Best Lightweight Kayaks 2023: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Nothing can beat the experience of enjoying the peace and scenery of the surrounding nature when you are out kayaking. If you have your own kayak, you can just grab it and set out for your kayaking adventure anytime you want.

Well, if you still do not have a kayak, think about buying open as it is a worthwhile investment. Also, did you know that you can burn about 400 calories with just an hour of kayaking?

Here is an easy to follow guide on buying the best lightweight kayak and make the right choices. After all, the market is flooded with different makes and models, and what adds to the confusion is the complex terminology that surrounds these vessels.

Go through the guide and know why you should consider buying a lightweight kayak for your outdoor adventures.

Have a look at some of the top models of the lightweight kayaks that are available in the market and start by making the right choices.

Each of the products mentioned in the list of kayaks has been carefully handpicked, based on experts’ recommendations and compiled after reviewing the top models of lightweight kayaks.

The Best Lightweight Kayaks

Find below the best lightweight kayaks:

1. Oru Kayak

Oru Kayak Best Lightweight Kayak

Oru lightweight kayak carries a modular design and is our pick to head the list of the best lightweight kayaks that are not just light on weight but also fun and friendly to handle. This is the right choice for beginners and experts alike, and one can enjoy casual kayaking on lakes, rivers, and bays.

The kayak is very easy to assemble, and you are out on the waters within minutes, thanks to its origami-inspired, foldable structure. Its sleek shape spells extensive strength, and the kayak boasts of a 12-month warranty plus a 30-day money-back guarantee. It is convenient to transport the kayak that is ultra-light yet very tough.


  • Durable, & reliable
  • Quality build and comfort
  • Great for beginners and experts
  • Easy to assemble
  • 12-month warranty
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • UV protection preventing color fading


  • Folding it back can be confusing the first time

2. Intex Excursion Pro

The tough and lightweight kayak from Intex is easy to carry and comfortable to handle. Made of quality material like laminate PVC with a core made of polyester is highly resistant to damages caused by impact, sunlight and abrasion. Thanks to the high-pressure inflation, you enjoy more rigidity and stability. As it can be inflated and deflated within minutes, you can be in and out on the water right away.

The lightweight features removable skews for water, floor mounted footrests and adjustable bucket seats. There are additional accessories like fish finders and GPS, swivel fishing rod holders and repair patch. Take advantage of that impressive storage space in the bow and stern. Excursion Pro for fishing is worth investing in.


  • Tough laminate material
  • Protection against sunlight and abrasion damages
  • High pressure inflation with pressure gauge
  • Impressive storage space
  • Additional accessories
  • has a capacity of 400 pounds


  • awkwardly positioned mounting cross bar

3. Intex Challenger K2

Intex Challenger K2

What makes Intex Challenger kayak fast and maneuverable is its streamlined design and sturdy material. The sporty and fun kayak is just what you would love to have for your water adventures or simply for exercise purposes. The bright color and sporty graphics make the vessel highly visible in the water.

Thanks to the Intex high output pump, it is easy to inflate and deflate the kayak, and the 86-inch aluminum paddles are simple and fun to work with. Made of UV damage resistant and super tough vinyl, the maximum weight limit for the kayak is 400 pounds. Now you can enjoy more comfort with this easy to carry and handle your kayak.


  • Sporty and fun
  • Streamlined design made for visibility
  • Easy inflation and deflation
  • UV damage resistant
  • Optimized comfort and space
  • Good for the price


  • Packing up and taking out can take time

4. Intex Challenger K1

Intex Challenger K1

If you are looking for an option of simply picking up the kayak and heading out to the water for some alone time, then go for Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, which is sturdy in design but light in weight. The small size and low weight kayak are made of welded durable material and has been designed for higher comfort and maximized space. The inflatable beam floors plus the inflatable seat with backrest add to the stability.

Rugged vinyl construction and sleek design keeps the vessel well behaved on water. The One-person kayak comes bundled with 84-inch aluminum oar, manual hand pump; and a repair patch. When one looks at the price, it is indeed one of the top-rated models which are very comfortable to use.


  • Durable and lightweight
  • Rugged vinyl construction
  • More comfort and maximized space
  • Boston valve for quick deflation and inflation
  • Good investment


  • Can be confusing to fold the kayak back
  • Inflatable seat a bit too high

5. Intex Explorer K2

Intex Explorer K2

If you are looking for a 2-person kayak that is comfortable to handle and is an excellent choice for the price, then have a look at the Intex Explorer K2. The kayak is very comfortable for anyone and made for smaller bodies of water. The product includes an adjustable inflatable seat and has plenty of space to store gear. The cockpit is specially designed for higher comfort and more space.

Get more directional stability because of the removable skeg and higher visibility because of the bright yellow color of the kayak. It is a great kayak for both the beginners and the experts.

It is speedy enough and tracks very straight. Customers who bought this product are very happy with their purchase and enjoy kayaking on lakes and mild rivers.


  • made of vinyl which is resistant to punctures
  • Easy to handle and maneuver
  • Strong and stable
  • comfortable for seated people
  • higher comfort and more space
  • Well worth the price


  • Light enough for crosswinds to blow it

6. Sevylor Quikpak

Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak

For those looking for a simple, fast solution of just picking up their kayak and heading out to the water, the small-sized and light weight Sevylor Quikpak Kayak seems to be the right option. Thanks to the fast and speedy setup, you can now spend more time on the water.

It is no wonder to see it listed among the best lightweight kayaks out on the market. Take advantage of the secure storage area and enjoy kayaking.

The easy-to-carry backpack system makes it traveling with the kayak and its accessories easy. The rugged design adds to the sturdiness of the kayak. Get higher protection from punctures because of the tarpaulin bottom, and even if one of those air chambers gets punctured, the multiple air chambers keep you afloat. A guaranteed airtight system ensures no leakage. Just sit comfortably, lean back, and enjoy the ride because of the multi-position footrests and backrest.


  • Portables sleek design
  • Small and light weight
  • Easy-to-carry system
  • 5-minute setup with easy inflation/deflation
  • sturdy PVC construction
  • Guaranteed airtight system
  • 100% worth the purchase


  • Skegs get bent sideways

7. Advanced Elements

Advanced Elements

AdvancedFrame Convertible Elite indeed makes an excellent addition to your family adventure. The fifteen-foot kayak is easy to get into and ranks high when it comes to paddling performance and durability, because of rib-frame and drop-stitch technologies.

The versatile open deck design is easy to assemble, and one can change it to a closed deck with ease. All one needs to do is make use of the optional single or double deck conversions and enjoy total comfort for those long days on the water.

Look forward to improved tracking, rigidity, and hull speed as well as extreme puncture resistance, because of the durable Layers of material. The kayak is very easy to set up, and all one needs to do is simply unfold and inflate. You get higher support because of the comfortable and adjustable padded seats.


  • Easy to set up
  • PVC hull material
  • Drop-stitch technology
  • Extreme puncture resistance
  • comfortable and adjustable padded seats
  • A Wise purchase
  • Great customer service
  • Aluminum rib provides better maneuvering


  • floor sides have only a single layer

8. Driftsun Rover

Driftsun Rover

The durable & lightweight kayak is known for its tough and rigid body. Made of reinforced layered PVC sides and a heavy-duty PVC tarpaulin bottom, you can enjoy higher safety against any risks of punctures. Despite the lightweight, the Driftsun Rover kayak is stable & maneuverable and makes for an excellent purchase for someone who wants to head out for their water adventure.

Enjoy unmatched stability even in rough waters, and the package includes adjustable aluminum paddles, adjustable padded seats with high back support plus a double-action hand pump and travel bag.

This is a perfect buy for the thrill-seekers and adventure-ready families. It is easy to air up and deflate as well as convert from a two-seater to one-seater.


  • Durable & lightweight
  • Preforms exceptionally well
  • Stable & maneuverable
  • Highest quality materials
  • Top-notch accessories
  • Thoughtfully designed


  • Difficult to fold and get back

9. Island Voyage

Island Voyage

Island Voyage 2 is a very responsive kayak that performs well in water and is known for its great maneuverability. The compact and durable kayak comes with unique features like multiple grab handles, high-back seats, multi-layer construction, and bungee deck lacing. Reputed for enhanced performance, jump in the Island Voyage 2 for your next water adventure.

Use the high back supportive backrest for higher comfort and use the seating positions for tandem or single-use. What makes draining and cleaning very easy is the rear drain plug. As a customer, you are sure to have the best experience possible with this kayak.


  • Great maneuverability and performance
  • Compact and durable
  • high backed seats with bottle holders
  • Sturdy and comfortable
  • Easy draining and cleaning


  • takes about 10 mins to inflate the kayak

10. Elkton Steelhead Series

Elkton Steelhead Series

Elkton Steelhead Series is one of the best lightweight recreational kayaks out there, simply because of the quality of materials and the great design. Go ahead and use it for all sorts of fishing and touring in shallow or deep waters, in salt and brackish waters.

The lightweight hunting boat is built for fishing and has several attachment points and storage areas. The rigid base casting ensures better stability which allows user to even stand and angle without shaking.

Made of reinforced layered PVC, and solid construction, enjoy higher durability and strength. The package includes travel back and pump and comes with guaranteed workmanship & materials. It is easy to set up and get going within no time.


  • Quality materials and workmanship
  • Easy setup and portability
  • Ample bow and stern storage
  • Adjustable foot rest and seats
  • Multi-purpose inflatable kayak
  • Breakdown paddles makes transportation easier
  • 1 Year Guarantee


  • Manual leaves some important info out

How to choose a lightweight kayak

Before you go ahead and start shopping for the lightweight kayaks, it is essential to learn about the essential factors to focus on and what key points to assess.

1. The Material

the USP of a kayak lies in its weight and functionality. The ability to be light yet resilient makes kayaking an enjoyable feat. The kayaks are typically made of polyethylene plastic or composite materials like fiberglass and carbon fiber.

Another material used for the construction is hard-wearing plastics. When comparing different materials, it is found that fiberglass and carbon fiber boats perform better and are lighter, stronger, and more responsive. Hard Plastic boats should be avoided as they tend to be heavier.

Consider the material if looking for top quality material and special plastics with several layers that can add to the strength of the Kayak and keep it safe from punctures. The quality of material decides the durability and performance of the Kayak.

2. Length And Width For Comfort

Generally speaking, the longer Kayak with a narrower body is much faster and straighter. On the other hand, the wider and shorter Kayak is more stable in comparison but lacks in speed.

For those who are still new to kayaking should opt for a kayak with a wider body and progress to narrower and longer kayaks once they get the experience and the confidence to maneuver small lakes, creeks and navigate narrow inlets efficiently. Touring kayaks are meant for bigger rivers or lakes with large waves and are much longer.

In addition, consider your size and weight when looking at the size and weight of the Kayak as it is essential that you feel comfortable when you sit inside. After all, the prime objective is to get a pleasant experience when kayaking on the water.

Make sure that the Kayak you purchase is not just easy to carry and set up, but should also be comfortable to sit in and control. This is important for those who go for kayaking frequently and spend longer times on the water especially those who loves fishing. The comfort level of the Kayak rises if it allows you to modify the Kayak and the seats, footplates and thigh braces as per your needs.

3. The Shape Of The Hull

There are Flat Hull hulls, V-shaped hulls, and a rounded hull. The V-shaped hull is great to kayak on rough turbulent waters while the rounded hulls are more suitable for calm rivers and flat waters. Flat Hull shapes offer great stability and are easily maneuverable and are good choices for beginners and kids.

Study the material and shape of the hull that will impact its stability. A hull that is made separately from the deck and joined together afterward can get damaged if hit by a rock. A wider hull means more stability and higher available storage.

4. Folding Or Non-Folding Kayaks

When you start looking for the best lightweight kayaks, you will be given the option of picking from folding or non-folding kayaks. The folding kayaks are also known as origami kayaks and are made from inflatable outer skin supported with a solid inner rib.

The finals choice relies on the buyer and what exactly he prefers or is looking for his kayaking needs. If interested in a folding option, it is recommended that you pick a versatile product that is easy to assemble and fold back.

5. Resistance To Puncture

As inflatable kayaks carry the risks of punctures, it is essential to assess the resistance to punctures in them. Look for triple-layered exterior for higher strength and maximum puncture resistance. The extra layers offer more air chambers which ensures safe return even if a puncture occurs.

The manufacturers use extra-thick and puncture-resistant material like K-80 polykrylar to prevent any leakages or punctures. Adding more layers lowers the chance to be punctured and ensure durability.

6. The Amount Of Storage

Every kayaker would like to have an ample amount of storage, especially if he plans to extend his water adventure for a couple of days. The larger kayaks also carry aft hatches and bungee cords on the outside for extra storage and more comfortable experience. The Kayak should have a dry storage compartment for your gear.

Look for adequate storage space, especially if you plan to go for long trips and without getting anxious about where to put your stuff. Still, there should be enough storage in the boat to last for the whole day out on the water.

7. Stability And Maneuverability

The kind for Kayak you pick will work for you if you find it easy to operate and maneuver. As a buyer, you should know what technicalities to asses and ensure that the Kayak you buy is easy to maneuver and direct.

For example, check the rocker measurement that tells you how much higher the Kayak is at the bow and stern, and the higher the value of rocker, the more is the maneuverability of the vessel.

The tracking measurement tells you how easily the Kayak remains in a straight line when paddled. A fixed rudder, the skeg is designed to keep the Kayak straight.

Now that you know what key factors to look for in the best lightweight Kayak have a look at different types of kayaks available. The kind of Kayak you buy relies a lot on your style of kayaking and what kind of water you prefer to paddle in. Before you jump right in, you should learn a bit more about the different kinds of kayaks.

Which Kayak Is Suitable For You?

In order to find that perfect kayak, you need to understand your style as well as get an understanding of the different kayak models available.

1. Kayaks For The Beginners

As a beginner, you should look for a simple and basic kayak and paddle in calm waters. These vessels are also known as recreational kayak, which is very simple in design and easy to get into because of the large cockpit opening.

The use of materials like polyethylene plastic maintains the structural integrity of the kayaks. These kayaks are a bit heavier and very stable because of their widths and length.

2. Advanced Kayaks

As one makes progress with their paddling skills and build their kayaking experience, they might need to upgrade to the advanced kayaks. Also known as a touring-style boat, these vessels are a bit thinner and longer and carry different sized openings. Made of polyethylene, the advanced kayaks are meant for different types of paddling and more adverse conditions.

3. Intermediate Kayaks

Intermediate kayaks are meant for those who fall somewhere between the beginner and the advanced. The lightweight kayak carries a large cockpit, and the material used is carbonite, a thermal formed material. These kayaks are lightweight but strong and durable. These kayaks are ideal for leisure and exercising purposes.

4. Sea Kayaks

Sea Kayaks are designed like a sit-in kayak, and when compared to the recreational model, the kayak is a bit narrower in size. This is the kayak you should look for when looking for a kayaking experience out on the open water. There are some additional extras like rudders and outriggers to maintain a direction when out in the choppy conditions in the ocean.

5. Fishing Kayaks

Fishing kayaks are very much like the Recreational Kayaks but come with some additional modifications. For instance, they are a bit wider for extra storage and stability when you fish and store your catch.

Other features include rod holders and mounts for electronic fish finders. It is the storage space and seating design can that differentiates the fishing Kayaks from the regular ones.

6. Inflatable Kayaks

There is a fast rise in the demand and popularity of Inflatable Kayaks, and it is easy to understand why. After all, it is easy to inflate and deflate these kayaks and use them as and when desired. Once the kayaking is over, you can deflate the kayak and store it away. It is easy to carry them as they are compact and lightweight and can fit within a backpack bag. In fact, country traveling is made easy with these foldable kayaks.


1. What Kind Of Kayak To Invest In As A Beginner?

If you are looking at the best lightweight kayaks for the first time and wondering what style to go for, well, as a beginner, you should focus on certain aspects and keep them at a priority. Pay more focus on stability and maintaining it.

The kayak you are looking at should be easy to set up and carry as well as ways to get in and out. The wider base kayak is ideal for getting a hold on the steering as these offer great stability.

You would, of course, want to keep away from the fishing kayaks as that is a skill that will not develop right away, and you are likely to focus more on the ease, comfort, and safety in the beginning.

2. What Is The Lifecycle Of A Kayak?

People often have the tendency to buy a cheaper kayak in the beginning. And once they have got the hang of it and paddled the boat for quite some time, they realize that this is not what they wanted and look for a better model. Once you start kayaking, you are likely to love the sport and would want to paddle more often and explore new places.

The product life cycle of the kayak depends on the technology and the advancement made in the materials and the making. A lot depends on model and usage and what kind of care is given to the kayak. Many people have kayaks more than ten years old, and they still look as good as new.

3. What Is A Motorized Kayak?

As is implied by the name, the motorized kayaks run on a motor that is lightweight and has been designed for kayaks and canoes. The motors do not use gas or oil and are powered by an environmentally friendly battery. Thus, there is no need to get anxious about noise pollution or fumes while kayaking.

The kayaks can move at about 2-4 mph, and one can paddle he kayak as and when they want. Keep in mind that while you do not need to register unmotorized paddle craft, some states requires registration as soon as you put a motor on.

4. What Are The Typical Costs Of A Kayak?

Just like any other product, the costs of a kayak can vary based on its construction, the model, and the brand and, of course, the features. As the kayak advances to better quality materials and advanced features, the prices advance too. The weight of the boats will also vary based on the material used.

The typical costs of a kayak cans tart from $60 and go beyond while a recreational style kayak can cost around $500 to $600.

Get Ready For The Next Water Adventure With The Best Lightweight Kayaks

Go ahead and find your key to that freedom you have been looking for and take advantage of the useful guide on this page to make well-informed decisions when buying the best lightweight kayak.

Stop worrying over the logistics of your vessel and the trip now that you know what to look for and how to buy the best boat for kayaking. Start planning, and look forward to an enjoyable trip with all the freedom and flexibility that you have always dreamt of.

Consider buying a lightweight kayak but a stronger one that is easy to set up and transport from your car or store. Depending on what you like and what your budget is, you can check out the guide on the lightweight kayaks listed for you and make your pick.