Carrying your kayak to and from the water can be a daunting task, especially if your kayak is one of the heavier ones.
It is even more difficult trying to load a heavy kayak on top of a vehicle.
Many companies are now creating kayaks focused on being lightweight to help save your back. We researched and tested many of the newer models and have come up with this list of 7 of the best lightweight kayaks available today.
In a hurry? We’ve got you covered, we created a table to compare our top picks on this list.
Best Lightweight Kayak Compared
OUR #1 RATED
Emotion 90244 Spitfire Sit-On-Top 8 Foot Kayak, Red
Our top pick for good reason, weighing just 39 lbs makes this kayak easy to transport. It is fantastic for beginners and comes at a great price point..
The Spitfire from Emotion is a sit-on-top lightweight kayak that is durable, maneuverable, easy to carry and inexpensive. It’s the perfect option for newbies, or if you are looking for a smaller kayak to add to your inventory.
Stability: Perfect for beginners, the Spitfire sits high in the water and its stability means newbies build confidence quickly.
Lightweight: Weighing in at just 39 pounds, this kayak is easy to take from your vehicle to the water, even if you need to walk a fair distance.
Durable: Made from dense polyurethane, the Spitfire is tough and can take a fair few knocks.
Tracks poorly: Although it is maneuverable, the Spitfire doesn’t track that well.
The Spitfire is just 8 foot in length and at its widest point measures 30 inches.
It’s easy for you to fit this kayak into your pickup or strap it to the roof of your car. Weighing just 39 pounds, the Spitfire can carry 240 pounds.
That’s some bang for your buck!
Made from a very dense polyurethane with UV protection, this lightweight kayak has an ST performance hull which helps it glide through the water while adding plenty of stability.
Four handles on the sides, front and back allow you to carry the kayak in a number of ways while a fair few molded footwells help you find your best paddling position with ease. An adjustable padded backrest adds to your overall comfort.
This kayak has everything you need to hit the water.
Well, almost everything. It doesn’t come with a paddle, so factor that in when making your purchase.
That said, paddles are inexpensive and won’t break the bank. Everything else you need is part of the molded form including carrying handles, footrests, and an adjustable seat.
There is a small area for storage at the back of the kayak where fishing tackle under bungee cords. You might want to purchase a strap for the paddle to attach to the kayak as it does not come with one.
How it performs
While the Spitfire offers great stability, it can only really be used on calm waters. And that stands to reason, it is a small kayak.
Tracking is not brilliant, so you are going to have to work to keep in a straight line.
That said, for such a small kayak its performance is fairly impressive.
Don’t expect to outgun bigger models, however. This is a leisurely paddler perfect for cruising around flat bodies of water.
If you looking for a lightweight kayak that the whole family can use down by the lake, the Spitfire is the perfect buy.
Great for beginners, be they kids or adults, this lightweight kayaks overall stability is certainly a plus point. It’s durable too and its low cost makes it even more of an attractive option.
A short kayak, the K1 is just a little over 8 foot in length and weighs just under 20 pounds, which makes it a very lightweight kayak.
It has the impressive carrying capacity of 400 pounds and at its widest is 36 inches.
The K1 has numerous air chambers, so if a leak develops, you won’t suddenly sink and can easily get back to shore.
Made from tough PVC, the K1 also has a tarpaulin underside for extra strength and rigidity. It just takes five minutes to inflate this boat, while storage wise, it needs very little space.
Interestingly, the backpack the K1 folds in and out of becomes the seat when the kayak is inflated.
Now that’s some nifty design work.
Multiple footrests also inflate when the boat is, while an inflatable backrest gives added support.
Everything you need to hit the water comes with the K1. That includes your pump as well as a paddle.
Inflation is easy thanks to double lock valves which ensure no air escapes during the process, while the kayak folds into its own handy backpack. A bungee storage area is found to the front of the kayak and it also includes a drinks holder.
How it performs
As with most sit-on-top kayaks, the K1 is very maneuverable but it tracks poorly.
That’s due to the fact that it doesn’t have a skeg or any form of the rudder.
This is simply a kayak to paddle around on flat water, perfect for beginners or kids, or for experienced paddlers just looking to have a little fun.
The K1 is the type of kayak you buy to leave at your holiday home by the lake or for paddling at your local river.
As with all inflatable kayaks, they are great for having fun on the water. You are never going to take it on a 10-mile paddle, however!
This is not a very tall kayak, coming in at 8 foot in length.
And that means although it isn’t as great performance wise as a longer kayak, it has many other advantages.
But more of that later.
The Lotus, made from durable polyethylene is 30 inches wide, weighs just 38 pounds – it’s one of the lightest out there – and can carry an impressive 250 pounds in weight.
As with many sit-on-top models, most of the features are already molded into the kayak, including seats, footrests and a rear storage area behind the paddler.
The Lotus has two carry points at the bow and stern as well as a central carry handle.
These, along with its lightweight nature mean it’s a breeze to move around. An adjustable backrest and multiple footrests help you find the correct paddling position with ease.
Although some lightweight kayaks do not come with a paddle, the Lotus does. All the other accessories are already part of this example while it does come with one scupper plug.
If you want to fill the remaining draining holes, you would need to purchase extras.
How it performs
Slow, steady and stable. That’s what you can expect from the Lotus.
Even at around 8 feet in length, this is still one extremely stable kayak.
That said, it’s only for calm waters, even experienced paddlers would struggle in choppy conditions.
And tracking? Well, it’s small, so don’t expect it to go as straight as an arrow, especially when you are paddling with effort. Other than that, it cuts through the water very nicely.
Simply put, the Lifetime Lotus kayak is one of the best lightweight, sit-on-top kayaks available today.
If you looking for your first sit-on-top kayak, or want to buy something for your children to use down at your local lake, you can’t really go wrong with the Lotus. Durable, lightweight, and dependable, it ticks all the right boxes.
The BayST certainly isn’t your regular kayak. When folded, its dimensions are no bigger than a medium-sized piece of travel luggage (33 x 12 x 29 inches).
Unfolded for use and the BayST is a 12-footer! It’s not the widest kayak ever, coming in at 25 inches but remains comfortable.
But what is it made from, I hear you ask?
Well, Oru has constructed this amazing kayak from polypropylene that is double-layered but incredibly, only 5 millimeters thick. All that sees the BayST weighs just 28 pounds but holds a full 300 pounds which makes it a very lightweight kayak.
Certainly, the most impressive feature of the BayST is the fact that it simply folds away after use.
Now you would expect that getting this kayak ready for the water, or folding it away would take some time.
Well, Oru suggest you only need five minutes of your time to get either done, although that would certainly be with a little practice!
The seat and footrests are all adjustable as well so you can find a position of comfort fairly easily.
While a paddle is not included with the BayST, it does come with everything else you need to hit the water.
These include float bags which help keep the kayak buoyant, fully adjustable seat and footrests and instructions for how to fold your kayak.
A floorboard, as well as a maintenance kit, is also included. A special Oru fishing kit for the kayak can be purchased if you intend to fish off it, while a spray skirt to keep you dry should be considered as it is not included.
How it performs
Simply put, the performance of the BaySt is impressive. And that’s thanks to the fact that it is far longer than other lightweight kayaks, as much as four feet in some cases.
Its V-shaped hull cuts through the water but keeps the boat fairly stable.
Tracking is excellent and even with exertion, the kayak keeps relatively straight.
There is simply no denying that the Oru BayST is a very impressive lightweight kayak option.
If you are pressed for storage space and are wanting a kayak, getting this one is a no-brainer. It offers performance, is easy to assemble and disassemble after a little practice and is sturdy considering it is only 5mm thick.
It may be on the pricier side of things but is well worth the investment.
The Heron 9XT is not the shortest lightweight kayak you will find at 9.5 feet in length. It is 28.5 inches wide and weighs just 39 pounds.
Its sturdy design means that this kayak can carry up to 300 pounds which is pretty impressive for a kayak so small and light.
Unlike many other lightweight kayaks, Old Town has made the Heron 9XT with performance and stability in mind, while still remaining comfortable.
Its durable design and polyethylene construction means that it is not only for flat waters, and it can certainly hold its own in smaller rapids and less-than-flat sea conditions.
Getting your paddling position is easy thanks to a ComfortFlex seat that is adjustable, while carry handles help you take your kayak from your vehicle to the water with ease.
A foot brace system within the boat helps keep your feet in place, especially on choppier waters.
While perhaps not the prettiest kayak out there, the Heron 9XT comes with everything you need to get up and running in no time… except for a paddle.
Yes, you are going to have to buy that separately.
Watertight storage is found behind the seat while carry handles make it simple to carry and launch the Heron 9XT. A cup holder means you can store your energy drink as well.
How it performs
While this kayak is certainly an entry-level boat and aimed at novices it is one of the best performing lightweight kayaks in its class.
If you want a kayak that is stable, fairly quick and above all, tracks well thanks to its hull shape, then look no further than the Heron 9XT.
This lightweight kayak is also super maneuverable and will perform in less than perfect conditions.
Although most lightweight kayaks are all very similar, the Heron 9XT is a little different.
Sure it’s aimed at those new to the sport, or even for kids but its durability and hull design not only means it is stable on flat water but in slightly rougher conditions as well. And that’s perfect when your local waters are not always like glass.
The Sea Eagle 330 holds many advantages over some of its competitors, especially if you have a larger frame, want some extra space to bring your dog along, or want a kayak for two people. This is also the only 2 person lightweight kayak on our list.
I have also written a guide on best 2 person kayaks, learn more.
It’s tough and inexpensive.
Space enough for two medium sized adults, or for your dog.
Perfect to fish off.
Performance wise, it’s excellent, even on choppy waters.
Includes a self-draining valve
Although it can seat two adults, long periods on the water might become uncomfortable.
It’s a tight fit getting everything back in the bag, always deflate properly.
An inflatable kayak, the Sea Eagle 330 is 11 feet long, yet only weighs around 29 pounds which makes it one of the lightest on this list.
But the best thing about it is the fact that it is able to carry a whopping 500 pounds of weight. So that means if you are a large person, the Sea Eagle should be an option for you.
Not only that but it’s the perfect kayak when looking for an example that can take two paddlers.
The area of the kayak in which you can sit take up 9.5 feet, so it might get a little cramped for two, especially on longer paddles. But certainly for a bit of fun on the lake, why not?
Made from a thick polykrylar material, the Sea Eagle 330 is extremely durable and certainly very tough.
It takes a lot of damage to puncture this kayak so much so that it’s even rated for some whitewater use! Two inflatable seats can easily be removed if not needed or if only one person is using the kayak.
Well done to the manufacturers for providing not one but two paddles that come standard with this kayak.
You will also get all the necessary extras you need to get in the water quickly, including a pump while your kayak is stored in a tough carry bag. Inflatable side skirts will help to keep you as dry as possible.
How it performs
Surprisingly well! Inflatable kayaks are always driven by the wind and susceptible to currents and the Sea Eagle certainly is no different but other than that, this is a seriously impressive boat, and not only for flat waters.
Tracking is impressive thanks to two skegs and it stays relatively straight while paddling.
Yes, you can take this kayak out in slightly choppy waters and even down some minor rapids. Now that’s impressive! Of course, that’s only for experienced paddlers.
If you looking for an inexpensive, lightweight kayak that can fit two people, the Sea Eagle 330 is a no brainer.
The fact that it can handle less than perfect conditions makes it even more of an attractive prospect.
The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Sport Kayak is yet another example of a range of impressive inflatable kayaks that are now available to paddlers. This is not a regular inflatable for weekend fun, it’s a serious performer.
Cuts through the water with ease!
Tracks very well.
Easy to store.
Sets up in minutes.
It’s a looker! This inflatable kayak is very similar looking to its sit-in counterparts.
No matter how tough they make them, there is always the chance of damage to an inflatable kayak.
Weighing just 26 pounds, the AdvancedFrame Sport Kayak is 10.5 feet in length and 32 inches wide. It can carry one paddler at a maximum weight of around 250 pounds.
Made from aluminum ribs which are then covered, the hull design has a pointed bow and stern which certainly helps this kayak track very effectively.
The AdvancedFrame Sport Kayak has many features which make it a leader in its class.
Both the bow and stern are very durable, with extra reinforcing.
They help the kayak cut through the water which significantly increases performance, along with the overall hull design. A skeg helps with tracking while an adjustable seat helps you find the perfect paddle position.
Note that you would need to purchase a paddle with this kayak, it doesn’t come with one. You will also need a pump, which is a little strange.
A carry bag to transport and store the kayak is provided, however. The kayak itself comes with a storage compartment, while rubber handles make it easy to handle once inflated.
How it performs
For a lightweight, inexpensive kayak, this is an excellent performer and comparable with some of the sit-on-top and sit-in kayaks in its class.
Its brilliant hull design means it cuts through the water easily while the added skeg keeps it tracking in a straight line. I
t’s more than kayak for a weekend trip to the lake, you could cover some distance on the AdvancedFrame Sport Kayak.
As a lightweight inflatable kayak, the AdvancedFrame Sport Kayak is one of the best available in terms of performance. Yet it can also just be a weekend paddler. Its versatility is its strength.
Lightest Kayak: Final Thoughts
After looking through this list, you should now be on your way to finding the perfect lightweight kayak you’ve been dreaming of.
No more will you be struggling to get your kayak on and off your vehicle or carrying it to and from the water. Now that you are equipped with detailed information on each kayak, you should be able to pick one that suits your needs.
Do you already own one of these lightweight kayaks? Was it a good purchasing decision? Let us know what you think down in the comments!
My name is Chet and I'm a surfer living in Cocoa Beach. I created this blog to put my experience with surfing, skimboarding, bodyboarding, and paddleboarding to good use (pretty much all things water sports).