Best Short and Lightweight Kayaks

Best Short and Lightweight Kayaks

Water sports are fun when you have the freedom to sport when you have free time. Kayaking is enjoyable since you can own a kayak and carry it everywhere. However, a bulky and heavy kayak makes it hard for you to have fun. You have to think of transport logistics, stowage, how to carry it from your car to the water source, etc. However, you can have worry-free fun if you choose a lightweight and small kayak.

There are several types of lightweight kayaks. You can get a foldable kayak, inflatable kayak, or a modular design kayak. Also, there are several things you should look into. Let’s look at the best lightweight Kayaks in the market and how you should select one to suit your preference.

Kayaking is fun. You can add to the fun if you have a 2-person kayak for your on-water activities. The Intex Explorer K2 is the smallest and lightest 2-person kayak in the market. It weighs 30 pounds and has a load capacity of 400 pounds. It sounds good, but it’s only suitable for small and medium paddlers.

It has a comfortable inflatable seat that leans back as you meander calm rivers and lakes. Also, it’s equipped with two aluminum oars, grab lines, and a removable skeg for easier tracking.

The kayak’s material is heavy-duty with a bright yellow color. The bright color ensures visibility in case of an emergency. However, the kayak is made for entry-level paddlers using small water bodies like mild rivers and lakes.


● It can fit two people.
● It’s lightweight and affordable.
● It has valuable accessories.
● Its bright color ensures you are visible to others.


● It lacks a storage unit.
● It’s not suitable for large paddlers.

If you love comfort and warmth all the time, then you need a sit-in kayak. The Pelican maxim tops the list of the best small sit-in kayaks.

This ultra-light kayak weighs 36 pounds only. It’s made of RAM-X polyethylene material that ensures durability and lightweight. However, it has a 275-pound weight capacity that locks out larger paddlers.

It has a rear mesh-covered storage platform and a cockpit dashboard. You can place your bottle on the bottle holder at the cockpit dashboard. Also, it has a hatch that’s not waterproof.

The hull design is shallow-v chine. It ensures excellent stability while moving at high speed. However, don’t use abrasives and harsh chemicals when cleaning the kayak.

The kayak’s sitting system has an adjustable padded backrest cousin and a padded seat cushion. The two ensure you are comfortable whenever you are using the kayak.


● It’s so light you can use one hand to load and carry.
● It has double storage options; the hatch and the rear mesh storage.
● You can wear shorts since it’s a sit-in kayak.
● It’s an all-around performer due to its design and maneuverability.


● The front storage hatch is not waterproof.
● Its weight capacity locks out large paddlers.

Do you want to try out kayak fishing? Then it would help if you had a kayak that’s comfortable for entry-level kayak fishing. The Lifetime Triton Angler 100 is among the best kayaks for the job. Its hull design is stable and has an integrated skeg for easier angling and tracking performance.

The kayak has different footrest positions. It makes it suitable for different sizes of paddlers. Also, it can hold a weight of up to 275 lb. It has seat pads and an adjustable quick-release seat back that ensures your comfort.

It’s a 10 feet long with a sit-on-top tank and a flat bottom. The beam width is 30.45 inches which boost its stability. Also, you can carry it alone since it weighs 48 lbs. only.

Since it’s a fishing design, it has an adjustable and two flush-mount rod holders. Also, it has a rear tank well with bungee cord lacing where you can fit your gear. When packing, ensure you do not exceed the 275 lbs. weight limit.

It’s made of polyethylene plastic construction. Thus, it may wear and tear more easily than other materials. However, it’s strong enough to withstand a strong impact on stone or hard obstacles.


● It has an adjustable seat backrest.
● It’s lightweight- under 50 pounds.
● It has great stability due to its flat bottom and length-to-width ratio.
● It has different footrest positions to suit different size paddlers.


● It has a low load capacity.
● It can be swayed by wind easily.
● The seat clips are flimsy and could fall off easily.

If you want an entry-level kayak that is simple, stable, fast, and fun, then the Perception Zip 9.5 is what you are looking for. It’s 9.5 feet long and 32 inches wide. Also, it weighs 45 pounds with a 250 pounds load capacity, making it easy to carry around.

The sit-on-top kayak design with four footrest positions makes it simple and comfortable to use. Also, it fits all ranges of paddlers since it can fit short and tall people. However, it limits larger paddlers due to its weight limit.

The kayak has molded side handles that make it easy for one person to carry. The storage area is open and large enough to store your supplies. Also, it’s in a position where you can easily access your gear, such as fishing crates, coolers, and dry bags.

However, the design is suitable for calm waters like a lake, slow-moving rivers, and calm oceans. Thus, you can use it when you want a calm environment in the water. It is also equipped with a cup holder to place your beverage as you enjoy the breeze.


● It has self-draining scupper holes that keep your sailing dry.
● They are super lightweight.
● It has a molded handle for easier portability.
● It has an open cargo area that’s easy to access.


● It would help if you bought paddles separately.
● The clip-in kayak seats are sold separately.
● The storage capacity is limited. Also, it lacks a dry storage option.

Intex Challenger Kayak


When thinking of small and lightweight kayaks, inflatable options will give you the minimum weight with maximum benefits. It’s made of vinyl material that’s durable and eye-catching. Unlike any kayak, it has a removable skeg which you can use only when you need it.

The cockpit is spacious and comfortable. Also, the inflatable I beam floor ensures stability. Although the kayak lacks a rear storage area, it has a cargo net storage at the dashboard.

The kayak has terrific accessories such as a repair patch, HI output manual hand pump, and an 84-inch aluminum oar.
The Intex challenger is among the lightest kayaks you’ll find in the market. It weighs 27.2 pounds when deflated. However, the weight capacity is 220 pounds making it suitable for medium and small paddlers.


● It’s compact, ultra-light, and portable.
● The removable skeg ensures the tracking performance is top-notch.
● It’s affordable and beginner-friendly.
● It comes with a paddle, repair kit, and a hand pump.


● It has limited onboard storage.
● It has a limited load capacity locking out large paddlers.
● It can get warm and stuffy on hot days.

Short and Lightweight Kayaks Buying Guide

The search for a small kayak is tough. You want one short, lightweight, and will comfortably fit your legs while kayaking. Sometimes, you need one that allows extra activity such as fishing. Here are the top features and qualities you should look for in a small kayak.


The kayak length depends on the type of kayak you want. The length should be between 8-10 feet for a short and lightweight kayak.
An 8-foot kayak helps you maneuver the toughest water terrain, narrow waterways, and obstacles. They are also excellent choices for women, kids, and smaller paddlers; however, they are uncomfortable for tall people. They are also very stable when they have the right length to width ratio.
A 10-foot kayak is roomier and has larger onboard storage. They are the common small kayaks to suit tall and short people.
At 10 feet, a kayak has a balance between maneuverability and stability. Besides that, it’s still compact and easy to transport.

Beam Width

A kayak width is essential to consider when you need a short and lightweight kayak. You measure the kayak’s beam width at the widest point. A wide beam of more than 30 inches increases the kayak’s stability. Thus, wide kayaks are best for beginners and anglers. However, a wide kayak is slower, harder to maneuver, and less responsive. Always select a kayak that’s 26-30 inches wide to strike a balance between stability and maneuverability.

Kayak Weight

The goal of a small, lightweight kayak is to allow you to carry it around. Most small kayaks weigh less than 50 pounds. Since people living far from the lake want a light and compact kayak, they mostly go for inflatable kayaks.

Onboard Storage

Depending on what you need the kayak for, you will need storage space. If you intend to spend a few days out or near the lake or in the waters, you will need a space to carry your supplies. Also, if you need your kayak for fishing, you’ll need a space to place your fishing gear and your day’s catch. However, you will need only small onboard storage for a small and lightweight kayak.

Construction Materials

The material of a kayak will determine its performance and durability. The kayak hulls are either made of polyethylene plastic or composite materials. The composite material may be carbon fiber, fiberglass, or ABS.
Carbon fiber and fiberglass kayaks are stiffer and more durable. Thus, they have better performance and remain in shape for a long time. They rarely develop dents, warps, and scratches. Also, the materials are lightweight compared to plastics. On the other hand, polyethylene plastics make heavier kayaks. They lack swift responsiveness and are subject to warps and scratches. However, they are stiffer and won’t damage easily after hitting a rock.

Puncture Resistance

Inflatable kayaks have a higher risk of punctures. However, the cases of punctured kayaks are rare unless you use the kayak outside the recommended conditions. Inflatable kayaks have triple outer skin layers to protect them from sudden punctures.


Before taking that kayak home, ensure you will feel comfortable using it. Purchase from a store that allows you to get into the kayak and test its body and leg space. Ensure that you don’t bend your legs too much as it gets uncomfortable when staying in water for a long time. If you’re ordering from an online store, settle for an adjustable kayak that you can customize to fit your comfort. The adjustable features to look out for are seats, footplates, and thigh braces.

Hull Shape

Kayaks will either have a V-shaped hull or a rounded hull. The V-shaped hull is perfect for turbulent waters. It helps to streamline the flow and cut through the turbulence. On the other hand, a rounded hull is perfect for flat water kayaks. You can use them in calm rivers, lakes, and flat coastal water.

Folding Kayaks

Folding kayaks have a solid inner rib and inflatable outer skin or have an origami design. An origami kayak has a flexible outer material that folds up to form a rigid outer hull. Both types are great and will meet your needs and preferences.


A small and lightweight kayak may be fun to use. However, turbulence can overturn it easily. However, some designs help the kayak remain stable under certain circumstances. Check the specification on stability before you buy a kayak.


Edging is the ability of a kayak to tilt and raise one side out of water. The action helps to create friction on one side, causing the kayak to turn easily.


Tracking in kayaking means a kayak’s ability to sail straight when paddling. A kayak with perfect tracking is easier to use and control.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Short and Lightweight Kayaks Safe?

It’s safer to use a lightweight kayak than heavier kayaks. They easily float on water even when the turbulence is violent. Although heavier kayaks are more stable, they are harder to flip over once they tip.

What Should I Wear While Kayaking?

A PFD is a must-have while kayaking. Also, you should wear several layers even on warm days. The wind you experience will cool you down while kayaking. Also, wear sunscreen and comfortable shoes. If you are going in rough waters, ensure you have a helmet.

Are Shorter Kayaks More Stable?

The length of the kayak doesn’t determine the stability. However, the width and shape contribute to the stability. Check the length-to-width ratio for the kayak’s stability.

What are short kayaks suitable for?

Short kayaks are best for recreation. Their length ranges from 8 feet to 12 feet. You can use them to traverse narrow waterways and tough water terrain. You can easily maneuver with them as well as make tight turns. They are also safer and more stable to use than longer kayaks.

Do Lightweight Kayaks need to be small?

You don’t need a small kayak for it to be lightweight. The construction materials and design determine the weight of your kayak. Although most lightweight kayaks are small, the material is the determining factor. There are a few large lightweight kayaks. They may be healthier than smaller kayaks of the same design and material but lighter in size and design. Foldable and inflatable designs are the best when you need a lightweight kayak.