New large kayaker needs some information

I’m planning on going sea kayaking in Alaska with my father this August. I’m an avid outdoorsman, but I’ve never been kayaking before and I am large guy, over 300 lbs. How much of a hindrance will that be to sea kayaking? I’m going as part of a package trip, and they’ll provide the equipment. The idea of kayaking really excites me, and I could see myself doing more of it depending on how feasible it is for a guy like me.I’m working to lose weight, but I know I won’t be Slim Pickens by then.

I’d appreciate any information that can be provided. Thanks.

What equipment?
Do you know what make and model of boats they will be supplying? A lot of the outfitters in Alaska will only put people out in tandems (two people in the same boat). Many of the tandems can accomodate pretty large people, but it’d be worth checking.

Re: What equipment?
I’m not sure yet. We were trying to get more info from the company. Hopefully, they’ll reply soon, then I’ll let you know.

I did browse Kayaks for sale though, and saw that there are ones that would accomodate me. I may buy one at some point. It looks like a fun hobby, and a good workout to boot. If I don’t end up doing it out there, I may buy one anyway and take it out on the wild rapids of Central Illinois…or at least the quiet ponds.

Are the weight maximums listed in the specs generally pretty reliable?

Where ya going?
Are you headed out of Whittier, Seward, Homer, or somewhere more exotic? Like the previous poster said a lot of them are tandems which can hold someone your size. For my own personal preference if you’re a big guy and you’re going kayaking on serious ocean you can’t do better than the Prijon Kodiak. If you’re coming up don’t miss prince william sound, it just doesn’t get any better than kayaking there.


Re: Where ya going?
We’ll be kayaking in Resurrection Bay, probably just diddling around. As a beginner, I don’t know if that qualifies as serious ocean, but it’ll be the most serious ocean I’ve ever kayaked on. :slight_smile: I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll probably be here in Illinois for a long time, but sea kayaking sounds like so much fun that I’d like to come out there and just take a kayaking vacation one of these days. It’s convenient that a genuine Alaska sea kayaker like yourself was here to help. Thanks for the reply, I appreciate it.

Find a local group?
Can you find a local outfitter and get a little boat and “how to” time in before you go to Alaska? It seems as though you’d like that, and it would give you a better handle on what you will encounter in Alaska. Also leave you more relaxed to focus on the scenery etc once there.

try out a couple
of boats at an outfitter, if only on the showroom floor to see what the cockpit size is. A lot of pretty good kayaks have short (front to back) cockpits that are hard to get into. I rented one in Ontario last fall without really looking closely at it and could hardly get into it. I fit OK once in, but hard to get legs in.

I would contact them asap and let them know about your height and weight as that would be important to them and their guides. They would then have a “heads-up” on the situation and to make sure they can accomdate you in one of their yaks. I wouldnt want to assume they could and then show up and not be able to handle you.

Ive guided tours for years and nothing more frustrating than someone showing up with certain limitations and or health restrictions and having NEVER TOLD THE company. It can cause friction and the other guest to be hindered too, so let the company know first.


second the club idea
Some clubs have a few extra boats around, and offer lessons cheap or even free. You could try out boats at a local dealer too.

Personally, I am a medium sized guy (175pd, 5’11")and found the boats at the whitewater outfitter too short. Liam

Central Illinois?
What part? I am from Springfield. There are several of use that keep in touch using the “Getting Together & Going Paddling” section. Here is the link if your interested

If you want to talk to a kayak shop you are going to have to travel a while, there are not many that close. I can suggest Shawnee trails in Carbondale. He may be able to help you with sizing and has a lot of in stock for a small shop.

Also check The Alpine shop in St. Louis. They are having a canoe and kayak show next week-end. If you want to get a look at a lot different boats at one time and talk to the factory reps Check out their web site for info and directions.

There is also a web site targeting larger paddlers. Can’t remember the name but search the archives for “Larger Paddlers” and you should find a thread mentioning it.

E-mail me if you have any specific questions about the kayaking in Central Illinois.


not always reliable be careful
Perceptions weight limits are not reliable by my experience.

Wilderness Pungos do hold your weight but these are not sea kayaks.

Personally I’m hoping to someday demo an Eddyline Nighthawk 17.5 sea kayak - these are supposed to hold weight and size. I’m planning on having the money together by 2008, meanwhile it is Pungos for me and the Great Lakes will have to wait.

Those of us who are pushing 300 lbs have problems with finding the right boat - and from what I’ve seen you can’t fudge it. If you are 300 lbs look for a kayak that holds 400 lbs.

the site is

Prepare by…

– Last Updated: Feb-06-06 2:40 PM EST –

I would suggest you get in the pool and do as much exercise as you can. You can burn a whole lot of that weight off quick, it's low impact to keep from hurting yourself, it works a heck of alot more muscles than any other exercise, and it's never a bad thing to be more comfortable in the water.

Concentrate on doing alot of stretching, particularly stretching toward touching your toes, and side to side stretches. Believe me when I tell you that you will thank yourself later. All this will keep you from having problems such as leg cramps, numbing from lack of blood circulation, etc... and will help you be ALOT more comfortable in the cockpit. If you can't get in the pool at least walk, or whatever else you can do, but the stretching will help you tremendously.

Getting a fairly heavy weight, lying on the floor, and doing the side to side stretches with the arms fully extented is also very effective for stretches. It'll also allow you to use those paddling muscles a bit. No jerking, just slow and steady movements, and remember, if it doesn't hurt, it aint workin'.

I wish you the best, and welcome to the sport of paddling.


I weigh 270 Lb, and I test paddled an Eddyline Nighthawk 17.5. It handled my weight with ease. I am sure it would handle considerably more.

The only think I didn’t like about the Nighthawk 17.5 is that the cockpit seemed to sit too far back for me. When I hit rough water, the bow seemed to bob up and down more than other boats I tried. If the cockpit was more front, It would have given me a better ride. It felt like the boat was hinged at the stern, and the bow moved up and down, but the stern seemed to stay put. Just how it felt to me. Some people would not be bothered by that, but I was. I think loading extra gear in the bow section would help that.

I now paddle an Impex “Assateague”, which is rated for a 275 pound paddler, plus a good weight of gear. Danny at Impex told me his one sales guy weighs 295 pounds, and it handles his weight with ease.

Another Impex kayak that will also handle the 300 lb is the “Serenity”. It is 17’10" long, by 24" wide. It has more rocker than I like, but the skeg keeps it very straight. I almost bought a Serenity, until I tried the Assateague. I love my Assateague!

Happy Paddling!

thanks for the information
I will add these to my list of - boats to look into when I’ve dollars or 2008 when I should have the dollars. Thanks again

Here atom.

Contact them
Yes, let them know ahead of time. I was on vacation in Michigan and was ready to go take a kayak tour on one of the lakes when I read the disclaimer in the kayak shop. NO paddlers over 250lbs. I don’t know why and since I’m that heavy because I’m fat and not tall, I was too embarrased to ask why.