I weigh 360lbs...

Are the max capacity on kayaks really that set…Would I be alright say in a kayak with a 300lb max capacity…Asking because I want to try kayaking and I dont want to spend $1000 for a kayak if im not gonna like it…Oh yeah,I`m interested in the sit on kayaks…I think I would be to hard for me to get in or out of a sit in kayak…Thanks for your time…rcole


– Last Updated: Jun-11-12 7:18 PM EST –

might consider the Nalu 12.5 by Ocean Kayaks. Its max weight range is 300 to 350 lbs. I have no idea how much "safety" factor is figured into that. Its possible that anything over 350 lbs would swamp it or it could actuall carry 425 lbs before swamping.

I think most folks would recommend that you try one at a demo days event or even renting for a few hours if you have a kayak or canoe livery reasonably near you.

I just found this http://www.emotionkayaks.com/sit-on-top/
The Mojo model says its max capacity is 375lbs.

thank you

Go Bigger

– Last Updated: Jun-11-12 8:12 PM EST –

Ocean Kayak seems a little more honest about weight range than most but close to the max weight is not the way to run a kayak. There will probably be a lot of water in the footwells and maybe even in the seating area. Once you weigh the yak low enough in the water performance disappears and you're not starting with much. Try out some of the better fishing kayaks. They are designed to carry a lot of equipment and have weight max's in the 450lb+ range. They will be more fun to paddle for a guy your size and you will not have to fight to keep the thing moving. Go to a demo day and check out the Trident series, the bigger Tarpons or the Wilderness Ride. Try out the ones you were looking at also. You will quickly see why they are a poor choice when paddled near the max weight range. I hope you find the right boat that keeps you in the sport. Good luck.

Concidee a canoo…
One o’ de bigger solos or solo a small tandem… besides, canooists got better lookin’ knees - not like dem 'yakers who gots ta hide dem’s ugly pins!


ocean kayak
ocean kayak makes a big game prowler sit on top, holds 600 lbs, very stable, just a little heavy, 72 pounds, sit on tops are heavy kayaks, but stable and hold a lot of weight… and can handle the waves.

Commander and Ride
I am also on the bigger side and where you can somewhat push the upper limit (the weight specs do seem to be a bit conservative), you will have a better and safer experience with a higher capacity boat.

I wouldn’t buy anything less than a 400lbs limit but you probably should look more 450lbs+.

Checkout Wilderness Systems sit on tops:


The Commander and Ride both have a high weight capacity. The Commander 140 (475lbs) or Ride 135 (550lbs) would should easily hold you and some gear. Plus, both come in angler version or you could just add your own gear for fishing. The Ride is known to be a very stable boat.

Sit ins for future reference
I know these are out of your price range currently but here they are for future consideration. I’m 300, I paddle a Delta 18.5 expedition. The other day I loaded an extra 50lbs of gear to see how it would handle (I weighed it). Not bad at all with the weight actually but it was totally calm. The crappy part about this boat is the cockpit is only 32.5 inches long and being 6’2 I have to sit on the back deck and slide down into it. This usually folds the seat down unless you hold it. To be able to sit down and tuck your legs in maybe take a look at a Eddyline Night hawk 17.5 or a Wilderness systems Tsunami 175, both very big guy boats.

Hope you find a good boat.

Somewhat sensitive issue,
but I would suggest trying out pfds to see if they will keep you afloat in event of a capsize.

Good luck, and persevere in your quest!

max ratings don’t correspond to max paddler size. The manufacturers max ratings could be an arbitrary draft/freeboard measurment with no actual on water utility. In my experience when a manufacturer says “400lbs capacity” the boat doesn’t do well with more than 300lbs.

the biggest challenge
from what I’ve seen is that folks who are heavy because of excess fat have a hard time sitting in an upright position with feet at the same level as their seat. Hamstrings aren’t flexible enough and the gut doesn’t allow for a vertical posture. If that’s your case I’d suggest a canoe and use a long kayak paddle. Make sure and put some foam blocks under the seat so the seat support can take the weight.

For a low cost solution be willing to modify a double canoe and use a long kayak paddle. .

I had a guy in a kayak class who was 325 but he was reasonably flexible former football player and was simply big all around. Another friend was 6’8" and also simply big. If your size is mostly in the middle that’s going to complicate a kayak posture with much better paddling hulls in canoes.

Bigger Yaks
Agree with comments to also look at yaks that can handle more weight. I saw in your profile it says fishing, some of the fishing yaks go to 500+ lbs.

WS Ride 115:


WS Ride 135:



– Last Updated: Jun-12-12 9:38 AM EST –

depends on the body composition. A low body fat % person will tend to be slightly positively bouyant when completely relaxed in the water. A person with a high body fat% will be quite positively bouyant. I had a scuba student that required 14 lbs of lead weights strapped around her waist to get her close enough to slightly positively bouyant so she could complete a breath hold swim the length of the pool. As she described her self, "I'm fluffy" i.e. really high body fat %. She became a pretty good diver.

Another suggestion
You might want to look at the Mad River Adventure 14 canoes (also sold at Dick’s sporting goods as the Passage 14). These are reasonably priced plastic canoes that have some kayak-like characteristics. My boyfriend and I mostly use touring kayaks and sometimes a conventional canoe (Old Town Guide 147) but when we visited the Everglades last winter we rented an Adventure 16 and were impressed with it. It has lower gunwales than the usual canoe and is narrow enough to use kayak paddles (we rented 240 cm paddles with it.) We found it tracked and accelerated well, even in rough windy conditions along the coastal inlets, and having less draft than other canoes we’ve used, was fine in the shallow swamps as well. It feels more like a kayak due to the slightly loose primary stability but it has good secondary.

It even has sort of a coaming lip around the perimeter (probably to make the edge more rigid). We have been thinking of buying one and I may try to make a neoprene or nylon spray deck of some sort for it. The stern design will take a small trolling motor if you want to add one. It’s around $500 for the 14’ boat and $550 for the 16’ at Dicks. I have been told the Dick’s models (Passage)are not quite the same quality as the Adventures (which REI sells). Looking at them both I think that is true – the outfitting is chintzy on the Dick’s versions and the molding and finish of plastic looks rough. But for your budget, $200 less is a substantial savings (though buying from REI earns you a 10% rebate the following year in the member dividend).


Capacity rating are very high – I believe the 14 footer is almost 900 lbs – so it would not be much affected by your size and you could even take someone else along. The seats are very comfortable and the boat is easy to enter and exit. Though if you plan to paddle solo you would probably want to retrofit one to the middle seat. At 75 lbs it is not much heavier than many large sit in kayaks or sit-on-tops.

Demo Days
Look for local paddling shops and inquire about a Demo.

You’ll get the real info from those that truly know.

Personally, I say avoid the big box stores.

Another two possibilities
1. There’s a kind of hybrid kayak called the NuCanoe that someone told me about a few months ago. It is 41" wide x 12’ long, and designed to be very stable for fishing in sheltered waters. I don’t know anything about how this boat paddles, just that it’s another big-load choice. Downside is that it weighs 77 lbs, which is much heavier than even the widest SOT kayaks.

2. The Tequila modular SOT can be used either as a 2-piece single or a 3-piece double. Again, I have no idea how this kayak paddles, but if you can demo or rent one, it’s another option to consider. This one has the advantage of being easier to transport.

The issue is more of paddler stability
and comfort than overloading the boat.

Even a little tiny 13 foot canoe will hold 500 lbs without sinking. But longer boats have more volume…and hence will sink less with weight added.

Any 16 foot solo canoe would be fine for you. But the question is would you be comfy…and secure.

Kayaks operate under Archimedes principle too . I think that twelve feet for a big guy is simply too short, and more likely to plow through the water than to be buoyant.

I see a number of 14 foot SOTs out there including the Malibu

There are boats for larger paddlers.

– Last Updated: Jun-12-12 6:32 PM EST –

And there are larger paddlers with experience and skills in using those boats that can paddle the skegs off of those shrimp boat paddlers who admonish you to lose weight. I have had more than a few of them, when invited along in Bay or sea even Beaufort force 4 conditions, much less 5, say that our agenda is a bit too ambitious for their level. I appreciate their honesty. They were all old guys, btw.

Now that that is out of the way....

It appears from your post that you are new to kayaking in general. Picking a boat that is comfortable for fit, stable for you, and more importantly offers safety advantages for a larger paddler with less developed skills is wise. A sit on top is a good choice. Some boats like the Commander have good capacity and look like a good choice, but if you flip it, re-entry is that much more difficult because you have to bail it and it has high freeboard. Deepwater re-entry in a canoe is difficult enough; this type of boat doesn't improve much on that capability. Should the need arise, if you can kick swim your feet up and pull yourself onto a SOT, especially if you have someone helping, you are ahead of the game already.

Two boats with adequate and realistic stated capacities for your needs are the OK Big Game, a huge fishing SOT, and ditto the WS Ride 135. Give them a try. Also, if you want something a little faster just for paddling rather than mostly fishing, I think the Tarpon 160 is a little under rated for it's carrying capability and you may find it enjoyable if a fishing platform is not your primary goal.

My seakayak is an Eddyline Nighthawk 175, one of the best of the Big Guy SINKs out there. The CD Solstice GT Titan is also a possibility. There are a couple of other options for true Big Guys (say 44+ waist and 33+ inseam) but not many. *Cockpit size* and *deck height* (thigh clearance) are more limiting factors than actual weight when comparing spec sizes. The Tsumani 145 may work for some, but the Tempest 180 or Tsunami 175 are better. Something to keep in mind as you advance.

BTW, cruise over to topkayaker.net for some good discussions on this sort of issue. Lots of big guys over there that like kayak fishing, who will have some good advice on what works and doesn't. I think you will also find that the "longer" boat principle is highly favored, i.e. a 12 ft SOT rated at 400 does *not* feel as stable as a 15-16 ft one rated the same.

Another big guy
There aren’t enough of us big guy paddlers out there. At 6’4 300 lbs I had a heck of a time finding a sit in kayak I could actually sit in. To the people that ask me “why not just loose weight” without talking to me first, I usually reply along the lines of why don’t I stuff you inside my kayak and make it a sit on top. Once that’s out of the way we can start to talk about kayaks and canoes that fit.

I second the advice about canoes and demo days. I started in a canoe and it helped me loose a few pounds so I could fit in a kayak. (canoes still have more style). Also, it’s going to depend on the type of paddling you do. If your always on flat water that stays flat, the waterline can be a little lower than for whitewater or lakes with potential waves.

Good luck with your search and I hope to see you at some of the events.


Also consider canoe rowing
When I could not kayak I took up canoeing and eventually set mine up for rowing. It works for fat folks like me. I found I could keep up with sea kayaks because I could easily row 4 or 5 mph.

I really only took up kayaking because that’s what all the cool kids were doing and a kayak is more run to play with in waves. When rowing their is a lot less playing and a lot more just going wherever you want.