Best Kayak for a Clydsdale Beginner

-- Last Updated: Jul-10-09 12:15 PM EST --

I live in the Washington DC area, so dont have much in the way of white water...but would like to buy a kayak to paddle on the Potomac or one of the many small rivers and lakes in the area. I weigh around 250lbs and most of my height is from the waist up....

Any suggestions on what kind of kayak or canoe to purchase?


– Last Updated: Jul-10-09 1:24 PM EST –

Don't be too sure about the whitewater...

Anyway, there are many boats that'll handle a 250-pound paddler with no problems. Many models come in a variety of sizes. One of the most popular big-person recreational kayaks is the Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 or 140.

Your best bet would be to go to a dealer and start sitting in boats to see what fits, and demoing those on the water.

Here's one:

Going to visit.
Thanks, called the store you mentioned and will be visiting them tomorrow (Sat). They only carry Old Town canoes now. I guess that is ok?

OT has limited solo options

– Last Updated: Jul-10-09 3:41 PM EST –

Old Town doesn't have a good selection for a solo canoeist -- I think the Pack is the only choice. Look up Wenonah and Bell for a wider range of solo canoe choices.

Clydesdale paddler…
I like that. I’m afraid my equine counterpart would be another word for donkey :wink:

A friend of mine who is 6’ 3", around 260, just purchased a Current Designs Storm.

Seems to fit him well. He’s a strong young man, so the weight of the boat is not an issue, and he’s pretty darn quick in the thing.

Good luck,


I second the recommendation for a Pungo. They are a great first kayak, very stable and easy to get into yet reasonably quick. Seat is very comfy. Check local Craigslist and any local paddling forums because used ones are relatively easy to find.

another option
I bought a current designs Kestrel 140 with rudder about 3 years ago and I love it. I am also a Clydesdale, 260 pounder, and even with a bad back, I can still paddle it quite well. We just returned from paddling the inter coastal waterways of NC, and I had no problems with wind, waves, or wakes. With a Greenland style paddle, I can out run my family, including my wife and teen daughter, both in Hurricane tracers.

Best bet, contact paddle/outdoor stores, and find a demo day. Try on the different boats and paddles. I never thought the Kestrel would work for me till I demo’d it. But once in it, I fell in love with it. And I still love it.

The wilderess systems are nice boats but you may want to consider a canoe. You can always turn it around and sit in the front seat. With a canoe you have the option of taking people out with you. This isn’t possible in a kayak. Also its easier to get in and out of a canoe. With the kayaks you have to shimmy down into them. In a canoe you can just jump in and go.


If you decide to go with a solo canoe (a bit higher learning curve), Mohawk, Bell, Wenonah, Mad River, Esquif and many others make them. A boat like the Mohawk Odyssey would be a great all round solo.


Maybe a Canoe
Wife claims that she wants to be involved and what about a canoe. Is there a canoe for two that one person can handle, as I probably will be doing most of it solo anyways? Figure on transporting on the roof of the old SUV.

Also anyone know about any demo days in driving distance from Washington DC?

I weigh 240 and definately would not

– Last Updated: Jul-15-09 10:47 AM EST –

buy a Pungo less than 14'. I am a strong paddler and when I push a Pungo 12', it bogs down.
Look at the Wenonah Solo Plus canoe.Also the Advantage for solo paddling.
With your high COG, you may want to look at lowering the seat if you get a canoe.I lowered the one in my Wenonah Voyager 2" and it is much more stable.

Liquid Logic Remix XP10 or …

– Last Updated: Jul-15-09 11:31 AM EST – Eddyline Equinox if you are more serious about getting into kayaking.

It is truly difficult for the 'shrimp boat' flotilla to give advice about what works for us bigger guys. I can use 2 of their boats as water shoes. You are an Arabian compared to my Clydesdale...

The LL Remix XP10 is a well designed, well made boat, outfitting is great and it fits a big guy with room to spare. With it's skeg, it tracks well for light duty touring, or its old style creek boat shape makes it work great for moderate use WW (say up to Class III). Nice outfitting touch with the rear bulkhead/hatch too.

Ditto the Eddyline Equinox, a significantly more pricey boat but one worth considering if your interest tends more to light touring and you would not be likely to do WW. Excellent cockpit dimensions for big guys and Eddyline's top quality materials throughout. My main seakayak is an Eddyline Nighthawk 17.5 Modulus and even I feel small in that boat. It can carry me and 75# of gear with ease. The Equinox is more of a "sport" boat for me.

A less expensive choice than the Eddyline that works well for (moderately) big guys is the WS Tsunami 145. Not a bad light touring boat at all, and it is also well made and outfitted. It is preferable to the Pungo 140, which might also work, but it is designed and outfitted as a more serious kayak than a day-rec boat.

If you are looking for a classic big guy plugger, the Old Town Loon in its larger incarnations is a good choice. But you can do a lot better with the Remix XP10, Equinox, or Tsunami imho.

Almost any small-to-medium sized tandem canoe can be paddled solo, but some are better for it than others. Width is the big issue – paddling isn’t comfortable if you’re reaching waaay out to the side.

Adding a center seat to most canoes is easy. Kneeling gives you more options but it’s not comfortable for some folks.

The solo/tandem question comes up fairly often here. The most reccommended canoe for that is probably the Old Town Penobscot 16.

Here’s one designed sprcifically for solo/tandem use: