Kayak's for tall people exist...

but do kayaks for big AND tall people exist? I’m 6’5 360ish, mostly thigh and shoulder weight (think defensive end build). I love kayaking, but always borrowed/rented a tandem w/ a movable front seat that never went quite back far enough, so I always ended up paddling backwards more than forward because the kayak wasn’t level.

I’ve googled, and searched threads, turns out there aren’t a lot of large ppl that like kayaking, or settle for a kayak that isn’t ideal.

So, hopefully there are some folks on here that can help steer me in the right direction. We are interested in mostly leisurely lake and slow river kayaking, so speed and maneuverability are less important than stability and all day comfort.

Not Many

– Last Updated: Jul-08-13 1:26 PM EST –

The big issues for big guys with sit in kayaks are the cockpit size, deck height and then weight limit, in that order.

The first issue is you have to be able to get your legs and hips in the cockpit. Having a gut isn't as much of an issue as having a big frame (wide hips) and muscular legs and trying to get them in a cockpit then not have pain with your legs jammed in a small area. You probably need a cockpit about 19+" wide and probably 38+" long at minimum. You might get by with the 36" long cockpits but you would probably have to slide feet in first from the back deck.

You are going to be pushing the posted weight limit of the majority of sit in kayaks. There are long touring kayaks with high weight limits but you will find the cockpits to be very small. You just need to try out the kayaks in the water to see how they work for you as you push or exceed the weight limit. You also need to travel light. I have pushed the limit in a number of kayaks or gone over and in mellow conditions the handling is usually good enough -- you won't sink and probably go a bit slower but you don't want to be going out into big water or rough conditions as you probably will not be able to get back in the kayak in the water.

As for some decent performing big guy kayaks:

LiquidLogic XP10 -- more for white water class 1-3 then flat water (I have seen many guys way over the 300lb weight limit in this kayak -- your size if not bigger)

Dagger Axis 12.0 -- can handle white water 1-2 and some 3 but better on flat water (I have this kayak now)

Wilderness Systems Pungo 140 -- very much a mellow flat water kayak but massive open cockpit and should be better on flat water for you then the two above

Hurricane Expedition 140 -- another good flat water kayak for big guys but comes in two cockpit sizes, one about the size of the Axis and XP10 and another Pungo sized cockpit. This kayak should handle weight better than the Pungo.

Sit on Tops can be nice as you don't have to squeeze into a cockpit. The Wilderness Systems Ride 135 and Tarpon 140 are popular with big guys.

I assume you’ve considered canoes.
If you’re thinking of calm conditions, and aren’t in a hurry, there are quite a few canoes that can be set up for a solo paddler, sitting rather than kneeling, perhaps using a long double bladed paddle.

I’m 6’ 5" but “only” 220#, and I both canoe and kayak. I have found it tricky to find and modify ww kayaks that fit me, and usually the end result is just a bit loaded down at 220#.

Let us know if you want to explore the canoe issue.

Lakes and Slow rivers for the Fat & Tall

– Last Updated: Jul-08-13 3:55 PM EST –

If the Lakes and slow rivers have at least a foot of water in them I would recommend the Pungo 140. It will handle your weight well and it is a fast boat for a 14 footer. It does draw a little more water than a flat bottomed canoe but it also handles waves much better.

I put together a list of boats here:


missed current designs
they offer a few HV options on some of their boats.

couple of larger friends of mine have rented them and been happy with performance (will probably buy once they are both gainfully employed again)

try a compromise

– Last Updated: Jul-08-13 10:26 PM EST –

We kayak a lot but have grown to also enjoy using a somewhat kayak-like canoe, the rotomold plastic Mad River Adventure, especially on the kind of slow river paddles you are talking about. We have the 16' model which we paddle tandem, but the 14 footer would be suitable for a solo paddler. The weight rating for an Adventure 14 is an impressive 875 lbs and the 16 will carry 950. (the two of us weigh about what you do -- the boat handles well with that amount of cargo). You could rig it to paddle from the center or add some ballast to the bow and sit in the stern seat. It has lower gunwales than most canoes and we propel ours with kayak paddles (230 in the bow and 240 cm in the stern). It has a decent balance of speed, maneuverability and stability -- we've even used it in mild whitewater. You can even add a small electric trolling motor to the slightly squared stern.

At $600 to $700 new (and frequently available used for around half that) I think it's a pretty good bargain for a useful "big guy" boat. It's a tad heavy at 75 lbs but that is about what the larger touring kayaks run anyway.

Honestly, we would never have thought to buy something like this, but we rented one during a vacation trip in Florida last year and really enjoyed it, both on rivers and in windy coastal areas. We found ours for $400 and have had a blast with it ever since.

You know that all of Mad River’s weight
capacity ratings are utter nonsense, based on the old six inch freeboard standard. And does the 14 have the same difficult-to-remove but structurally necessary center “seat”?

He’d be better off in a MR Explorer 15.

have you looked at SOT?

tall people touring boats
One of my regular kayaking partners is 6’7" and there are a variety of boats he uses. Recently he has been paddling a Valley Etain. He has used a Valley Gemini SP also. His regular boat is an older Current Designs Scirocco.

But I suspect he is quite a bit lighter than you. I’d guess he is more like 225ish.

Don’t forget Pygmy’s Borealis XL

– Last Updated: Jul-09-13 9:03 AM EST –

It's got a huge cockpit opening, big capacity and it is still a very fast and beautiful kayak. Of course, you have to build it yourself:


Sure, it’s not perfect.
What do you want for $600 new? Yeah, I agree that the center seat and the stupid cupholders that block you from kneeling easily are obstacles in the MR Adventures but for what the OP wants to do I think it’s a boat worth looking at. Let him decide if it works for him. And he needs less than half that overstated capacity. The two of us combined are close to his weight and the boat handles well. We’ve soloed it with a bunch of water jugs in the bow as well.

Sure, he could get a $3,000 cruiser sea kayak like the Etain that MIGHT fit him, but for lakes and leisurely river floats that might be overkill.

custom boat
For less than the price of a high end composite or even larger rotomold kayak you could have a skin on frame custom made for your size. There are a lot of makers now, some of whom even offer kits or the opportunity to build your own in a workshop. If you are unfamiliar with this particular beast, builder Brian Schulz’s blog is a good intro.


some other builders





There aren’t many out there.
I’ve tried many of them suggested as for larger people. Unfortunately, they aren’t suggested by people that correspond to the size they are recommending kayaks for. Thus, have no real idea. I am a few inches shorter and a good bit lighter though. I have said it here before that your normal suit size is a better indicator gauge of a kayak that might fit than merely stating height and weight dimensions.

It, of course, depends on what you want to do, lakes/flatwater, estuary/day trips, or sea kayaking. I like the latter.

I think the WS Tarpon 160 is a good choice if looking for a SOT for milder flatwater to moderate/close in seakayaking conditions. If you want a more serious seakayak, look to an Eddyline Nighthawk 175.

If anyone has a better choice than that for fit or carrying capacity or performance, I want to hear about it. But I’ve probably tried it unless it is something really esoteric and only available in Europe or the far northwest, seldom seen here on the east coast.

Kayak for large people
This one works for me.


The TS145 can indeed work, but
not for all large folks. It does get many of them though and I like paddling the boat and find them adequate if a little sluggish on performance. Since it lists a max loading of 350 lbs, our OP subject is at the limit already, with little margin for gear.

CD Solstice GT Titan
The Current Designs Solstice GT Titan is billed as a full-on sea kayak for the big and tall paddler, size 14+ feet, with a large cockpit. It’s a big, long boat, though so maybe not right for the OP:


I tested the Titan last year
I am 6’4" and 230 lbs. I felt like I was sitting inside the Alaska pipeline. That’s how big it is. I did not like that feeling, plus the rudder pedals felt very stiff. You really had to work hard to operate that rudder, although it may have been a matter of adjustment.


– Last Updated: Jul-10-13 11:15 AM EST –

I had no idea it was that big. I did see in a review here that a paddler your size preferred a lower decked version. But the OP has 130 pounds on you, so maybe it would be OK.

I guess the Titan is a boat fit for Andre the Giant: "It's not my fault being the biggest and the strongest. I don't even exercise..." The Princess Bride (1987)

Yeah, it may just fit a guy as big as Andre the Giant!

What Kind?
You didn’t say if you are touring, ocean going or white water kayaking…

I’m 6’4" / 215lbs and size 14 feet…I found a number of touring kayaks that fit me.

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