Ideal load range for a Kayak?

Is there an “ideal load” or weight range for a kayak? Looking at mfg specs, all boats seem to have a very wide carrying capacity.

I have a Tempest 170 … when I bought it I was 200 pounds; now I’m at 170 (I’m 5’9"). Does 30 pounds make that much of a difference in stability and performance? The Tempest 165 is only 6" shorter and .5" narrower.

Is the 170 still the right boat?

stability… probably not too much
Actually losing weight (congrats by the way) probably lowered your center of gravity so you will be more stable in the boat now. Of course you have had more seat time which also affects your relative comfort level. If the 170 still feels good to you, it is still the right boat. Even though I’m a low volume fan, I have comfortably paddled the 170 at 5’8" 145 lbs. You are definitely still within the design range for that boat. If you honestly like the 165 better, go for it, but don’t trade boats simply because you suspect you might not be in the right boat (which is not the case at this point). Now if you were 5’ and 90 lbs., that would be a different story.

Thanks schizopak
That’s good to hear! I like the boat and feel very confident in it, but last time I paddeled it I was closer to 200 pounds. Can’t wait to get out there this spring … winter is back here in New England.

what do YOU think?
How does the boat feel? Have you tried a 165?

you are like me, a 'tweener. I paddle the 165 when I want a sporty day boat or very light weekender, the 170 when I go for comfort or a load and the 180 when I guide or extended trips in the winter when I wanna carry the kitchen sink. We eat well and I bring my Martin Backpacker guitar!

Do you do a lot of overnighting? Is your kit compact? How big are your feet?

The 165 is a snug boat so good/bad aspects. good fit/ little room for moving around. sporty ride/ less stable etc.

Get a 165 for an extra boat, wife’s boat, loaner, etc. and have the best of BOTH worlds. :wink:

EZ for me to say, I have 10.


If you need to make space,
I’ll make the ultimate sacrifice and agree to take one or two off of your hands.

I only have 5 in the garage.

you’re so…

where do you want them shipped and what size and colors?


oh yeah and where should I send the B I L L ???


Not having tried the 165 …
I know I like the 170 … I bought a plastic one in '04, but sold it last fall … just bought a glass 170 (great winter deal on a new '05). No 165’s in stock around me, and I didn’t want to order and pay '06 prices. Just stopped to look around and walked out the door with the boat (and very little time in the dog house … well worth it … ).

I’m a day paddler … I carry just the normal stuff like a pump, extra paddle, water, etc. Normal feet.

I’ve read that the 165 has a little less primary and more rocker… One thing I like about the 170 is that I feel comfortable floating around if I want to take a break (tried a Capella 169 and it felt more “twitchy”).

I’m feeling like the 170 should be fine for what I want to do, but would value your opinion … I know you designed the boat. Figure me and 10 pounds or so of gear … 180 - 185 pounds total? Will I be riding too high? Should I put in more weight?

So far the wife shows no interest, but I think at least one of my kids will be ready to paddle around with Dad soon …

No need to rush
Give the 170 a try for a while at the new weight. Still, especially with some paddling under your belt (as opposed to the padding you used to have under your belt:-) you may want to try some lower volume boats, especially if you day paddle. I’m about 165 lbs and like my T-165. I do need to learn how & what to pack for trips because it is a bit low on storage. If you still like the T-170, more of a day boat could be a great addition. The only time I paddled a 170, on flat water, I found it to be a bit “corky” like I needed more weight.

You may want to try an Avocet and even a Romany to compare to the 165.

I’ve Owned Both

– Last Updated: Feb-10-06 5:05 PM EST –

I started out with a 170. After I paddled a rented 165 about a half mile, I knew the 170 was history. I ordered a new 165 the next day.

I think I weighed about 170 at the time. I've lost a little since. I'm also a daytripper. I guess if I did a lot of camping I would have held on to the 170.

you’d be fine
in a 165. I don’t know how many times I have told ‘them’ but the 165 does NOT have more rocker. the hull profiles are very similar on all 5 Tempests. We pride ourselves at Wildy to keep ‘family’ traits the same. If it says tempest or tsunami it will be a family of like boats.

With kiddy-pops coming on board soon a plastic 165 would give you the best of both worlds. maybe the wife-poo might give it a try if one was ‘layin’ around. :wink:


hey steve
isnt there really 6 tempests now???

3 rm and 3 composites???

just dropped off my 170 for a keel strip…

btw: you should have heard Teri’s voice on the phone when i asked her if she could have the footpegs left off of the boat…'why would you want that?" becuase i want something more comfortable…supposedly they could not make the hull without them so i have two rails left incase i ever (why would i) sell it…


So it sounds like…
… I’m in the weight range for either boat.

For a day tripper, if you had to recommend only one boat (can’t afford two), would it be the 165 or 170? Since I just bought the 170 last weekend, I’m thinking that perhaps I could trade it in for a 165.

Steve, you said all Tempests are designed to perform the same … some posts I’ve read suggest that the 165 has a little less primary … would you agree?

The 165 actually feels more stable to me. The 170 has a ‘bobber’ feel due to the higher volume.

You’ll understand if you take one out. Especially on a windy day.

Remove the rails
It is usually easy enough to remove the foot peg rails. Saves a few pounds and simplifies the cockpit. Nylon bolts with neoprene washers and nylon cap nuts do a nce job of filling the holes (while allowing installation of rails for resale) and are almost invisible.

At 165
I’m 165 and the Romany is the perfect volume boat as a day boat for me.

I weigh 15lbs less than I did when I first got my Aquanaut and I believe I can feel the difference in primary stability. It feels lighter than when I weighed more. I think the boat sat a slight bit lower in the water when I weighed more.

still trying
to get them to do the 180 in roto. it’s on ‘hold’ right now but hopefully they will see the ‘light’!


sometimes the factory just doesn’t like to break outta the mold and do something differebt. even different colors are a chore! yeas, just fill the holes with marine tex, epoxy, or screws!


Steve … you said that all the Tempests are designed to perform the same, just different sizes for different folks.

I talked to the dealer who sold me the glass 170 a few weeks ago … he says that the 165 is a “different boat” with “more rocker” and less primary stability. He says the 170 is the right boat for me, even if I get my weight down to 160 - 165 pounds (I’m 5’8" and 170 lbs now … for medical reasons I need to get down to 165). At 200 pounds (my old weight) he is saying that I was pushing the poly 170.

Sounds like my size and weight is somewhere between the 165 and 170. Searching this board I found a post that said the range for a 165 paddler is 135 - 180 pounds… What is it for the 170?

I’m thinking that the 170 is too much volume for me (I’m not carrying much gear… day trips) and the 165 would better.