Cockpit size question...

Newbie here. If the question is too dumb, feel free to slap me.

If the cockpit size stated is 34 inches deep, how much ‘leg’ can you have before you max it out, i.e., since you bend your knee, how much does that shorten your leg length. I have a 34" inseam and a bunch of boats have nowhere near that much room, but since I’m bending the knee, would a 32" depth suffice?

Cockpit or Coaming
Are you sure you are looking at the correct measurement. My kayak has a 30" coaming, or the cockpit opening is 30" long. The distance from the back of the seat to the forward bulkhead is much longer. I have a 33" inseam and my foot rests are adjusted at about the halfway point. And the forward bulkhead is another six inches or so in front of the foot rest bracket.

Happy Paddling,


Leg room…
My concern is legroom; back of the seat to the end (or forward area) of the cockpit. That length is usually stated in the dimensions as well as the coaming size, so if the length is 34", taking into consideration the bend in your leg, how long can your leg be (inseam)? More clear?

hang on
“depth” of a cockpit is distance from top of the deck,to bottom of the hull, in the front of the cockpit.

Cockpit length is the length of the cockpit rim. You will find the “advertised” cockpit length to be off by several inches vs real world measured cockpit length of the same boat. Wilderness Systems advertised cockpit dimensions are way off for example, same with Azul/Riot i believe.

Cockpit length has nothing to do with how long of a leg you can fit in the boat because the footpegs/bulkheads are way further in. So you’ll find relatively few boats that wont fit 34 inseam.

Also ,distance from seat back to cockpit rim vary from boat to boat.

Ah ha…!
I apparently have been misinterpreting this thing.

This is an example of the cockpit length on a WS CH: 31.5”/80cm. This measurement is from the front of the cockpit opening to the back of the opening and not the length from say the front of the seat to the forward bulkhead…?

Say someone has long legs? There is no way to eliminate some boats using the dimensions only? Actually sitting in it is the only measure?

what boat specifically ?
you are probably fine if youre talking about an average size kayak in production by a big company. generally their boats fit a wide range of paddlers. the cockpit size usually refers to the size of the opening, not the inside length.

Sit in them
There are obvious eliminations - a boat that is specifically stated to be for a smaller woman paddler isn’t going to fit a very tall or big guy. But yes, you really should sit in them. Actual fit in a kayak is a combination of length to the footpegs, reach to the thigh braces (which involves the vertical height of the coaming as well as the length), and width of the seat. A lot of manufacturers don’t give you sufficient info to tell all of that, even if they do it is still better to sit in the.

No specific boat…
…that’s why I asked the question. I want/ need to know what not to look at.

I’m thinking 16’ or 17’ touring boat. A la WS Tempest. Something used hopefully. Do you have recommendations?

ws tempest? flatpick where are you
the tempest gets great reviews and ‘flatpick’ has the inside skinny on which one would fit you best (he was instrumental in its design) he’s around here somewhere…

hard to tell…
It’s hard to tell if a kayak will fit by looking at the specs. At 6’1"/225 I was surprised that I fit in a Valley Pintail with the keyhole cockpit, but I do. You can probably come up with a “short list” of boats to try out though.

The dimensions listed are usually the coaming size which are the ones that you need to get the right size spray skirt. Some are longer than others which is nice if you have a 34" inseam (me too) so you can sit in the seat and then pull your legs in. NDK boats have long coamings like this as do some of the Valleys, probably others too. The Pintail that I mentioned before comes in a very short ocean cockpit as well which is only about 20" long and the keyhole is still pretty short by NDK or Nordkapp standards. Again, this is only one measurement and it doesn’t take into account the distance from the backband to the front of the coaming, height or where the footpegs are.

length of cockpit…
I have a 34" inseam, and a 29.5" cockpit opening. I can just barely sit in and pull my legs in after. Not comfortable.

Prefer to slide in feet first.

Just my .02


and then
there’s the people that love the Ocean Cockpits ( very ‘short’ opening)

BTW, if you’re looking at a WS Cape Horn, the measured dimensions are actually about 2 inches smaller than advertised. i had a cape horn and cockpit opening actually measured 29x16, not 31x18 like they advertise. which was just fine.

Remember, cockpit depth also affects how easy it is to get in and out.

long legs…I hear ya
I could not even tell you what my cp dimensions are off the top of my head. Knowing those before trying on boats did me no good at all. I’m 6’2", 250 with long, thick legs. I had to “try on” over a dozen yaks before I found the one I have…and it’s perfect. The one thing this rookie knows is sitting in them is the very best trial.