Tips for Larger Paddlers to Enjoy your Kayaking

Kayaking is an enjoyable activity, and if you have the right skills, you can easily do it. However, is it possible to kayak for fat people? Yes, it is, and in this article, we will discuss several aspects that large paddlers need to consider before kayaking. Also, we will share a shortlist of kayaks that are best for large paddlers.

Fat woman on a boat

Is it ok to kayak for Fat People?

While fat people can go kayaking, they are often introduced to kayaking in a too-small kayak for their size. This leads to fat people being discouragement or embarrassed, and eventually, they give up the idea of going kayaking.

There is a general misconception that kayaking is all about fitness and strength; however, it has more to with finesse and technique. Having the right kayak which fits your size and purpose is key. Fat people are most comfortable kayaking when in a kayak that is wide and ten to twelve feet long.

Here are some crucial kayaking tips for large paddlers:

  • Try to put on a large-sized life jacket that easily fits your size.
  • Always carry a water bottle so that you stay hydrated.
  • It is better to paddle in a group or along with friends, who can assist in carrying the load or helping you get in or out of the kayak.
  • Demo a kayak before you buy it. Ensure that you can easily climb in and out of the kayak.
  • If you are new to kayaking and have little upper body strength, consider a paddle/peddle hybrid kayak if you wear out your upper body and arms.
  • Bring a sturdy step stool with you, which will enable you to strap the kayak with the car easily.
  • Also, keep a kitchen rug in your vehicle. You can lay the rug on the car’s trunk to easily slide your kayak onto the roof of the car.
  • Do not kayak near waves because it will be tough for you to get back in if you fall off the kayak. Try to kayak in calm waters where there are no waves.

Sit-on-Top Kayaks for Large Paddlers

If you like to paddle on flat and calm water, you should opt for a sit-on-top kayak. While sit-on-top kayaks lack versatility, they are stable and can accommodate a weight of over 500 pounds. The sit-on-top kayaks are heavier than sit-in kayaks and easier to slide in and off.

If you want to change positions in the sit-on-top kayak, you can hang your legs from the side. However, you should remember that you will get wet in this kayak. The seats in the sit-on-top kayak are comfortable and offer plenty of back support.

Sit-in Kayaks for Large Paddlers

These kayaks are more versatile than sit-on-top kayaks, and they offer plenty of protection from elements such as water. While these kayaks are spacious, they are tougher for large paddlers to get in and out. The large-sized sit-in kayaks typically have a weight light of 300 pounds.

Other Kayaks for Large Paddlers

You can also consider other kayaks for large paddlers, such as inflatable kayaks. Inflatable kayaks can support the weight of large paddlers and are typically lightweight. You can also opt for tandem kayaks; they are designed to accommodate one individual but can also be used for single paddling purposes.

How to Pick a Kayak for Fat People

Kayaks aren’t typically made to meet the needs of a particular person. However, when it comes to fat individuals, there are several things they need to take into consideration before they go kayaking:

Purpose for Kayaking

The first thing you need to consider is the purpose of kayaking so that you know the type of kayak you need. Are you interested in flat water? Fishing? Whitewater? Kayaks are made for different purposes, so you must identify a purpose.


To find optimal comfort, you will need to check the kayak out by sitting in and see if you fit or not. You need to remember that you will be in the kayak for several hours, so your kayak should be able to support your back, and you need to ensure the seating is not too tight.

Also, look for kayaks that come with adjustable seating. You need to discuss comfort-related queries with the manufacturer. Don’t just go online or shop and buy the kayak you like; consider the comfort factor.

Kayak Weight

This is important since you will need to get your kayak from the storage to the water on your vehicle. If the kayak has too much weight, it will become tough to transport it. Try to invest in kayaks made of durable plastic and are lightweight. I’ve created a guide on the Weight Limit of Kayaks, being a larger person, you’ll definably want to check it out.


The price depends on how badly you want the kayak and how much you are willing to spend. You can also save money by investing in a second-hand kayak. Considering the equipment, you will need and the kayak, your total expenditure can be over a thousand dollars.


The type of kayak you choose will probably come in several colors. You should invest in a kayak that looks stylish. Try to buy bright-colored kayaks as they show up better in videos and pictures. You can also be distinctive and bold and show your personality.

Paddle Weight

Once you have chosen the kayak, you need to consider the paddle weight. The paddle weight is often described as ‘Optimal paddler weight,’ and its range is given in pounds and kilos. The optimal paddler weight is a tested range, which will give you a performance based on displacement.

The slower the kayak will travel if you are above the upper limit. This also means that you won’t be able to maneuver the kayak properly. The kayak will also be prone to coming in contact with submerged rocks.

Best Kayaks for Large Paddlers

We know that it is possible to kayak for fat people. We have also shared several tips that will help fat individuals. However, what type of kayak should large paddlers invest in? Should it be wide or long? Heavy or Lightweight? Or should they buy kayaks from a particular manufacturer? Below are some of the best kayaks for large paddlers:

1. Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12 Kayak (Capacity: 500 Pounds)

This is a large-sized kayak and is best suited for fishing purposes. This kayak comes with features that large paddlers will love. The manufacturer of this kayak, Hobie, is known for building high-quality fishing kayaks, so it is a reliable brand.

This kayak comes with a luxury-style back seat and a capacity of 500 pounds. The worst part of kayaking for large paddlers is small seats, and thankfully they won’t have any issues with the seats in this kayak.

The seat is fully adjustable and ergonomic, which means whenever you want to stand up, you need to fold the seat up. The second part of kayaking that is troublesome for large paddlers is paddling.

This Hobie Mirage pro Angler 12 kayak comes with a patented pedal drive system, which offers full foot power. This twelve-foot-long kayak can accommodate plenty of gear; it comes with a pair of easily accessible dry storage hatches.

2. Wilderness Systems ATAK 140 (Capacity: 550 Pounds)

If you are looking for an affordable or budget-friendly kayak, this one is for you. This kayak is great for large paddlers and has a length of fourteen feet. The capacity of this kayak is 550 pounds and has plenty of storage space for the gear.

This kayak offers a durable sit-top design and is equipped with a sliding stadium style suspension seat. The seat enables paddlers to adjust the kayak according to their needs. The deck of this kayak is wide and has a 34-inch width.

The fast and low-profile hull of the Wilderness Systems ATAK 140 kayak doesn’t waste any energy. The traction pads and straps are also useful and keep the kayak steady when the paddler stands. Lastly, this fishing kayak also has stern and bow storage hatches, GPS, electronic equipment, and a removable fish finder’s console.

3.  FeelFree Lure 13.5 Kayak (Capacity: 500 Pounds)

This kayak comes with an affordable price tag and is suitable for fishing. The total capacity of this fishing kayak is 500 pounds, which makes it suitable for large paddlers. The patent-pending gravity seat of this kayak is wide and comes with extra padding.

You can lower or raise the seat easily. The FeelFree Lure 13.5 kayak also comes with a built-in board that you can use for cutting purposes. The kayak is equipped with electronic pods and removable sonar.

Adjustable footpegs, a cup holder, and a pair of rod holders are part of this kayak as well. This kayak has an impressive width of 36-inches, which provides a sturdy platform. This FeelFree kayak is safe for both salt and freshwater. The patented wheel in the keel rolling system will help you put this kayak back in the car.

Frequently Asked Questions

Fitness Guidelines for all Kayakers?

All kayakers can benefit from fitness. After all, canoeing and kayaking are outdoor sports. While you don’t need to train like an athlete for kayaking, things like cardio fitness, flexibility, and muscle fitness, will make paddling fun and easier:

  • Getting in and out of a kayak involves arm and leg strength and flexibility.
  • You also require proper balance to get in and out of a kayak, which is easier when the hips and legs are strong.
  • When kayakers paddle for hours, they involve the entire upper portion of their body. Strong arms, core, and shoulders will help you paddle with less fatigue and have fun.
  • If you like standing in your kayak while fishing if you are strong, it is easier to get up and down.
  • Being fit also protects you from injuries.

Outfitting or Renting a Kayak?

Going through a touring company or renting a kayak is always a good idea, as long as the company has kayaks that are big enough to accommodate fat paddlers. Call them up and ask rather than assuming that the company will have large-sized kayaks.

Outfitting or renting a kayak is a great idea because it will enable you to try different sizes and styles of kayaks before you buy one.

There is no other way to see if a kayak will work for you or not without sitting or spending hours in one. If you are a beginner, it is recommended that you sign up with a class to learn the basics of kayaking from a paddling instructor.

How do Fat Paddler sit in Kayaks?

Fat paddlers need to be careful when sitting in a kayak. Haste or misstep can be disastrous and cause complications. To get in the kayak, first, you will need to place the kayak in the water for stability.

Then, you will need to hold the paddle and pull it across the kayak so that the balance is maintained. Hold the paddle across the kayak, put one leg in and sit in the kayak. Don’t put both the legs simultaneously as you can fall and overturn the kayak.

After comfortably sitting in the kayak, put the second leg in. Once you are seated in the kayak let a friend push the vessel into the water.

If you on your own, take out the paddle and flip it over (The flat part should be towards the sky). Put the slimmer portion of the paddle on the ground, and push the kayak into the water.

Kayak Weight Limits?

Now that we know it is possible to kayak for fat people let’s discuss the weight limits. For this, you will need to do some mathematics. We will call the added weight performance weight. Then, convert the value into pounds and divide the value by 0.7. The result will be the maximum weight capacity.

For example, if you are 200 pounds in weight, and the gear has a weight of 28 pounds, the total weight is 228 pounds. Divide 228 by 0.7, and the result will be 325 pounds. The performance of the kayak depends on its weight limit.

Some brands mention the performance weight limit and maximum weight capacity on the manual. This makes the calculation extremely easy. However, if the numbers are not present in the manual, there is another tactic you can use.

Invest in a kayak whose capacity outweighs the performance weight by 100 to 125 pounds. Suppose you are only aware of the weight capacity, and don’t know what your load requirements are.

You can calculate the performance weight limit by multiplying 0.7 by the total weight. You can also reduce the total capacity by 30 to 35 %.

Kayaking Benefits for Large Paddlers?

If you are thinking of picking a hobby, you can go kayaking. Whether you want the kayak to relax or for fishing purposes, learning a few basic kayaking tricks will do wonders for you. For large paddlers, kayaking will do the following:

  • Give them a chance to learn something new.
  • Learn how to fish.
  • Help meet the people who share a passion for kayaking.
  • It will give them a chance to exercise and get some much-needed fresh air.

Is it Important for Large Paddlers to Learn the Kayaking Language?

There are several signals that large paddlers must learn to communicate with fellow kayakers easily. If you are going kayaking with your friends, or even alone, it is essential to learn the kayaking language. You never know when you might need to communicate.

Is it Essential for Large Paddlers to Get a Feel for the Equipment?

If you are a beginner, you may not be aware of the best kayak for you and suits your needs. Before you spend money on the paddle, kayak, and other gear, we recommend visiting a nearby store and checking the gear yourself.

Some rental companies are more than happy to help new kayakers out, and you can go there and try out the gear. However, apart from the kayaking gear, there are a few essential items that you should always pack with you:

  • Maps (It is essential to keep maps because you will need them if you forget your phone).
  • Duct Tape (Everything that is broken can be easily fixed with duct tape).

How Should Large Kayakers Paddle?

The paddling technique remains the same regardless of your weight. Paddles for kayaks have blades at the end that are often up to 260 centimeters long. The taller you are, the longer you should be as a large paddler. For double-handed paddling, do this:

  • Firmly grasp the paddle with both hands.
  • The blade’s concave part should be facing towards you.
  • The knuckles should be in line with the blades.

For single-handed paddling, do this:

  • Single-handed paddling is a difficult tactic to master; however, it is still important to learn it.
  • Find a place to anchor your paddle with the forearms, and with just one arm, steer the blade.
  • Fortunately, you won’t have to do single-handed paddling for long distances.


In this article, we discussed if it is possible to kayak for fat people or not. We concluded that fat people could go kayaking. We also discussed the best kayaks in the market for large paddlers and what factors large paddlers should consider before buying a kayak.

Vanessa Hopkins

Hi, I'm Vanessa. Long-time kayaker who's proud to be part of this community. I strive to provide our visitors with insightful guides with the aim to improve their kayaking experience. I've been working with SunshineKayaking for over 5 years, providing world-class services.

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