Kayak weight limit????

Hello all,

I have a question about the weight limit on my kayak. I have Old Town Vapor 10.5 sit in which has a weight limit of 325lbs. I have had this kayak for two years and loved it but my weight before this year has been between 280 and 290 lbs. I quit smoking this year and gained a few. I currently weigh 315lbs which is below the max but not including gear. I am preparing to take an annual river trip that will last 2-3 days and am, frankly, a little worried about sinking when I launch with my gear loaded in my boat. Can anyone help ease my concerns? BTW, the river we travel is slow moving with some class one and a few very low class two rapids. Thanks for any help.

Get a bigger boat


– Last Updated: Jun-18-14 9:33 AM EST –

If you like the way the Vapor handles, try to get a 12' version which has more room & capacity

try to get a higher volume boat
Yeah, I agree on trying to get (maybe borrow or rent?) a bigger boat. I think with you + gear that boat you have will be a real pig to paddle, slow and riding too low in the water, maybe even prone to capsize in fast or rough water.

I like a margin for error
Remember, every part of that boat was built by the lowest bidder.

I’ll bet you can get away with it, just
the way it is.

And surely you can do a trial loading before you commit to submarinerhood.

The hull
will behave differently as the load becomes greater. One cannot overload a boat without changing it’s behavior in some manner. Most likely findings will be:

-stability changes (probably reduced)

-tracking changes

-wind (more hull in the water, probably reduces wind exposure of same)

-change the approach and response of bow in waves


And all this happens before the hull begins to take on water. You may not actually overload the boat by much and find you are paddling a craft whose behavior you no longer recognize.

I don’t recommend overloading boats as it is generally not safe. However, if you do wish to test how the boat behaves, load the boat and try some flat water. This will do two things:

-help you define what you really need to bring and what you can leave behind

-help you understand the changes to the boat characteristics

For grins, I once overloaded (by about 100 lbs.) an open kayak just to see what it was like and the experience was eye opening. That boat became a completely unstable water plow, despite it’s large beam. I shed weight by increments until it returned to much more normal behavior, but the performance changed even within the stated boat capacity (though, admittedly, much less).

Each hull will perform differently and how the weight is trimmed is another huge factor.

I agree with those who suggest using a different boat. It is likely to be much more pleasant and safer.


12 to 14 feet

– Last Updated: Jun-21-14 11:48 AM EST –

Despite what Old Town says re: capacity, the Vapor 10.5 is really designed to be used by paddlers under 200 pounds (same is true of almost any 10 foot kayak), so you've been pushing the limits of the boat to begin with.

I'd go nothing shorter than 12 feet and 29" beam for a 300 pound paddler, and would feel a lot more comfortable getting someone that size into a 14 foot (and 28/29" wide) boat, simply because the higher volume of the larger boat will give you a much greater safety margin in cases where the boat might take on water or you need to re-enter from the wet (with the boat carrying 30 or 40 pounds of sea). It will also travel more efficiently (making it more fun to use), and, with the additional volume, make it easier to pack for occasional overnighters.