Suggestions light - ultralight kayaks

Looking for ideas for light, durable kayaks. Price isn’t a problem. A permanent back injury resricts my ability to heft kayaks easily any longer. I currently own an Eddyline Merlin XT. Reluctanty I have had to sell 3 other favorites. Need to find a similar size light touring craft but lighter. Any suggestions?


– Last Updated: Oct-23-06 5:19 PM EST –

Epic 16X, 41 lb, which is not that much different than your 46 lb Merlin XT. If go smaller, Epic GPS, a 12 footer, 30 lb. Again, it still might not be light enough. AeroLITE is 10 lb, but it's a sit on top canoe. Check out SOF, too.

how ‘bout a trailer?
i have two boats on a jonboat trailer. they are always ready to go and i only have to lift half a boat about 24" to load. if thats not an option i’d look for a phoenix isere. a do it all boat at about 15’, weighs less than 40 lbs

I’m going to be giving a Tideline a serious look this spring/summer when it’s upgrade time. From the same guy that builds Onno paddles, which everyone loves.


I built
a SOF that weighs 20 lb. I doubt if you can get a lot lighter than that.

Lincoln in Maine makes light boats

There also is a small independent builder in Maine that makes a very lightweight, but extremely stong boat(below 40lbs.) called the Surge. He has no web sire and builds them pne at a time, but Billington Kayak in Mass. carries them and here is info on it.

Skin on frame
it really does not get much lighter. If youve got the time to build and learn it’s also reasonably inexpensive I hear.

This builder quoted a price for a custom SOF that was less than many plastic sea kayaks. There are probably several others who could do similar work.

The Yost SOFs also look like a fairly easy build.

The Puffin Swift folder is only 26lbs, and under $1000. I haven’t padded one but liked the looks of the one in the local shop.

Many surfskis are in the 30-pound range.

How about a custom wood/fiberglass?
Have you considered having a strip and/or okume sng kayak built for you? I know that there are many builders who could build your own choice of design at about 35lbs…perhaps less.

Following are a number of professionals who design/build kayaks. You could also purchase a design/kit and have it built by an experienced builder as well.

Nick Schade @

Joe Greenley @

Rob Macks @

Keep us posted as to your decision…


NC Kayaks
The LT version of the various NC Kayaks models are very lite for there length.


I owned a 17ft and recommend it.

First Light . . .
. . . 380C comes in at 17.2 pounds.

Feathercraft Wisper
Since price is no object, how about the very nice Feathercraft Wisper? It comes in a choice of regular or heavy-duty skins. The light one weighs about 33 lbs and the heavy one about 37 lbs, IIRC. Beam of 23", like the Merlins. Fifteen ft-and-something long, like the Merlin XT. Comes with sea sock, hatch covers, strap skeg, sprayskirt, and a cool rolling backpack case.

If you don’t mind building your own, Yost folders weigh about 31-32 lbs. That’s for his 17-footers with narrow beam. For one the size of the Merlin, I bet it would drop below the 30-lb mark.

Hornbeck boats
Hornbeck makes half a dozen canoe models that are under 20 pounds. They also have the Salar sea kayak at 16’6" and 23 pounds, heavier with hatches. I saw the Black Jack canoe and Salar at an expo, and they looked really nice - the Black Jack is 10’8" long and only 12 pounds - I know cause I picked it up.

Westside Boatshop

Light and FAST (if a bit minimal). My EFT weighs in at an honest 32 lbs. with hatch and rear bulkhead. Maybe a Solander?

phoenix isere
is a light boat that can do almost any kind of water

Compass Canoe
If the sit down, double bladed canoe option is an option then might want to check out a 17lb.-22lb. Compass Canoe. There’s 2 on eBay!.

Maybe an option, certainly light.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Betsie Bay Kayaks

– Last Updated: Oct-25-06 6:15 PM EST –

Betsie Bay kayaks are the classic lightweight kayaks. My valkyrie is 17 ft, 31 lbs, and they run $3500. Not cheap, but less than kevlar, which weighs a lot more. They have their idiosyncracies, but most owners love theirs.

Their website is