Kayaks Suitable For Big, Heavy Or Tall Guys
Whether you’re fat, thin, tall or short (or anywhere in between); size shouldn’t be anything that holds you back from enjoying a relaxing kayaking trip. You just need to find the right equipment to suit your body type.
You may be surprised to learn that, even if you’re a little on the large side, there are plenty of vessels out there that are designed to accommodate you.
With larger cockpits and a higher capacity, we’ll take a look at some of the kayaks for big, heavy or tall people that might just be what you need.
Kayaks For Big & Tall Guys (and gals): At A Glance
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I’m Tall, What Kayak Features Should I Look Out For?
Large Cockpit Size
The size of the cockpit will be important if you’re tall, whether it’s a sit-inside or a sit-on-top. While sit-on-tops can offer you a more open deck, you will still need to keep in mind the space you’ll have for your legs.
With a sit-inside you may want to opt for a larger style cockpit, which can make it easier for you to get in and out. The length inside of the cockpit will also be particularly important, so that you have enough room for your legs to be in a comfortable position for the duration of your paddling trip.
When you’re tall, your center of gravity will tend to be higher, which can make you feel less stable if you’re sitting in a kayak. But in order to feel more stable, it can be a good idea to look for a kayak with a lower deck or deeper seating area.
This can mean you’re sitting lower in the yak which can therefore give you a lower center of gravity, making you feel less likely to tip over.
There are various kayaks out there that are designed for maximum stability and can allow you to stand up, for fishing or simply to stretch your legs. These can often be ideal for taller paddlers because of the added stability they can have even when a person is standing.
How To Stand Up In A Kayak The Easy Way
Whether it’s storage capacity or weight capacity, these will both be important features to look out for when you’re choosing a kayak.
If you’re looking for a vessel that you can load up with gear for a few nights away then you will want to opt for a craft that has enough space for both you and your gear, without your gear taking up any valuable leg space.
Weight capacity will also be something to keep in mind. Keep in mind your own weight and the general weight of the gear you might be wanting to take with you.
If you’re planning to spend any length of time on the water, being comfortable will play a big part in your overall enjoyment. Think about it, you’ll probably be sitting down for a significant period of time so the type of seat you opt for should be an important feature.
A seat with a high backrest will likely be something that will boost your comfort levels while on the water. Having the ability to adjust the seat can also be beneficial, especially if the seat can be lowered or raised as well as the position of the back rest.
I’m Big, Any Kayak Features I Should Look Out For?
Being a big guy, you may be put off by the thought of getting in a compact craft like a kayak. But despite their often small appearance there are many yaks out there that have a high weight capacity. Don't confuse capacity with actual weight!
Fat or thin, the weight capacity of your yak can be important, especially if you will be taking along extra gear, such as camping equipment or fishing gear. So keep in mind your own weight plus the extra weight of your gear.
Look for a vessel with a high weight capacity and try to opt for one that’s above your weight and the weight of your gear combined. The closer you go to the maximum weight capacity of your yak, the lower the yak will sit in the water and, likely, the slower it will be. The stability of the craft will also be affected.
Video: Kayak Weight Limits
Depth And Seating
Another thing you may want to think about is the depth of the yak, as the deeper it is the more room you will tend to have.
The position and height of the seat in the kayak may also affect your feeling of stability. If the seat sits lower in the deck you may feel more comfortable, as your center of gravity will likely be lower than if the seat was positioned higher in the vessel.
You may find that yaks with more defined or raised sides might feel more secure than those with a lower profile.
The type of seat may also play a role in how comfortable you’ll be on the water. Having a seat with an adjustable backrest can be useful in finding a comfortable paddling position.
Having enough room to feel comfortable in a kayak will be important to everyone, no matter what their size. But when you’re bigger, you will likely need to think more about the width and general size of the cockpit, especially if it’s a sit-inside yak.
Wider vessels will generally have wider cockpits, which can give you a more spacious seating area. The wider the vessel, the more stable it will tend to be as well, which can be reassuring, especially if you’re a big guy or new to kayaking.
A wider yak, while not usually designed for speed, can help to spread your weight across the vessel. Another way of adding to the width of your yak is by attaching outriggers to it.
> Kayak outriggers: DIY guide
Outriggers can help to distribute the weight across an even wider area by making it feel as though your yak is wider than it is; helping to stabilize it just as you would stabilize a child’s bicycle by adding training wheels.
These can be added to most vessels if you feel you might benefit from the additional stability and the illusion of the extra width.
A sit-on-top kayak might be a better option than a sit-inside in terms of getting in and out. This can be because sit-on-tops can offer a more spacious and open cockpit compared to the enclosed cockpit of a sit-inside.
A sit-on-top can generally be more stable than a narrower sit-inside vessel, which can also be beneficial when it comes to getting in and out.
They will also tend to require less in the way of skills for getting out and can be easier to use for beginners, as you shouldn’t need to have any wet exit training to get out of a sit-on-top if you do capsize, as you’ll automatically come out.
Best Kayaks For A Big Guy
Fishing Kayaks For A Big Guy
1: Hobie Mirage Pro 12
The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12 is a stable 12 foot fishing kayak with plenty of features and a high weight capacity of 500 pounds. This means it is designed to accommodate both you and your gear while letting you fish comfortably.
This yak is built for stability and ease of use, with a pedal drive system (here's some other awesome pedal kayaks) that allows for hands free kayaking. The adjustable Vantage seat has a weight capacity of 350 pounds and can be folded out of the way for more room on deck if you’re standing up to fish.
With a hull depth of 20 inches, the water level should remain at a comfortable distance from the top of your craft, hopefully helping to alleviate any feelings of sinking.
There are plenty of places to store your gear on this craft, with as many as six rod holders. There are also storage hatches, including a large front hatch with tackle management system, a large rear tank well and space underneath the seat for tackle boxes.
2: Pescador Pro 12
The Pescador Pro 12 is a 12 foot fishing kayak with a weight capacity of 375 pounds. It’s designed to offer stability and performance on a wide range of water, including coastal conditions, which might make it useful if you like to mix up your fishing locations from time to time.
The seat is a camp style chair, which is height adjustable and removable as well as being designed for comfort. And the cockpit is open and spacious, giving you plenty of room whether you’re paddling or fishing. The center console and cup holder is cleverly positioned so as not to be too close to the seat or taking up valuable seating or leg space.
The cockpit also features adjustable foot braces that slide back and forth so you can find the best position for your feet and legs. As well as the spacious cockpit, there is ample storage on deck.
The rear tank well can be ideal for a fishing crate or a cooler and there are bungee cords to help keep all your gear secure on deck. The bow features a mesh covered storage well for holding additional fishing gear. There are also gear tracks for mounting extra fishing accessories.
3: Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120
The Tarpon 120 is a 12 foot sit-on-top yak with gear tracks and two storage hatches. It has a 350 pound weight capacity so it can be ideal to hold you and your fishing gear for a day on the water.
The cockpit is open and spacious, with a molded-in seating area to make you feel more comfortable within the vessel. The seat is padded and adjustable so you can tailor it to your body shape for more comfortable paddling.
The adjustable foot braces can also help you to gain better stability while you’re on the water and can be ideal for paddlers of different sizes. It can be a stable craft for both larger paddlers and beginners.
There should be no shortage of space to keep all your fishing gear, with a large rear storage area complete with bungee cords for securing larger items. There’s also a storage hatch in the center of the deck, which can be ideal for storing small items, such as keys or your phone and a larger hatch at the bow for additional items.
This yak can be easily personalized by adding your own accessories and gadgets by mounting them to the gear tracks on deck.
4: Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T Tandem
The Skipjack 120T is a 12 foot tandem sit-on-top yak built for fishing and recreational paddling. With its 500 pound weight capacity, it should have no problems carrying you and all your fishing or camping gear.
This craft features three molded-in seats and two removable, adjustable padded seats. This means you can choose to paddle the yak by yourself from the center seat position.
But it’s also possible for two people to paddle it from the bow and stern seats, with the option of having a child or small passenger in the center seat. The seating areas are spacious, giving you room to maneuver, and there are two sealed hatches giving you added storage.
This yak comes with two paddles and two seats, so could be a good choice if you’re new to kayaking and want a craft that you can take out to the water straight away.
As for storage, there is a bungee cargo well at the stern, which can be useful for holding larger items, as well as two sealed storage hatches that each have a cupholder built into them. So you can make sure you can stay hydrated while you fish.
Inflatable Kayaks For Larger Paddlers
1: Sea Eagle 380X Explorer
The Sea Eagle 380X is a high weight capacity inflatable sit-on-top kayak that is designed to hold up to three people or 750 pounds. But with the removable seats you can paddle this craft solo and have even more room to yourself.
With its inflatable chambers, this yak is designed for both comfort and buoyancy, not to mention stability. Its durable and wide, stable hull can handle up to Class IV rapids, meaning you could get a little more adventurous if you choose.
But it’s also designed to handle flatwater and open water as well and features a removable skeg to help with tracking. It could be a good choice if you’re looking to bring along extra gear, such as camping equipment, as the spacious deck features plenty of D-rings for securing loose items to prevent them from floating away.
Another good thing about this yak is that it can be folded down to just 31 by 20 by 9 inches and is lightweight enough to carry on your own whether you’re heading down to the water or walking up to your campsite.
You also have the option of adding an electric motor, if you decide you want to take a break from paddling.
2: Driftsun Rover 220
The Driftsun Rover 220 is an inflatable tandem yak that comes with two adjustable seats but can be paddled solo by positioning one of the seats in the center. It has a huge 600 pound weight capacity, allowing larger paddlers to bring along essential gear for the trip.
This yak also comes complete with two aluminum paddles, a hand pump and a removable skeg. Because it’s inflatable, it weighs just 28 pounds and folds down into a carry bag that measures 24.5 by 21 by 10 inches.
It’s designed for stability and speed and can handle up to Class IV rapids, making it a versatile craft that can easily be transported to all your favorite paddling spots. The deck is spacious and benefits from adjustable foot rests to maximize comfort on the water.
3: Sea Eagle SE370
The Sea Eagle SE370 is a high weight capacity inflatable sit-on-top yak designed to hold up to three people. It comes with two paddles and two removable inflatable seats, as well as a foot pump and carry bag. This 650 pound capacity yak can be paddled solo with one seat in the center, giving you more space and room for extra gear.
It’s a durable, versatile craft that can be used on flatwater and up to Class III rapids. It also features two skegs to help with tracking on flatwater. This could be a good choice if you’re short on storage space at home, as it can deflate to just 31 by 19 by 8 inches, so could easily fit in your closet. It can also make it easier to transport back and forth to the water.
This inflatable yak has a spacious deck with plenty of room for your gear, whether you’re camping or just out for a day of exploration. There are spray skirts at the bow and stern that can provide some covered storage for your gear to help keep it secure and a little drier.
There may even be room for your furry friend to tag along. And if you do decide to bring along your dog for the adventure, the durable hull has been designed to stand up to paws and claws, so you shouldn’t need to worry about your canine companion puncturing your vessel.
Recreational Kayaks For 300lb, 400lb Persons And Above
1: Wilderness Systems A.T.A.K 140
The A.T.A.K 140 is a spacious 14 foot sit-on-top vessel designed for solo paddling with added features for keen anglers. With a 550 pound capacity and a spacious cockpit, it’s geared up for larger paddlers.
The craft is stable and built for on the water performance, as well as having a non-slip deck and a stand-assist strap to help you stand up and sit down while you’re on the water. The pontoon shaped hull can give you the added stability you’re after and can help improve your speed across the water.
The adjustable AirPro Max seat can be raised or lowered to suit your paddling style and comfort level. It can even be reclined, as well as being able to slide back and forth along the deck to allow you to find that ideal paddling or fishing position.
There are plenty of storage options for both large and small items, including access to the hull through the rectangular hatch at the stern. The storage area at the rear even has security bars so you can attach loose items to prevent them going overboard.
Video: Wilderness Systems ATAK Kayak
As well as this, there is a tank well behind the seat that can fit a crate or cooler. There’s also a large bow hatch, which can be ideal for holding snacks or extra gear. You can even pack it with ice and keep drinks cold or, if you’re fishing, use it to keep your catch fresh till you’re back on land.
Another feature of the A.T.A.K 140 is the larger style carrying handles, which are designed for larger hands. This can make it much more comfortable to carry or drag to the water, particularly if you’re a bigger paddler.
2: BKC UH-TK122 Coastal Cruiser
The UH-TK122 Coastal Cruiser from BKC is a spacious sit-on-top kayak that’s built for stability. The bottom of the hull is flat for added primary stability, so you should feel stable as soon as you sit down.
It has a generous 770 pound weight capacity and can be paddled solo from the center of the yak. However, it is a tandem craft and comes with two paddles and two ergonomically designed seats that can be removed. The durable, padded aluminum seats can also be adjusted into different positions for improved paddling comfort.
There’s plenty of space on deck and there’s the added benefit of two sealed storage hatches for keeping smaller items dry. There’s also a rear storage area with bungee rigging at the back for keeping larger items secure.
This craft is also rigged for fishing with built-in rod holders and there are gear tracks, so you can mount other accessories, such as a camera to film your paddling adventures.
3: Perception Rambler 13.5T
The Perception Rambler is a tandem sit-on-top yak designed to hold up to three people or can be paddled by yourself. Built for a range of water conditions this craft can offer stability and maneuverability whether you’re paddling on lakes, bays, rivers or even the ocean.
It has a spacious deck with three molded in seat wells and three sets of molded foot rests, allowing you to position one of the seats in the center for solo paddling. This can offer you plenty of room for a comfortable kayaking trip if you’re on your own.
There’s also space for your gear in the spacious rear storage well, which has bungee cords for helping to tie down your items. If you’re paddling in this yak on your own, there will also be space behind you for extra gear.
With its 550 pound capacity and its stable hull, it could be ideal for beginners looking to take to the water for the first time.
Best Kayaks For Tall Guys
1: Wilderness Systems Pungo 120
The Pungo 120 is a 12 foot sit-inside yak that has a large, spacious cockpit. It has an adjustable padded seat and padded thigh and knee braces, which can make your kayaking experience a little more comfortable.
The cockpit is 57 inches long and 22 inches wide and features a handy accessory console that can easily be removed to give you even more room to get in and out of the yak. The accessory console features a hatch and cup holders, as well as storage for smaller items.
For added comfort inside the cockpit there are adjustable foot braces to suit your leg length, so you can find a comfortable place to put your feet and help stabilize yourself.
Being a sit-inside, this could be a good option if you like to paddle in colder waters and want to stay a little drier, as you could even add a spray skirt to give yourself added protection against the elements.
If you want to bring along your gear, there are bungee storage cords on the deck at both the bow and stern, which can let you secure larger items such as dry bags. There’s also a storage hatch in the stern for holding items that you want to keep safe and dry.
2: Perception Pescador 12
The Perception Pescador is a 12 foot sit-on-top yak that offers speed, stability and space, as well as few fishing features. The large open cockpit features a comfortable, ergonomically designed seat that is padded and benefits from an adjustable backrest, giving you the chance to find an ideal seating position.
There are also adjustable, sliding foot braces on deck to accommodate different leg lengths. The vessel is designed to perform well on various types of water, from open ocean and coastal waters to rivers, lakes and flatwater.
It’s a stable vessel whether you’re fishing or exploring and it’s designed to be easy to maneuver, even for beginners.
There should be plenty of room for your gear, including a cooler in the large rear tank well, which has the added bonus of bungee cords so you can make sure your belongings don’t take a dive.
As well as this, there’s a sealed hatch in the bow that has a useful hinged cover and there are two molded-in rod holders which could come in handy if you plan to fish. If you want to mount any additional accessories or special gadgets, there are well placed gear tracks on either side of the deck.
3: Ocean Kayak Scrambler 11
The Ocean Kayak Scrambler is a recreational sit-on-top yak that’s designed to be easy to maneuver and stable on a range of waters. With a roomy seat and a spacious deck, including 50 inches of leg length space, this could be an ideal vessel for taller paddlers.
It has a Tri-Form hull, which can give you the added stability that you need while you’re out paddling. And there’s lots of space to bring along your essentials with a 6 inch hatch in the center, for smaller items and roomy bungee storage at both the bow and stern to accommodate and tie down larger items.
The stern storage area is spacious and could be a great spot to keep a cooler. There’s also the added bonus of a GPS bungee on deck that can hold your navigation device if you plan to do some exploring or fishing. As well as this, there’s a molded-in cup holder.
The Scrambler is also a lightweight vessel, at just 47 pounds, which can make it easier to transport, especially if you’re on your own. If you like the idea of a versatile craft that you can take to the beach or your local lake during summer months, this could be a good option.
It’s also durable and has a built-in skid plate to help prevent damage if you need to drag it down to the water’s edge.
Ok, We’re Done!
As you will now have seen, there should be nothing stopping you from enjoying some time on the water in a kayak no matter what size or weight you are. You’ll find there are plenty of options to choose from, whether it’s a spacious cockpit or a high weight capacity (or both).
Remember to keep in mind the features that you might need on your vessel and if you might be needing to bring along extra equipment, as this can add to the size or weight of your total load.
If you’re on the larger side, remember to think about comfort as well as stability. If you’re tall, remember to consider the size of the seating area to make sure it offers you enough room for your legs.
It’s important to choose the right vessel to suit both your size and your paddling style so if you’ve found this article helpful, share it with your friends. And if you have anything you’d like to add to this or any questions, leave us a comment to let us know.