Kayaks Suitable For Big, Heavy and Tall Guys Reviewed
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 kayak and equipment to suit your body type.
You may be surprised to learn that, even if you’re a larger person, there are plenty of kayaks on the market that are designed to accommodate you, including lots of fishing kayaks for big guys that might be your perfect kayak.
With larger cockpits and a higher capacity, we’ll take a look at some of the best kayaks for big, heavy or tall people that might just be what you (or any other larger paddler) need.
Kayaks For Big & Tall Guys (and gals): At A Glance
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 sit-in kayaks or sit-on. While sit-on kayaks can offer you a more open deck, you will still need to keep in mind the space you’ll have for your legs, which is pretty vital for a larger person.
With sit-in kayaks 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 for big guys, so that you have room for your legs to sit comfortably for the duration of your paddling trip.
The best kayaks for big guys will often have a wider seat area in general, to give you more room, as well as extra space for your legs and all the gear you want to bring. Fishing kayaks can generally offer a large amount of space and gear storage even if you don't want to fish.
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, which can be even more beneficial if you're a tall person.
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 extra stability they can have even when a person is standing. However, even the best kayaks for big guys will not always be stable enough to stand up in, especially if you're a heavy person.
Video: 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 either recreational or fishing kayaks for big guys.
If you've just started kayaking and 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. So, as most big and tall folk will know, remember to think about your leg length and the size of your lower body before you make any decisions.
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, especially if you're big and tall. Think about it, you’ll probably be sitting down for long periods of time so the type of seat you opt for should be an important feature - remember, you're not paddle boarding.
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. This can be useful for all recreational paddlers, not just big guys.
I’m Big, Any Kayak Features I Should Look Out For?
Being a big guy or a large person, 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 and can be great for big and tall guys or a larger person. Don't confuse capacity with actual weight!
Fat or thin, the capacity or weight limit of your yak can be important, especially if you will be taking along lots of gear, such as camping equipment or fishing gear. The capacity is how much weight the kayak can hold in total - separate from the weight of the kayak. So keep in mind your own weight plus the extra weight of your gear when considering any of the best kayaks for big guys.
Look for high weight capacity kayaks 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 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 if you're a bigger person and close to the weight limit. The more weight you load in, the more performance will be affected.
Video: Kayak Weight Limits
Depth And Seating
Another thing you may want to think about with kayaks for big guys 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. If you're a heavy person, the kayak will tend to sit lower in the water, especially if it's close to capacity.
Tandem kayaks can also be great for big guys and tall paddlers for solo recreational use, as they can often be paddled by one person by reconfiguring the seats. This can give you more leg room and more space to store gear.
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. The seats will often vary significantly with different kayak manufacturers.
Having sufficient room to feel comfortable in a kayak will be important to everyone, no matter what their size. But when you’re big and tall, you will likely need to think more about the width and general size of the cockpit, especially if it’s a sit-inside yak. So kayak width can be important, as well as a stable hull design.
Wider vessels (over 30 inches wide) will generally have wider cockpits. Cockpit width can be important as it can give you a more spacious seating area and wider kayaks can make great kayaks for big guys. 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 great speed, can help to spread your weight across the vessel, which can be beneficial for big and tall people. Another way of adding to the width of your yak is by attaching outriggers to it.
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 kayaks if you feel you might benefit from the additional stability and the illusion of the extra width. Even the best kayak could benefit from outriggers.
A sit-on-top kayak might be a better option than a sit-inside kayak in terms of getting in and out. This can be because sit on top kayaks can offer a more spacious and open cockpit compared to the enclosed cockpit of a sit-inside kayak, making them more suitable kayaks for big guys.
Sit-on-top kayaks, particularly fishing kayaks, can generally be more stable for big and tall people than a narrower sit-inside kayak, which can also be beneficial when it comes to getting in and out.
Sit-inside kayaks can also feel more restricted and there may not always be room to accommodate larger feet or longer legs, so these may not be the best kayaks for big people.
They will also tend to require less in the way of skills for getting out compared to sit-inside kayaks and can be easier to use for beginners. This is because you shouldn’t need to have any wet exit training (like you would with sit-inside kayaks) to get out of a kayak with a sit-on-top design: if you do capsize, as you’ll automatically come out.
However, sit-ins can be a better choice for colder weather conditions, as they can provide extra protection from the elements.
Best Kayaks For A Big Guy
Fishing Kayaks For A Big Guy
1: Pescador Pro 12
The Pescador Pro 12 is a 12 foot fishing kayak with a 375 lb capacity so it can be a top fishing kayak for big guys. 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 with durable metal components, which is height adjustable and removable, as well as being designed for comfort. And the cockpit is open and spacious, unlike sit-inside kayaks, giving you plenty of room whether you’re paddling or fishing.
The center console and cup holder, or bottle holder, is cleverly positioned so as not to be too close to the seat or taking up valuable seating or leg space.
The roomy cockpit also features adjustable foot rests that slide back and forth so you can find the best position for your feet and legs, even if you're a tall person. As well as the large cockpit, there is ample storage on deck and flush mounted rod holders, as you'd expect from most fishing kayaks.
The stern storage area can be ideal for a fishing crate or a cooler and there are bungees to help keep all your gear secure on deck. The bow features a mesh covered storage well for holding additional gear. There are also integrated gear tracks for mounting extra fishing accessories, such as fish finders, making it a great value kayak for big guys. It also comes in a version with a pedal drive system for hands free propulsion.
2: Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120
The Tarpon 120 is a 12 foot sit-on-top yak made from high density polyethylene with gear tracks and two storage hatches. It has a 350 lb capacity so it can be ideal to hold you and your gear for a day on the water, even the open ocean. However, it may not be able to hold as much weight as some other kayaks for big guys so if you're near the weight limit you may want to opt for a larger vessel with over 400 lb capacity.
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. It also has a streamlined hull for increased performance.
The adjustable foot braces can also help you to gain better stability while you’re on the water and can offer optimal comfort for big guys and paddlers of different sizes. It can be a stable kayak for big guys, 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 rigging for securing larger items. There’s also a built-in storage hatch in the center of the deck to let you easily access gear on the water, 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. However, unlike most fishing kayaks, this one doesn't have fishing rod holders.
3: Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T Tandem
The Skipjack 120T is a 12 foot tandem sit-on-top yak built for fishing and recreational paddling that's ideal for larger kayakers. 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 - perfect for big guys.
But it’s also built for tandem paddling 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 offering dry storage, 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 (kayak over 500lb capacity)
The Sea Eagle 380X is a high weight capacity kayak with a wide beam made from the highest quality materials. It's an inflatable 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 - perfect for big boys and girls.
With its three inflatable chambers for more buoyancy, this inflatable whitewater kayak for big guys is designed for both comfort and buoyancy, not to mention stability. Its durable and wide, stable hull, with rigid drop stitch floor, 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. This large capacity kayak could be a good choice if you’re looking to bring along additional 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 whitewater kayak 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. It comes with a pump and repair kit.
2: Driftsun Rover 220
The Driftsun Rover 220 is an inflatable kayak 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 maximum capacity and a durable built quality, allowing larger paddlers to bring along essential gear for the trip with ample cargo space on deck.
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. Its surprisingly light weight and compact size means it's easy to carry, even for a single person. It even comes with a travel bag.
It’s designed for stability and speed and can handle up to Class IV rapids, making it a versatile whitewater kayak 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. This could be the best inflatable kayak in terms of portability and versatile design, as it's much lighter than most inflatable kayaks.
3: Sea Eagle SE370
The Sea Eagle SE370 is a high capacity inflatable sit-on-top yak designed to hold up to three people and be easy enough to carry to your local lake. It comes with two paddles and two inflatable seats that are removable, as well as a foot pump and carry bag. This 650 lb capacity yak can be paddled solo with one seat in the center, giving you more space and room for more gear.
It’s a durable, versatile kayak for big guys that can be used on flatwater and up to Class III rapids, so it's able to handle rough water. It also features two skegs to help with tracking on flatwater but the skegs are removable if you want to take on some mild whitewater kayaking. However, it might not be as quick over the water as a hard shell kayak.
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, making it a good first kayak for bigger guys.
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, as long as he's not also a bigger guy. 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. However, it does come with a repair kit.
Recreational Kayaks For 300lb, 400lb Persons And Above
1: BKC UH-TK122 Coastal Cruiser
- Length: 12 foot 9 inches
The UH-TK122 Coastal Cruiser from BKC is a spacious sit-on-top fishing kayak that’s built for stability. And like some other kayaks for big guys, it's a tandem. 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 lb capacity so big guys can paddle it solo from the center of the yak. However, it is a tandem craft and comes with two paddles, two rod holders, 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. But the main feature is this kayak's maximum weight capacity making it one of the best kayaks in terms of how much it can hold (compared to other models) and can be ideal for kayak fishing or camping.
2: 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 design features for keen anglers that's an ideal kayak for big guys. With a 550 lb capacity and a spacious cockpit, it’s geared up for large paddlers and has both bow and stern storage hatches along with a tackle management system. This is a great fishing kayak for big guys who want to carry a lot of equipment.
The craft is stable and built with a sleek design for on the water performance, as well as having a non-slip deck with traction pads (with rough edges) 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. But it's probably not going to be like paddle boarding.
The adjustable AirPro Max seat can be raised or lowered to suit your paddling style and comfort level - ideal for big guys paddling long distances. 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. The foot pegs are adjustable to enhanced comfort and stability.
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.
However, this kayak is a heavier weight than most, so it may be difficult to transport on your own, even with the large carry handles. So you may need another big man to help you.
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 lb capacity and its stable hull, it could be ideal for beginners looking to take to the water for the first time.
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 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 fishing kayak to suit both your size and your paddling style so if you’ve found this article helpful in finding kayaks for big guys, 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.