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Buyer's Guide

The Kayak Weight Perception

Q: Why is it important to purchase kayak fishing weights? A: Fishing from a kayak is one of the most fun activities to do. It can be a challenging sport to master if you don't have some type of weight system to help you along the way. Also, not having a weight system will cause you to put so much unnecessary pressure on your kayak that it will soon break.

A: First, it's very important to understand that every kayak actually lists a specific weight capacity in the box. However, there are so many different styles of kayak to choose from, the weight capacity differs greatly. To give you an idea about typical kayak weight capacities, here's a short list of various types of kayaks with their weight capacities.

- Rotomolding kayaks have relatively light weight. Typically, you'll find these at the heavier end of the kayak weight range, but they're still very maneuverable. They're great for fishing, whether you want to fish while standing up, or seated. You can put more weight on them by adding a rudder, especially if you want to use your kayak for snorkeling.

- Folding kayak are usually not heavy, as they've been optimized for easy storage. The kayak itself is very light, but you may find that you'll need a bit more to get the kind of fishing you want out of it. Consider buying a paddle instead of a rudder, so you can still use the kayak in its most compact and simple form. These tend to have the lightest kayak weight, but they also tend to fold up very easily for storage. If you go with a folding kayak, look for one that offers a built-in rudder mechanism, to help ease the effort required to get the boat up to speed. This may be a compromise, though, as a folding kayak usually will not be as stable as a fixed-rigged kayak with an internal rudder system.

- Sit-on-tops are more heavy than many other kinds of kayak, generally because of their heavy weight limit. Still, there are a lot of Sit-on-tops out there, including big bass kayaks that can handle over 500 pounds total weight limit. These can still float well, but you'll likely need a lot of assistance getting them into a kayak basin and getting them up into the water. Otherwise, they can still perform quite well.

- Smaller, lighter kayak models can still be quite efficient, although there is some room for additional weight, such as those in the 250 pounds and below range. They may still float better, but you won't be able to paddle very far with them. For long-distance kayaking, pelican kayaks may suit you best. They are lighter and much easier to move around, even when they are full of water. They do, however, typically weigh at least forty pounds and do not exceed fifty pounds altogether.

- You might think that it's a bad idea to carry your kayak when it weighs anywhere from twenty pounds to sixty pounds. However, many people who paddle with kayaks on a regular basis will tell you that they pack away the extra weight when they aren't using the kayak. Many times, they can only manage to carry a single kayak "bag" and bring along enough gear to last for several outings.

Generally, it's better to keep your kayak "just over the water". It can get tiring carrying a full size kayak along for an outing that doesn't include much paddling. Most people, however, will find themselves carrying at least six or eight kayaks when out on their annual getaways. Regardless of which type of pelican kayaks you're interested in, the rule of thumb is to always keep your boat's weight in mind while taking it out for a spin.

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