Kayak weight (real or as specified by manufacturer)

Over the years I have sold and purchased various sea kayaks. As I grow older (way older) I have discovered that one very important specification is kayak weight. Now in my 80s, it becomes more difficult to load the kayak on the car, etc. as my (incredible) strength begins to fade away. Note that I am a massive 140 pounds.

As a specific example of kayak weight, I am currently selling a used kayak and have listed its specifications. The manufacturer gives the specified weight as 50.6 pounds. The weight of a kayak model varies, so I am guessing this is an average weight. Further, what is the manufacturer actually weighing? My guess, in this case, is that the specified weight is the kayak without hatch covers, seat, or rigging. So I weighed this fine kayak using an accurate bathroom scale and found that it weighs in at 57.0 pounds, a full 6.4 pounds heavier than the weight specified by the manufacturer.

So, now when I sell a kayak, I will list the actual weight. And when I buy a kayak, I will request that the seller weigh it … or carry my bathroom scale with me.

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When I build a kayak on someone else’s design they give a design weight. It often varies from boat to boat. I have one design weight 48# actual weight 62#. Another design weight 40 actual 45#. It can vary.

I use a digital hanging scale and weigh one end by the handle while another person holds the other end by the handle, switch ends and weigh again. The kayak weight is theoretically the sum of the two measurements. In practice I’ve found it gets me within a pound or so of the actual weight (I think the inaccuracy comes from not suspending each end perfectly vertically).

I recently weighed a new, plastic Wilderness Systems Tempest 170 kayak. Mfg says those weigh 57 lbs. I weighed 61 lbs.

This is how I used to weigh. Suspended from 2x4 across the rack to a sling using a scale. Boat not resting any part.

Now days I hang 'em from the roof of the shop. Don’t forget to subtract “tare” weight of ropes, straps etc. below the scale.

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The manufacturer often does not include at least the rudder assembly in the weight which is 3 pounds or more with larger rudders.

I tested out weighing my kayak with a luggage scale from each end versus using a bathroom scale and they were nearly equal results.

I didn’t think of the rudder (or skeg) … good input. If we go by the manufacturer’s specification, we’re much stronger than we realized.

Seven Current Design composite kayaks I own all weigh within a pound complete and ready to paddle of there advertised weigh. Some I reinforced in some spots like below the seat and cockpit and back deck behind the cockpit. Which added really nothing to speak of a pound.

Even the 22’ Tandem is spot on.

A kayak club I used to belong to had a hanging scale at their summer party every year. One of my friends had an NDK Explorer that weighed just under 80 pounds. My Caribou clocked in at 49, and my Anas Acuta was 51. They used to give a prize for heaviest boat.

It used to be very common that manufacturers listed the weight of a kayak by weighing the bare hull. No rudder or skeg, no seat, hatches, or deck hardware. I think they are more honest now but keep in mind that all but rotomolded boats are still largely hand built. Normal variation in the amount of epoxy and gelcoat that are applied can make a significant difference in how much the finished kayak will weigh. The stated weight is hopefully an average. Repairs can add significant weight.

Be nice if they slapped a sticker on with the finished weight, but then you’d have people picking through the boats for the lightest one.

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