kayak for a fat man?

-- Last Updated: Aug-13-06 9:00 PM EST --

hey guys, I went kayaking for the first time this week. I've fallen outta condition, so the only option I had was the Pungo 120 at the local rental shop (it's cockpit is wide enough for my fat ass). while I paid for it (biggest blisters on my thumbs I've ever seen!) and got cramped and sore fingers, back, abs etc, I loved every minute of it. getting to see the wildlife we (dad, brother n I) got to see and hear was priceless!

anyhow, I'm interested in pursuing this kayak idea with my brother. I obviously need to get into condition, and right now, the Pungo seems to be the only thing that 'fits' me...but I'm open to other suggestions. I live in BC, Canada, so I don't know how that may limit my options, but I'd like to hear what you have to say :-)

right now, it's just day recreational flatwater/lake day touring, but my brother and I would like to work into overnight trips and go down slow water rivers (I live in Kamloops and the South Thompson is a sweet and slow river).

I'm going to be looking up a lot of information on kayaking. thankfully in looking, our library has a lot of publications available on topic. I need to learn more about the outdoors (ie. he Happy Camper: An Essential Guide to Life Outdoors by Kevin Callan) and about safety, paddling, cooking and otherwise!

I've been reading this website for the last few days...wow, what an awesome resource! just wish some of the articles could be pulled down in PDF format for printing (personal usage only, mind you) as reference materials while figuring it all out.

thanks for your attentions!


edit - this is off topic, but in reading the guides, it was stated that cotton clothes could cost your life. what's so bad about cotton?

Wes Boyd

There are plenty of kayak options.

Cotton kills: Well, I certainly have worn it and been fine and will continue to wear it and be fine. The main problem is that when cotton gets wet (water, sweat, rain, snow) if doesn’t insulate. It also doesn’t dry very fast (assuming that you’re in an environment where drying is possible) so if you’re wet and cold you’re likely to stay wet and cold and then perhaps slip into hypothermia and then you die. Oh, and the cotton will be heavier while it’s wet.

In the summer here in CA I’m busy trying to stay cool so wet cotton is usually a good thing, a little hypothermia is welcome at 90 plus degrees F. I have found some alleged “moisture wicking” shirts to work well too (cool and dry).

In the winter I’ll wear cotton if it’s warm and sunny (like 70) and I’m not planning to get wet. I also have non-cotton layers and something dry in my backpack. This is snowshoeing, not kayaking. If it’s going to be colder, then no cotton, it’s wool and artificial fabric designed to keep me warm. If it’s too cold for that, well, I stay at home.

I’m not advocating cotton or anything, just sharing my limited, unexpert experiences.

Cindy in CA

what little insulation value cotton has as a clothing material is completely lost when it gets wet.

wet cotton clothing, if anything, will make you lose MORE heat as you wear it… you’re better off to strip naked at that point.

wool is hands down #1 best insulation in regards to clothing (both wet AND dry)… with many synthetics coming in close 2nds and 3rds

cotton is cood for lounging around the campsite with a beer and marshmallows around the fire.

Fat Man Club
You didn’t mention exactly how big you are, but I’m a fat bastard weighing in at about 250, with a 48 inch waist and 32 inch inseam. I love my Perception Eclipse. It has a max weight rating of 425 pounds, a roomy cockpit, and lots of storage capacity should you decide to go camping or carry a bunch of stuff when you daytrip.

Hope that’s helpful.


Take a look at the Old Town Loon
138 and if that cockpit isn’t big enough, theres the OT Predator 138, essentially a Loon with the old style cockpit. Still not big enough? The Predator 140. The Loon and the Pedator 138 track true as can be and are roomy enough for my 230 lbs and about 70 lbs of gear when I go fishing.

thanks for your thoughts!

– Last Updated: Aug-13-06 9:59 PM EST –

hey guys, thanks for clearing up the understanding on cotton clothing. and an especially big thanks for that link to that site with info for big guys n gals!!!

but another question for you. as a beginner, someone who needs to learn how to paddle, how to roll (never done it before) and wishes to grow into overnight trips and lives on an extremely tight budget (I'm on disability), what are some good boats to consider? right now the Pungo seems to be what fits me best right now, but it only comes at a maximum of 14ft. I'm big n strong, just need to learn how to paddle...and being I wish to go into overnight stuff, bigger is better(?), correct? I understand it will be harder to handle, but it will be quicker.

in that Pungo 120, my brother in a BorealD Inukshuk 17.6' and my dad in a WD Tsunami 14' skunked me and left me sucking their fumes. anyhow...what are thoughts on the WD Tempest?

edit - I'm just under 6ft, 48" waist and currently weigh in at 310lbs and have a very short 30" inseam (more like 29" actually).

probably not tempest
But, try the Necky Eskia. That boat is very common as most rental fleets use them here and has huge cockpit room. also check out http://www.kayakplace.com/bigguy/bignews.htm

how come not Tempest?
as the subject states, why not the Tempest? that one you mentioned does look good tho. but the cockpit is smaller than the Tempest (not as wide)…which considering how wide my rear is, would count!

Tempest 180 or Nighthawk 17.5
It sounds like you really want to experience the whole sport, including rolling, and are looking for a long boat for camping. I’m 6’3, 275 lb, 48" waste, and the T180 fits me great.

You need to decide if you want a skeg or a rutter. Search the archives for discussions on pros and cons of each.

In skeged, I’d highly recommend the T180 for someone your size. I wrote a couple reviews in 2004 which are in the reviews section of this site, and just bought one in July this year.

If the T180 is too small, then the Eddyline Nighthawk will almost certainly fit you. It’s way too big for me. It might fit a pro linebacker. It’s like a long pungo. It’s made of carbonlite and 24" wide I think.

The Tempest is a lot faster and nimble though if it fits. It’s not a budget boat. A rotomolded plastic version was supposed to come out this spring, but I think company mergers slowed that. Maybe next summer.

Paul S.

Cotton contributes to hypothermia
because you actually lose heat 27 times faster wearing wet cotton than you would normally. Brrr.

the Night Hawk is a nice boat!
but I think it’s out of my price range…heck, all boats are out of my price range right now. mostly rental gear right now!

I would probably go with a rudder, rather than a skeg, due to the skeg taking up precious storage space. and to be honest, I hope I will get good enough that I won’t have to rely on something like that as much. get good without so then it’s an assitance, rather than a reliance.

Ok i dont know why was thinking Chatham 18 when we were talking about the Tempest 180. Chatham really would be small while tempest should be fine. I found that Wilderness systems tend to list bogus measurments on their website so i wouldn’t be surprized if the tempest cockpit is 1-2 inches smaller in every direction than listed.

indeed, smaller than it says…
yeh, from what I’ve been reading and finding out, while WS kayak’s are decent, they’re getting sloppy in their dealings with their resalers and there are some mounting quality control worries too. that really sucks, being their units are generally speaking among the most affordable. :stuck_out_tongue:

Tsunami, Assateague, Night Hawk 17.5
fat-man boats royale

Couple of my thoughts
If you want to spend the money for a composite Kayak, the Impex “Assateague” is “THE BEST”, in my opinion. I am a BIG guy, and I love it! It is a Kayak designed for the bigger paddler, right from the start.

If you are happy with a poly Kayak, look at the OLD TOWN, “Adventure XL” series. I started with the Adventure XL-139, and really enjoyed it!

Good Luck!

Big boats for Big Bones
I’m a big boned boy and I paddle a NH 17.5 and it fits great. I’m only a 42 in the girth departtment so I don’t know why it would be big on rounder folks. You might look at a Necky Zoar Sport. I’ve always fit nocely into one and there are plenty in rental fleets also you may find a used one cheap. Regardless which boat you buy get some good instruction on safety and paddling technique. Have fun and be safe.


Kayak place for smaller women???
This site has a discussion site for Large Guys and Large Women, but is there a similar site for smaller women? 125 lbs. 5’7" tall size 6??? I want to try some solo kayaks but do not have any ideas wich ones.

fat man kayak
Try the Sea Eagle 380X or the new 430. The size is adjustable because the kayak is inflatable. It won’t be uncomfortable or fast but for sure will get you out there and back and hold everything you want to take with you. It stores in your closet at home and doesn’t need roof racks on the car. I have owned one for some years now and my wife and I really like it. We are not petite people.

Second the Old Town Loon 138
I am 6’3 and ~280-290lbs with a 42" waist and a 34" inseem and am happy as a clam in my new style Loon 138. Stable, fast for a rec, tracks straight, and easily holds my weight. Haven’t really loaded it up much since I mainly do day trips, but I imagine I could pretty easily fill the deck hold and the front of the boat with whatever I please and not have to worry about it sinking.

Fat is relative
I’m 5’9" and 175 and I consider my self fat.

At least your out there doing something, enjoy the Pungo.