10 Best Small Kayaks To Buy In 2024

Best Overall 🏆
Intex Challenger Kayak, Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air-Pump
Runner Up 🥈
INTEX 68307EP Explorer K2 Inflatable Kayak Set: includes Deluxe 86in Kayak Paddles and High-Output Pump – Adjustable Seats with Backrest – Removable Skeg – 2-Person – 400lb Weight Capacity
Intex Challenger K1
Intex Explorer K2

Product Details:

  • Design Material: ‎Plastic
  • Dimensions: ‎12″ x 16″ x 28″
  • Self-Weight: ‎25 Pounds
  • Weight Capacity: ‎220 Pounds
  • Warranty Description: ‎No Warranty

Product Details:

  • Hull Design Material: Polypropylene
  • Inflated Dimensions: 10 feet 3 x 3 feet x 1 feet 8 inch
  • Self-Weight: 35 Pounds
  • Weight capacity: 400 pounds
  • Seating Capacity: 2

Best Overall 🏆
Intex Challenger Kayak, Inflatable Kayak Set with Aluminum Oars and High Output Air-Pump
Intex Challenger K1

Product Details:

  • Design Material: ‎Plastic
  • Dimensions: ‎12″ x 16″ x 28″
  • Self-Weight: ‎25 Pounds
  • Weight Capacity: ‎220 Pounds
  • Warranty Description: ‎No Warranty

Runner Up 🥈
INTEX 68307EP Explorer K2 Inflatable Kayak Set: includes Deluxe 86in Kayak Paddles and High-Output Pump – Adjustable Seats with Backrest – Removable Skeg – 2-Person – 400lb Weight Capacity
Intex Explorer K2

Product Details:

  • Hull Design Material: Polypropylene
  • Inflated Dimensions: 10 feet 3 x 3 feet x 1 feet 8 inch
  • Self-Weight: 35 Pounds
  • Weight capacity: 400 pounds
  • Seating Capacity: 2

Which Small Kayak For Fishing Is Best?

Most times, lovers of water adventure are faced with the huddle of transporting their vessels to the shore due to the bulkiness. 

This bulkiness and rigidity often pose a setback for kayakers who have small vehicles without storage racks to take their kayaks along for enjoyment.

The solution to this is buying a lightweight kayak. Owning a functional kayak comes with a lot of advantages. For one, it allows you to set out on the water whenever you want, and enjoy the beauty and tranquility nature has to offer.

Secondly, it allows for easy grab with one hand and makes you head out on an adventure whenever the need arises, without worrying about car racks or how to get it into the water by yourself without being tired out.

In essence, the right lightweight kayak is an antidote to the stress that accompanies having to transport heavy kayaks to the shore.

1. Intex Challenger K1


Product Details

  • Design Material: ‎Plastic
  • Dimensions: ‎12″ x 16″ x 28″
  • Self-Weight: ‎25 Pounds
  • Weight Capacity: ‎220 Pounds
  • Warranty Description: ‎No Warranty

This beast of a short and lightweight kayak is the king of portability, compactness, comfort, and pocket-friendliness. It comes with an aluminum ore of 84 inches, a self-weight of 28 pounds with a maximum weight capacity of 220 pounds.

Designed to offer optimum comfort, the model comes with an inflatable seat that is easily adjustable to your preferred position. The seat is padded and with a backrest to further enhance comfort

The kayak hull is made of superior quality polyvinyl which provides utmost resistance to puncture and abrasion damages. There are also inflatable I-beam floors included providing maximum stability. The inflatable floors also add to the overall comfort by allowing your legs to be comfortably placed as you paddle on.

Furthermore, thanks to its streamlined design, the steering system of the kayak is top-notch. It makes steering more like a breeze and keeps you in total control of your vessel. To cap it all, the Intex K1 is easily inflatable or inflatable. You can do this in seconds by using the included Boston valve.


  • Lightweight, budget-friendly kayak
  • Adjustable inflatable seat with foam padding
  • Inflatable I-beam floors provide maximum comfort
  • Improved steering.
  • Removable skeg for better tracking


  • Limited onboard storage space
  • Speed performance is not the best you’ll find around.

2. Intex Explorer K2


Product Details

  • Hull Design Material: Polypropylene
  • Inflated Dimensions: 10 feet 3 x 3 feet x 1 feet 8 inch
  • Self-Weight: 35 Pounds
  • Weight capacity: 400 pounds
  • Seating Capacity: 2

Here comes another most sought-after short and lightweight kayak from Intex. With Explorer K2, you will see that the company means business. The kayak effortlessly provides you with everything you need to enjoy a time out on small bodies of water including lakes and slow-moving rivers.

Made of tough, high-density polyethylene hull, the kayak is designed to withstand a few bumps and seldom impacts rocks. A tough silicone and a central I-beam floor also provide added stability and comfort for riders.

Moreover, there’s an adjustable inflatable seat with a backrest and a spacy cockpit for extra comfort. With a weight capacity of up to 400 pounds, the kayak is strong enough to accommodate two adventurers.

A removable skeg is added to enhance the directional stability of the kayak, allowing you to explore and navigate through tough corners with ease. Inflating and deflating the kayak is also an easy thing to do. To cap up its ability, this water beast comes at an affordable price of less than $200.


  • Tough silicone and a central I-beam
  • Detachable skeg for added directional stability
  • Affordable and inflatable watercraft


  • Risk of popping/not as durable
  • Slow on the water – Doesn’t go nearly as fast as a traditional kayak
  • Manually have to inflate w/ a pump or purchase a separate electric pump

3. Lifetime Wave Youth 6 feet Kayak with Paddle


Product Details

  • Weight: 18 Pounds
  • Material: Hard Shell
  • Weight Capacity: 130 pounds
  • Seating Capacity: 1

This sit-in kayak type from Lifetime Youth is the best on our list for young people aged 5 and above. Although it is made of high-density polyethylene hard shell, it provides a hassle-free experience.

It is compact at 6 feet and lightweight at only 18 pounds and offers incredible performance with a weight capacity of 130 pounds. And thanks to its hard shell, you can store it away after use for a while without worrying about it getting damaged or torn.

Molded on either side of the kayak are finger handles for easy transport. The kayak features a reverse chine for improved stability and safety. It also features a sloped rear, a paddle, and a swim-up step to allow your kid to step into the kayak easily.

The rider can also comfortably maintain multiple footrest positions and slowly maneuver the water however they want no matter their size. To top it up, this model is backed by a manufacturer’s limited warranty of 5 years.


  • Lightweight at only 18 pounds
  • Short and compact at only 6 feet
  • High-density polyethylene design guarantees durability
  • Provides a good way for motor skills kids
  • The low stern deck helps transform it into a fun swim raft
  • Ample onboard storage space
  • Comes with a paddle


  • Comfortability could have been better
  • Insufficient accessories

4. Sea Eagle 330 Deluxe

Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak

Product Details

  • Hull Design Material: Polykrylar
  • Dimensions: 11′ 2″ × 34″
  • Self-Weight: 26 pounds
  • Cockpit Size: 9.5’ x 13”

The Sea Eagle 330 is one of the best inflatable kayaks out there. With so much lightweight and portability, it represents a perfect option for kayakers who are conscious of both weight and space. When not in use, the kayak deflates to a pack size of 9.25″ × 17.9″ × 33.46″.

Although it is not the shortest on our list with an inflated length of 11 feet, the kayak has a cockpit space of 9.5′ × 13″ which is roomy enough to comfortably seat you and your little kid or a four-legged friend.

The shell is molded using an extra-tough K-8 polykrylar for better durability and resistance against puncture and abrasion damage and makes it come off with a boundless on-the-water performance in up to class III rapids. The manufacturer supported the model with a 3-year limited warranty.


  • Lightweight and portable
  • Occupies less storage space
  • Fit for 2 riders
  • Comes with a warranty of 3 years


  • The cockpit space is not enough for two adults

5. Oru Kayak Beach LT Folding Portable

Oru Kayak BayST Foldable Kayak

Product Details

  • Hull Design Material: Polypropylene
  • Folded Dimensions: 12′ × 28″
  • Self-Weight: 28 pounds
  • Cockpit Size: 48” x 25”
  • Seating Capacity: 2

Set apart to quickly and easily get you out on the water, the unique Beach LT from Oru Kayak is a big, friendly name on the market. Perfectly designed for calm, slow-moving waters like rivers, bays, and lakes, it’s a good choice for beginners and professionals alike.

Oru pioneered the original ‘Origami’ foldable kayak structure, so you don’t have to spend too much time getting on the water, with enough room to accommodate an adult and a child. 

The lightweight kayak gives a from-box-to-kayak vibe by allowing you to set up in less than 5 minutes. No long wait. No time wasting. Constructed using a high-quality polypropylene that is passed through a high level of toughness and durability tests. 

The polypropylene is also rated at 20,000 folds and is treated with 10-year-long UV protection. It also certifies and passes the United States Coast Guard requirements for recreational vessels.

When it comes to transporting the Oru Beach LT, the pressure goes on a break because it fits right into its carrying case, which is sold separately, and the trunk of your small vehicle. When folded down, the kayak weighs only 28 pounds, making it one of the most convenient kayaks to transport to wherever you want to go.

Moreso, this award-winning short and lightweight kayak features a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 1-year long warranty on the product, among over 15,000 kayaks by Oru.

One downside of this kayak is its low maneuverability and speed level which may not be ideal for professional users. Another is the absence of paddles and carrying cases. Besides these, the kayak is a good lightweight kayak option for your next adventure.


  • Lightweight at only 26 pounds
  • Foldable and easy to transport
  • Great stability with easy paddling
  • Enough onboard storage space
  • Roomy cockpit for easy access
  • Fit to be carried as a backpack
  • A good choice for an adult and a child or a pet


  • Designed mainly for beginners, professional kayakers may find it difficult to use
  • Paddles are absent

6. Point 65 Sweden Apollo Solo Red


Product Details

  • Hull Design Material: Polyethylene
  • Folded Dimensions: 8′ 10″ × 24.2″
  • Self-Weight: 40 pounds
  • Cockpit Size: 37” x 24”

The Solo Red from Point 65 is one of the best kayaks on our list. It may not be the lightest but its unique design, low weight, and remarkably wide range of performance qualify it to be among the most sought-after on the market.

The kayak’s sit-on design allows for easy boarding on the water or the shore. Apart from this, it comes with high rocker and maneuverability that makes it easy to navigate between rocks and bends. 

Moreover, the patented Snap-Tap technology embedded in the kayak allows you to snap it apart into two sections and reassemble it in seconds when you’re ready for action. Each of the two sections when split apart weighs 20 pounds with a length of 55 inches which makes it easy to transport and store.

Having the Apollo Solo takes away the need for an extra trolley or a car kayak storage rack as you can easily place your disassembled kayak on your vehicle’s back seat and travel wherever you want to.

Furthermore, Point 65’s Apollo Solo has a modular design that allows you to turn it into a tandem kayak by putting an additional centerpiece. With this, you create room for one more occupant to go on the ride with you without having to spend money on buying a new kayak.

One downside of this model is its needlessly wide frame. Another is the absence of a steering system to control tracking ability and speed.


  • Superiorly lightweight and portable
  • Great maneuverability
  • High rocker
  • Innovative Snap-Tap system for easy assembly
  • Easy to store
  • The modular design makes it fit most cars without a storage rack


  • The tracking ability could’ve been better
  • Relatively low top speed

7. Intex Excursion 5 Inflatable Boat Set


Product Details

  • Hull Design Material: Polypropylene
  • Dimensions: ‎144″ x 66″ x 17″
  • Self-Weight: ‎25 Kilograms
  • Seating Capacity: 5
  • Warranty Description: ‎Limited 3 months

Give the adventurer in you the best gift of convenience with the Intex Excursion 5. This special model offers you the utmost enjoyment of beautiful moments with enough room to contain your friends and loved ones, and any other gear you need on your trip. 

When fully inflated, the kayak maintains a dimensional size of 10.4′ × 5.5′ × 1.5 ‘ and a weight capacity totaling 1,320 pounds, the approximate weight of 5 people.

Constructed using a durable, puncture and abrasion-resistant PVC, and an inflatable I-beam floor for extra comfort and rigidity, the kayak features a triple air chamber including an inner auxiliary chamber inside the major hull for added buoyancy, stability, and safety.

With a gear pouch, two integrated fishing rod holders, and mount fittings for trolling motors, there has never been an easy and more dynamic way to go on a recreational or fishing adventure. 

Moreover, the kayak comes with two inflatable seats with backrests, one middle seat (without backrest), two aluminum oars of 54 inches, two oar handles with welded oar locks, strong grab handles plus grabs lines, a repair patch kit, an inflator with high output, two Boston valves and a storage duffel bag.

The kayak is approved by the US Coast Guard and NMMA for use on calm rivers and lakes.

8. Pelican Sentinel 100X Sit-on-top Kayak


Product Details

  • Hull Design Material: Plastic
  • Dimensions: 10′ × 30″
  • Self-Weight: 42 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 275 pounds
  • Seating Capacity: 1

There are only a few brands that make lightweight and powerful kayaks like the Pelican. Their reputation for producing excellent brands speaks for them in the world of coolers and rowboats. And with the Sentinel 100X, you can rest assured that you’ll get nothing less than quality.

The kayak is built using tough high-density polyethylene material which improves its ability to last. It has a self-weight of 42 pounds and an outstanding weight capacity of 275 pounds. The kayak is passed through a special production process that allows for the inclusion of an extra inner chamber inside the main hull for floatation.

There are scupper holes at the bottom of the kayak added to help drain excess water that might find its way into the vessel. The double-arched multiple chine outer shell and flatter hull design help to provide excellent stability for a safe and secure ride.

There is also the unique adjustable ERGOLOUNGE seating system that offers maximum cushioning and a moderately padded backrest. It also makes getting in and out of the kayak easy to do.

When it comes to storage, the Pelican Sentinel is properly equipped. The included EXOSHELL 13L detachable storage compartment offers enough room for all you need to hit the water, and there’s the tank well where you can keep it and strap it up with bungee cords for extra security.

Moreover, the manufacturer had you in mind by molding footrests for extra comfort to your leg, a bottle holder for rehydration, and twin paddle tie ropes to help give your hands a break when needed.


  • Lightweight with tough performance
  • Great maneuverability
  • Perfect for beginners


  • Absence of dry storage
  • Rod holders absent

9. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak


Product Details

  • Design Materials: 600D Nylon (canopy), Tarpaulin Polyester Fabric (floor), PVC (chambers)
  • Inflated Size: 10′ 5″ × 32″
  • Packed Dimensions: 30″ × 17″ × 10″
  • Seating Capacity: 1
  • Self-Weight: 36 pounds
  • Weight Capacity: 300 pounds

The AdvancedFrame® combines the power of both an inflatable kayak and a foldable kayak. It has a bottom part made of a hard shell and an inflatable upper part.

With the help of integrated aluminum ribs located at the bow and stern, the kayak cuts through rough water, rivaling the directional trackability found in hardshell kayaks. The stern particularly serves as a skeg on the kayak to increase the tracking ability.

The body has a triple-layer construction, made using high-quality materials and components, and the seat is padded for extra comfort. It is easy to set up in minutes and comes with plenty of onboard storage space in case you’re going on an extended adventure.

With so much quality at a reasonable price, you can enjoy your next adventure in style with the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable hybrid kayak.


  • Durable, hybrid construction
  • Aluminum ribs for better directional stability
  • Great interior with ample onboard storage
  • Comfortable seat with paddings


  • Absence of footrest
  • You will need to purchase the backbone separately

10. Oru Kayak Inlet Folding Kayak


Product Details

  • Self-Weight: 20 pounds
  • Dimensions: 9’8″ × 31″ Length: 9’8″
  • Cockpit: 23″ x 44″
  • Weight capacity: 275 Lbs
  • Kayak Storage Box: 42″ x 10″ x 18″

If you’re looking for a kayak that will set you confidently on lakes and slow rivers, or if you’re interested in buying a kayak that will save you the stress of carrying too much from the parking lot to the shore, this kayak is the perfect choice for you.

Despite being suited with foot bars and an adjustable backrest, the Inlet Foldable model is the lightest among Oru’s fleet of quality kayaks yet. 

You can carry it just with one hand, and have it ready for water actions in seconds. It also unfolds and folds up compactly in no time, and occupies almost no space during storage.

Its papercraft foldable design, however, should not be taken for granted because although it looks like a paper crane, it is amazingly made to handle tough conditions.


  • Lightweight and space-efficient
  • Reasonably durable
  • Features a comfortable seat, adjustable backrest, and foot bars


  • Storing gears and accessories onboard can be a little difficult
  • Low top speed

Why Use A Small Kayak?

One thing that sets short and lightweight kayaks apart is their portability. As we have established, most traditional kayaks bring many difficulties when it comes to moving them to and from the vehicle to the adventure site. 

With a lightweight kayak, you can pack your vessel safely in your vehicle from your home, or in one hand, from your vehicle to your favorite spot at the shore.

Lightweight kayaks also allow room for more camping gear and equipment because they don’t have much self-weight. And when you’re on the water, they help you get far from the crowd, away to unreachable water territories.

They are a good companion for lake vacations, fishing, nature beholding, or enjoying solo paddling under a smiling blue sky.

One big disadvantage of this kayak type is that they are specifically designed for slow-moving waters and not great water rapids. Although a few of the options on our list can handle some tough waters do not try them on class V rapids!

Perhaps, their biggest disadvantage is that their construction materials don’t come so cheap consequently raising the price of the kayaks. Overall, they’re worth every penny spent on them at any time of the year.

Buying Guide – Features To Look For In A Small Kayak

But buying the right lightweight kayak for you can be difficult; how do you choose between an inflatable kayak, a folding one, or one with a modular design?

To help you pick, we’ve put together a handy buying guide to let you know what to look for in a short lightweight kayak, a jargon buster to demystify the terminology, and reviews of some of the best lightweight kayaks on the market.

Weight Capacity

Close to the importance of the kayak’s lightweight weight capacity. The weight capacity tells how much good it can do you on the water- how much weight it can handle while maintaining stability afloat. 

While many foldable and inflatable kayaks may not perform well in terms of capacity compared to heavy ones, it doesn’t mean they can’t handle some weight. 

The least you’ll find on our list has a weight capacity of well over 100 kilograms and some well over double that. Getting one with enough space for extra gear and a food cooler will make your adventure an unforgettable one.

Kayak Types: Long vs. Short Kayaks

While shorter kayaks provide you with adequate stability and portability, longer ones offer a more efficient cruise on the water.

Shorter kayaks, which are best fit for rivers and lakes, offer great maneuverability between rocks and bends. You can even easily place them in your car and drive to wherever you want without hassle.

The longer ones give you speed and space for the storage of your extra gear and accessories. Consequently, the one you go for will depend on what you want in your kayak. Is it speed and cruise? Or portability and maneuverability?

Weight and Performance

Weight is an important factor to consider when selecting a kayak. Heavy kayaks without a doubt have their advantages such as better stability and the ability to take on harsh waves but the excellence of the lightweight kayaks overshadows them.

Lightweight kayaks provide flexibility and comfort and are easy to transport without stress. The only issue typical of lightweight kayaks is their proneness to puncture and tip over, especially in heavy water waves. Aside from this, they’re a better option for prolonged on-the-water adventures.

Construction Materials

There are many materials from which kayaks are constructed. You will find some kayak hulls made of polyethylene plastic and other, composite materials. The common composite materials often used include Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) thermoplastic, carbon fiber, and fiberglass.

Carbon fiber and fiberglass options are often preferred because they offer much toughness which translates to better performance. They’re also known to maintain good shape over time without succumbing easily to warping, or external scratches and dents. 

Although they’re more susceptible to puncture. Plastic kayaks on the other hand come with hard, rigid, heavy shells but are less susceptible to dent and puncture damages due to sudden impact or fall.

Hull Shape

Are you a rugged adventurer? Or a soft cruiser? There are two kayak hull shape design options, the V-shape and the round shape.

While the latter is designed for kayakers who enjoy cool, slow, cruising on calm, flat water, the former is designed for those who like to have it rough and exciting. The V-shape hull allows for speedy cut through turbulent waters while the round hull maintains balance and stability.

Hard or Foldable

Typically, hardshell kayaks are heavy, usually weighing about 55 pounds or more. This is because they’re made of materials like wood and thermoplastic polymer. However, their heaviness is often compensated by their ruggedness and ability to withstand rough use.

Foldable kayaks on the other hand are designed to provide better flexibility, removing the problems that come with transporting your kayak to a far distance. 

You can easily deflate your kayak, fold it into your car or van, and transport it to wherever you want to go without stress or too much space occupation.

Strength and Puncture Resistance

When it comes to puncture, you have nothing to worry about with hardshell kayaks. Unless on rare occasions when it hits a hard surface like a rock or falls while in transit.

Inflatable kayaks on the other hand are strong yet lightweight but have a higher tendency to experience puncture when in contact with sharp objects.

However, this happens in rare cases like when you use them outside of their manufacturers’ recommended conditions.

The inflatable kayaks on our list are strengthened with a triple-layered outer shell for optimum toughness and puncture resistance.


This feature is one you wouldn’t want to overlook when shopping for a short and lightweight kayak. While having a lightweight kayak is an important factor you’re considering, at the end of it all, what keeps you going for more adventure is the rest of mind your kayak brings to you against impacts and punctures.

Small kayak manufacturers have all sought to improve their ruggedness and longevity by the addition of multiple air chambers and tough PVC, particularly on the kayak bottom. Those made of composites like fiberglass tend to be the most durable but they come at a high price.


One of the factors that make you stay and enjoy your on-the-water adventure longer is your ability to stay comfortably in your kayak throughout. Comfort brings control. 

The more comfortable you are, the better control you have over your vessel. In essence, ensure that the kayak you’re opting for will allow you to easily adjust whenever the need arises. 

Check the seats, footplates, and thigh braces. If you’re a tall person, look out for the space between the seats and the cockpit to avoid having to fold your legs and make yourself uncomfortable while paddling.


Another important thing to look out for is the storage part of the kayak. Although it is often overlooked, enough storage on your kayak allows you to store all the gear you need for your next comfortable adventure, especially if you’ll be going out for a few days. 

You will find on most kayaks, front and back storage compartments with bungee straps for extra security of your gear and accessories.


The purpose of edging or carving on a lightweight kayak is to create more water friction while navigating a turn. This happens by tilting the kayak such that one side of it goes into the water and the other side outside causing it to turn faster.


There are two stability stages a kayak experiences. The first is the initial stability, which is the level of stability it maintains when you get into it. The second is secondary stability which is the kayak’s level of stability when you put it on edge.


When you run by paddling on the water, especially rough water, your kayak moves up and down as the level of the current changes. The rocker tells of the level of the kayak rise at the bow and stern.

Generally, the higher the rocker level, the higher the maneuverability but the slower the speed of the kayak.


In kayaking, a chine refers to the sharp change in angle in the cross-section of the hull. The term hard chine indicates an angle with little rounding, whereas a soft chine would be more rounded, but still involve the meeting of distinct planes


A skeg is a fixed rudder, designed to allow the kayak to track straight, even when not moving into the wind.


Kayak tracking describes how well a kayak maintains a straight line movement when in motion on the waters. You can easily find this feature as a measurement in the user manual of the kayak.


Last but not least factor to consider is the cost at which your favorite kayak comes. But first, you need to know the type of water you will be using your kayak on. 

If you will be using it on saltwater, you will need to buy a kayak whose material will not react when exposed to the water. While it’s true you’re interested in a lightweight kayak, you should not overlook quality and toughness.

How often you will be using your kayak is another thing to consider under the price. It would not be fair to you to spend a hefty price on a kayak that you will not use more than once a year.

However, going for a cheap kayak to save money might get you discouraged before you even start your enjoyment if it breaks down. As a result, you might end up spending more on repair or buying a new one.

If this is your first time paddling, you can start with an affordable kayak of about $200 or a little higher. Expert kayakers in search of a serious water companion can expect to pay around $600 for a suitable one.

Good to know you made it here! Now that you’re here, we hope you have been able to find a short and lightweight kayak option on our list that fits your needs the most. 

The Intex triplets on our list have proven to be models you can trust when it comes to combining quality performance and affordability. The Oru brothers too offer great competition and the Lifetime, the AdvancedFrame and the Pelican do not lag.

On your next visit to the store, we hope that our list serves as a guide to selecting the best for you. See you at the next stress-free water adventure!

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