How to Buy a Kayak for a Fat Person

I did a post awhile back asking “Can Fat People Kayak?” and it’s been so popular that I decided to write another post about kayaking as an overweight person. I’ve been wanting to buy a kayak for awhile now and I decided to share some of my research.

{ You can read my other posts about kayaking here. }

I can’t just go to Sam’s Club and buy the cheapest kayak they’ve got during the summer months. I really have to research my options. I’m a large person, so it’s important that I find a kayak with a high weight limit.

That’s my first piece of advice… Respect the weight limits. I’m certainly not an engineer, but I know those numbers are there for a reason (so I don’t get on one too small, sink it, and look like a fool). I know it sucks to see a kayak you like – the perfect color, the perfect storage compartments, etc. – and then you notice the weight limit and realize it’s not an option for you.

Something else to keep in mind is your gear. What do you plan on taking with you when you go kayaking? Your kayak needs to have a weight limit high enough to accommodate you + all your gear. So if you weigh around 295 and you’re planning on taking your dog, a cooler, and a fishing rod with you – you don’t want to buy a kayak with a 300 pound weight limit.

The next thing to consider is how you plan on using the kayak and whether you might want to add on extras later. Some kayaks come ready to accommodate foot pedals and a rudder, but it might not come with all of that out of the box. Think about any additional weight you’d be adding to the kayak with any accessories.

Some of the more serious kayakers would suggest trying to stay below 70% of the rated weight of any kayak (including gear) because an overloaded kayak will suffer poor performance. They would also probably preach about weight distribution being just as important as the weight limit because an unbalanced kayak is harder to control. It all makes good sense, but if you’re just an amateur and looking for some fun rather than harboring aspirations to become a fancy white water competitor, then I think you’re okay as long as you buy a kayak with a weight limit high enough to suit you. Plus, a lot of the larger kayaks come with three molded seat wells, so if you were planning on using one of these solo you could move the seat position to the middle seat in effort to distribute the weight a little more evenly… or you could sit in the back and put your cooler and gear in the front seat.

Here’s a list of sit-on-top kayaks with high weight limits that can accommodate overweight people. I think a sit-on-top kayak is a great starting point because a sit-in kayak might be too space restrictive for a larger person. Plus, the whole getting-out-if-it-flips freaks me out, as well as the stranded-with-a-kayak-full-of-water possibility.

Sit-On-Top Kayaks for Heavy People

The Peekaboo by Ocean Kayak

Max Weight 400-450 lbs

Peekaboo by Ocean KayakThe Peekaboo is my current favorite because it has a very cool window in the bottom, sort of like your very own glass-bottom-boat! It also has a pretty sizable cargo area in the back. I can so picture myself on the water with this… just add a dog and a cooler and I’m set. Ocean Kayak is a brand that I’ve used before and can vouch for.


13′ Ocean Kayak Malibu XL Tandem Kayak

Max Weight 450-500 lbs

ocean-kayak-malibu-XLThe Malibu comes in several different colors; sunrise orange, yellow, green fade, and blue fade. It comes with two seat backs and can accommodate a pretty substantial amount of weight, as it’s meant to fit two skinny adults and either a child or dog.


10′ Lifetime Manta Tandem Kayak

Max Weight 500 lbs

Lifetime_Manta_Tandem_KayakThe Lifetime Manta is actually designed to seat up to 3 people (probably two adults and a child), so it has a nice high weight limit of 500 pounds. It sports a tunnel hull design, so it provides great stability on the water. It comes with two backrests and two paddles. This is one of those instances that I mentioned where you can move your backrest to the middle seat if you’re taking this out solo, that way the weight is more in the center of the boat.


13′ Ocean Kayak Trident 13 Angler

Max Weight 425-475 lbs

trident13The Trident Angler comes in multiple colors, including camo and it’s a nice option if you’re considering doing any fishing. There’s lots of space for gear, including a bow hatch to store anything you want to keep dry. It also has adjustable foot pegs for comfort.


10′ Lifetime Sport Fisher Kayak

Max Weight 500 lbs

lifetime-sport-fisher-kayakThis one is a nice sturdy option for fishing and leisure. There’s a dry storage compartment in the back and it comes with paddles and backrests. Some of the reviews said that it’s on the heavy side, but it’s very stable on the water.


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Life Vests in Larger Sizes (3XL to 6XL)

           

           

 





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