How Long Does It Take To Kayak 10 Miles?

Are you planning to for a kayaking adventure? Congratulations, you are going to have lots of fun. Probably you already have the safety equipment you need as well as the kayak and paddle, maybe even you have invited a friend to accompany you. You intend to paddle for about 10 miles or so and have even set the departure time. But, do you know how long it will take you to get back?

Calculating and knowing the kayaking speed for the distance you need to cover is an important part of planning. Kayaking experts say, with all ideal conditions, it should take between 20-30 minutes to paddle a mile. However, the real-life kayaking situation is far from ideal. So many factors such as the type of kayak and weather conditions greatly affect the kayaking speed.

How Long Does It Take to Kayak 10 Miles? [Let’s Check It Out]

How Long Does It Take To Kayak 10 Miles

Calculating based on experienced kayakers’ approximation of 1 mile=30 minute, then it will take you 300 minutes to kayak 10 miles. This means on average and in ideal conditions, you will use approximately 5 hours to cover 10 miles while paddling.

As earlier mentioned, this time will greatly increase depending on prevailing conditions. You can expect an addition of 5-1o minutes for every 30 minutes you use to cover a mile.

Use the formula below to calculate the maximum speed of a kayak:

Maximum hull speed = 1.34 x square root of the hull length at the waterline.

Factors That Affect Kayaking Speed

There are several factors that affect the kayaking speed. They include the following:

Weather Conditions

Weather Conditions

When thinking of weather conditions, think of wind. Wind will have a great impact on light, short, and wide kayaks. Kayaks made of plastic can easily be blown off the track making it hard to progress forward in a crosswind. When the wind is on your back, the kayaking speed is boosted.

Water Conditions

When the water is calm and no currents, your speed will be higher than if the water is choppy. Speed is also determined by the kinds of water you are paddling in, be it the sea, lake or river. If the current and tide are in your favor, you could reach speeds of 5 miles per hour.

Manmade water conditions such as dams can release water that greatly changes river conditions. A slow-moving river can instantly turn into a speedy river, forcing your speed to increase consequently.

Type Of Kayak

Type Of Kayak

The type of kayak you choose affects the speed of paddling. Kayaks that are long with narrow beams have a higher speed, the reason why most kayak racers like such boats. These kayaks are also made of smooth composite materials that slice through the water. Kayak length, width, and speed affect the speed. The list below shows the types of kayaks from the fastest to the slowest.

  1. Thin-beamed race kayaks
  2. Sea Kayaks
  3. Touring Kayaks
  4. Recreational Sit-inside Kayaks
  5. Recreational Sit-on-top Kayaks
  6. Fishing Kayaks
  7. Whitewater Kayaks

Type Of Paddle

A paddle is not a paddle-like you would like to think. A paddle makes all the difference in speed and experience. The kind of paddle you choose must match your shoulder size, height, and the width of the kayak. There are two kinds of kayak paddles to choose from: low-angle paddles and high-angle paddles. Low-angle paddles have long and narrow blades meant to slice through the water with ease.

High-angle paddles capture and hold water to allow faster propulsion. They are short and wide paddles designed for speed kayak travels.

Weight Carried

So, you are bringing a friend along? Did you know both your weights will affect the paddling speed? Your combined weight (or yours alone) together with the kayak’s weight and that of any other equipment onboard weighs down the boat. Any extra weight added on the boat acts as an anchor and makes you slow down, even if you put in more effort. So, if you want to travel faster say goodbye to excess load.

Hull Material

Kayaks are made of plastic, composite, or fiberglass. Plastic kayaks are the slowest. They are also prone to scratches, gouges, and imperfections that hamper speed.

Composite kayaks have a .5 knot advantage over plastic kayaks, although more expensive too. Fiberglass hulled kayaks are the best when it comes to speed.

Level And Physical Ability Of Kayaking

More experienced kayakers travel at a higher speed compared to newbies or people who are not used to the sport. This is because experienced kayakers know how to maneuver around and move the paddles quickly. New kayakers are still struggling to learn how to move the paddles and balance the kayak while also learning the basics. This lowers their concentration hence slowing down the speed.

Your physical strength as a kayaker is also important. The stronger you are the easier it will be to swing and propel the kayak across the water.

Obstacles In The Water

It is no secret that there are numerous obstacles in the water that will slow you down. You will come across portages, rapids, logs, shallows, animals, trash, rocks, and locks.

Unfamiliar Waters

When you paddle in familiar waters, you already know which areas to avoid probably because of obstacles, enabling you to travel faster. When in unfamiliar waters, you only take chances with the direction you choose to propel the kayak to, making it slow when you encounter barriers.


With these factors in mind, how long do you think it will take you to paddle 10 miles. As a general rule, you should take 30 minutes to cover a mile but as already seen, it will take much of your physical ability, conditions, and the type of kayak you have to alter the speed.

You may realize that you will not be able to maintain the paddling speed you started with as the journey progresses. You may even have to make some stops to get refreshment as well as rest for a bit. Pace yourself but also get enough time to enjoy and pick up the pace if you think you may not make it back before dusk.

Barry Robinson

Hi. This is Barry J. Robinson. I love to fishing, kayaking and blogging. I start fishing & kayaking when I was at the age of 18. I love to write about my fishing & kayaking review and parts review. Regularly writing about fishing and kayaking for various magazines, newspapers and websites.

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