Weight is a critical aspect of choosing a kayak. As you may already know, fishing kayaks tend to be heavier than many other kinds because they are designed to maximize stability and storage. However, weight is still an important consideration, so let’s find out how much these boats weigh.
How Much Do Fishing Kayaks Weigh?
Fishing kayaks can weigh anywhere between fifty to a hundred pounds or more. The amount of weight will depend on the materials used to design the kayak, the size, and what kinds of add-on or features the boat has.
If it has a lot of accessories, expect it to weigh as much as a hundred-and-twenty pounds. You ideally need to be able to lift your kayak without help, so weight matters!
Why Does Weight Matter?
Being able to lift and carry your kayak without help is essential, while not crucial. If you need somebody to help you with the kayak and get into difficulty while away from other people, you may abandon your boat.
Weight is important to consider, even if you don’t plan to carry your kayak a lot. You will need to get it from your car (or truck) to the water and then back again after a long session. So you should not discount this when choosing your kayak.
Weight also matters when you’re in the water – but for the opposite reasons. What is a con on land becomes a pro in the water, as heavier kayaks are more stable and less likely to flip.
You need to find a balance where you can reliably carry the kayak, but it won’t roll as soon as you get into it.
You may want to look into tandem kayaks for fishing. These are designed to carry a lot more weight, and you will always go in pairs to use them, which means you’ll have help carrying them in and out of the water.
According to PaddleGeek, an average fishing kayak will weigh about 104 pounds. This is based on a twelve-foot kayak that is thirty-six inches wide.
What Affects Weight?
Size is a major determiner in a kayak’s weight. A fishing kayak is designed to be wide and stable, so they are heavier than most recreational kayaks.
When choosing a kayak, you need to consider the pros and cons of longer and narrower vs. shorter and wider, but you also need to think about weight.
A fishing kayak that is over ten feet might surprise you in its weight, especially if you are used to standard recreational kayaks.
If you’re buying a fishing kayak for the first time, pay extra attention to how much it weighs, and don’t assume it will be the same. It could be significantly heavier than you expect, even if it’s the same length as your recreational kayak.
Short kayaks are usually lighter than long ones, but these can be overturned more easily. They aren’t as safe in the water and maybe harder for beginners to handle.
Take this into account when making your decision.
Often, with a fishing kayak, you need to think about the width and length. You might not think that width would make a lot of difference to weight, but it does.
A few inches can add quite a lot of weight but can also increase stability. Fishing kayaks tend to be wide for a reason, so take width into consideration and don’t sacrifice it if you don’t have to.
Unsurprisingly, materials also make a big difference. Many kayaks are made of plastic, the three common types are polyethylene, PVC, and composite materials.
Polyethylene is cheap and durable, but it is heavier than the other two options, so kayaks made from this are not generally lightweight. However, PVC kayaks are lighter and are often inflatable or similar.
They may not be as durable as polyethylene kayaks because of this, so be aware of this.
Composite materials usually include Kevlar and carbon fiber, and these tend to be the lightest option. However, they are considerably more expensive than polyethylene or PVC kayaks.
The kind you choose will depend on your budget and how frequently you expect to go kayaking, as well as how much you can lift.
Bear in mind that most fishing kayaks are built to maximize stability, not minimize weight. Therefore, you may find that you have a lot more polyethylene options than you do composite options.
The added weight gives better stability and security in the water, so it is a big plus for fishing kayaks while it’s a con on land.
You might think that accessories aren’t likely to make much difference to a kayak’s weight, but you would be wrong if so.
Kayak accessories can make a tremendous amount of difference in weight. And as many fishing kayaks come with them, you need to pay close attention to what you are buying and what it weighs.
Many accessories will probably be purchased separately from your kayak to ensure that you get exactly what you want. Still, some kayaks come with built-in accessories, and you need to pay attention to these. A fishing kayak might have:
- Accessory racks
- Mount for a motor
- A kayak cooler
- Mount for an anchor
- Inbuilt rod holders
- Mount for a pedal drive system
You should also look out for hatches, bungee rigging, and tie-down areas, and bow and stern compartments that can be accessed from the seat.
These are all extremely useful in a fishing kayak but will add to its weight a surprising amount.
Additionally, many fishing kayaks have comfortable seats that fold for extra storage. And some may have foam built into the hulls to increase the boat’s strength and integrity. While foam is lightweight, this again adds to the overall weight of the boat.
Again, you have to balance the usefulness of the feature against the weight it adds. How often will you use the system, and how much does it weigh?
You don’t want to pare back too much. Or you might find your kayak lacks things you need, but being laden down with every accessory is also a bad idea.
Interestingly, the outfitting is often a more significant determining factor in the kayak’s weight than anything else (at least for fishing kayaks). Usually, if you find a lighter fishing kayak, it will be more due to reduced accessories than reduced hull size.
That makes it particularly important to think about features you need and would rather do without.
Accessories are a big bonus in many ways because they make the kayak tailored explicitly for this sport. They give the boat better weight and stability in the water, but unnecessary accessories should be avoided.
Choosing a fishing kayak is about making compromises. For example, increased width and length give you better stability but increase the weight.
Cheaper and more durable materials will make the craft more affordable and longer-lasting but increase the weight. Extra accessories will make it more flexible and accommodating but will once more increase the weight.
You need to think hard about which payoffs are worth it. So that you end up with a useful fishing kayak that isn’t so heavy you never get it into the water!