Fishing kayaks are usually heavier than comparable recreational kayaks. In short, a fishing kayak can weigh anywhere from 50 to over 100 pounds.
This will depend on factors like length, width material, and accessories. Your average 10 foot fishing kayak that’s made of HDPE(High Density Polyethylene) will weigh around 55 pounds.
However, a more heavily outfitted and wider fishing kayak can easily get into the 120 pound range. These wider kayaks are meant for sitting and standing. As a result, they’ll need to be more stable and much heavier than regular kayaks of the same material.
Kayak Weight And Materials
Modern kayaks are usually made of plastic. But there are different densities and processes involved that can affect a kayak’s weight.
Plastic kayaks are either rotomolded HDPE(High Density Polyethylene) or thermoformed. Rotomolding results in a uniform hull that is made by melting plastic beads in a hull mold.
The mold is rotated so that the melting plastic can fill the entire mold. Once the plastic cools and solidifies, the hull is removed from the mold.
This method results in strong kayaks that can have walls of varying thickness. This results in a heavier kayak.
Thermforming a kayak involves taking thin plastic sheets and heating them. Then, the sheets are formed around the shape of the kayak. Usually the top and bottom halves are made seprately and then fused together. This results in a lighter kayak than you would get from rotomolding.
Lightweight Fishing Kayaks
Lighter fishing kayaks will normally fall in the 8 to 10 foot length range. These kayaks will range in width from about 20 to 30 inches.
A kayak in this category will weigh around 45 to 60 pounds. The weight you end up with will depend on factors like hull thickness and accessories.
Accessories may look like they don’t add much weight, but they do. For example, a nice, folding kayak chair can weight as much as 5 pounds. But remember that the hull has to be reinforced to hold the chair and weight of the angler. This will add to the overall weight of the kayak.
Add to that rod holders, gear tracks and hatches and you can see how you can easily get a 10 foot kayak into the 50 pound range.
Heavyweight Fishing Kayaks
Heavyweight fishing kayaks will weigh in excess of 100 pounds. You may think this weight would be attributed to a very long hull, but that is not necessarily the case.
A fishing kayak just over 10 feet in length can easily weigh 100 pounds. So, where is all the weight coming from?
There are 3 main contributors:
Fishing kayaks that you can stand on are wider than your average recreational kayak. This means more plastic is needed to build them. Some are stabilized by multi hull designs. This will make them even heavier.
Additionally. some manufacturers add foam to the inside of their kayak hulls. This helps add rigidity and buoyancy to their boats. Of course, this comes with a weight penalty.
Finally, fishing kayaks need many accessories. High seats that fold and provide storage are common. Many have high and low positions or rotate.
Add to that gear tracks for placing rod holders and fish finders. Hatches for internal storage, rails, scuppers, rudders and skegs all add to the weight totals.
With weight capacities that reach 500 pounds, it’s no wonder that these hulls have to be very strong. To carry all this gear and stay rigid, they’ll need thicker hull walls.
A great example of a kayak in the heavyweight category is the Hobie PA14. It weighs over 120 pounds. But that’s just the hull weight. The fully rigged weight exceeds 140 pounds.
Transporting Fishing Kayaks
Fishing kayaks are heavier than recreational kayaks. This means they often times require special transporting methods.
Many anglers will cartop their kayaks. This means that they have to take off many of the accessories such as the chairs, rods and fish finders.
If the kayak weighs in excess of 60 pounds, it will be difficult to hoist the entire kayak onto the roof of your car. As a result, the angler will have to carefully slide the kayak onto their car roof.
If doing all this is undesirable, there are alternatives to lifting a heavy kayak on to a vehicle’s roof.
Pick up truck beds are a great option for moving your kayak. The kayak will be closer to the ground, so you don’t have to lift it as far.
If the kayak is too long, you can get a bed extender. This will let you haul kayaks of just about any length from your truck bed.
Another option is a trailer. With a trailer, you’ll be able to launch your kayak from a boat ramp. You won’t ever have to carry it using this technique.
The drawback is that trailers incur registration, parking restrictions and additional costs.
Finally, if you’re going to be moving a heavy kayak by hand, you may want to invest in a kayak cart. This is usually a two wheeled cart that you place under your kayak. You can then lift one end of your kayak and roll it to your launch point and back.