Paddler Weight vs Weight Capacity?

I am researching kayaks for smaller paddlers (I am only 5’2") but I am confused between the maximum weight capacities and the recommended “paddler” weight. I am short, but “full-figured” and want to make sure I am not going to be swamped by a kayak with poor “paddler” capacity.

Is there some ratio of what the max capacity versus paddler weight should be so I can just figure it out myself?

Any advice or recommendations greatly appreciated.

Weight & stability
First, you should know that there’s no industry standard for determining capacity. Every manufacturer does it differently, so comparing numbers from different manufacturers should be a rough guide at best.

Kayaks generally become more stable as cargo weight is added and less stable as paddler weight is added. Cargo tends to lower the center of gravity, and bigger paddlers tend to raise it. Females typically have a lower center of gravity than males and are more stable than a male of the same weight in the same boat.

The “right” size is somewhat subjective – I’ve seen people paddling happily in boats I thought were far too big or too small for them. The best thing to do is start trying boats and seeing what feels good to you.

Don’t worry
The Mrs. leads me to assume you are looking in the recreational or touring class.

If that is the case then the sky is the limit. I don’t don’t care how cute you are at 5’2" you are good in any of these boats but you may take into consideration the cockpit opening. That makes a definite difference but you will know that when you try to get in and out of it when you are looking at the kayak.

Good luck and enjoy

talk to people who have paddled it
the numbers can be based on some arbitrary draft measurment and not actual paddling. The max numbers tend to be so high as to be impractical for paddling. Talk to folks and don’t pay too much attention to the numbers.