What Are the Best Lightweight Kayaks for Seniors?

The golden years have come at last. You’ve finally got the time to do all those things you want to do, like kayaking on a lake or river and taking in the great outdoors. Of course, time takes its toll on all of us, and maybe the idea of dragging a 70-pound kayak from the car to the water (and back!) doesn’t sound like such a wonderful proposition. In that case, it’s time to dive into the world of lightweight and ultra-light kayaks to find the best lightweight kayaks for seniors.

For seniors, it’s especially important to make sure you have the best water gear. There’s no reason not to get something comfortable, supportive and manageable, so you can spend more time doing the activities you love. To that end, we are going to look into the best lightweight kayaks for seniors. Read on to see what materials, designs, and other considerations go into a great lightweight kayak.

What Seniors Should Look for In a Lightweight Kayak

There’s no doubt that kayaking is a great way to stay active and keep healthy. The best equipment will work with you, letting you move around with ease, but not causing undue stress on your body. Here are a few aspects to consider when shopping around.

Sit-In vs. Sit-on-Top

Kayaks come in two main design types. Sit-in kayaks are the more traditional design. They cover your legs, which protects your bottom half from water splashes and the sun beating down on you. The main downside to this design is that they are more difficult to get into and out of. If you have mobility or flexibility problems, or if you are a novice to kayaking, this may not be the choice for you.

Alternatively, you can opt for sit-on-top kayaks, which are much easier to get on to and off of. These watercrafts do not cover your legs, and are designed for use in much calmer waters. When you want to spend some time on a lake or a gentle river, these kayaks let you get to the best part of the activity with minimal fuss.

Back Support

Taking care of your back is a top priority, especially in the lumbar region. A lot of that support will come from the features of the seat. Look for a padded seat, so there is less pressure going into your hips during extended sitting time. Also, a seat with a high back will provide more support, allowing you to lean back into it and take some weight off your hips.

Another invaluable feature is having an adjustable angle. The reality is that sitting with your back straight up and your legs straight ahead (the L-position) takes a lot of energy to maintain and puts a lot of stress on your body. An adjustable seat will let you find the perfect position for you.

One last feature that helps tremendously is the footrest. As mentioned above, you don’t necessarily want your legs fully extended. A footrest with multiple positions will let you find the ideal set-up for you. A properly set-up footrest also allows you some additional control of your kayak.

Maneuverability and Stability

When you’re going out on the water, you really need to have a plan. How long will you be out there? How tired do you want to be by the end? You only have so much energy to give. That’s why using a vessel that requires less energy to move around is ideal.

Consider both the length and the width of a kayak when doing your research. As the length increases, you will need more energy to keep the boat in control. A longer kayak may move forward more easily, but may also be harder to turn. Wider kayaks are much more stable (less likely to flip over), and generally easier to steer.

This awards another point in the column of sit-on-top kayaks. They are usually wider, and thus more stable vessels. The trade-off with a sit-on-top model is that they tend to be a bit heavier, but in the next section, we will show you how to mitigate that extra weight significantly.

What Makes a Kayak Lightweight?

When you’re looking for a lightweight kayak (or an ultralight kayak), there isn’t one single answer. In the wide world of kayaks, the choices are endless. Here are a few things to look for that can reduce the load.


The simplest way to reduce the weight is to get a shorter kayak. This will also give you more maneuverability, but it will reduce how much space you have to store supplies on you. 

One of the more ingenious ideas is foldable kayaks. These semi-rigid kayaks can be disassembled and packed up to the size of a suitcase, which also eliminates the need for racks on the car, and takes up much less space in the house or garage.

Many senior citizens prefer inflatable kayaks. Modern designs can be inflated and deflated in minutes. They are surprisingly resilient and durable, and bounce off of objects in a flowing river. They don’t give you the best performance in terms of speed, but the convenience in weight and portability make it a clear winner.


The other major way that engineers have reduced kayak weight is by using modern materials. Hard-shell kayaks may use very lightweight materials like carbon fiber to make transportation a breeze. However, bouncing off of hard objects like rocks can put a nasty gouge in them (or make for a bumpy ride).

Inflatable kayaks may be made of polypropylene, PVC or vinyl, all of which give the hull more resilience and make for easier carrying.

Best Kayaks for Older Adults

Here are some of our recommendations for best lightweight kayaks for seniors.

Sevylor Quikpak K1

The Sevylor Quickpak K1 is an excellent example of an inflatable, sit-on-top kayak. It inflates in 5 minutes, and has multiple chambers to keep the boat afloat in case of emergency. It’s made of durable PVC and tarpaulin to prevent those emergencies in the first place. And the best part: it comes with a backpack to carry it in, which also doubles as the seat.

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Pelican Sit-on-Top Kayak – Sentinel 100X

The Sentinel 100X by Pelican is another excellent lightweight kayak for seniors. The total length is under 10 feet, giving you lots of stability, and the hull is made of triple-layered polyethylene, giving it excellent durability without being needlessly heavy. In fact, the total weight is only 42 pounds.

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Bottom Line

Kayaking is a great activity for senior citizens. There are plenty of lightweight options to choose from, so find the style and design that’s right for you, and get out on the water. Here’s to staying active and enjoying the great outdoors.

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