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How Long Does It Take To Kayak A Mile?

When you’re planning your adventures on the water you’ll probably want to know how far you will be able to go and how long it will take you. One of the most important questions you might be asking yourself is, how long does it take to kayak a mile?

How Long Does It Take To Kayak A Mile

Well, how long it will take you will depend on a number of factors but in this article we intend to address some of those factors to help give you a better idea of how long it might take you to paddle in your kayak and the distance you can travel.

How Long Does It Take To Paddle A Mile?

Speed

One of the main factors affecting how long it will take you to paddle a mile will depend on how fast you are physically able to paddle. An average kayaking speed for an experienced paddler would be around 3 miles per hour, but this very much depends on other factors.

The lighter the load in your kayak the faster you will be able to travel. On the other hand, if there are two paddlers in the kayak, you may be able to travel faster, providing your overall weight load is not too heavy.

Beginners, and those who are just out for a leisurely paddle, will usually average a speed of around 2 miles per hour. But of course, the more experienced you are, the faster you’ll be able to go, particularly if you’re racing your companions.

Conditions

Weather and water conditions play an important role in determining how fast you’ll be able to paddle. If the water is calm and there are no currents, you’ll be able to travel faster than if the water was choppy with strong currents and if the current is not in your favor.

Similarly, if you’re paddling in windy conditions this will significantly affect your speed, whether you’re traveling against it or with it. A lot will depend on whether you’re out in the sea, a river or a lake. If the current and wind direction are in your favor you could travel at around 5 miles per hour.

Vessel

Another important factor to consider is the type of kayak you’re paddling in. The narrower and longer the kayak, the faster you’ll be able to travel, which is why racing kayaks tend to be more streamlined for speed.

It will also depend on how light your kayak is to start with combined with the type of cargo you’re carrying.

Kayaks tend to have a maximum speed that they can be paddled at, which is considered to be 1.34 multiplied by the square root of the length of your hull at the waterline.

Conclusion

So how long it will take you to paddle a mile in a kayak will differ for everyone. As a general guideline, it ought to take you around 30 minutes to paddle a mile, but as you’ll see, this will depend heavily on your personal abilities, the conditions, as well as your kayak.

Generally, if you’re paddling for a long period of time, you may find you won’t be able to maintain a quick speed for the entire journey. If you’re planning a trip, it’s best to use the 2 miles per hour average as a guide and always remember to factor in stops.


If you have any questions, please feel free to comment and we’ll do our best to answer them.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 6 comments
Judy masson - June 22, 2019

I have been kayaking for just about a year. We live on a lake. I can kayak 4.14 miles in 59 minutes would you consider this good. I kayak every day I’m addicted I just want to be faster.

Reply
    Kayak Guru - June 28, 2019

    Hi Judy. Great to hear you caught the bug!

    Reply
    Vin Dap - July 20, 2019

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    What is good for one maybe slow for another or fast for someone else. Kayaking is a wonderful workout! If your more interested in speed and competing than sightseeing while kayaking than you may need to upgrade you boat and paddle. My current setup is a Carbon fiber West Side Boating EFT 19’ 30 lbs kayak and Epic “Wing” paddle. In comparison I typically average a 9:30-10 min mile. I compete a four mile race every year and average about 40 min to do. Out of about 25 kayakers this time places me 3rd or 4th. If comparing yourself to others your time would be in the back of the pack. 46 min seems to the average. As you can see there are so many levels of speed out there. After all said, the main thing is to continue what you love… kayak

    Reply
      Judy - August 31, 2019

      Wow that is the best advice I have gotten yet. I am in a Hobie 13. Not a good paddle either. I’m set up to buy a new kayak. I would love a suggestion. I flat water kayak about 4-5 miles a day on a lake for exercise love it want more speed. Would love to maybe do a little 4 mile race someday. My budget is about 1200. That doesn’t include a good paddle. Would also buy a used one. Saw a used Epic v7 thought that might be a good fit. I love this sport. I am so fit after just a year. Any suggestions from you would be awesome

      Reply
Alan Moats - July 15, 2019

Without knowing your boat specs (length, width, hull shape) or paddle (greenland, epic wing?) it sounds like you are on top of your game.

Reply
    Kayak Guru - August 16, 2019

    Hi Alan. Thanks for commenting.

    This is more of a “Rule of thumb” type article. We hope it’s useful for those who aren’t going to be competing in events or endurance distances.

    Reply

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