Kayak loads

Ok I have a few composite kayaks with different manufacturer weight capacity ratings.I have following Current Designs kayaks Libra XT 850 lb. rating, Solstice GT 450 lb. rating, and a Extreme or now known as Nomad 425 lb.

I was interested to see how they handle under load and speed difference. I can’t imagine picking up a kayak with near 200 lb. in it. Handles not made for that I am sure. I guess straps under the boat? How would say two people handle a hull like that coming out of water at a beach weighing even 200 lb.? So I am 225-230 lb. now it seems like a huge load to add 200 lb. to say the Extreme / Nomad at 18’-10" and 21’-1/4’ wide boat. What would be the best thing to use for ballast to try it? I would like to add even 100 lb. How about two 50 pound bags of sand? Place it near bulkheads just in bags? I do have float bags in the compartments also. Any need to fasten them or a better ballast? thanks

Why not use plastic gallon milk jugs
filled with water for your trial

My wife and I had a 23 foot long 100 pound fiberglass tandem Necky.

For a 300 mile multiday expedition race we had another 100 pounds of “stuff” we had to carry including water.

She weighs in at 115 soaking wet, and I am 156.

To put the boat in the water,or out of the water I would straddle the bow, and she would straddle the stern. Then we would both lift at the same time, take one step and then set it down. We would repeat this until we got the boat where we wanted it.

With one person, You could do it on one end to get it on portage wheels, and then go to the other end to pull it. - We had no problem with the rope handles breaking or pulling out of the boat.

With my 18 foot QCC carbon/kevlar loaded to the hilt with five days of gear we have no problems with the two off us carrying it by the carry handles.

Years ago it was a no, no to carry the boat by the carry handles. I wouldn’t want one if I couldn’t carry it that way

Jack L

weight rating
The weight rating is what the boat is designed to carry at maximum in the water, not to be carried on land that way. Cargo is loaded while it floating or at least at the water’s edge.

Bill H.

Like above…

– Last Updated: Jan-16-16 8:27 AM EST –

Why would you ever carry that for a distance rather than load and unload at water's edge, where the boat can float some, unless you had no choice? It appears that you have plenty of the latter since you would only be setting this up for a trial run. You can choose a place where that works. BTW, that is how I have handled the load/unload for camping. Some walking back and forth involved but it is easier than carrying a fully laden boat.

Float bags need no anchoring once they are inflated unless they are too small to fill the compartment. My boats usually have a float bag or two in them all the time, I inflate it before the paddle. The difference with a loaded boat is that inflating them takes a lot less time. You load the boat the way weight should be distributed, then inflate the float bag to make sure it stays that way.

Be ready to have a pretty sedate paddle. In my experience a fully loaded boat will behave pretty much as it did unladen, except that everything goes slower. Like getting it up to cruising speed and rolling.

Having to pick up a boat happens
not a fun thing.

We were camped on an island with friends who had a Necky tandem. They were slow packers. Waters edge disappeared quickly; when they were ready to go they noticed it was a hundred feet away.

Tides matter.

Large pool noodles
To get a loaded kayak out of the water I use large pool noodles. First pick up bow of boat as high as you can and pull to shore until hull starts to hit. Then slide large pool noodle under and roll it on say rocky shore. Keep swapping out pool noodles until on shore enough. Unload some gear then carry with 2 people. Or fully unload and carry yourself. Longer distance use kayak cart.

Unload as much as you can
As said above,when camping carry a couple lightweight bags, they are last to go in first to come out. Load the gear in them to carry to camp. We also carry some cam straps and four pieces of 3/4" PVC pipe to thread onto the strap for handles. Carrying a loaded boat works far better with four people but as Jack said you can do short distances with two.

Good luck


I was taught never to carry boat

– Last Updated: Jan-17-16 1:01 AM EST –

Not by the handles but carry with hands under the hull.
When we had enough people we would carry fully loaded boats with four people, one on each end and one on either side of the cockpit.

Agreed if it can’t be avoided
But thus far, including Maine tides, I have been able to avoid carrying a loaded boat unless I was near a handy parking lot with a smooth path and good canoe cart. It may be that the OPer anticipates having to at some point, but the only thing that I can tell for sure from this post is that they are looking for a controlled experiment.

Right, but you are so old…
that in your days they were made from birch bark and the handles would tear them apart !

Jack l

Like the Woolly Mammoth…
Calling the Saber Tooth Tiger old… :slight_smile:


– Last Updated: Jan-16-16 9:35 PM EST –

Max weight numbers ? define or concept what ? Not paddling standards for personal, environmental conditions.

Load all your stuff minus the sleeping bag then toss half out ...basic running weight.

Uh, on the Solstice Titan. My Titan swallows all my stuff the I add 6 MSR Dromddary bags velcro ed to keeline.

Works, all ways.

A Wheeleze cart goes in the rear hold.
hold. Exit in shallow water, remove cart, mount wheels, place cart under hull n strap. Remove water bags. Roll up beach.

Weight carried is abt 300 pounds.

A not camping load, me at 165, 10 pounds of hold stuffing both ends is too light no keel control so 3 MSR bags for trim...60 pounds...brings the hull design into play.


– Last Updated: Jan-16-16 10:11 PM EST –

So I'll drop in two 50 lb. sand bags at the floating dock in the back yard. C-Tug cart fits in the hatches.I'll see how much it affects top and cruising speed. I could have written clearer above I know float bags don't need anchoring. I guess a loaded kayak is harder to roll or it is not that bad as it is just rotating?

Still do
One paddler in the local group has a heavy boat before anything is in it. Paddled with that person in a group of three this last summer, heavy day load in the boat. One person on each end and one on the cockpit.


– Last Updated: Jan-17-16 10:02 AM EST –

Sand bags to bottom hull at keel that is trying for more bow stern bag weight/dimension than left right. Pin down to immovable against hatch.

A dry bag filled with clothing...hoodie, jeans, crumpled blanket.

Locating weight on keel facilitates rolling moment. A loose bag is a loose cannon. SEARCH: loose cannon.

Use a GPS for data collection. My information from the Solstice is forward speed in calm to moderate seas is not substantially impacted by weight once weighed to the 'control' level described

OR, The hull powered by your HP only goes X. This performance level continues across a broad weight range.

I do not know if this is a specific hull design quality or applies to yak hulls generally. Or by category.

The obvious substantial change hereadding weight is crossing tidal current flows at 90 degrees that is not ferrying. The hull 'digs in' An advantage under windy conditions. A tendency exists here for a positive or negative factor, for COG, in rougher seas.

If you have time for testing different category/quality hulls...equalizing the weights...data may distribute more widely significantly in hull length n length/beam dimensions. Is reported, often from subjective sources, that beam narrowness skews results. Narrow beams form a separate category.

My piece returns to skill/power as a major factor. My levels are average with an above average endurance factor.

rolling loaded
Rolling a loaded kayak is easy. just a tad slower.I would say my QCC 700 is easier loaded than unloaded to roll.

Datakoll, your only 165 pounds and you paddle a CD Titan? really, The titan is a huge cockpit boat, surprised by your choice. Iam about 170 and I sat in friends titan and was swimming in the darn thing.

not harder, just slower
You can’t muscle-roll a loaded kayak quickly, it’s controlled and slower but at least in my experience, a bit easier.

True. Iam a greenland roller so smooth and slow is the way it should be done always. Forcing a roll with heavy use of paddle might work ok in a pool class but those are the same people I see fail in real world rolling. Not talking about white water guys as that’s a roll you want out of the water fast.

Water bags on keel ?
Yawl read my speil on the installation ?

For touring, a 100% solution if carrying water is primary. Roll baby ROLL…

The Titan in my weight class needs ballast n trim $o …If you’re spending this is a worthy effective life affirming transcendant…project.

I have near zero fat mostly in my head.

Raising a question. In loading all heavy objects go on the hull…but distributed evenly, centrally or toward bow n stern ?

Almost all boats handle better with the weights towards the middle. Pitching moment is reduced if the ends aren’t heavy.

Bill H.