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The 10 Best Lightweight Kayaks for Beginners in 2022

Last updated May 20, 2022| Gear

Kayaking is one of the best ways to observe nature in its most unspoiled form. Few outdoor recreational activities can match the sublime joys of watching wild birds dive for fish or a moose bounding through shallow waters as you paddle calm waters on your journey of personal discovery.

As the global pandemic subsides, it is time to venture outdoors again and answer the call of the wild. Some of you may be kayaking for the first time, and our 2022 best lightweight kayaks guide for beginners is the best online resource to help you select the best and safest kayak available for you at reasonable prices.

Here’s everything you need to know to start paddling. 

The 10 Best Lightweight Kayaks for Beginners in 2022

What Is A Lightweight Kayak?

In my opinion, what makes a kayak lightweight boils down to these three factors.

  1. Weight – a lightweight kayak should be something you could simply pick up and walk away with, right? You definitely should not have any problems storing, transporting, unpacking, inflating, and launching a lightweight kayak. Our weight benchmark is anything less than 22 kg (50 lb), which is way less than the weight of the kayaks on our list.
  2. Structure – inflatable or hardshell, the choice is yours. Beginners may feel comfortable with the security and rigidity of a hard shell kayak, but they weigh extra, and you can’t easily transport them. Inflatable kayaks are lighter and compact, meaning they can be foldable and carried in a backpack for travel. However, they require extra gear like air pumps. 
  3. Materials – plastics, carbon fiber resins, polyester, and tarpaulin. The list of materials used for making lightweight kayaks is endless, and nylon and canvas are ideal materials for the best lightweight kayaks. Plus, if you are tired of paddling, you can easily pack up for transport.

Standard Features of A Lightweight Kayak

Although the goal of creating a lightweight kayak is to remove as much weight as possible, manufacturers include creature comforts to provide comfortable and fun kayaking moments.

Here’s what to look for when buying a lightweight kayak. 

  • Cockpit space is vital. Check if the kayak has enough room for you.
  • You should check for onboard storage compartments to keep your drink, snacks, sunscreen, or medications safe and dry. Also, see if there is a hatch to stow your paddles (vital) and other stuff like your life jacket or helmet tie-down points. 
  • You don’t want your kayaking adventure to result in back pain. So, check if the kayak has an adjustable seat with a backrest. Also, look out for footrests, and thigh braces are critical deal breakers.
  • Accessories are an essential part of the overall package. Check for air pumps. 

The 10 Best Lightweight Kayaks for Beginners in 2022

Best Lightweight Kayaks for Beginners Under $250

1. Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak

418RZ n4i6L. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor
  • Brand: Sevylor
  • Type: Inflatable kayak
  • Material: Polyester/PVC Tarpaulin
  • Weight: 8.16kg (18 pounds) 
  • Weight Capacity: 181.4 kg (400 pounds)

Kayaks from Sevylor are renowned for their excellent build quality and unparalleled flexibility, and the Quikpak K1 Kayak is no exception. This inflatable sit-on-top kayak stays afloat while you soak in nature’s beauty, and it folds into an integrated backpack complete with padded shoulder straps whenever you decide to hit the hiking trail. Out on the lake, the Quikpak K1 kayak combines a nimble lightweight design with a rigid reinforced keel guaranteed to handle the most bagged riverbeds. 

The Sevylor Quikpak K1 kayak offers terrific value and endless thrills for less than two hundred dollars. And should you run into trouble, its multiple air chamber design and reinforced bottom structure will ensure your safe return to shore. 

Product Highlights:

  • Rapid set-up process allows you to hit the water in 5 minutes.
  • A comfortable seat that also doubles as an integrated backpack for easy storage.
  • Heavy-duty 21-gauge PVC construction and thick tarpaulin bottom to prevent puncture.
  • Ingenious triple-air chamber design traps air in other chambers when a chamber suffers a leak.
  • Double lock feature with two locking points providing fast and easy inflation/deflation. 
  • Available with backrest, multiposition footrests, secure front-area cargo net, detachable paddle, and high-pressure hand pump. 

$159.99 $219.99

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-27%
Last update: 2 days ago

2. Intex Challenger K1  Inflatable Kayak

416c1ImFu6L. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor
  • Brand: Intex
  • Type: Inflatable kayak
  • Material: Plastic
  • Weight: 11.3 kg (25 pounds) 
  • Weight Capacity: 100 kg (220 pounds)

Designed for use in calm waters, easy on the budget, and popular with first-time kayakers, the Intex Challenger K1 inflatable kayak is one of the best lightweight kayaks for beginners. Most first impressions tend to dismiss this kayak as a pool toy. Do not be fooled; the Intex Challenger K1 kayak is the perfect watercraft under $250 for relaxing lakeside explorations. We were amazed by our test model’s excellent handling and performance, great stability, and high build quality. 

The Intex Challenger is an excellent choice for your first foray into the exciting kayaking world without breaking your bank account. And for less than a hundred dollars, you get an inflatable boat and seat, an aluminum oar, and a hand pump, all of which fits inside a small carry bag. 

Product Highlights:

  • It is made from durable, high-quality materials with attractive graphics to make you stand out from the crowd. 
  • Standard cargo net to store your belongings. 
  • Inflatable seat available with backrest. 
  • Rugged dual air chamber design for extra safety. 
  • It comes with a removable skeg providing straight-line directional movement.

$177.99 $229.97

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-23%
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3. Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak

51WQzCe kIL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor
  • Brand: Lifetime
  • Type: Hard-shell kayak
  • Material: Polyethylene 
  • Weight: 8.16 kg (18 Pounds)
  • Weight Capacity: 59 kg (130 pounds)

The Lifetime Youth Wave 6-foot sit-on-top kayak provides a whole new outdoor paddle sports recreational experience for kayakers of every skill level. Featuring a hard-shell design specifically built for kids from age five up. It has a wide platform design for super stability while exploring oceans, lakes, and you are favorite flatwater. Re-entering the kayak after a dive or swim is a breeze with the unique rear-end Swim-Up step, a patented design unique to the Lifetime range of kayaks. 

The Lifetime Youth Wave kayak is made from super durable impact-resistant materials, and a lightweight design with a front handle makes it easy for kids to carry, transport, and store. Join in the fun and unleash the spirit of adventure in you with a Lifetime Youth Wave kayak. 

Product Highlights:

  • Twin fin design assisting straight-line performance. 
  • Molded paddle cradle.
  • Multiple self-draining scupper holes.
  • Available with one youth paddle. 
  • High strength Polyethylene construction with non-fade UV protection. 
  • Molded finger handles on each side.
  • Multiple footrest positions for paddlers of different sizes. 

$134.50 $149.00

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-10%
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Best Lightweight Kayaks for Beginners Under $500

1. Lifetime Lotus Kayak

51DPjow2pcL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor
  • Brand: Lifetime
  • Type: Hard-shell kayak
  • Material: Polyethylene 
  • Weight: 17.2 kg (38 Pounds)
  • Weight Capacity: 113.4 kg (250 pounds)

Enjoy solitude with the Lotus sit-on-top kayak from Lifetime. The budget-friendly adult watercraft is one of the best lightweight kayaks for beginners under $500 offering great value for the keen or occasional recreational kayaker. The Lotus kayak is designed wide, providing outstanding stability with no danger of tipping over. The Lotus kayak’s twin skegs offer excellent maneuverability and superb handling whether paddling in calm waters or choppy waves.

The Lifetime Lotus Kayak lightweight design allows easy shore-to-water transportation. Its compact shape fits on a truck bed or roof rack, and the flat end allows upright storage in a closet, basement, or garage. Accessories like an adjustable backrest, a dry storage compartment, straps to secure your items, and more can help transform your Lotus kayak into the perfect outdoor all-around recreational kayak for paddling, sailing, and fishing, or surfing adventures. 

Product Highlights:

  • Durable polyethylene hard-shell construction. 
  • Center located carrying handle.
  • Deep storage well with bungee straps. 
  • Kayak paddle included with the item. 

$399.99

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Last update: 2 days ago

2. Pelican Maxim 100X Kayak

- Heart for Outdoor
  • Brand: Pelican
  • Type: Hard-shell kayak
  • Material: Plastic
  • Weight: 16.3 kg (36 Pounds)
  • Weight Capacity: 125 kg (275 pounds)

A world of adventure awaits when paddling with the Maxim 100X recreational sit-in kayak. Featuring a revolutionary shallow V-chine hull design providing improved secondary stability and speed to other comparable recreational kayaks. The Maxim 100X kayak is one of the best lightweight kayaks for beginners looking for better performance, comfort, and safety. 

Built from highly durable RAM-X impact-resistant plastic, the Maxim 100X kayak is remarkably a lightweight watercraft designed to be carried to and from the water by a single person. The cockpit is comfortable with molded footrests, an adjustable ERGOFORMTM padded backrest, and ERGOBASETM padded seat. The Maxim 100X kayak is designed for lakes, rivers, and small streams, and it gives you the confidence to venture into the unknown, creating thrilling adventures that last a lifetime.

Product Highlights:

  • Front hatch storage with bungee straps. 
  • Ample rear dry storage well with a mesh cover. 
  • Cockpit table with integrated bottle holder and extra compartments. 
  • Integrated foam blocks inside both sides of the hull offer increased buoyancy and improved stability. 
  • Two bungee carrying handles front and rear, and a drain plug.

$399.99

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Last update: 2 days ago

3. ADVANCED ELEMENTS Lagoon 1 Kayak

411d+4b2z7L. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor
  • Brand: ADVANCED ELEMENTS
  • Type: Rip-stop Polyester/PVC Tarpaulin
  • Material: Plastic
  • Weight: 10.5 kg (23 Pounds)
  • Weight Capacity: 113 kg (250 pounds)

Join the kayaking fun with the nimble Lagoon 1 inflatable recreational kayak from ADVANCED ELEMENTS. The Lagoon 1 kayak is designed for leisurely lake paddling or a slow cruise down a river. It t is considered one the best lightweight kayaks for beginners, with unique accessories and safety features guaranteed to keep your mind on your next adventure.

The ADVANCED ELEMENTS Lagoon 1 kayak is made from a durable polyester upper deck. A reinforced PVC tarpaulin hull with rigid built-in supports provides you with extra balance when paddling. It has a tracking fin for better directional stability and rigid landing plates in the bow and stern. The Lagoon 1 kayak’s lightweight construction makes it a delight to set up. Simply unpack, unfold, inflate, and you are in the water in ten minutes. 

Product Highlights:

  • High-quality rubber handles. 
  • Inflatable seats with backrest for improved comfort.  
  • Inner tube cover for improved protection and structural rigidity. 
  • Available with accessories include a duffel carry bag, air pump, paddles, repair kit, inflatable seat, and owner’s manual. 

$359.00

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4. Sevylor Quikpak K5 Kayak

41JVK 5gC3L. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor
  • Brand: Sevylor
  • Type: Inflatable
  • Material: Polyester/PVC Tarpaulin
  • Weight: 11.6 kg (25.5 Pounds)
  • Weight Capacity: 113 kg (250 pounds)

A primary advantage of the Sevylor Quikpak K5 kayak design is its faster setup process than other comparable kayaks. The inflatable, sit-in kayak’s unique backpack storage design is easy to unpack, allowing you to start paddling on your favorite lake, bay, or estuary within five minutes. The Quikpak K5 folds into a convenient backpack that doubles as the seat when you are done.

Inflatable kayaks have earned a bad rap for sprouting holes at the slightest contact. But the Quikpak features a heavy-duty 24-gauge PVC construction with a rugged and highly durable tarpaulin hull providing exceptional protection against sharp rocks and floating debris. A unique feature of the Quikpak K5 kayak is the multiple air chamber design which inflates independently of each other and keeps the kayak afloat when there is a puncture. The Sevylor Quikpak K5 kayak comes with a long list of accessories and offers excellent value as one of the best lightweight kayaks for beginners in 2022.

Product Highlights:

  • Available with two double lock valves using two locking points for quick inflation and deflation. 
  • A heavy-duty polyester cover prevents your pet’s nails and other sharp objects from puncturing the air chamber. 
  • An integrated backpack storage feature that turns into a seat.
  • Deep storage compartments with bungee strap for latching your items. 

$292.99 $379.99

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-23%
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Best Lightweight Kayaks for Beginners Under $1000

1. Aqua Marina Laxo-285 Kayak

41ONhH2ABsL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor
  • Brand: AM AQUA MARINA 
  • Type: Inflatable
  • Material: Polyester
  • Weight: 11.5 kg (25.4 Pounds)
  • Weight Capacity: 110 kg (242 pounds)

Enjoy a leisurely fun-filled day paddling your preferred lakes or rivers with AQUA MARINA’s Laxo-285 Inflatable Kayak, a high-quality watercraft considered by many as one of the best lightweight kayaks for beginners and expert paddlers. In line with an unending commitment to improving its product line. AQUA MARINA has upgraded 2022 models of Laxo-285 kayak with AQUASHELLTM Technology, a groundbreaking protective hull fabric featuring a high-tech digital printing technique, anti-UV treatment, and water-repellent coating. 

A pair of revved-up center fins are underneath all the bling, delivering outstanding stability and straight-line tracking. The Laxo-285 is packed with excellent stuff enabling you to embark on an adventure to remember. These include a comfortably padded seat with an integrated backrest, a large deck area, and liberal dry storage space for your camera to record it all. 

Product Highlights:

  • Available with multiple rubber carry handles for convenient transportation. 
  • Durable Boston valve enabling quick and stress-free inflation/deflation. 
  • V-shape keel design offers excellent tracking. 
  • Water splash guard bow design complete with bungee straps installed fore and aft.

$610.99

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Last update: 2 days ago
 

2. Solstice Flare 1 Person Inflatable Kayak

41QJ8+oaTyS. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor
  • Brand: Solstice 
  • Type: Inflatable
  • Material: Nylon
  • Weight: 11.8 kg (26 Pounds)
  • Weight Capacity: 145.15 kg (320 pound

Suppose you are ready for a lifetime of fun and adventure on the water. In that case, the Solstice Flare 1-person inflatable kayak is among the best lightweight kayaks for beginners and the ideal watercraft for whitewater paddling. The Solstice Flare features a practically indestructible high-performance 1000 Denier nylon fabric deck emblazoned in dazzling colors and a rugged, high-pressure PVC hull construction for improved stability and balance in fast-moving waters. 

Paddle safely with the HPI valve triple air chamber inflation system, which keeps you afloat even with a puncture. The Solstice Flare kayak is easy to inflate and transport, and the deflation process is a piece of cake with the kayak folded in its bag within minutes. The Flare Kayak from Solstice comes with a long list of accessories, including an adjustable seat with a backrest for sunny moments of solitude. 

Product Highlights:

  • Available with two grab handles and eight stainless steel D Ring tie-down points. 
  • Screw drain valves and spray skirts in the front and back to keep the occupant dry. 
  • Bungee cords for cargo storage.
  • Multi-position footrests are installed in the cockpit.
  • Available with a high-pressure pump, gauge, repair kit, and carry bag. 

$539.99

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Last update: 2 days ago

3. ADVANCED ELEMENTS AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak

41GK4A4XksL. SL500 - Heart for Outdoor
  • Brand: ADVANCED ELEMENTS
  • Type: Inflatable
  • Material: Rip-stop Polyester/PVC Tarpaulin
  • Weight: 16 kg (36 Pounds)
  • Weight Capacity: 136 kg (300 pounds)

The ADVANCED ELEMENTS AdvancedFrame kayak combines the versatility of an inflatable kayak with the performance of a hard shell in a compact and lightweight hybrid design that offers maximum fun for your weekend adventures. It has a durable, high-quality polyester fabric and a reinforced PVC tarpaulin hull construction with welded landing plates in the bow and stern for extra protection when beaching. 

The AdvancedFrame kayak’s remarkable balance and stability in the water come from its integrated bow and stern aluminum ribs insert, offering excellent straight-line tracking rivaling traditional hard shell kayaks. The lightweight design of the AdvancedFrame kayak folds flat in a few minutes and can be stored in a car trunk garage. The AdvancedFrame inflatable kayak from ADVANCED ELEMENTS is undoubtedly one of the best lightweight kayaks for beginners and expert paddlers with a long list of high-end accessories and components, 

Product Highlights:

  • Triple-layer puncture-resistance fabric construction. 
  • Premium adjustable padded seat with backrest. 
  • Compact factory pre-assembled design.

$1,199.00 $1,199.99

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Last update: 2 days ago

Conclusion

While lightweight kayaks are available in different styles and types, your primary mission is to narrow down your options based on their water performance, comfort after a long paddling day, their accessories, durability, ease of transportation, and weight capacity. You should check out how long it takes to set up your preferred inflatable kayak and whether you can easily lift the hard shell kayak to the water. I hope this article points you in the right direction. 

See you at the waters. 

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