Outdoors Magazine

Best Kayaks for Big Guys No Matter How Tall & Heavy You Are

By Chris Noal

Kayaks for Big Guys

Nothing beats the feeling of getting out in your kayak and cruising through the water with a paddle in your hands. However, a lot of things happen as we grow older and the most evident is that you are no longer as fit as you used to be. 

As such, it can be hard finding a kayak that can fit a big guy like you, but it’s not impossible. There are kayaks that are specifically made for big and tall guys alike hence the need for this guide. 

What Is a Kayak for Big Guys

To begin with, a kayak is a small and slim boat usually used by a limited number of people, most of the time, one person. It is considered a sports equipment because it is often used on aquatic races and sports. 

There are various kinds of kayaks that are available on the market with designs that differ with usage. Beginners can still find some great kayaks, especially the leisure ones, since they are light in weight and easy to maneuver with. 

Most kayaks have a maximum weight capacity, with some having a higher capacity than others. For heavier people, therefore, this can be a problem, but luckily some kayaks are made with the big guy in mind.

Kayaks for big guys are just like regular kayaks except for the fact that weight capacity is an important feature in such. They are as practical as regular kayaks, but the weight capacity is made for a big guy such that you won’t tip over when you are on the water. 

Benefits of Using a Kayak for Big Guys

Whether you are looking for a kayak designed for open fishing or for sports, there are a few benefits of going with a kayak designed specifically for big guys. 


If you are a big guy, the chances are that you have been putting off kayaking because you are not sure that you can find a kayak you can fit in. Thanks to advancements that continue to be made today, it is easy to find a kayak that can work for and the good news is that these are as comfortable as regular kayaks. 

Supported Weight

Every kayak is designed with specific weight capacity and the same goes for those that are designed for big guys. The kayaks have the right weight capacity to ensure that they don’t tip over when you are in the water. 

Right Capacity

Whether it’s the weight or storage capacity, these are the features that are catered for when you are looking for kayaks for big guys. That said, the kayaks have enough capacity to load all your gear for a few nights and not to mention one that can fit you as well. 


Most kayaks for big guys tend to be very stable because they are designed for big guys like you. The stability ensures that you don’t tip over when you are on the water, which could lead to serious accidents. 

How Does a Kayak for Big Guys Work

How Does a Kayak for Big Guys Work

A kayak for big guys works just like a canoe but with a slight difference in the sitting position of the paddler as well as the number of blades on the paddles. 

A kayak is low to the water boat, where the paddler sits facing forward with their legs in front. You then use a double-bladed paddle to pull from front to back on one side and the other side on rotation. 

There are three different kayaks that are ideal for big guys and they include; inflatable, sit-inside and sit-on kayaks. They all have their advantages and disadvantages and whichever you choose is a matter of personal preferences. 

Pros and Cons of Kayaks for Big Guys

Just like when you are looking for the best lunch cooler for your fishing trip, there are certain advantages and disadvantages of kayaks for big guys that you need to be aware of before you make a purchase. 


  • Most kayaks for big guys tend to have extremely good stability; hence you never have to worry about tipping over because of your weight. 
  • The seats of kayaks for big guys are surprisingly comfortable based on various online reviews.
  • These kayaks have enough storage space such that you can fit anything you might need when you are away. 
  • Kayaks for big guys have enough room; hence are suitable for tall guys as well. 


  • Some kayaks for big guys don’t track smoothly as thinner kayaks might, which can be a problem for some people.
  • Some have canoe-like handles because of the high center of gravity.
  • Some kayaks for big guys can be very heavy; hence you might have problems transporting the kayak alone. 

Types of Kayaks for Big Guys

When it comes to kayaks for big guys, there are a number of them that are available on the market and whichever you choose at the end of the day depends on your preferences. 

Inflatable Kayaks

Inflatable kayaks continue to grow in popularity based on the fact that they are cheaper than regular kayaks. Such kayaks are buoyant and contrary to popular belief, some models are very durable.

However, the problem with these kayaks is that they don’t have a high weight capacity that is required to support a big guy. When you are looking for the world’s best inflatable kayak with enough weight capacity, you are better off investing in a more expensive kayak that is more durable. 

Sit-Inside Kayaks

Sit-inside kayaks get their name from the way your body stays in relation to the kayak where your body is protected when you are inside the kayak. This kind of kayak is ideal for those who are looking to kayak all year long or want to stay warm and dry when on the water. However, the small cockpit and narrow body of these kinds of kayaks make it difficult for a bigger person to get in and out of the kayak. 

Sit-On Kayaks

Sit-on kayaks are at the top of the list, mainly because they make it possible for you to sit comfortably with the legs in front of your body on top of the kayak rather than inside it. This makes them the ideal choice for bigger guys because they are easier to get in and out of while leaving enough room to move around. 

How to Choose the Best Kayak For Big Guys

How to Choose the Best Kayak For Big Guys

Choosing a kayak for big guys requires more than just ordering the first thing you see online. Being that these kayaks are different from regular ones because they are made for bigger bodies, there are important factors that you need to consider to ensure that you get a kayak that meets all your needs and is comfortable to use. 

Weight Capacity

When it comes to weight capacity, you need to consider more than your individual weight, but that of your gear, as well as when you want to bring your catfish rod with you. 

This is important to consider so as to ensure that you stay under the weight limit for your own safety when you are on the water. Weight capacities vary from one kayak to another and it is important to check to ensure that you get a weight capacity that will give you comfort on the water. 


The width of the kayak affects it in different ways. First, higher width means that you will have a higher level of stability, something you really need when you are big so as to ensure that you are secure when on the water. 

Second, a wider kayak means an increased surface area with the water. This will, in the end, affect the speed of the kayak, which means that more effort will be required from you.  

Weight of the Kayak

When you are buying a kayak, ensure that the kayak can comfortably support your weight. In such a case, the kayak should be solid and have just the right buoyancy. 

Higher weight capacity will also come in handy should you decide to bring anything with you like when you are going fishing and need a place to store all your gear in which case ensure that you always store your food in some quality cooler during the duration of your fishing trip. 

Large Cockpit Size

The size of the cockpit matters if you are tall, whether it’s a sit on top or a sit-inside kayak. While sit on top kayaks have a more open deck, you still need to ensure that there is enough room for your legs.

With a sit-inside kayak on the other side, it would be better if you went with a larger style cockpit so that it will be easier for you to get in and out of the kayak. A larger cockpit is also important in ensuring that there is enough room for your legs to assume a comfortable position throughout the duration of your paddling trip, especially when you are using a kayak with paddles

Deck Height

When you are big, your center of gravity is higher, which will make you feel less stable when you are sitting in a kayak. To regain stability, it is advisable to go for a kayak that has a lower deck or a deeper sitting area. 

This means sitting lower in the kayak, which ends up giving you a lower center of gravity, making it harder to tip over. There are so many kayaks on the market that are designed to provide maximum stability and allow you to stand up when you are fishing or when you want to stretch your legs. 

These are ideal for tall guys due to the added stability they offer when one is standing up, although you could also get yourself a recreational kayak with increased stability.


The materials of the kayak end up affecting its durability in the end. An inflatable stand up paddleboard can carry a lot of weight, for instance, but you need to ensure that the material is very quick.

Regular kayaks, on the other hand, are made of high-density plastic. Getting a kayak made of high-quality materials not only minimizes accidents but also ensures that you will be in a position to use the kayak for a very long time to come.  

How to Choose the Best Kayak For Big Guys - Material

Comfort and Seating

The way a kayak is designed is that there is a cramped amount of space and if you are tall or big, it is important to ensure that the kayak you are buying has enough room. 

It’s always recommended that you ensure that there is more than enough room in the footwell but that it is wide enough as well. The comfort of a kayak is also, to a great extent, affected by the seat in which case you need to ensure that it is wide enough and has enough padding so that you can spend as much time as you want on the kayak. 


When it comes to kayaks for big guys, portability is very important, in which case, inflatable kayaks carry the day, but they require more maintenance and repairs. 

If you are planning to launch and land the kayak, then grab handles will comes in handy. For heavier kayaks, one thing you need to ensure is that they have enough handles for easier carrying. 


When you are buying a kayak, you need to decide beforehand whether you want an inflatable or a regular one. While an inflatable kayak is light in weight and is easy to transport, they are less durable, which is something you need to keep in mind. 

You will also need to decide on whether you need a sit on top or a sit-inside kayak, both of which have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to usage by bigger guys. 

How to Use A Kayak for Big Guys

Step 1 – Decide where you will go

Once you have reached the place you will propel, the first thing you need to do is ensure you know where you will go into the water. Choose a quiet area that is free of rocks. 

Step 2 – Put the kayak in the water

You first need to decide if you will be entering the kayak on land or when in the water. You can then glide the kayak into the water bow first. 

Step 3 – Secure the boat

Place the paddle at right angles to the kayak behind the seat and up against the cockpit rim. You can then get inside the kayak, making sure that you balance your weight to prevent you from tipping over. 

Step 4 – Put the spray skirt

Ensure that the kayak is stable and in quiet water. Place the kayak parallel to the shore such that you can support yourself when you are putting on your spray skirt. 

How to Maintain Your Kayak for Big Guys

Step 1 – Cleaning the kayak

Clean your kayak with water and a mild detergent so as to remove dirt and grime that may have built up. Ensure that you clean both the inside and outside and allow it to dry well before you store it. 

Step 2 – Apply sun protective spray

Apply the spray to hard-shell kayaks so as to prevent UV light damage. Apply on both the inside and outside of the boat. 

Step 3 –Clean the accessories

Before you store your kayak, clean the accessories like the paddle, spray skirt, bilge pump, and float bags and then find a place to store them indoors. Remove the float tank plug if your kayak has any. 

Step 4 – Oil the metal parts

Before you store the kayak, ensure that you oil the metal parts of your kayak. Additionally, tighten any bolts and screws and check both the hull and the deck for damage. 

Does More Spending Mean More Quality

When you are buying a kayak, especially if you are a big guy, more spending does mean more quality. Your safety when you are on the water matters at the end of the day, which is the reason why you need to consider stability.

High-end kayaks tend to be very stable even when you are standing; they have enough legroom and high capacity to ensure your comfort when you are on the water. 

At the same time, it’s important to consider the durability of the kayak if you don’t want to be shopping again in a few months. Inflatable kayaks are cheap, light in weight, but fail in the durability department. 

Do’s and Don’ts With Kayaks for Big Guys

  • Do oil the metal parts before your store your kayak to prevent rust, which can damage your kayak.
  • Do apply a sun protective spray to minimize the damages that may be caused by UV rays. 
  • Do consider your weight and that of your gear when you are buying a kayak for stability. 
  • Don’t go over the weight capacity of the kayak if you don’t want to tip over when on the water. 

Quick Tips for Larger First-Time Kayakers

If you are starting out, there are a few tips that you need to consider when you are using a kayak.

Getting In and Out

When you are big, the hardest part of kayaking is getting in and out of the kayak and it will take time to get used to it. Always ensure that you have someone you can trust out there with you. You can kayak with your partner in a tandem kayak easily. This person can easily help you get on simplifying the process. 

It is also a good idea to practice getting in and out of the kayak at home on the floor until you get used to the process. Additionally, it is a good idea to understand your limitations so that you can avoid a lot of frustrations when you’re starting out. 


At the end of the day, the chances are that you will tip over at least once. When this happens, the last thing you want is to be alone; therefore, ensure that there is always a person with you until you get used to it and can go out on your own. In case you tip over, it helps if you have attached a safety strap to the cockpit’s cowling so that you are able to pull yourself up with the strap.  


When you are out on the water, your safety should be the most important thing. Always ensure that you are wearing a plus-sized life jacket and that you have someone with you to make it safe and fun. Additionally, in cold waters carry ice fishing boots and always recharge your flashlight if you’re kayaking at night

FAQ About Kayaks for Big Guys

FAQ About Kayaks for Big Guys

What kayak has the highest weight capacity?

The Elkton Outdoors Tandem Kayak has the highest weight capacity of 650 pounds and can also be paddled by two people at the same time. 

Is there a weight limit on kayaks?

Yes, kayaks always have a weight limit, which is something you need to pay attention to when you are buying one. Ensure the kayak you are buying can support your weight and that of your gear without going overboard. 

What is the widest kayak on the market?

The Feelfree Lure 13.5 Kayak is the widest kayak on the market with a width of 36 inches.

What happens if a kayak capsizes?

When this happens, it is very important that you know how to execute a self-rescue and also ensure that there is someone with you or that you have a safety strap on the cockpit’s cowling.

Are kayaks for big guys safe?

Yes, kayaks for big guys are safe if you buy a quality kayak and ensure that you don’t go beyond the weight limit. 


If you love kayaking but are not sure how to do it anymore because you have added weight or are taller than regular people, worry not. There are so many kayaks on the market that are specifically designed for big guys. Such kayaks have a higher weight limit, capacity, are wide enough and have a large cockpit size. This gives you more stability when you are on the water and not to mention contributes to your overall comfort.

Photos from: AnoushkaToronto / depositphotos.com, forestpath / depositphotos.com, nadtochiy / depositphotos.com, vetal1983 / depositphotos.com and stocco.claudio.libero.it / depositphotos.com.

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