I’m 80 years old and have always used canoes. Since my husband died I cannot transport the canoe. Looking to buy a kayak that is close to 40 lbs, use on local lakes and streams. Just want to enjoy the outdoors and possibly fish a little. Need a kayak that I can lift and put on the car alone. I would also like to spend under $500.
Consider an inflatable
For that budget, an inflatable may be your best option.
Some options for solo inflatables would be the 16 pound Innova Twist, available from L.L. Bean for $499. Another would be the Advanced Elements Sport kayak at $449 from REI and other vendors. REI also has the 32 pound Aquaglide Columbia XP One for $499. The latter might feel most like the hard shell boats that you are accustomed to.
There are also solo pack canoes that can be as light as 13 pounds, but these tend to be quite costly.
Another lightweight option is folding kayaks which are very easy to carry and load. There was a Pakboat Puffin folding kayak for sale on Ebay for $500 until recently, which would have been a very good choice, but I see that it has sold already.
I have a Puffin myself – it is a 12’ skin on frame kayak that only weighs 24 lbs and can be paddled either open like a canoe or with the removable deck on it as a sit inside kayak. I picked mine up for $500 some years ago, also on Ebay, so they do turn up occasionally for a decent price. You need not break down a folding kayak – you could have someone help you assemble it and leave it set up to use it whenever you like. In fact, the folks at Pakboat had an octogenarian customer for many years who had a Puffin – she would bring it to them every Fall to dismantle and pack in its duffel bag for the winter. In the Spring she would bring the packed boat back and they would set it up for her. Of course, this only works if you live near them in New Hampshire. But assembly is simple – I can set mine up in 20 minutes with little effort (I’ll be 66 in June).
Unfortunately, a new one is over $1000, though they have a demo on sale now on the Pakboat site for $900.
Pungo Ultralite 40 lbs. 12ft stiff thermo form construction for a slick on the water fast glide kayak. Easy big cockpit to enter and great for fishing. Only bad is price $1.250 I own an '05 Pungo Duralite 39 lbs . Better than standard Pungo at 49 lbs.