light kayaks for women

At 5’3" and 120 lbs, I’m looking for a light sea/day touring kayak that I can lift on to my Subaru Forest, This means I need to be able to lift the boat at the top of my arms above my head. I’m a beginner so I need something stable, but also a boat I can grow with as I’d like to do weekend trips eventually.

Any recommendations?

Skin on Frame Kayak
Look at

The Madeline 16 Touring Kayak does exactly what you describe you want, is only $499, and weighs 35 pounds.

Another option
Thule makes Hullavator, sort of lift system for kayaks, here is demonstration

It is not cheap, however gives you access to a wider range of kayaks

light weight kayaks for wojmen
I’m afraid that a skin on kayak will be too delicate. I’m looking for something more substantial.

“Lifting” Boats

– Last Updated: Oct-01-08 12:34 PM EST –

Unless you really hate your back, you shouldn't even be thinking about actually lifting the boat up onto the roof yourself. We have an Outback, similar height to the Forester, and lifting is just not a healthy option for anyone your size. I am 5'4" myself.

You get third party racks with crossbars, if needed for support and SLIDE the boat up and down from the rear. Use a cart to get it into position and between the car and the launch point, a blanket to protect the rear of the car, and one on the ground or a kneeling pad at the end of the boat to protect the stern as it hits the ground.

That means a couple of things, one of which is that a slightly longer boat is your friend because it'll slide rather than suddenly drop on oyu like a really short boat might.

Also, if you really want to branch and paddle in Maine, you need a boat that can get beat on rocks without falling apart as well as a boat that fits well enough to support big water skills. We've paddled Maine in July now for a number of years, and rocks are a fact of life as is the desire to go out well into those bays because everywhere you look there is another island to visit.

Where in New England are you? You are probably within reasonable reach of a major paddling club or outfitter that sponsors pool sessions int he winter, where you can go to learn some basics that will greatly inform your choice of boat and features. I had this same conversation with a woman last night after our evening paddle, and taking asdvantage of that locally made a lot of sense to her. She has been out in a rented boat with the local group a few times, and is already realizing that the boat she might have bought at first isn't the one she'd want now.

Not exactly delicate…

Boat Loading Technique

– Last Updated: Oct-01-08 12:08 PM EST –

Put a pad on the roof of your Forrester just behind the rack so you can rest the boat on it if you need to. A PFD works find for this. If you position the boat with the bow near the rear bumper and pad the stern with a foam mat you can pick up the boat just ahead of the cockpit and lift it up, resting the bow first on the pad on the roof and then slide it onto the rack. The tipping angle of the kayak puts the boat onto the back of the roof rack, without lifting much weight. You only need to lift the boat waist high with both arms. You basically let gravity do the work. I have a friend who is 5'1 and weighs about 100 lbs wet who loads her seakayak in about 15 seconds.
You then push and slide the boat forward with most of the weight on the rack. Using this method you don't need to be able to dead lift and Military Press your boat's weight. With a Forrester this should be quite easy once you practice a bit. There is a book called "sea kayaking for women" or something like that that has pictures or ask a friend to show you how.

S&G Kayaks
These are usually very light for their size - our 17’ VOLKSKAYAKs are about 40-45 lbs., compared to about 60 lbs. for a similar rotomoulded plastic boat. Smaller boats, like the Arctic Tern 14, can usually be kept about 35 lbs. The hitch, of course, is that they must be built - not hard to do at all, assuming you are willing to learn and can follow simple instructions. Very few tools or specific skills are needed.

The other option, of course, is to find one for sale - they often go for the price of the materials or the kit.

And you can sometimes get a good deal on used kayaks, even the kevlar ones, if you take your time and look around…the Classifieds Ads link on is a great place to start…

Watch this video

Small paddler

– Last Updated: Oct-01-08 1:10 PM EST –

The "need something stable" and "boat I can grow with" can be mutually exclusive. Most folks find that "tippy" boats magically become more stable with some seat time, and the "need" for stability deceases as you learn bracing and self-rescue skills. If you want to develop oceangoing skills you'll need a boat that you can easily put on edge when you want to.

Given your size, you'll want to focus on boats for small paddlers. Females typically have shorter torsos, shorter arms, and a lower center of gravity than males. You will be much more stable than an average male in a given boat, so be wary of opinions on stability from folks twice your size.

Excessive width or depth will make a boat uncomfortable to paddle. A cockpit that's too big will feel insecure and make the boat more difficult to control.

At this stage, I'd test-sit/demo/rent/borrow as many different "smaller paddler" boats as possible. Look for a club in your area. Look for a class that uses sea kayaks to bump up your skills -- you'll be a smarter, safer, more efficient paddler, and be better prepared to make a good decision. Winter pool classes are also great fun and good skill-builders.

In the whitewater department things are much easier -- there are more boats for small folks, they're lighter, and some will easily fit inside your vehicle.

If you're canoeing, there are several small solos that would work for you. A Hemlock Kestrel would be one that you'd never outgrow.

Don't be afraid to buy a used boat, especially if you think you may want something else in a year or two.

Light weight usually costs more. Depending on your budget/comfort level/goals/weight tolerance, there are lots of boats that might work for you...

Swift Saranac 14 LT
Hurricane Tampico 135S
WS Tsunami 135, Tempest 165
Necky Eliza
CD Willow, Suka, Vision
QCC Q10X, Q600X
VSK Avocet LV, Aquanaut LV, Avocet RM
P&H Capella 161
Impex Mystic, Force 3
Eddyline Merlin LT, Fathom LV
NDK Romany LV
Seda Ikkuma 15
Prijon Catalina

if you like to build:
Pygmy Arctic Tern 14
Shearwater Merganser 16

kayaking in ME
I am based in CT

great resource

getthing boats up

– Last Updated: Oct-01-08 3:45 PM EST –

onto my F250 is a royal pain. I paddle with a local club and just ask a couple of the guys to give me a hand getting it up there and back down. I load from the rear of the truck and push the boat forward till it's in the correct position. I can hold the rear of the boat while a guy lifts the front onto the back set of holders on top of my truck. Then I climb up on the tailgate and push the boat forward. This is what works for me. I also have a trailer that I use when I know there will be enough room for truck/trailer at the put in point. Then I can load the boat no problem. I never go kayaking alone so there's always someone arround that I can get to help. My first boat was used. I wasn't sure when I got it that it was the right boat to actually start my kayaking on but it was the right price and in very good condition. It's a P&H Capella about 16.5' plastic. Weighs a ton! Very tippy the first time I took it out but I think it made me learn faster than if I'd started out on one of those shorter fatter rec. kayaks. It caused me to extend my abilities and yes, I rolled over and out of it a few times before the light came on and I took some classes. I love this boat now, so if you can find a capella in good shape, and want a boat they you can learn and grow with....

phoenix isere
i think it weighs about 29 lbs, it’s a do everything design which is often overlooked., maybe because of it’s ‘dated’ (classic?) design

Lifting Boats
I never lift my kayak onto my vehicle all at once. One end at a time. Get yourself any damn boat you like and lift it onto your vehicle one end at a time.

Try Lincoln
Lincoln has a range of kayaks, all pretty light weight:

The Chebeague might be a good choice - they show up used sometimes. Lincoln is in Maine, so they are in your neck of the woods. A good place to look for used and end of season deals is Charles River Kayak in Boston:

They have a big inventory - a phone call might get you some good advice and maybe a deal.

take a look at the offerings from hurricane, good looking affordable and light!

Superior kayak compared to Hurricane.

Also much more expensive than

Great info.
You have some great stuff here.

Celia has it with lift technique and handling the weight.

My wife paddles a Eastern Island Kayaks , Makkovic. About 50 lbs or less, 16’ 6" She does not move it alone often.

The Impex Mystic (14" or so) is a great little boat as well.<br />
Skin on frames are good as well but kind of costly Trak 16 is about $5,000.oo landed. I am not fussy about learning how to patch them.

The Capella is a nice boat as well: I own one of them.

NDK’s oferings are heavy by nature.

What ever you buy, if it is a real sea kayak you will learn to love it.