I love the feeling of getting out in my kayak, cruising through the water with a paddle in my hands, moving forward with the power of my arms as I row.

You guys know what I mean when I say there’s nothing that is more relaxing.

Unfortunately, I’m not as fit as I was when I was younger.

If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’re facing the same problem I did.

Yes, finding a kayak can be difficult for big guys like you and me.

But don’t give up hope!

I found a great kayak that suits all my needs, and you can too!

Today, we’re going to discuss exactly what big and tall guys like us need to look for when purchasing a kayak. Then, I’d like to walk you through some of the best kayaks on the market for larger guys.

Let’s get started!

Kayak Features To Watch For If You Have A Larger Frame

If you’re serious about purchasing a kayak that will meet your needs and offer you the best value for your money, these are some specs that you should consider:

  • Weight Supported

Every kayak has a weight limit, and it’s important for us guys to know exactly what that supported weight limit is.

This is a mistake I made once and will never make again:

The weight limit is not a suggestion, it really is all that the kayak can handle.

So, when you’re searching for the perfect kayak, try to make sure the weight limit is not too close to your own weight (plus your gear). Leaving a small margin will make you feel secure when out on the water.

Here’s a trick I’ve used in the past:

If you’re looking for a very high weight capacity, consider a tandem kayak. Many kayaks that can fit two people have a higher weight capacity, but still work wonderfully for a single person.

  • Width

If you’ve taken a kayak out on the water before, you’ll know that the hardest part for us bigger fellows is getting in and out.

The width of the kayak can actually help with these trouble-prone moments. Kayaks that are wider have less chance of tipping, and are much more stable on the water.

Thus, it’s best to check the width of the kayak and ensure that it’s at least 30 inches. The wider the better!

  • Weight Of The Kayak

Lightweight kayaks are not synonymous with easy to break.

In fact, many lightweight kayaks are extremely durable, and will last against bumps and scrapes in the water.

Best of all, lightweight kayaks are easier to move both in and out of the water. If you’re worried about pulling your weight when rowing, getting a lightweight kayak can help ensure that you won’t get tired out too quickly while you’re kayaking.

Which Is The Best Kayak Style For Big Guys?

There are a few different styles of kayaks that each have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Which one of these is the best kayak for larger individuals?

  • Inflatable Kayaks

With a rather self-explanatory name, this type of kayak has become more and more popular in recent years since they are somewhat cheaper than normal kayaks.

Inflatable kayaks tend to be very buoyant, and many of the more recent models are quite durable.

However, inflatable kayaks are not known for their high weight capacity. While you’ll find some with a good weight limit, it’s more practical to invest in a more expensive kayak that will probably last longer.

  • Sit-Inside Kayaks

So named because of the way your body is in relation to the kayak, this style of kayak allows your lower body to be protected inside the kayak. This style is highly recommended for those looking to kayak all year round, or those who want to stay warm and dry.

However, the narrower body and smaller cockpit of sit-inside kayaks often makes it difficult for bigger guys to get in and out of, as well as making them somewhat easier to tip.

  • Sit-On Kayaks

I’ve saved the best for last.

Sit-on kayaks allow you to sit comfortably with your legs in front of you, on top of the kayak instead of inside it. This style is extremely easy to get in and out of, allowing you plenty of room to move around and make yourself truly comfortable.

I highly recommend that bigger guys go for sit-on style kayaks, as these will best accommodate their needs.

I’ve used a sit-on style kayak for years, and it has served me extremely well.

Exploring Your Options: Best 5 Kayaks For Larger People

  • Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130

This nimble kayak is excellent whether you’re planning on being in rivers, lakes, or even the ocean! The width of the Sea Ghost makes it very stable, and allows you to stand up without fear of tipping. It features excellent tracking and easy rowing.

This kayak also has a toe-controlled rudder, and multiple storage areas for your every need.

For fishermen, this kayak is a dream. It includes tackle tray holders, rod holders, and space to mount additional equipment.

  • Weight Capacity: 550 lbs.
  • Length: 13 feet
  • Width: 33 inches
  • Kayak Weight: 74 lbs.
  • Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90

Recommended for beginners, this kayak is a bit smaller and much lighter, but still allows for a bigger guy to get inside.

Since it’s so compact the Skipjack is also easy to maneuver, and its width makes it very stable, even on the ocean. The compact size and light weight also makes it extremely easy to carry, and fits in almost any pickup bed.

However, since the Skipjack is so small, there is very little storage area available. For those who are looking for a kayak to cruise in, this is still a great option.

Although it does have rod holders mounted, serious fishermen may be disappointed with the storage space.

  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs.
  • Length: 9 feet
  • Width: 32 inches
  • Kayak Weight: 46 lbs.
  • BKC UH-RA220

This sit-on kayak is known for its stability. It comes with a rudder system already installed, which makes steering very easy. The chair also built for comfort when you’re out on the water for a long time, which means you get to avoid the back and rear-end pain after riding in the kayak! The chair has two settings, allowing you to recline and relax on the water.

It also includes plenty of storage and 4 flush mount rod holders, perfect for those who want to fish.

  • Weight Capacity: 340 lbs.
  • Length: 11.5 feet
  • Width: 32 inches
  • Kayak Weight: 70 lbs.
  • Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100

Ready to adjust to larger sizes, the Tarpon 100 allows you to adjust the foot rests to accommodate longer legs. This kayak also allows for drainage through scupper holes, meaning you and your things will stay dryer than ever.

In fact, the storage in this kayak is specifically designed to keep your things dry. The hatches are made to seal well, and leave you plenty of room for all the equipment you need.

The Tarpon 100 also allows for easier carrying, since it’s a lightweight option and includes padded handles.

  • Weight Capacity: 325 lbs.
  • Length: 10 feet
  • Width: 30.5 inches
  • Kayak Weight: 55 lbs.
  • Elkton Outdoors Tandem Kayak

This kayak offers the highest maximum weight capacity out of the list, mainly because it offers you the option of going with a second person. However, don’t think that this means you must always have a partner to take this kayak out. In fact, it still tracks great even with only one person inside.

With multiple storage in the front, back, and middle, this kayak gives you all the space you need. It even comes with an air tight compartment, meaning you won’t have to worry about bringing your phone, wallet, or keys with you.

This kayak comes with everything you need, and is ready to use right out of the box.

  • Weight Capacity: 650 lbs. (Meaning two people of 325 lbs. could both ride in this kayak together)
  • Length: 12 feet
  • Width: 36 inches
  • Kayak Weight: 77 pounds

Conclusion: Let’s Pick A Winner!

After discussing these different kayaks, how can you decide on which one is for you?

Personally, my favorite from this list is the Vibe Sea Ghost 130.

It is smooth on the water, and built for extreme stability. Its width and high weight capacity make it perfect for us bigger guys. The rudder, rod holders, and extra storage make it the perfect choice for a serious kayaker.

As a second choice, the Elkton Outdoors Tandem is another fantastic option for big guys.

For a tandem kayak it’s quite light, and it has the biggest width of the kayaks in our list. This is perfect if you’re looking to share your experience on the water with your wife or another family member.

So, what are you still here reading for?

The sooner you purchase your perfect kayak, the sooner you’ll be out on the water, feeling the breeze against your face as your row your way to your favorite fishing spot.

That’s where I’m heading now!


Phil Mansbridge
Phil Mansbridge

Phil is a retired Sport Fisherman from Florida. His passion for the last decade has been kayaking and canoeing. He spends his summers in Canada and most of the winter in California. He loves reviewing equipment for his avid readers and hopes that everyone’s time out on the water as enjoyable as possible.