How Far Can You Kayak in A Day ?

Are you planning a day out kayaking? Whether it’s a day off with your friends, a kayak race or just the regular paddling, you need to plan your day; otherwise, you will find yourself still paddling in the middle of the night or quite bored after you have reached your destination and there is nowhere else to go. There are several factors to consider when estimating how far you can kayak in a day. In this article, we have explained how far you can kayak in a day.

How many miles can you kayak in a day?

Basically, a mid-sized kayak with an experienced kayaker can cover 10 to 20 miles per day or around three miles per hour. The best distance covered by a kayak in 24 hours is 156.4 miles. On estimate, this means the person covered 6.51 miles per hour. This distance covered is on the extreme that one can cover after too much commitment and training.

Approximately it takes 90 minutes to kayak for three miles. The three miles is not something to take lightly, you will have exhausted most of your energy by then, and you’ll need to have some water and maybe an energy bar. When covering a longer distance, like 10 miles, you can take 5 to 7 hours considering you will not be kayaking at the same pace all day, and you need stopovers to rest.

How fast can you kayak?

It is estimated that, on average, a recreational kayaker paddles at 33% to 50% of their maximum speed. The kayak’s speed is mainly determined by factors like; the wind, waves, currents, kayaks weight, and experience level.


Kayaking is easier and faster when it’s windy. You, however, need to learn how to control your kayak. If the wind is in your back, kayaking becomes very easy; the problem is when the wind is on your face, it limits the kayak’s speed and makes it harder to paddle. So it would be best if you learned the wind patterns in your area to become a pro in kayaking.


Currents, just like the wind, will help you move forward a little fast. A river, for example, flowing downstream will help you speed up when kayaking. However, unfriendly currents or tides will only get you to spend more time and leave you exhausted.


Waves have a minimal role to play in increasing or decreasing your kayaking speed. You can play in the waves. They also help increase your energy when kayaking.


The weight helps stabilize your kayak. If your kayak is heavy, it will sit in water deeper as compared to a light kayak. With a heavy kayak, water is forced to displace hence slowing down the kayak’s speed.

When kayaking in uneven water, a heavy kayak is more stable, and in turn, the speed is improved. When trying to stabilize your kayak, pack your stuff so that there is balance on the sides. Balancing is achieved by getting all your heavy stuff at the center and the light materials on the far ends.

The average kayaks speed

To estimate your kayak’s average speed, you multiply the square root of your kayak’s waterline by  1.34. This is called the hull speed. For beginners whose kayak has a length of 15’ and 24” width will kayak at a speed of 2 to 2.5 knots in still waters. But fn experienced kayaker 3 knots. This, on average, is 20 to 30 minutes paddling in a mile range.

Factors that affect your kayaks speed

Your kayaking speed will be determined by several factors like your experience, types of kayaks, and the water type, among other factors.

Types of Kayak

One of the major determinants of speed in a kayak is its type or brand. Some kayak brands are faster than other brands. The different types of kayak include:

  1. Thin-beamed race kayak– These kayaks are very long. They have a length of 20” and also very fast.
  2. Sea Kayaks-These kayaks are over 15′ long and have a 26″ beam average. They are strong and are made to cover long distances.
  3. Touring Kayaks-The touring kayaks are 15′ long and have a beam average of 26″. These kayaks are usually faster than recreational kayaks. These kayaks fall in the category of 2 to 2.5 knots, which means you can kayak for 30 minutes in a mile.
  4. Recreational sit-inside kayaks-The recreational kayaks are 10′ long with a beam average of 28″ and medium speed.
  5. Recreational Sit-on-top kayaks– These kayaks are roughly the same size as the sit-inside recreational kayaks, but they are more stable and slower than the sit-inside recreational kayaks.
  6. Fishing Kayaks -These kayaks have stability, but they are very slow. The average speed of this kayak is 40 minutes a mile.
  7. Whitewater kayaks-The white water kayaks mostly rely on flowing waters for speed. They are best used in moving water. Otherwise, in still water, the kayaks are very slow.

Hull Material

Some of the hull materials include plastic and composite.

  1. Plastic  Kayak Speed-The plastic hulls are slower, and they are prone to scratches, gouges, and dents.
  2. Composite kayaks– Composite kayaks are faster and gain about a .5 knot advantage over the plastic kayak. These kayaks are more expensive and can withstand more pressure.

Length of Your Kayak

The fastest kayaks are the longer kayaks and with narrower beams. That is why the sea and touring kayaks are some of the fastest kayaks. Their length and width ratio allows them to maneuver more easily.

Long Distance Kayaking

Long-distance kayaking is not something you wake up one morning and decide to do. It would help if you kept fit some months before the kayaking date, have your day planned, you’re your vessel, pack your stuff, decide whether you will prefer solo kayaking or kayaking in a group, and watch the water levels.

Planning for the long-distance kayaking

When planning for long-distance kayaking, you need to be flexible enough and know that things might not go according to plan; you might be faced with bad weather, malfunction of your vessel, and a whole lot of other problems. Always have a backup plan to avoid disappointments.

Counter checking Your Vessel

Understand your kayak setting before taking up the trip. Understand how much distance the kayak covers in a day. Practice with your kayak as much as possible before taking a long-distance trip. Understand its stability know all its downsides and strengths. Don’t overlook any shortcomings; however, that may ruin your day.


When packing all your essentials, write down everything you may need for the long-distance kayaking. Take into consideration the possibility of setting camp and resting. Also, pack enough food and drinks in case you take longer than you expected.

Practice Navigation skills

You might be kayaking in new waters and on unfamiliar grounds. You can map your unique route to navigate easily and also avoid relying on your electronic devices. Study and understand your route properly to avoid getting lost.

Choice of kayaking Solo or as a Group

On long-distance kayaking, you can either choose to kayak solo or move as a group. Kayaking solo is fast but can also get a little boring. Kayaking as a group is more interesting in all your stops; you will have people communicate and build up energy. However, it is relatively slow since you have to move at the same pace. This means moving at the same pace as the slowest person in the group. It is also safer moving as a group since you will always have people around you in case of emergencies.

Here’s a video from Perception Kayaks on what beginners need to know


Looking for an outdoor activity that will help you get out of your daily norm? Kayaking is the way to go. You can enjoy your day on water solo or with your friends and have a fantastic time. You only need to have your day well planned and estimate the number of hours you need.  Your kayak, training, fitness, and weather conditions will determine how far you can kayak in a day.

Scroll to Top