sea kayak

I would like to buy a sea kayak the weights less than 50 lbs. I’ve look at the betsy bay and I like it, but I not sure that I would want to pay that much for it. Does anyone have any suggestions for a good, stable kayak that weights less than 50 lbs.

More info needed.
What size are you? Price range? What do you mean by stable? Stability is fairly subjective. What are your intended uses? Have you paddled before?

These answers will get you started toward some choices.

Define “stable"
Not trying to be difficult, but what’s your standard for “stable”? 28” rec boat? 22" touring boat? 19" ski? There are folks here who would describe each of those as stable.

If you tell us more about your size, and what boats you have & haven’t liked, we could offer more help.

If you want a lightweight boat and don’t want to spend a lot, your options should include buying used or building.

Not difficult…

– Last Updated: Sep-08-06 10:39 PM EST –

Most manufactures offer a variety of lay-ups. However the cost is inversely proportional to the weight.

First find the boat you like to paddle and then see what it takes to get the weight down. Having a light boat that you hate is no good either.

Build a stitch and glue
Kevlar weight at less than plastic price. You’re not going to get better value for money in a light, sturdy sea kayak.

Second That Approach…
…‘cause you can save a lot of money and get a lot of boat with S&G construction.

I build VOLKSKAYAKs - 17’, 25" beam, about 40 lbs. Takes about $400-500 Cdn. and 60-80 hours labour from raw materials to finished hull and deck - ready for painting. Construction is simple and straightforward. Wouldn’t dream of trading a VK for any plastic boat I’ve paddled, or of paying the 10X permium for Kevlar. Other designs - the Pygmys, the CLC’s, One Oceans, etc., should be equally good choices.

Tried the web address, but all it came up with was a kind of generic web portal for kayak-related sites. Where do you find more about volkskayaks?

There are tradeoffs
If by stable you mean initial stability then you are looking at a wider kayak, say 24" wide. That adds weight. Under 50 pounds means a shorter boat (about 16 feet long) and probably more expensive material. So if you are willing to pay for carbon you can get a longer boat then if you only want to pay for fiberglass. There are a number of 16’ boaats out there that are listed as 49 pounds but they are also narrower (less initial stability). You might look at the QCC q400s. It is a little over 15 feet long, 24" wide, and weighs 50 pounds in fiberglass. It weighs 38 pounds in carbon. Add a rudder or skeg and the weight goes up a bit.

Betsie Bays
The Betsie Bays are concidered “advanced” and are not “stable”.

You’ll be in a much better position if you have tried a sea kayak before looking for one.

But don’t make the common mistake
Judging by the comments at’s Build site, a lot of new builders use way too much epoxy. This includes myself. Epoxy is darned heavy.

If you decide to build, study that website for at least a few weeks to find out what the common mistakes are. It’ll save you time, heartache, re-working, and WEIGHT.

Re The VOLKSKAYAK Website…
Re the VOLKSKAYAK - the website is indeed down, as Gerry Gladwin, the designer, ceased doing his VK workshops several years ago after his insurance company demanded a 1500% increase in his liability insurance. Plans are still available thru Gerry, and he’s willing to answer questions, etc., thru e-mail or snailmail. He’s working a “real” job these days and hence isn’t always instantly available. I’m also willing to help anyone building a VK along, but Gerry is the Guru!

There is some hope that we’ll get the site up and running some time this fall - I’ve talked to Gerry about resurrecting it, with my ISP as the host, and he’s definitely interested. The VK is just too fine a design to have it disappear. If anyone has any specific questions, feel free to drop me a line anytime - and if you want Gerry’s e-mail and snail mail addresses, let me know.


Rick Hayes


sea kayak
I’m about 5’7" and medium built. I’ve tried the betsy bay, eddy line, romany and Impex. I liked the betsy bay the best of all three. I would like to keep my purchase around $1,700 to $2,500. Of all the boats that I paddled I like the Romany the best, but it is to heavy for me to haul on my own. I’m not even sure where to buy a Romany.I’m not handy enough to build my own kayak, but it would be fun to try. The other draw back I found on the Romany is the storage. I thinking about getting in to camping trips.

Elaho sport
Hey you may want to try an Elaho sport in fiberglass. advertised at 43 lbs, just over 14 feet long. should have a good fit and if anything like my standard plastic Elaho,have great secondary stability,rolls great and lots of room for gear. the 14 footer won’t have as much room but mine has plenty for completely self supported 4-5 day trip including my take-apart cart stuffed into the day hatch. I see the sport doesn’t have a day hatch so it should make loading for a camping trip easier.

"Not handy enough"
That’s what I though for years. I’m the kid who flunked woodshop. But I built one from a kit, it’s beautiful, and is an awesome boat.

There may be other reasons that building a boat is not for you right now. But don’t underestimate your abilities. If I can build one, believe me, anyone can.

just buy the Betsie Bay!

– Last Updated: Sep-10-06 5:08 PM EST –

I'm 5'6", medium built, and I love my Betsie Bay valkyrie. I hesitated before buying it because $3500 is a lot of money--but the boat only weights 30 lbs, and your skills will increase tremendously in that boat.

The BBK valkyrie is worth every penny--at least, it's been worth it for me. My friends who are new to paddling feel comfortable in the boat, much more comfortable than they felt in my kevlar necky elaho (which cost just as much as the BBK, and which I sold to help pay for the BBK). The BBK feels stable to new paddlers, but it's also fast and nimble, and a good boat for learning lots of rolls in.

Seriously, if that's the boat you like the best, just find the extra $1000 and go for it. The boat will last for a dozen years or so, so think of it as an annual cost (not much, right--only $80 per year extra for the boat you really wanted, and if you paddle it 80 times a year, that's only a dollar a paddle for what you really wanted--cheaper than half a cup of coffee).

The nice thing about a 30 lb boat is that you'll take it out every day, since it's so light. (Right now, I'm away from Lake Superior for a month, and in serious withdrawal mode, since I can't paddle every day. When I had 50 lb kayaks, I didn't paddle nearly as much, since cartopping the boats was a hassle).

I've paddled my friend's romany a lot, and while it's a good boat (of course!), the BBK is more fun (for me). And a lot lighter. Neither of them have a lot of room for hauling around tons of camping gear, but that's why light, compact backpacking gear was invented. I can fit a week's worth of stuff in my bbk, especially if someone else carries the food.

under 50#'s and under $2500
That would be used or a screaming deal on a smaller kevlar kayak or carbon/kevlar as a regular kevlar boat will be around 50lbs.

You won’t find a production glass boat for under $2500 and under 50lbs unless it’s a small production boat direct sale like a QCC300 carbon/kevlar kayak.