The Weight of Watercraft: Choosing the Perfect Fit

Have you ever stopped to think about the weight of your kayak, canoe, or paddleboard? It may seem like a strange question, but the weight of your watercraft can significantly impact your overall experience. From the moment you have to lift it to the water and load it onto a roof rack, the weight of your watercraft can determine how often you use it and how tired you are before you even hit the water. So, yes, weight does matter.

In this article, we’ll dive into the different weights you can expect from various types of kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards (SUPs). By understanding the role weight plays in your watercraft choice, you’ll be able to make an informed decision when purchasing your own. Let’s explore the fascinating world of watercraft and discover why weight is such a crucial factor.

Why Does Watercraft Weight Matter?

At first glance, you might wonder why the weight of a kayak or canoe even matters. But think about how you plan to use your watercraft and where you’ll be launching it. Most people have to retrieve their kayak from storage, lift it onto the roof of their vehicle or trailer, and then carry it to the water. If your watercraft is too heavy for you to handle, you’ll be exhausted by the time you reach the water’s edge. And this exhaustion only compounds when you start paddling and have to repeat the whole process to return it to its storage place.

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The weight of your watercraft can impact both your enjoyment of the activity and how often you choose to go out on the water. If you plan to paddle solo, your kayak needs to be light enough for you to manage on your own. Everyone has different weight limits they’re willing to bear, so finding the right balance is crucial.

Weight isn’t Everything

Although weight is an essential factor to consider, it’s not the only element that determines the quality of your watercraft. Other critical factors include buoyancy, stability, and space. It’s true that a lighter kayak seems preferable, but shorter and less heavy kayaks can be harder to paddle. Additionally, lighter kayaks usually offer less room to stow your gear.

It’s worth noting that a few extra kilos might provide a more versatile kayak, so it’s important to weigh all the factors when making your decision.

Construction Material

One of the primary factors affecting the weight of your watercraft is the construction material used. Let’s take a closer look at the different materials commonly used for kayaks.

Hard Shell Kayaks

There are four primary materials used in hard shell kayak designs:

  1. Rotomolded kayaks: These solid, one-piece plastic molded kayaks are the most affordable option, but they can be heavy to paddle and carry.
  2. Thermoform kayaks: Molded as two separate pieces before being sandwiched together, these kayaks are nearly as light as composite kayaks and offer good durability.
  3. Fiberglass or composite kayaks: These are the lightest option, providing excellent speed and performance in the water but coming at a higher price.
  4. Wood kayaks: While beautiful, wood kayaks can be heavy and expensive due to the wood type and fiberglass resin used for waterproofing.
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Some kayaks, like those offered by UpStreamPaddle, feature a unique 3-Layer Sandwich Foam Core Construction. This blend of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and foam core provides strength while reducing weight.

Size and Type of Watercraft

The size and purpose of your watercraft also play a significant role in its weight. Let’s explore how different types and sizes of watercraft vary:

Single Watercraft

Single kayaks usually weigh between 15 and 30 kilos, depending on the materials used and accessories included. For instance, the Expedition 2 kayak weighs 28kg, but it has a weight limit of up to 155kg. On the other hand, the Quest 309 kayak weighs only 18kg but has a smaller weight limit.

Tandem Watercraft

Tandem kayaks weigh more due to their larger size. However, with two people carrying and paddling, they become more manageable. Tandem kayaks typically weigh between 25 and 45 kilos.

Pedal Watercraft

Pedal kayaks, designed for hands-free enjoyment, tend to weigh more due to the pedals and wider width. However, some superlight alternatives, like the Pedal Pro 315 ABS Superlite, weigh as little as 23kg.

Fishing Watercraft

Fishing kayaks weigh more than other types due to additional accessories and space for gear. They can range from 16kg to over 55kg. It’s important to consider options for transporting your kayak, including kayak trolleys, not just because of the kayak’s weight but also because of the added weight of fishing accessories.

Inflatable Watercraft

While inflatable kayaks are generally lighter than hard shell kayaks, they can weigh anywhere from under 9kg to over 25kg. Inflatable kayaks offer the advantage of space-saving and ease of transportation, but they may not withstand all conditions like hard shell kayaks do.

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Stand-Up Paddleboards (SUPs)

SUP boards come in two main types: hard boards and inflatable boards.

Hard Boards

Hard SUP boards can weigh anywhere between 7kg and 18kg, depending on their size and materials used. Lighter boards are easier to carry and transport, while heavier ones might require two people.

Inflatable Boards

Inflatable SUP boards are designed to be portable and, to a certain extent, lighter than hard boards. They typically weigh between 8kg and 10kg, making them ideal for those with limited storage and transportation space.

Now that you have a better understanding of watercraft weight, you can make an educated decision when choosing the right watercraft for your needs. Visit UpStreamPaddle to explore their range of high-quality watercraft and embark on your next aquatic adventure.

Weight matters when it comes to choosing the perfect kayak, canoe, or SUP board. It affects the ease of transportation, your energy levels, and ultimately, your enjoyment of the water. While weight is an important consideration, it’s not the sole determining factor. Other aspects such as construction material, size, and purpose should also be taken into account. By considering all these factors and exploring various options, you can find the watercraft that suits your needs and guarantees many unforgettable moments on the water.