10 Best Short & Lightweight Kayaks 2020 | Reviews

If you are bored at home or feeling low, pack your bags and grab a kayak because you are going to have your adrenaline levels elevated up in the air. Imagine a combination of Adventure + Sports, WOW! That’s what a thrill-seeker always seeks.

Kayaks give an experience of a lifetime and allow you to explore the beauty and mysteries of nature. The daunting tasks and intimidating situations give you a chance to get the better of your fears and once that is done you sail through swiftly. 

Using the core muscles, you flush out the kayak through the splashing water in the river. This roller coaster ride keeps your adrenaline levels fluctuating giving you the comprehensive quintessence of adventure, enthusiasm, and pleasure.

A short and lightweight kayak is the key to adventure and entertainment without having to worry about its storage, car racks, or the muscles needed to carry the heavy kayak into the water. Depending on what features you want in your kayak and your budget, you can have a look at the vast variety of kayaks offered in the market.

List Of 10 Best Short & Lightweight Kayaks

Therefore, to make your shopping experience effortless and cheery, we have formulated a list of 10 best short and lightweight kayaks which are thoroughly reviewed along with a handy buying guide to help you get the best kayak from the market!

1. Oru Kayak Foldable Kayak

Oru Kayak Beach LT Folding Portable Lightweight Kayak - for Day Trips, Picnics, and Casual Fun with Family and Friends …
  • THE FUN & FRIENDLY KAYAK – Quickly and easily get out on the wide open water! Your innovative Beach LT boat by Oru Kayak is made for casual kayaking on calm waters, such as lakes, rivers, and bays, so it’s perfect for beginners and experts alike!
  • FROM BOX TO BOAT IN MINUTES – Construct your kayak in under 5 minutes! Oru pioneered the Beach LT’s origami-inspired, foldable structure, so you won’t spend forever setting up or waste time lugging around a boat!
  • SLEEK, DURABLE, & RELIABLE – Although your kayak is small enough to carry when folded, it is most certainly mighty. Oru Kayaks undergo extensive strength and durability testing, rated at 20,000 folds and exceed U.S. Coast Guard recreational vessel requirements. Each kayak comes with a full 12-month warranty & 30-day money back guarantee!
  • NO ROOF RACK REQUIRED - Fits into the trunk of a small car or our Oru Pack carrying case [sold separately] for easy transport when hiking, bicycling, and using public transportation. Your Beach LT is the most convenient, transportable kayak imaginable.
  • AWARD-WINNING DESIGN - featured on Shark Tank, Forbes, CNN, Wall Street Journal, and Oprah Magazine, there are now more than 15,000 Oru Kayaks out on the water.

Oru kayak is said to be the world’s most lightweight and portable kayak. It sits in the category of folding recreational kayaks that are quick and easy to get in and out of the water. This kayak is specifically built for light, regular, and casual activities on stable rivers, therefore, this kayak is perfect for newbies.

This kayak possesses the features that are designed specifically for day trips and picnics. It offers enough space to accommodate one adult and one child. This foldable kayak weighs 25 pounds and can transform easily in a backpack-style strap making it the best in terms of portability.

Oru offers quite a great deal when it comes to the warranty. Each kayak comes with a 12-month warranty and 30-days money-back guarantee which is an amazing deal to avail.

This sleek, long-lasting, and dependable kayak assembles pretty easily and quickly in less than 5 minutes, however, one downside to it is its lack of speed and practicality.

  • Balanced
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Excellent portability
  • Accommodates an adult and a child
  • Wide cockpit
  • Limited versatility
  • Does not include paddles

2. Sea Eagle 330 Deluxe Inflatable Sport Kayak

Sea Eagle 330 Deluxe 2 Person Inflatable Sport Kayak Canoe Boat w/ Pump & Oars
  • 2 person/ 500-b capacity, weighs 26-lbs, Suitable for upto Class III whitewater
  • Great package for two includes SE330 Sport Kayak, 2 AB30 paddles, 2 inflatable movable & removable SEC seats, foot pump, repair kit, and carry bag with convenient shoulder strap
  • Lashed down inflatable spray skirts with storage underneath
  • Open and close drain valve with 5 deluxe 1-way inflation and deflation valves
  • 2 skegs on the bottom for better tracking & speed

If you are looking for a kayak that is short and lightweight, yet accommodates 2 individuals easily, then Sea Eagle 330 can be a great choice. This kayak comes under the type of inflatable kayaks and is a perfect boat for sports purposes. 

This product packs 2 handy paddles, a foot pump, an essential repair kit, and a carry bag to enhance the convenience of portability along with a shoulder strap. It also features 2 skegs underneath to ensure better tracking and speed of the kayak.

Standing at a weight of 26 pounds, this kayak is excellent in terms of portability. Thanks to the modern technology and materials used in making this kayak sturdy yet lightweight. As far as dimensions are concerned, the Sea Eagle 330 inflates to a total length of 11 feet which is pretty ideal for a lightweight and short kayak. 

The cockpit space measures about 9.5 feet long and 13 inches wide making it a bit uncomfortable for two individuals to sit cozily along with the essential kayaking gear. The hull of this kayak is composed of puncture-proof and extra sturdy material which makes Sea Eagle 330 additionally long-lasting and durable. 

With a warranty of three years, Sea Eagle 330 can be a great choice if you want a kayak that is impervious to impact damage or accidents.

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Compact
  • Excellent warranty
  • Accommodates 2 individuals
  • Not appropriate dimensions to make it comfortable

3. Emotion Glide Kayak for Fishing

Emotion Glide Kayak (Red)
  • Padded Backrest and Comfort Thigh Pads. Comfort Rest System (CRS) + UltraLite Seat Provides Fold-Down Convenience
  • Ledge Lock Paddle Keeper for Convenient Paddle Storage. Built-In Foam Blocks for Additional Flotation
  • Heavy-Duty Adjustable Foot Brace System for Comfortable Paddling. Bow & Stern Shock Cord Straps to Secure Gear. Front & Rear Toggle Handles
  • Slight V-Shaped Hull Gives Excellent Stability and Tracking. Lightweight 37 lb. Design
  • Roto-Molded UV-Protected Linear Polyethylene. 5-Year Limited Warranty

Emotion Glide Kayak can be a great choice for kayak fishing. Kayaks used for fishing should necessarily be short, lightweight, and have abundant storage space. Along with the weight, comfort is the next most important feature to look when buying a kayak specifically for fishing. 

Emotion Glide Kayak has a padded backrest and comfort providing thigh pads. This feature also aids in giving this kayak extra portability and compactness. This kayak measures about 9 feet and weighs around 37 pounds which makes it simple for one individual to carry it to the river or beach and get in and out of the water easily. 

Mounting a line between recreational and fishing kayaks, the Emotion Glide has two lateral pole-holders and wide storage space to store fishing gear. This kayak is pretty balanced which makes it awesome for neophytes to improve their kayaking skills.

This kayak features a UV –protected linear polyethylene that adds extra durability to the material of the kayak making the manufacturer confident in offering a warranty of 5 years.

A major con of this kayak is the size and weight of its hull which compromises on the ability of this kayak’s tracking.

  • Easy to carry and transport
  • Packed with fishing rod holders
  • Plenty of storage space
  • Balanced and stable
  • Amazing warranty of 5 years
  • Sub-par tracking

4. Sun Dolphin Aruba Sit-in Kayak

Sun Dolphin Aruba Sit-in Kayak, Paddle Included (Blue, 10-Feet)
  • Large open cockpit with adjustable padded seat with high back support
  • Convenient gear storage with shock cord deck rigging
  • Adjustable foot braces
  • Rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex High Density Polyethylene
  • Spray deflector collar

Although this kayak is the longest and heaviest on our review list, yet it can be easily managed by a single individual. Standing at a length of 10 feet and a weight of 40 pounds, this kayak is stable, sturdy, and can prove to be an excellent investment for someone who wants to go on kayaking alone without needing another hand to help him/her in taking the kayak into the water.

This kayak has two prolonging handles for easy portability. It is also quite spacious to store all the necessary kayaking gear for you to be easy on the water all day. Sun Dolphin features a wide-open cockpit with a modifiable padded seat that is pretty comfortable and cozy with soothing back support. 

The covering of the kayak is made out of UV-stabilized Fortiflex high-density polyethylene that gives this kayak extra sturdiness and support. This Aruba sit-in kayak has a practical speed and its outstanding steadiness makes it a power pack for beginners as well as professionals. 

Although Aruba offers some great features, it lacks in providing a reasonable tracking and maneuverability which is a downside to this exceptional kayak!

  • Excellent stability
  • Plenty of storage
  • Wide cockpit making it extra comfy
  • Perfect option for neophytes
  • Poor maneuverability
  • Average tracking

5. Outdoor Tuff Stinger 3 OTF-2751PK Inflatable Sport Kayak

Outdoor Tuff Stinger 3 OTF-2751PK Inflatable One-Person Sport Kayak with Rotatable Paddle, 275-Pound Capacity
  • Rigid & Durable: The (3) puncture resistant triple-layer PVC air chambers give this kayak the stiffness and resilience of a traditional kayak
  • Ultra Portable: Only 25-pounds and transports easily in the included backpack
  • Quick Inflation: High pressure valve and foot pump inflate the board to it's full 9-feet 1-inch by 30.25-inches by 13.5-inches in minutes
  • Accessories: Includes an 87-inch lightweight rotatable paddle, an inflatable seat and (2) fins for optimal directional stability and maneuverability
  • Warranty: 1 year limited Manufacturer's warranty.Please refer user manual attached below for instructions and troubleshooting steps

Stinger 3 sits under the category of inflatable kayaks. Although this kayak is lightweight and short, it is extremely rigid and sturdy because of the puncture-proof triple layer of PVC and multiple air chambers that make this kayak extra stiff and safe. Multiple air chambers aids in keeping the kayak on the water which means if one part of the kayak deflates, the entire kayak won’t deflate to avoid sinking.

Weighing around just 25 pounds, this kayak is exceptionally lightweight giving it extra credentials of portability. Thanks to the included backpack that makes portability of this kayak 10x better and improved.

This product comes with a valve and a foot pump to inflate. It measures 9 feet and 1 inch in length when inflated but unfortunately does not offer an adequate amount of storage required to carry essential stuff while kayaking. 

Stinger 3 comes with a paddle and an inflatable seat that save the extra dollars and provide more ease. You can also install the two fins that come with the package to make your kayak safe when it comes to its maneuverability.

  • Easy portability
  • Foot pump to inflate
  • Durable material
  • Multiple air chambers
  • 1-year warranty
  • Inadequate storage

6. Dagger Zydeco 9.0 Kayak

Dagger Kayaks Zydeco 9.0 Kayak, Molten
  • CFS-R Seating System
  • Bungee Deck Rigging
  • Paddle Park
  • Slide lock Foot brace System

Zydeco 9.0 is one of the best short and lightweight kayaks. Its slender hull and sturdy chines make it speedy and practical. It is also easy to maneuver because of its compact size that measures about 9 feet in length. Weighing around 36 pounds, this kayak is easy to carry and can be transported anywhere in a vehicle without a trolley.

You can use this kayak in whitewater as well as for various recreational activities, offering you a wide range of versatility. The hard-chined hull gives the kayak extra balance and stability while turning. It also enables the kayak to cut through the water easily without causing any kind of discomfort.

However, Zydeco does not offer enough amount of storage because it is designed for short and spontaneous trips and picnics without a lot of people and equipment. But it does feature a large-sized cockpit providing you with an extra amount of comfort and coziness while kayaking.

All and all, Zydeco is an ideal kayak if you want the chance to just grab your kayak and head out to the water. Its low weight and short size make it highly and easily portable whereas its sleek style and amazing handles make it easy to maneuver the whitewater.

  • Highly portable
  • Wide cockpit
  • Lightweight
  • Amazing maneuverability
  • Inadequate storage
  • Average speed

7. Point 65 Sweden Apollo Solo Kayak

Point 65 Sweden Apollo Solo RED
  • Total length: 290 cm / 8 ft. 10 in
  • Front section: 140 cm / 55 in
  • Back section 140 cm / 55 in
  • Capacity: 100kg / 220 lbs.
  • Width: 62 cm / 24. 2 in

If you are looking for an incredibly short and lightweight kayak, then Apollo Solo can be a perfect choice. This kayak’s compact size makes it easy to transport in any vehicle and can be carried by a single individual. Plus, the ability to convert this kayak into a tandem adds extra credibility to this kayak.

Although this kayak is not amazingly lightweight, yet it is compact, versatile, and offers a wide range of features. The Apollo Solo is divided into two sections, for two individuals to sit comfortably and store essential gear and equipment easily. 

Using Point 65’s innovative Snap-Tap system, the Apollo comes apart and get back together in seconds, making it easy to assemble once you reach the water. One more advantage of Apollo’s segmental construction is its ability to convert into a tandem kayak. Now you can go out on the water with a companion without having to splash out on another kayak.

On the water, Apollo’s sit-on design makes it easy to sail, from land or water. It is a practical craft, but its extensive frame and lack of steering system decreases its velocity and tracking ability.

  • Splendid portability
  • Lightweight
  • Can become a tandem
  • Easy to store
  • Average tracking
  • Low speed

8. Old Town Heron 9XT Recreational Kayak

Old Town Heron 9XT Recreational Kayak, Lemongrass, 9 Feet 6 Inches
  • Combines comfort and features at an Affordable price
  • Adjustable comfort flex seat with extra padding
  • Stern hatch provides space for storing gear
  • Adjustable support Track foot braces and thigh pads ensure control
  • Comfortable carrying handles

Old Town Canoes and Kayaks have established a range of affordable kayaks which are amazing for many recreational activities. Although these kayaks do not offer versatile and modern features yet they are well-known for their simplicity and ease of use.

The Heron 9XT has a beam of 28.5 inches that adds balance and stability to the kayak in the water. It also measures 9 feet, 6 inches, and weighs 39 pounds which makes it a great option to buy a short and lightweight kayak. It is easy to carry and fantastically portable.

Heron 9XT offers a combination of comfort with the adjustable, extra padded seat and the stern hatch provides extra space for storing kayaking gear which is also waterproof. Although it does not offer much storage space, it is guaranteed that your items will be safe for water.

This kayak features a wide cockpit that offers all the basic features you need for an adventurous ride on a lake or river. Along with a comfortable seat, the kayak has convenient thigh pads which are adjustable as well. This feature is great for tall individuals who love to sail but can’t due to long legs.

  • Adjustable seat
  • Comfortable thigh pads
  • Foot braces
  • Waterproof storage
  • Limited storage

9. Sun Dolphin Aruba SS 8-Foot Sit-in Kayak

SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Aruba SS 8-Foot Sit-in Kayak
  • Great for rivers and lakes
  • Adjustable padded seat back
  • Light weight design easy to carry
  • Storage compartment
  • Recessed drink holder

Sun Dolphin is well-known for their popularity in short and lightweight kayaks. Like the rest, Aruba 8 is also a compact and lightweight kayak and great for multiple recreational activities. 

Aruba 8 comes under the category of ‘sit-in’ kayaks and pretty basic and affordable. That doesn’t make it inferior to the range of features. It features a wide and spacious cockpit, making it comfy and perfect for beginners.

The Aruba 8 comes with a padded seat for ease and relaxation. It’s also adjustable, so you can alter the adjustability according to your preference. A molded paddle holder certifies you a lower risk of having to run after runaway paddles and keeps them intact.

It offers an adequate amount of storage and a firm compartment to keep things parched. Overall, Aruba 8 is the easiest to carry among all the lightweight kayaks.

  • Adjustable and comfortable seat
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Adequate storage
  • Carry handles
  • Offers basic features only

10. Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-Foot Sit-on-top Kayak

SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Bali SS Sit-on top Kayak (Blue, 10-Feet)
  • Tracks and paddles with ease while offering maximum stability
  • P.A.C. (Portable Accessory Carrier) can be used as extra storage
  • Dry storage compartment with shock cord deck rigging
  • Open cockpit allows the easiest of entry
  • Large, comfortable seating area with protective thigh pads, adjustable foot braces and paddle holder

Last but not the least, we have Sun Dolphin again on our list of best short and lightweight kayaks. Sun Dolphin Bali sits under the category of ‘sit-on kayaks’ which means you can leave easily if your kayak sinks making it safe for beginners as well as professionals.

The Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-Foot is not quite lightweight, but for a decent reason. It has a few extra benefits which may make the extra weight worth it.

The open cockpit and adjustable foot braces and seat make this kayak user-friendly. This kayak also possesses thigh and knee pads providing extra comfort. 

Bali SS 10-Foot offers a specialty of cup and electronics holders in the seating space along with a portable accessory carrier in the rear. This little PAC can be removed from the kayak according to your needs, leaving you with a reasonable size kayak. You can then make use of the PAC by towing it behind or as a waterproof storage compartment which can be placed next to the individual in the cockpit.

  • Adjustable seat and foot braces
  • Thigh and knee pads
  • Electronics holder
  • Cup holder
  • Paddle holder
  • Waterproof PAC
  • Slightly heavier kayak

Best Short & Lightweight Kayaks Buying Guide

The massive variety of kayaks available in the market can be daunting at times. Everyone wants to buy a product that packs modern features at an affordable price. Keep reading this further to understand ten things you should consider particularly before buying a short and lightweight kayak.

  1. Types of Kayaks

Before looking into the features of a kayak, you must be certain about the ‘type’ of kayak you are looking for. Let us initiate by projecting some light on the general guidelines of the types of kayaks.

  1. Recreational kayaks (sit-ins and sit-on-tops): 

This is the types of kayak that is crafted for a regular everyday paddler who is fond of conducting recreational activities on a lake or flat-water stream. These kayaks are cost-effective, balanced, easy to get in and out, and simple to transform. 

  1. Folding kayaks: 

These type of kayaks have directly descended from the ancient Inuit kayak which was crafted out of animal skins. However, the modern version is a foldable frame made out of a mishmash of wood, aluminum, plastic, and a skin made of strong and durable fabric with a waterproof covering. This kayak offers easy handling and storage and won’t be as tough as a hard-shell kayak.

  1. Inflatable kayaks: 

If you looking for a kayak that is compact and takes up the least amount of space in storage, then this type can be a perfect choice. These kayaks are unexpectedly well-built and offer versatility. Wide inflatable kayaks are great for flowing rivers whereas others are made certainly for touring purposes.

  1. Tandem kayaks: 

Tandem kayaks, also known as doubles, can be a great option for a couple of friends or family to get out on the water together. They can paddle, navigate, and turn a tandem kayak with a combined and ultimate energy of two individuals. Moreover, you can save some cash by buying a tandem kayak instead of two solo kayaks.

Now that you have learned about the different types of kayaks, let’s have a look at some of the important features to consider when buying a short and lightweight kayak.

  1. Dimensions

The foremost vital aspect of any kayak is its length and width. As a rule of thumb, the narrower and longer the kayak, the faster and straighter it will sail. However, a kayak can be easier and balanced to turn if it is wider and shorter, but it may compromise the swiftness.  For a newbie out there, a wider kayak can be a safe and better option as you practice and grow gradually.

  1. Weight capacity 

Each type of kayak possesses a different amount of weight capacity that is clearly featured when you buy a kayak. This is an extremely crucial feature to focus on because exceeding the given the particular weight capacity will push the kayak to stay lower in the water than it is meant to be, making it difficult to sail. The capacity may include the paddler’s mass and additional items that may include coolers, fishing tackles, and gear. 

  1. Rudders and Skegs 

These features are designed to enhance the turning, tracking, and navigation of the kayak enhancing the kayaking experience to another level. Although these are not very essential, yet they make kayaking considerably simpler.

  1. Seats 

The seat is the most important feature to look at when buying a kayak because it greatly affects your comfort during a long and tiring day on the water. You should look for an adjustable seat so that you can sit straight with enough paddling to let you use your muscles to put power into your paddle stroke.

  1. Cockpit size 

Cockpit sizes sway according to the length and width of the kayak, but it’s imperative to be certain that you will securely fit inside the cockpit when picking a kayak. This is particularly significant for sit-in kayaks like the Sun Dolphin model because there is no way to overflow out of the cockpit as there is for a sit-on-top kayak.

  1. Hatches 

To carry the necessary gear and equipment needed for your recreational activities, it is always beneficial to have extra hatches to store the maximum amount of essential gear. Having one or more storage hatches can make a huge impact on staying intact and organized. However, most inflatable kayaks do not possess storage hatches because they are unsuited with that particular type of kayak.

  1. Price

The lowest-priced kayak might attract your eyes and pocket but keep in mind that the low price means that the product is deficient in certain aspects and that the overall kayak is lacking something. You need to invest your money in something that includes a warranty, easy-to-use features, and long-lasting build. So make sure to use your money on a significant purchase.

  1. Practicality

Practicality includes both, the ease of use and storage of the kayak best suited to your requirements. Even if the kayak is lightweight and short, there can be certain considerations you should be certain about. For instance, the lightweight inflatable types generally fit easily in the car as compared to the lightweight rigid model that requires roof racks.

  1. Warranty

If the manufacturer is confident about their product, they would be able to offer an appropriate policy for returns or refunds and also a longer warranty.


Now that you are thoroughly guided and acknowledged about the top 10 best short and lightweight kayaks, you can make a great decision on your part to buy one. All the kayaks mentioned in this review are fantastic in every particular way. They are ultra-lightweight and sturdy at the same time. So what are you waiting for? Get your kayak, paddle, lifejacket, and swimwear to hit the water and experience some fantastic outdoor activity and great time!

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