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Ultra light boat plans and kits

No one sets out to build a bulky heavy boat. All boat builders hope their boat building efforts will result in light strong crafts. How light and how strong depend on many factors including the choice of materials, boatbuilding method and how much structure the boat has. Here is a selection of ultra light plans. Many categories of boats can be built to be ultra light. Although skin on frame often comes to mind when ultralight boatbuilding is mentioned, very light boats have been made using strip building or glued lapstrake.

For the purpose of this page I will call a boat 50 lb or less ultra light. Most weight considerably less.

Some boat building methods are inherantly light. Skin on frame usually is, so most kayaks and canoes built this way will be light. It is possible to adapt many boat plans to make them lighter. This can be done either by substituting light materials for heavier ones. For example Okume is lighter than Maranti plywood, or by reducing the scantlings to miniumum dimentions. This should be done carefully since the strength of the craft can be seriously reduced. Most designers will be happy to consult with you about modifying their boats. Use your head though, if you weaken your boat too much it will fail when stressed. Be safe and be careful.

I've added a page of plan and kits links for Stand Up Paddleboards and surfboards including paddles. There are several which are stitch and glue models. None are ultralight but some are designed to be in the 15-20 pounds which is quite amazing.

Ultra Light Boat Plans in no Particular Order.

Email me if a link is broken. I try to update everything often but the internet is a fast paced place. (and I'm not so quick).


Ken Simpson and others have Coroplast boats. They end up being very light.

Thomas hill has a book, Ultralight Boat Building


I try to be accurate and check my information, but mistakes happen. ALSO keep in mind that not all free boats are good designs. Some are but others are worth exactly what you paid for them. Also keep in mind while I'm in a preachy mood, that a good set of plans will save you lots of time and if you've paid for them you can actually often contact the designer and get help.

email me if you find mistakes, I'll fix them and we'll all benefit: Christine