Need Kayak Advice - light weight

Yes, I am a light weight – just started kayaking in May. I’m looking for a lightweight kayak that I can handle on my own, without needing help loading, unloading, etc. I plan to use it on lakes and quiet rivers/streams here in Minnesota. Being a novice, I’m not ready to spend $$$$ on a composite boat. I’ve seen interesting ads about inflatable kayaks from Advanced Elements and Stearns. I plan to attend some kayak demos in the next couple of weeks, but they don’t demo the inflatables. Anybody have any experience or advice to share? Thanks!

light kayak
Inflatable boats can be frustrating, both to paddle, to haul around, and to inflate. Smaller polyethlyene boats are a lot easier. I’m a fairly small woman, and when I started out kayaking I bought a necky gannet, about 44 lbs. Since it was plastic, it was easy to car top at that weight (I just stuck the bow on my hatchback and pushed it up over the factory rack, and tied it on) and easy to drag around. Plus I could fit my dog and a neice or two in the cockpit with me. Now I seem to have collected a bunch of other kayaks, but the rec boat is still good for playing around with dogs, kids, waves, creeks, etc. Necky has a bunch of pretty good recreational boats, such as the Manitou, which all weigh about 44-45 lbs. They’re much more fun to paddle than most other rec boats, which are like paddling a tub around the lake. Once a plastic boat starts getting much heavier, it’s less likely to be used.

Used boats are also a great deal, and the end of the summer is a good time to find them.

Used composite
Look for an Impex Mystic used.

I don’t think you will be happy…
in an inflateable.

On a windy day, all your friends will be going out and having a ball and you will be sitting on the shore wishing you did not have an inflateable.

I mentioned this in a post several months ago.

Last winter we were camping at John Pennekamp state park on Key Largo in Florida, and there was a doctor who had just retired and was on his “first real vacation” in years in the site next to ours.

We had our two sea kayaks and one of our canoes with us, and each day we would leave early in the AM, (too early for him) in our yaks and head out through the canals and out to the outer ocean and have a great time without ever being bothered by the wind.

Every evening he would come over and cry on our shoulders about how he couldn’t get out even in the canals since the wind blew him the opposite direction that he wanted to go.

After several days I offered to take him in our canoe, and my wife came in her yak, and he was able to spend the entire day with us and even though there was a slight wind it was not enough to bother the canoe.

By the end of the week he was looking at hard shell kayaks and was going to get rid of the inflateable.

One of my daughters is 4’-10" and weighs about a hundred pounds, and she gets her 14’-6" poly yak on her truck cap by the use of hully rollers on the back and a saddle on the front.

I think you would be much happier with a hard shell yak.



Build It Yourself - Ya, Really !!!
It’s far easier than you might think. The VOLKSKAYAKs I build cost about $500 per kayak in plans and material, take about 70-100 hours labour for a 1st boat, and weigh in at 40 lbs. The design is made specifically for those with limited time, tools, skills and money, but yields a fine 17’ 25" beam sea kayak at a price that wouldn’t pay the 15% GST (Canadian tax) on a good Kevlar boat. You can check the VK out at

There are, of course, any number of stitch and glue designs out there - just Google ‘stitch and glue kayak’. The Pygmy kayaks, the Cheasapeake Light Craft (CLCs), One Ocean kayaks, etc., come to mind immediately. A number of P-Netters have done their own S&Gs - maybe try a post, asking for their experience and suggestions. You can also get great info, suggestions and support while building thru the Kayak Building Bulletin Board.

kayaks are heavy
You should try a necky manitou. They supposedly weigh 45lbs, but I have not weighed mine yet, I was going to get a tandem until I realized just how heavy the thing was, no way did I want to try to lift that boat on the car by myself. The necky is 12’10" and 24.75" wide, very easy to handle with those dimensions.

This is as short and thin as I wanted to go right now and at $659 it’s as much as I wanted to pay right now. You should definately find a place where you can try before you buy, that’s what I did.

Look at these 3 kayaks
If you want light weight, look at the Lincoln “Chabeaque” (pronounced Sha-bee) It is 14’6" long, by 24" wide. The standard layup is Kevlar/fiberglass combo, and it weighs 33 Lb. Capacity is up to 220 Lb. It is also available in all kevlar at 28 Lb. I had one and really liked the way it paddled.

My wife has a Hurricane Aqua Sports “Tampico”. It is a Thermo Formed Plastic, and it is 24" wide, by 13’6" long. She is happy with it, but is is a recreational kayak. I have heard the Hurricane “Tracer” is a little more of a performance kayak than the Tampico. Their Trylon seems to hold up well.

I am also a big fan of the Impex line of kayaks, as I have an Assateague. But none of them are “real lightweights” like the ones I listed above. But Impex really make a great “performance” kayak!

Good luck in your quest!

I second
the Hurricane Aqua Sports boats. I have a Tracer. It is 16.5 ft long and weights 46 lbs and cost less than most poly boats (There is a used one in the classified ad section). I have a bad shoulder and can still get it on top my truck. They have 4 or 5 other designs, all of the rec boats. They have also come out with a SOT boat just this year. Check out the reviews here on P net.

Pakboats in p-net
From the newsletter:

“Pakboats Added to Boat Buyers Guide has just added Pakboats to the Boat Buyers’ Guide. Pakboats offers a variety of high-end folding canoes and kayaks that are lightweight and durable. Find out about the entire line of boats from Pakboats at:”

Might be something you are looking for.