Fat Boy in a kayak?

-- Last Updated: Jun-13-06 7:37 PM EST --

I'm moving to Maine in a month and will be residing in the Bar Harbor area. I'm interested in taking up kayaking at the ripe old age of 48. I'll be near many lakes, the downeast coast, and will be really close to the Jordan River which empties into the ocean. I like to envision myself fishing from the kayak and doing some paddling on lakes and the river. Not sure about ocean kayaking at this point. I'm 5'8" and weigh about 255 pounds so I've got a decent sized spare tire to deal with. Am I dillusional in thinking something like the Old Town Dirigo Angler 14' would be a good start? Can I even fit in a kayak? I'd like to hear from some other fat boys out there and what kayaks they use.


Necky Santa Cruze or Perception Captiva have worked well for me. I’ve test paddled dozens for fit. My conclusions are that you should be able to slip in and out of the cockpit easily. And err toward a longer yak than you think you need. AND test paddle several before you buy any. And also try different paddles.

Bet you could fit in an epic endurance
or in a Nigel Dennis kayak explorr HV, or an arctic tern (build your own for a grand or less including tools), Go used if possible go big, go quality.

Peter K (who weighs about what you do and stil fits into a pintail!)

I thought ya were looking
for advice on whether Harley would fit on a kayak! Sorry my brain is half on bikes these days! HAHA!! Of course there are many kayaks that are larger person can paddle in-look in the specs for total weight capacity and cockpit opening size and go from there. Ya might even be able to put a camera and case in there with ya!

try, try , try, demo, demo, demo
I demoed a Dirgio 140, (non angler version), and almost immediately crossed it off my list as too slow. It’s kinda interesting because most all of the yaks I had thought would work for me as general purpose boats got crossed off the list pretty quick when I actually tried them. Another that I thought I really wanted until I saw and paddled a couple was the Liquid Logic Stingray. These boats are both kind of beginner toys, that even a beginner like me could see that I’d not be happy with longterm.

My initial thought was that I wanted a big, wide open cockpit, since that was what I was used to in canoes, and it just seemed logical that it’d be easier in and out. But, ya know, … kayaks are different. You WEAR them. Kayakers steer with their hips and thighs, and fit is important. It took me a few all day down river and across lake sessions to really start to grasp the importance of a snug, (not constrictingly tight), but snug, fit in kayaks.

I’ll tell ya 2 that might surprise you. At 6’ 220#, I’m positively just flopping about in all the room an a Wilderness Systems Cape Horn 150, and in a Hurricane Santee 116. I’m going to have to spend a fair amount of $$$ to outfit them to get them to be small enough to fit me. That’s the opposite of what I thought going into this. BTW, I’m not suggesting those models to you. The Santee would be right out of the question for you, but it fills a niche for me. The Cape Horn might be something you want to look at. Really, I don’t know. I may well sell mine before even putting any effort into it.

Mostly, I’m just saying that it takes some experience to even understand what you want. I started out thinking I wanted huge cockpits and lots of leg room. Now, I’m thinking I want a boat that fits me to the point that I have good thigh contact, and a reasonable sized cockpit to get into/out of, but no more.

Yes, Demo/Rent

– Last Updated: Jun-14-06 4:20 AM EST –

there has to be some dealers up there. You'll fit into a range of boats currently produced. Also take a basic lesson or two to learn basic manueuvers and safety.

Know the limitations of the boat (and you in it) and should be able to have a bit of fun and hopefully catch a bunch of fish (smoke blues... Yummm....)

You mentioned a tidal river, be very careful with that one. These can be very dynamic/challenging environments on the tidal shifts.


Wes Boyd has a website with info about kayaks for “big guys and gals.”


I’ll have to be the one…

– Last Updated: Jun-14-06 8:36 AM EST –

to bring up the subject of QCC (Quality Composites Corp).

I'm heavier than you, and I still fit in my QCC500. Might be more of an investment than you are interested in making, but it is a great boat for larger folks. Reasonably fast as well.

I believe that QCC, which sells via the web, actually has a relationship with a New England dealer. I will try to find a link.




Water Walker

Will have many boats that will carry your weight comfortably.


QCC and weight
Which QCC holds the most weight and how much do you actually know that to be. I’ve read their material and have decided the only way I’d know is if I were able to demo run. Do they have one which will hold a 285-300 pound person and not take on water easily?

Big Guy here…
I am a big guy, 5-11", 270 Lb, sz 42 jeans, and 2X T-shirt. And a bit of a belly that being 55 years old has given me.

I canoed for years with the Boy Scouts, and 5 years ago started kayaking in an Old Town, “Adventure XL-139” Kayak. it is 13’ 9" long, by 28" wide.

It is a nice recreational kayak that is great for lakes and rivers. I had mine in 18" to more swells, and boat wakes, and I felt comfortable in it. I used it for photography too.

Take a look at this kayak, and test paddle it too. The seat is comfortable, the price is decent, and it has two bulkheads and hatches for dry storage & flotation if needed.

Mine did not have a rudder, and I never felt I needed one. It tracks straight, and turns fairly easily.

Good luck in your search!


– Last Updated: Jun-14-06 12:20 PM EST –

has a capacity of 425# if memory serves. Reasonably stable for a shallow V hull, good depth at the foredeck for moving my legs around.


BTW: If price is no object, and you are looing for a Brit style boat, the Impex Assateague is a winner. Have not paddled one, but I sat in one and fit well.

Carpe Deum
Probably a litttle off your radar right now, but once you are in the Bar Harbor area you should check these folks out to talk about sea kayaking. Mel Rice and Mark Schroon, who own/run Carpe Deum, are both excellent coaches and can have a good conversation with you about what may be involved etc. And frankly, once you are up there and constantly seeing all those bays and islands and that gorgeous coastline I suspect that you’ll find yourself wanting to get out there. The islands in Muscongous Bay are why we started.

They are located in/near Bar Harbor.

Try a Sit on Top for starters
SOT’s are wider but slower. But easy to climb on. My problem is inserting my long legs into those tiny keyhole cockpits. SOTs are popular with fisherman for their stability. I’ve known some to flyfish standing on them. Buy used and you will save a bunch. Then if you decide to upgrade after a few seasons you can resell without taking a huge loss.





Don, AKA, Big D, (6-4, 250).

Pungo 140…
I just got in to Kayaking and picked up a Pungo 140 from a cottage show last year.

I’m 6’ 300lbs and do fine in it. Granted, I’m at it’s “weight capacity”, but I’m sure I can get more stuff in there and still do fine for flatwater.

The opening is HUGE and I’m thinking I’ll have to pack some foam in there to keep my arse in one spot as I slide about.

I will probably get a skeg system next year…but I’ll see how I do this year!


Wow, thanks for all of the tips and suggestions!

I’ve got a lot of homework to do. :slight_smile:

SOT in Maine??? Brrrrrrrrr. NM

you can put more weight in Pungo 140
I thought I was enough weight but the 140 Pungo actually seems to track better with more weight behind the seat.

If Perception says the boat holds 300 lbs, my experience would doubt their perception of what 300 pounds really is.

I think the weight load information is in general a guide and varies from product line to product line.

BIG guy boats
I know this group does NOT consider them kayak’s but…a Sit on Top may be a good solution for you. My first exposure to kayaking was in/on an OK Prowler. Great stability, decent cruising speed, lots of room for gear, stable enough to anchor for fishing. With a wet suit, you can paddle (here in Michigan, on lake Huron)through October. Unfortunately, you will quickly outgrow the boat, and want something faster and more effecient, as your skills and cruising range increase. I’m 6’5" 250lbs, 54 years old.

I also have a CD Storm, and a QCC500.

I’m 6’ and 245. I paddle a…
Perception Sundance 12. Tons of room.