In our first installment, we discussed briefly regarding the 4 attributes when purchasing a kayak. In this article, we will dive in more deeply on Weight. We will talk a little about the material, construction type and how the weight of the kayak will affect performance. Primarily we will focus on Sit On Top (SOT) kayaks, that can be easily purchased here in America. We do not have any affiliation to any kayak company or manufacturer, so this will be an unbiased opinion as possible.
Weight is something that will be different for many people. We aren't all built the same and we don't all haul our yak to the water in the same way either. Kayaks are not all built the same. The two most popular materials are rotomolded polyethylene and polycarbonate plastics also known as thermoformed. Kayaks are also built from fiberglass, kevlar, and wood. So when looking at kayaks you should consider what material it is made out of; since this has a direct correlation to the weight of the kayak.
Rotomolded polyethylene is the most common method and material in kayak builds today. Polyethylene is more flexible than the other kayak materials which allow the kayak to hold up well to an impact. Rotomolded is softer than thermoformed so it will scratch easier and deform if left in the hot sun; rotomolded is also heavier than thermoformed.
Thermoformed plastic is a hard lightweight plastic with a shiny appearance. Most kayak manufacturers make a few models with thermoformed plastic. While this material is harder than rotomolded it is not a common material in SOT kayaks. It is more expensive than rotomolded and it does not hold up well to impacts and will crack.
The weight of a kayak is mostly because of the length and the weight of the kayak. What some people overlook are the accessories that are molded into the hull. For example rod mounts, anchor trolleys, gear tracks, tackle storage compartments, foot pegs, pedal drives and molded seat mounts. All of these things can add significant eight to a kayak. There are so many different kayak manufacturers on the market today. Listing all the different models and explaining the weights would be daunting, to say the least.
Once you've determined how much you are willing to lift and carry; you have one more weight statistic to consider. The total capacity of the kayak. This is the total weight that the kayak can carry, which means it is anything in or on the kayak when it's in the water. For example, if the total capacity is 350 lbs. and you are a 200 lbs. person, that leaves you 150 lbs. for gear. For most people that use their kayak for recreational paddling or fishing, this capacity isn't much of a concern. For paddlers that kayak camp this capacity is a very important number. The weight of the gear taken for long camping trips can add up quickly.