Updated on July 7th, 2023 at 05:19 pm

Most people fall in love with kayaking because of the excitement and fun it brings. But as a big guy, you might be wondering, can an overweight person kayak?

Definitely! People of all shapes and sizes can enjoy kayaking, regardless if they are considered overweight or in the big and tall community.  Pay attention to the maximum weight capacity of the kayak you plan to use, as several kayaks are now designed with wider seats and higher weight limits.

Let’s look at how weight affects the type of kayak you’ll buy and some safety measures you should know.

What is the best kayak for a fat person?

image of over weight kayaking - Extra Large LivingThe best kayaks for big guys has a high weight capacity but is not too heavy to carry. It is wide for better stability, has enough room for your feet, and is easy to get into without capsizing. The seats should be wide, adjustable, and have high-back support. Usually, metal frame seats offer excellent support.

Is there a weight limit on kayaks?

Yes. A touring or recreational kayak has a weight limit of between 200 and 450 lbs, while a fishing kayak can hold more weight, starting at 400 lbs.

Since the industry lacks standardization in determining a kayak weight limit, different manufacturers use varied calculations, which may be confusing. Generally, the kayak will float even when carrying big guys, provided they are within the stipulated weight limit.

How heavy is too heavy for a kayak?

A regular recreational kayak weighs about 35 pounds, while tandem kayaks and fishing kayaks weigh 65 lbs and 120 lbs, respectively. Generally, most kayaks weigh between 20 lbs and 80 lbs. With that said, anything heavier than 50 lbs would prove difficult to carry.

Do weight limits and weight capacity matter on a kayak?

Yes, they do. The right fishing kayak for a fat person should have a maximum capacity that’s roughly 125 pounds more than the individual’s body weight. If your weight and kayak gear fall below the reduced weight limit, then the kayak is perfect.

For example, if you weigh 200 pounds and have gear weighing 25 pounds, you should get a kayak with a performance weight limit of 225 pounds and not a 225 lb maximum capacity. Performance weight limit is the weight a kayak can bear safely. Loading the kayak to the maximum capacity gets you too close to capsizing.

Maximum capacity = total load requirement/0.7

To find out the kayak’s maximum capacity, take the total weight you’ll put in it (225) and divide it by 0.7 (225/0.7), which is roughly 322 lbs. In this case, a kayak with a 400 lb maximum capacity is perfect.

What happens if you go over the weight limit?

When you exceed the weight limit, your sit-on-top kayak will sit lower than the water level. At this point, the kayak’s cockpit will start filling up with water. While it may not be enough to sink you immediately, it adds to the weight and makes this worse.

But even if you don’t take on water, surpassing the limit sets you lower in the waters and upsets stability. At this point, you can capsize by just paddling.

Note: there are two types of stability – primary (when sitting still) and secondary stability (when moving). While your primary stability may be intact after surpassing the limit, your secondary stability may be compromised and put you in danger.

Where should big guys kayak?

Big guys should ride in the back of a tandem kayak. This will raise the kayak’s nose and improve handling. But when the stern and deck dig into the ocean, you’ll lose speed, and it might affect your control. Unless you are paddling against strong winds, in which case the heavier person should be at the front.

Final words

The good thing about kayaking is that it’s an inclusive sport. So being larger and taller doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy kayaking. All you need to have a good time is a knack for adrenaline and the right kayak.

There are loads of quality options, including inflatable, sit-on-top, and sit-inside kayaks. Sit-on-top kayaks are the best for heavy people, given their stability and ease of climbing onto them. On the other hand, an inflatable kayak will take up less space.

With that said, even with the right-sized fishing kayak, you should always have a lifejacket on when you are out on the water, even if you are a good swimmer. For more information, be sure to check out Extra Large Living.