergofit G2 seating system for optimal paddling comfort. The high molecular density polyethylene material makes the boat lightweight and durable.

best lightweight kayak
Kayaking on a quiet lake. Source: Happiness Without

What Should I Look For When Buying Lightweight Kayaks

Whether you are a seasoned kayaker or a first-time buyer, there are some features you have to consider when buying any kayak. Boat customization is on another level, and there is a higher possibility of getting a kayak made specifically for your needs.

The following is a buying guide for the best lightweight kayaks and all the information you need to know before purchasing one.

Kayak Type and Use

Kayaks come in different types and for various uses, from fishing, sailing, surfing, and paddling. The best lightweight model 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 better suited for rougher waves (like whitewater kayaks). In contrast, some are more fit for a relaxing kayaking experience.

Kayak’s Length

Kayak length frequently affects your boat’s balance and speed. Short kayaks are great for turning, but long kayaks provide more stability. Because they are designed for relaxing days on calm waters, recreational kayaks are often short.

In contrast, sea kayaks are built to be longer to handle greater distances. If you want to wander through rough seas, you should look for a kayak that is not longer than 360 centimeters.


Weight is another essential factor to consider, particularly in the lightweight world. Picking the perfect lightweight kayak depends on the features that you prioritize. Small kayaks are best for you if you’re planning on going solo or going whitewater rafting. If you want a portable and easy-to-store kayak, try a folding kayak.

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


When looking for a boat, you should never think of sacrificing durability to save weight. What really distinguishes a kayak is its strength above all else. You might be shocked to learn that an inflatable kayak is just as durable as its hardshell brethren.

Every boat should be resilient enough to withstand bumps and scrapes or a few head-on rock impacts. Inflatable kayaks have multiple air chambers and long-lasting, puncture-resistant PVC, especially on the bottom side, to extend their lifespan.

The most durable lightweight boat choices available are equipped with fiberglass, but it won’t be inexpensive. Plastic kayaks are the most common type of kayak. They are easy to steer, and they are durable. However, more composite materials are available for angling, touring, and sea kayaking.


Space is also a huge factor in choosing the right kayak. As an angler, you may prefer a kayak that is easy to store to save space. Inflatable kayaks will be the simplest to store by a wide margin. You can store some kayaks in a drawer while they are entirely deflated between uses.

The next option would be a foldable kayak, which doesn’t deflate as quickly as inflatable materials but still takes up half as much room in storage as a hardshell kayak. When you are actually using the boat is the other end of storage. You should look for a kayak with enough cunning pockets for your voyage if you’re looking for a fishing boat or something to bring on overnight trips.


Ask some difficult questions and be sincere with yourself. How much do you want to spend on your kayak? Your ability to purchase a kayak that is lightweight will primarily depend on your budget. The more you dig deep into your pockets, the more durable and lightweight kayak you are likely to get, and the opposite is true.  

The exceptions are inflatables and folding kayaks because you have to give up some utility to acquire their compact and lightweight designs. Each dollar saved during construction is a potential benefit for exceptional performance and racing kayaks. Because of that, these boats are very pricey.

Beginner paddlers who want to venture into a new sport should get an affordable boat encouraging them to spend more afternoon hours outside. Professional kayakers searching for a reliable, lightweight vessel for rapids or overnight adventures should get a little more expensive kayak.


The sit-on-top kayaks are ideal for people who don’t mind getting wet. They are fast and offer the easiest way to enjoy the water.

These boats feature drainage systems for easier self-bailing. Their style and design allow paddlers to have more fun while moving around in the surf.

The sit-on-tops major benefit is the freedom to move around. You can leisurely fluff your way down the river and get out for a splash without capsizing rather than getting snug and ready in a cockpit. This makes these watercrafts the better option for starters.

Sit-In Kayaks

Sit in fishing kayaks make you feel like you’re slipping into a cockpit and getting ready for exploration. Paddlers in colder climates frequently prefer them since they are considerably safer and better at keeping you fairly warm and dry.

The majority of high-performance kayaks are sit-ins with a backrest or even a spray skirt to provide you with additional comfort throughout extended rides. A smaller cockpit makes your boat more water resistant, making it more difficult for you to enter and exit.


When done correctly, foldable kayaks are the nearest to an inflatable kayak’s portability in the hardshell world. Some of these kayaks can fold and shrink down to a suitcase’s size as they are built of a collapsible tough metal material and covered in waterproof nylon. These vessels are a bit complicated, but they come with all you need, including a carrying case to transport your boat to the river.


Final Thoughts

All lightweight kayaks have pros and cons, but most of them offer great quality perks and are light enough to carry with one hand. Technical advancements of the last few years mean that you no longer have to compromise performance or comfort for the sake of weight reduction. You can get a lightweight rowing choice that goes farther no matter where you wish to start.

The above are the best lightweight kayaks for any kind of lifestyle. Whether you want to buy a kayak for fishing trips, paddle down open seas or rivers, or have fun on the lake, you will get incredible light ‘yaks that will ensure you enjoy every ride.

Diana Nadim
Fishing Expert
Diana began fishing at the age of seven, as it has been a long-time family tradition. From catching small bullheads to catching strippers on the backwaters of Bighorn, she loves to get out in the wild and have a marvelous day on the water. Her dad was an expert angler, and he taught her fishing along with her two siblings. They used to go to the Bighorn River in Montana and Henry’s fork, Idaho. As a pragmatic person, she is obsessed with creating well-researched and practical guides and reviews of the best fishing methods and gear.
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