Weight/Trim question

Should I be loading my kayak with gear to weigh it down a bit even when I’m not going out for an extended period of time. It seems like my kayak is a little faster and tracks a little better with a little extra weight in it. I’m new to the sport, I paddle a 16’ 6" Boreal Designs Fjord and until recently I’ve been paddling it empty. Yesterday I put a bunch of stuff in the hatches and the boat seemed to perform noticably better…Is this normal is it all in my head?

not in your head, but rather
in your boat.

Following is only one of many recent threads on this topic:


For more info, serach p-net archieves, using keyword “weathercocking”.

I don’t know about your boat, but
if you go faster when you add weight to your boat, than it must have been out of trim, and your are trimming it with the weight.

I would take a look at adjusting your seat, forward or back so you don’t have to add the extra weight.



Not Just Trim
In addition to adding weight to trim a boat or to affect amount of weathercocking, the reality is boats are designed to function best at their design displacement. So unless the boat displaces that much water, it does not perform optimally. For kayaks most say performance will be fine when loaded within 50# of that number. So if you have a typical 17 to 18 foot seakayak designed for extended trips, the odds are you need to add some weight to get it to perform as intended unless you are well on the high side of suggested paddler size and carry a fair bit of day kit. As mentioned around here before, aside from some kit/plan companies finding actual design/performance data for kayaks is not easy and major companies don’t provide it since most would not know what it means, nor does it matter to most, so why confuse customers.

Some companies provide a range of appropriate loading, much more useful than range of paddler’s weight, and you can guess optimum loading from those charts.

So maybe you trimmed the boat better and maybe you also got it to where it was designed to be in the water and it works better.


How would the kayak be “out of trim”? Shouldn’t it be correctly trimmed from the factory?

That was only one time
Try it unloaded and loaded, on the same day, same location, same wind and water conditions. There may be other reasons the boat felt better when you paddled it loaded.

Same boat
I too have a fjord (plastic with rudder). I weigh 180lbs and find it is much nicer to paddle if I add around 30 extra lbs. I typically add it with jugs of water, in the back hatch and some pushed all the way forward in the cockpit. I’m 5’6" so there is plenty of room in there.

ell has it right

– Last Updated: Jul-18-08 8:09 PM EST –

design displacement is a factor in boat selection and trim:


If you are interested in submitting yourself to the science:


Yes it should.
and to your second question, I don’t know.