I’m looking into buying my first kayak. Im 200lbs and wish to occasionally bring my 75lb lab with me. I’ve been looking at the Jackson day tripper 12, max weight says 375lbs but optimium range is 120-250. Not looking to do much more than paddle around a quiet lake and fish when the dog is onboard. Should we be ok with a little gear loaded as well? Any other kayak recommendations? Thanks for any advice!
3/4 rule of thumb
My general rule of thumb is to never load a kayak with more than about 3/4 of the maximum load capacity. That seems to be the point where the weight begins to affect performance. If you are starting at around 300 lbs (200 + 75 + 25), I would find a kayak with at minimum a 400 lb capacity.
You haven’t tried paddling a kayak
with your lab? Do you have some reason to expect that the dog will sit quietly and not get fouled in your legs or your paddle?
Although it takes a bit more time to learn to paddle solo canoe, it makes a better carrying platform for a 75 pound lab.
I would think if you take your dog out often a solo canoe would be better suited. But there are some reviews out there saying they are taking large dogs along in that kayak, including one on this site.
Is there a reason you are opting for a kayak?
A dog that big is quite a load and you really can't offset it in a kayak since the seat position is not adjustable. It will affect the trim of the boat having the dog in the boat since the weight won't be centered.
The dog will be more comfortable and the boat will be more manageable for you to paddle if you go with a canoe.
If you can, you might try renting both in the Spring and seeing the difference before you commit to a model.
I ran into a similar conundrum before purchasing my first boat last year. While I am not paddling with a dog on board, I was concerned about my weight (250) plus the weight of all my gear and creature comforts. Every manufacturer I spoke to gave me a different answer, a few even avoided the question, when I asked how that max weight was determined. The most common answer given is that once you approach and exceed that weight, you lose performance. It DOES NOT mean you will start taking on water, although depending on where you plan on paddling, it could become a bigger possibility.
An earlier post recommended planning for your total weight to be 3/4 the capacity of the boat. That’s good advice. However, you’ll be hard-pressed to find many kayaks with a 400+ pound capacity. There are some small 2-person kayaks that will offer you options (consider the pup your second paddler) and give more sitting room.
Regardless of which direction you choose, test paddles are always a good idea before a purchase. Good luck!
Yet another reason to look at canoes, which typically have higher capacity weight ratings per foot of length than kayaks (they displace more water per foot in most designs).
Robert and Maria…
… both own OT Loon-14 kayaks. It did take a bit to teach their dogs (40 & 60#) to sit still.
Put those same dogs into his 16 grummin canoe or even my OT Pack-12 and the dogs would move around and shift balance. The Grummin handled that better than my Pack.
You have to actually train a dog to sit still and where you want him in a boat. But you can!
I am more concerned with what happens when that Lab sees a duck and decides to chase it.