The Best Small Kayak: Is a Small Kayak One Of The Best kayaks You Can Buy?

Small Kayaks

Small Kayaks

Abigail Scott

Abigail Scott
Professional Kayaker

Updated on 6/3/2023

What if you've always wanted to go out on the water for fun and a little exercise but have never felt comfortable carrying around a big, heavy kayak? Do you need a short, lightweight kayak to fit your lifestyle?

A lightweight kayak lets you get out to the water in seconds by grabbing your equipment. Because of their small size, they are simple to handle for people of shorter stature and require little effort to store away after an exhausting day on the water. One of the numerous advantages of owning a small, lightweight kayak is that you can transport it without using a roof rack. If you fold them up and put them in the trunk of your car, you won't get in trouble.

In this piece, we're going to look at some of the kayaks that are the lightest overall! We will discuss the most excellent kayaks available in terms of performance, portability, and weight.

We've compiled a list of the best short and lightweight kayaks to make things as simple as possible.

Why Is It Better To Use A Kayak That Is Less Heavy?

Lightweight Kayaks For Small Paddlers

Lightweight Kayaks For Small Paddlers

Kayaks that are less in weight are typically easier to carry and move to the location of your choice. In addition, You can bring a greater quantity of camping gear. One of these kayaks would be a good choice if you don't paddle with other people very often and want to be able to store it at your house. The most significant drawback of lightweight kayaks is that the materials used to construct them might make them more expensive.

I truly pray that you will never find yourself in a situation where you cannot float on water. A day by the river might feel like a whole summer if you have a high-quality kayak, and a fishing trip can feel like an adventure. It's the equivalent of showing a newly caught Laura how to surf and opening up access to locations in the real world that were previously inaccessible. Your best bet is to travel somewhere where there is no trail, like the open sea.



Paddling in a lightweight kayak is a great way to take things up a level and go even further away from the people. The vast majority of typical kayaks do not make it simple to transfer from your vehicle to the water and will prevent you from exploring new floating.

Sadly, the genre has a few flaws that hold it back from being perfect. Most lightweight kayaks are not designed to tackle rapids but are more suited to paddling on calm seas. On our list, you'll discover several alternatives capable of handling some whitewater, but you shouldn't try to take these things down to Class 5 rapids at full speed.



On the other hand, these kayaks keep things light and deliver a relaxed experience while still being capable of attaining blistering speeds while paddling on flat water.
In particular, the small light kayak is the ideal travel companion for exploring archipelagos and lakes on vacation and simply going out there. On this list, you will find the most incredible lightweight kayaks that money can buy, so take a seat, grab a buzz, and watch the sunset over the water from what is commonly referred to as the best seat in the house while you are on a lightweight kayak that you can hold in one hand.

Best small light kayak

Best small light kayak

An Overview Of The Best Short, Small, Lightweight Kayaks

Kayaks that are short and lightweight have obvious advantages, most of which are portability and storage.



A lightweight kayak is easier to carry if you plan on solo kayaking. We don't all own huge SUVs filled with all the gear we want, but Toyota Prius hybrids.

Furthermore, not everyone owns a single-family home with a two-car garage and a large yard for storing outdoor gear. People in apartment buildings may park on the street and climb stairs to get to their homes.

As a result, I know people are short on time and space, so here's a brief overview of the top lightweight and short kayaks on the market:

The BKC FK184 9' Sit On Top Fishing Kayak is one of the shortest fishing kayaks available today, and it is relatively lightweight compared to other SOT kayaks. For solo paddlers, it is fully loaded, and many consider it the lightest kayak on the market.

Inflatable kayak Sea Eagle 330 26 pounds - person inflatable Kayak - Lightweight yet sturdy with a total load capacity of 500 pounds. Accessible to transport and transport.

It is the ideal Kayak for intermediate and advanced paddlers, as it is lightweight and easy to carry.

A unique, one-of-a-kind origami kayak, the Oru Inlet Foldable Kayak will turn heads. This Kayak is as light as a feather and stiff as aboard. Oru Inlet measures 9'8" tall and weighs just 20 pounds!

Intex Explorer K2 - A lot of fun in a small, light, and affordable package. Enjoy this surprisingly spacious 10-foot Kayak with a second paddler.

Long VS Small Kayaks



Small kayak, however, has some downsides. They are generally slower than longer kayaks.

There are numerous reasons why small kayaks won't get you anywhere in a hurry that I won't go into now.

Tracking is another significant drawback of small, lightweight kayaks. Kayaks with shorter paddles are smaller, less aerodynamic, and tend to wag from side to side more than those with longer paddles paddling straighter.

All kayaks are ultimately a matter of personal choice based on your storage arrangements, height and weight, the body of water you'll use it on, and your ultimate purpose for kayaking.

In general, longer kayaks have greater efficiency when it comes to paddling than shorter ones. In addition to that, they typically provide ideal space for storage. When we talk about long vs. short, we're talking about a difference of almost two feet in length. Long kayaks are more stable than their shorter counterparts in several situations.

Paddle kayaks with shorter lengths are easier to transport, and some of them are even of a size that allows them to be transported in automobiles. In most cases, shorter kayaks prefer paddling on rivers and lakes. They have excellent mobility but sometimes lack speed because of their size.

Listed below is a handy chart comparing short kayaks and long kayaks. However, it may vary depending on several factors.

Short Kayak vs Long Kayak comparison

Short Kayak vs Long Kayak comparison

Let's figure out which small, lightweight Kayak will be right for you since we know the essential differences between short and long kayaks.

Folding Kayaks

Folding VS. Hard

Folding VS. Hard

Folding kayaks, as the name suggests, can be folded up if you are hiking in a remote region or just want to keep the Kayak at home. The maneuverability and storage space are not comparable to those of hard-shell kayaks, even though they are not as durable. Hardshell kayaks are much heavier than their soft-shell counterparts, typically weighing 55 pounds or more. They are constructed out of sturdy materials like wood, plastic, fiberglass, or composite material, among other things.

In Terms Of Performance And Weight

Both In Terms Of Performance And Weight

Both In Terms Of Performance And Weight

There is a clear divide in terms of performance capabilities between kayaks that are light and those that are heavy.

The benefits of a lightweight kayak are abundantly evident, the most essential of which is that it can be carried and transported without much effort, even if you are by yourself. Nevertheless, high tides can cause them to topple over more frequently. Heavier kayaks perform better since they are more stable and can endure the effects of rough waves.

What Is The Best Short Kayak?

BKC FK 184 9' Sit On Top Kayak: Best Short Fishing Kayak

Introduction to BKC FK184 Single Kayak

The Brooklyn Kayak Company's FK 184 9' Kayak is a versatile kayak that is a good choice for paddlers who enjoy kayak fishing with a short, lightweight kayak.

The FK 184 is a 9-foot kayak that tips the scales at about 44 pounds. You can paddle in this kayak if you weigh up to 330 pounds, and it has a 32" width for added stability. It also offers excellent weight savings and portability on and off the water; many people consider it one of the best small kayaks for adults.

The FK 184 top kayak is constructed of BKC's proprietary single-piece roto-molded HDPE plastic. According to that technical jargon, the kayak has some of the best durability in its class.

Furthermore, BKC designed this Kayak with anglers in mind. The sit-on-top design allows you to cast lines and store fishing gear with plenty of room. This kayak has four flush-mounted rod holders, one articulating rod holder, and several large water-resistant hatches to keep your tackle box and other gear.

The BKC 184's vast, mostly flat hull is another advantage, and it offers exceptional stability on flat water due to this design. According to the company, you can stand up on it if you want a better angle for casting lines.

In addition to its memory foam seat, this Kayak is comfortable all day long. The kayak has a paddle keeper system for extra convenience on the water and a set of carrying handles for easy transport.

While the BKC FK 184 is a pretty good kayak, taller paddlers may find the molded foot pedals too short to be comfortable. This is particularly relevant for paddlers over six feet tall if they have long legs.

DESPITE ITS SHORTCOMINGS, the BKC FK 184 9' Kayak is a top performer for paddlers looking for a versatile, reliable kayak for flatwater adventures.

Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak With Deluxe Package: The Best Lightweight kayak

In recent years, inflatable kayaks have been sweeping the world by storm due to technological progress that makes inflatable rafts, canoes, kayaks, and catamarans as durable and safe as their hard-constructed counterparts.

Carol Derer talks about her Sea Eagle 330 kayak

People look at inflatable kayaks as little more than pool toys, not severe recreational kayaks, but not anymore! Thanks to their lightweight, durable nature, and extreme portability, inflatables are fast becoming the go-to model for all types of water toys.

Product tested by Board and Kayak

Things we like

  • Sea Eagle has a wide array of products for all types of paddlers, and they are best known for their versatile, affordable, and beginner-friendly Sea Eagle 330.
  • Sea Eagle is a top pick for several people: it is lightweight, rugged, and offers excellent value for the price. With its weight of 26 pounds and compact size, the Sea Eagle 330 is easy to transport, and it can be placed in your vehicle or RV and taken to your launch site.
  • Although this inflatable kayak is lightweight, Sea Eagle uses proprietary materials and construction techniques that make it highly rugged despite being light and thin. In addition, Sea Eagle is pet-friendly, so your pet can come along, as pet nails will not damage the hull.
  • As a recreational paddler, the Sea Eagle's affordability, portability, durability, ease of use, and storage will all be significant advantages on their checklist.

Things we don't like

  • Sea Eagle's valuable features can also work against it in other respects. Since Sea Eagle is incredibly lightweight, a big pro in many people's eyes, it is likely to get blown around when it is windy. In addition, some users feel the kayak is not as stable as they would like it to be. Sea Eagle 330 Kayak is built from quality materials, but it is precarious due to its design. Sea Eagle advertises the Sea Eagle 330 as accommodating two adults comfortably, but we feel this is only a stretch.
  • Sea Eagle receives frequent criticism for getting blown away and not being large enough for two people despite being advertised. Therefore, it is essential to consider these factors when deciding on a kayak purchase.

With a weight-pound capacity of 500, the Sea Eagle SE-330 Inflatable Kayak is rated as big enough for two people. While this Kayak is lightweight, weighing only 26 pounds, it inflates to a length of just over 11 feet.

Although this is true, the Sea Eagle SE-330 seating area is just nine feet and half feet long and 13 inches wide due to the inflatable chambers taking up space once they are inflated.

Despite its length and weight capacity, many people agreed the Kayak is too cramped to comfortably seat two people for long periods. They recommended upgrading to the SE-370 version of the Kayak if you want a roomier inflatable kayak.

On the other hand, most people were impressed by the Kayak's ruggedness and sturdiness.

Sea Eagle also offers an outstanding 3-year warranty and excellent customer service, which satisfied customers even when their gear had problems.

Suppose weight is a significant factor in purchasing a kayak. In that case, the Sea Eagle SE-330 Inflatable Kayak should be at the top of your list. Lightweight yet capable of performing well under various conditions, this Kayak will last a long time and offer great value for the price.

Pelican Maxim 100x Sit-In Recreational Kayak: The Best Short, Recreational Kayak

The Pelican Maxim 100X Sit-In Recreational Kayak will help you make the most of your time on the water.

The Pelican Maxim 100x features Pelican proprietary twin-arched multi-chine hull for enhanced stability while paddling. Furthermore, the slightly V-shaped bow and stern on this Kayak allow it to track better than most kayaks of its class.

With a weight of just 38 pounds and a length of 10', the Maxim 100x is a very light and portable kayak. Despite its lightweight, this Kayak is not lacking in durability. It is made from high molecular weight polyethylene and impact-resistant RAM-X materials, giving it extra durability without adding weight.

Pelican Maxim 100X Sit-inside Recreational Kayak

When it comes to comfort, the Maxim 100x is the best. Kayaks with ERGOFORM padded backrests and seat cushions provide lumbar support as you paddle. In addition, you can adjust the footrests for a more ergonomic paddle position.

Additionally, while many sit-in kayaks can be a little cramped to sit in, the Maxim 100x has an exceptionally spacious cockpit. Additionally, sit-in kayaks inflatable feature a nifty cockpit table with a bottle holder and a few compartments for gear storage.

Product tested by Board and Kayak

Things we like

  • Construction that is relatively lightweight yet long-lasting
  • Adaptable, elegant, and steady in its movements
  • Suitable for beginning and intermediate paddlers
  • A variety of convenient onboard storage solutions
  • A cushy ERGOFORM seat with padding

Things we don't like

  • The bow storage hatch is not watertight and slightly deeper than average.
  • Attempting to modify the footrests while the kayak is in motion might be difficult.

This Kayak also has plenty of gear storage. During your adventures, you'll have ample space to store your gear under the hatch and in the rear tank. Additionally, there's a rear flush-mounted rod holder.

Despite getting rave reviews from paddlers, the Maxim 100X has a relatively low weight limit of 275 lbs. Because kayaks work best when loaded with no more than 80% of their stated capacity, this kayak is best suited to paddlers under 220 lbs.

It's hard to imagine a better choice than the Pelican Maxim 100x Sit-In Recreational Kayak if you're looking for a short, portable, and affordable sit-in kayak.

Oru Inlet Foldable Kayak And Oru Kayak Beach: The Most Innovative, Lightest Weight kayak

The Oru Inlet stands out as the unique paddle craft in our review. A foldable kayak makes transporting your paddle craft to and from the put-in as easy as possible.

As with all Oru kayaks, Oru Kayak Beach, the Inlet is constructed from double-layered polypropylene with a thickness of 5 mm. This material is highly puncture-resistant and UV-treated. A 20,000-use test has been conducted, making it as rugged as a classic plastic kayak.

Oru Kayak Inlet: the Most Portable Origami Kayak Ever.

Besides being 9'8" long, the Inlet is also one of the lightest kayaks on the market. Because it weighs just 20 lbs, you can take it on any adventure. Moreover, since it folds into your carry case, you can pack this Kayak into your car trunk or your duffle bag.

The Inlet does not disappoint when it comes to its performance on the water. Kayaks designed for flatwater use have wide, primarily flat hulls that provide ample stability when paddling.

In addition, the Inlet features a large open cockpit. Despite being a sit-in kayak, the kayak's spacious cockpit provides enough room for comfort on the water. Even your dog can fit inside, and no need for a kayak seat for dog, so you will be able to make the most of your time outside.

Besides being one of the most accessible kayaks to assemble, the Inlet is also one of the most comfortable paddles. With this Kayak, you can spend less time putting it together and more paddling since it can be assembled in about 5 minutes.

Despite its revolutionary features, we should mention that the Oru Inlet is a reasonably expensive kayak. It can also support only 275 lbs of weight and is unsuitable for paddlers taller than 6'2". There are no fishing rod holders in this Kayak, so it isn't ideal for anglers.

The Oru Inlet kayak is one of the most portable kayaks on the market, if you don't mind spending a little more, it's a great choice.

Intex Explorer K2: The Most Affordable Lightweight Kayak

The Intex Explorer K-2 is an inflatable kayak that combines portability and affordability into one great package.

Despite its 10' length and capacity for two paddlers, the Explorer K-2 weighs just 37 pounds. The Kayak can support an impressive 400 pounds of weight, making it an excellent choice for tandem paddlers and gear.

Intex Explorer K2 has a streamlined construction and a generally flat hull for stability. You can also remove the skeg on the kayak to improve paddling tracking.

When durability is a concern, the Explorer K-2 has you covered. It is made from extra-thick, puncture-resistant vinyl. The kayak also has an inflatable I-beam floor that adds rigidity and performance on the water.

Despite being only 10' long, this Kayak can accommodate two paddlers. While its wide, open cockpit provides comfortable travel, its tandem inflatable seats provide crucial lumbar support.

Intex added a set of Boston valves to the Explorer K-2. A high output pump with the kayak makes it quick and easy for paddlers to get on the water. In addition to being able to paddle, the whole Kayak also packs down into a small carry case for easy storage and transportation.

In general, paddlers love the Explorer K-2. Still, many say the included skeg needs a better adhesive to adhere to the hull. Additionally, some users complain that the included paddles are too short for a kayak of this width.

All in all, the Intex Explorer K-2 is a comfortable and budget-friendly inflatable kayak that's fun to use on the water.


This guide is the ultimate resource for you if kayak length or size is a deciding factor when purchasing a kayak. There is no need to gaze longingly at another kayak, wishing you could find one that fits your small space or wondering how you will carry such a heavy object.

Several small, lightweight kayaks are available today, suitable for beginners, children, adults, and even kayakers with disabilities who need something easy to handle.



It is essential to keep in mind that most kayak manufacturers accomplish the low weights of their products by almost entirely removing any additional features. Adding all of those extra features causes a kayak to be heavier; thus, this method makes sense in many different ways.

To make your Kayak as light as possible on the market, you might have to sacrifice some of the bells and whistles that come standard on kayaks today. However, many paddlers find that they are content with their Kayak weighing a few more pounds if it means they may have some additional amenities to make their paddling experience more enjoyable.

If you are ready to spend a higher price on a lightweight kayak, you can often receive a wide variety of amenities. Discover a kayak with everything you need and nothing more if you're looking to strike a balance between usefulness, affordability, and reduced weight. The essential thing is to find a kayak that has everything you need and nothing more.

That brings us to a conclusion! The greatest kayaks for lightweight paddling are often recognized as being among the best kayaks overall. These kayaks offer a substantial level of usefulness and quality benefits, yet they are so light that one person can carry them in one hand. You may get the best of both worlds by selecting a lightweight kayak from among the best overall models available on the market.

lightweight kayaks

lightweight kayaks

What else could you want from a kayak? Cupholders? Is there room for a cooler?

Because of technological breakthroughs in recent decades, we no longer have to compromise performance or comfort to achieve a lower overall weight. You can locate a lightweight choice that will carry you further in rowing no matter where you want to go or how far you want.

The lightweight kayaks on our list are suitable for various lifestyles. You'll find a terrific friend in one of these lightweight kayaks that grin back at you whether you're looking for something to take out on the lake, paddle along quiet rivers, go fishing, or take out on the broad seas.

Put this guide to work and start kayaking today!

Frequently Asked Questions

How small is the smallest kayak?

The Intex Challenger K1 is a 9-foot sit-in inflatable kayak that's both the smallest and lightest on this list. It weighs just 27.2 pounds! However, don't expect much storage. The Challenger has a limited capacity of 220 pounds and a front storage net.

Do you think a 6-foot kayak is too small?

Nowadays, most people under six ft. tall can fit in conventional sit-in kayak cockpits. You should always test a 12 to 14-foot kayak if you're taller than that to get a feel for the fit, seat height, and legroom.

How fast are smaller kayaks?

Generally, longer kayaks can achieve higher top speeds. Several other factors contribute to this, but longer kayaks are also narrower, so they reduce drag while paddling.

Is there anything smaller than a kayak?

A packraft typically weighs just a few pounds, between five and ten pounds for whitewater types, and folds up very compactly. Because of its light weight and diminutive size, ambitious paddlers often hike up rapids and float back down.