Max load capacity limit

-- Last Updated: Jan-12-11 9:45 PM EST --

Hi everyone,

Is it better to be close (with in 60lbs)to the kayaks max load weight limit or to have alot more lbs capacity to play with?
Im about to order a WS tempest in the next few days. The 17 ft fits me perfect but my weight alone is only 50-60 lbs away from the rated max load for this kayak. The tempest 18 has plenty of load capacity but might be too long for my needs.

any info would be great. Thanks.

If it were me, I would try it out before
ordering one.

I know that doesn’t answer your question, but if it is that critical, I would hate to be stuck with the wrong kayak.

Jack L

What’s your purpose?
If the boat is going to be used mainly for day paddling or as a play boat, smaller is better. If you’re going to be doing extended camping trips where you’re carrying a lot of weight, you’ll want more capacity.

Also, keep in mind that the rated capacity of a boat is measured at the designed waterline, it’s not an absolute maximum. All boats will carry considerably more than their rated capacity, they’ll just sit lower in the water than the designer intended. An additional inch in the water adds a lot of capacity, but it may have little effect on the boat’s performance.

consider the Tsunami 165?
it’s rated at 350 lb capacity and is a more voluminous hull than the Tempest with a lot of reserve buoyancy; I’d bet it can take even more than that. It won’t be as quick but if load is the primary consideration, it might be a better choice.

Weight limits and behavior

– Last Updated: Jan-13-11 7:57 AM EST –

Any time you get close to a weight limit, you are sitting closer in the water. At the extreme edge this can make stability a little more interesting than you may want, if you actually go past the designer's intended limits. And the boat will plow.

But... if you go larger enough you may be sitting in a cockpit that is too long and/or wide and/or deep for you to have good contact. You need that to control the boat.

Have you tried sitting in the 17 or the 18, to check out the fit?

sounds perfect
"the boat fits you perfectly and you are 50 - 60 lbs from capacity" - perfect. 60 lbs is a lot of weight. Ever pick up a 60 lb bag of morter mix. Imagine loading that into your kayak. That’s a lot of weight. You can over load boats too and be OK. People have done expeditions in Nordcapps for years and far overloaded them with no problem. You loose efficiency but often gain with initial stability (on some boats that sit high on round hulls)

Thanks for the replies
Thanks for the replies. I have paddled the 17 but not the 18. The fit on the 17 is tight on me (im wide not tall:) ),with no gear in the boat it paddled great. But, im afraid im going to have the same problem im having with my tsunami 14.5. no gear its a terrific boat add my gear to it and it feels like im plowing/pushing water.

try it loaded
I’d test your assumption rather than speculate about how the 17 might handle the load. You may find that the 17 carries a load better than your 14-footer, when loaded to capacity. So if you can, take a test paddle in the 17 with as much gear as you might carry. To me 60 pounds sounds like enough gear to camp for a week, but others might consider that pretty spartanly for an overnight.

Probably even more important than whether the 170 can carry the weight is how it feels to you. If the 170 felt tight in a 15-minute test paddle, it could feel extremely uncomfortable after four hours.

Or, you might find that although the 180 is a better weight carrier, you have trouble maneuvering an 18-footer in wind.

These considerations are more important than the website stats (such as carrying capacity).

So find a dealer, or generous local paddler, and go try them.

Comfort is an incredibly huge issue
Get yourself a kayak with an appropriately sized cockpit. If the Wilderness Systems cockpit that fits doesn’t give you the performance you desire, look for a different model. There are plenty of good kayaks out there with some volume in the cockpit to accomodate wider hips and larger thighs. Imagine being in a kayak that starts to cause discomfort after 30 minutes because there’s a little squeeze on the thighs and/or hips. I wouldn’t recommend it, although there are many that are into just that thing in the name of low volume. I’d rather make up for being blown downwind a little extra in comfort. And in my experience, that little extra is scarcely noticeable. Don’t get me wrong. I too don’t desire a bunch of useless excess volume. There’s no advantage to that in and of itself. But I place good value on necessary volume where it’s needed to be comfortable. No pressure on any part of me just relaxed in the cockpit. Up to a half inch of space (which isn’t much) between either hip and the side of the seat is great for forward stroke rotation,and especially rotation for other strokes. Ideally just a slight movement to have pressure on the thigh braces, but all pressure is entirely released when relaxed. It’s easy to glue in some padding if necessary.

There are actually plenty of higher volume kayaks that are better balanced in the wind than many of the shorter, lower volume, more playful kayaks, loaded or unloaded. Maybe that’s the case with this one? Maybe someone else can provide input on that? But what you can make a kayak do fades very quickly behind a few hours of discomfort. There’s so much more to a balanced kayak than volume and freeboard. Don’t overfocus on that in particular.

You get the idea. Never purchase a kayak that you feel squeezed into. The squeeze feels tighter by the hour.

As Little Boat as is Necessary
Yeah, if you’re doing mostly day/weekend trips stick with the smaller boat. I learned this lesson the hard way.

small vs. large
Depends on the paddler, some people (like me) like going fast and are willing to pay the price for doing that (more drag).

Bill H.

Max weight
I paddle the T170 probably within 10% of max weight alot. It is a different paddling boat then empty but not at all bad. Really important that the weight be balanced so the boat is in good trim. A boat that is heavy in the front and light in the back is going to behave much different than one that is properly trimmed.