Best Kayak For Big Guys

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It is common that big sized guys may feel a bit doubtful about kayaking. But rest assured that kayak companies did design kayaks specifically for your bigger body frame. 

So, do not be discouraged or feel that kayaking is not suitable just because of your size or weight. It is just a matter of finding the right kayak for you. This guide will give you the confidence to glide on the water with a solid kayak like any other veteran kayaker.

After extensive research, we have narrowed down the top 5 kayaks for big guys. You can get any one of these 5 without the worry of tipping overboard or sinking due to the weight limit. We will help you to decide which kayak is the one for you in the later sections.  But if you are in a hurry and want to get the Best Kayak For Big Guys, I would suggest Sea Eagle 380x Inflatable Kayak. 

5 Best Kayak For Big Guys

Sea Eagle 380x Inflatable Kayak Specifications

Length: 12’6″ 
Width: 37″  
Max Capacity: 750 lbs 
Boat Weight: 39 lbs

The Sea Eagle 380x is an inflatable kayak, so this may look like a counterintuitive choice. But believe it or not, inflatable kayaks have a higher weight capacity than hardshell kayaks. With a max capacity of 750 lbs, this kayak has the highest weight capacity in our guide. 

Inflatable kayaks have higher weight capacity owing to its air-filled tubes which increases the boat’s buoyancy. Contrary to its poor reputation in the past, some inflatable kayaks today are more durable and perform better than hardshell kayaks too.    

So in terms of durability, there is nothing to worry about from a solid brand like Sea Eagle. It is made of sturdy, high-pressure fabric that can resist punctures and tears. Stabbing it with a screwdriver has negligible effects. Plus, you can even glide through a class 4 whitewater rapid with ease on this Sea Eagle 380x. 

We really like this Sea Eagle 380x primarily because it is very versatile. You can use it in many different ways. Therefore, making it suitable for a larger variety of people. With such a massive weight limit, you can paddle leisurely with a buddy or go fishing with all your fishing gears onboard. You can even add on a trolling motor and conquer lakes, rivers or oceans with it. 

For comfort, this kayak has really comfy padded seats and backrests too. Being 12 feet long, there is ample of legroom for you to stretch your legs in front of the seats. Definitely a kayak that you can paddle comfortably for hours. 

Conveniently, this kayak comes with a paddle and a foot pump. So, there is no need to shop for more parts. It takes only less than 10 minutes to fully inflate this Sea Eagle 380x. Lastly, when deflated, it only weighs 39.6 pounds! Hence, you can easily bring it around and set it up. 

PROS

CONS

  • Comes with a paddle & a pump
  • Light & easy to transport
  • Can be attached with a trolling motor

 

  • The self-bail is inefficient 

Driftsun Rover 220 Specifications

Length: 12’6″
Width: 38″
Max Capacity: 600 lbs
Weight: 28 lbs

Driftsun Rover 220 is another inflatable kayak in our guide. Designed for 2 person, this kayak is also very versatile. So, it is great for big people. It performs well on both flat and rough water. Plus, able to handle up to class 4 rapids thanks to its layered PVC material for durability. 

There is a lot to love with this Driftsun 220. Notably, it is very flexible. The seats are adjustable and the same goes for the footrests as well (Yes! Footrests for more comfort!). Hence, allowing you to be comfortable in it regardless of your size. It also has a camera mount on the bow too for your GoPro in case you enjoy recording your adventures.  

In terms of convenience, this kayak folds neatly into a backpack which you can easily carry it around. Inflation and deflation is fairly quick thanks to its high-pressure Boston valves and dual-action pump. A dual-action pump allows you to inflate and deflate the kayak. 

Therefore, it takes roughly 10 to 15 minutes to inflate the kayak. When fully inflated, there are multiple reinforced carry handles on the kayak for you to carry it in and out of the water. All in all, this is a great kayak with plenty of features unlike the Sea Eagle we reviewed earlier. But Driftsun is relatively new in the market. So, it is still trying to establish themselves. 

PROS

CONS

  • Includes 2 paddles & a dual-action pump
  • Adjustable seats & foot rests

 

  • Very limited item storage space

Sevylor Quikpak K1 Specifications

Length: 8’7″
Width: 36″  
Max Capacity: 400 lbs 
Boat Weight 18 lbs

This Quikpak K1 from Sevylor is the third and last inflatable kayak in this guide. So, if you do not want to struggle to lift a 50 to 80 pounds hardshell kayak onto your truck, you definitely want to consider getting an inflatable kayak instead. 

Weighing at only 28 pounds, this is the most portable kayak among the 3 that we reviewed here. It folds neatly into a backpack and you can carry it easily to and fro the water. But to be fair, that is because the Quikpak K1 is a 1 person kayak. So if you ever have plans to go kayaking with a buddy, this kayak is an easy skip. 

However, if you are new and enjoy kayaking alone, this is a great kayak to consider. The complete set conveniently comes with a pump and paddle. Plus, it inflates in roughly 10 to 15 minutes. Lastly, it is designed with multiple air chambers. So if somehow the kayak got punctured, the remaining air chamber will allow you to paddle safely back to the shore. That’s why the Quikpak K1 is very friendly for beginners. 

From our research, we found that a lot of buyers highlighted that Sevylor’s paddles are mediocre at best. There were cases of the paddle’s plastic connector broke while paddling. Hence, leaving the person stranded on the water. You definitely need to consider getting a better paddle for this kayak.  

PROS

CONS

  • Includes a paddle & pump
  • Very light & easy to transport

 

  • Mediocre paddle

Perception Pescador Pilot 12 Specifications 

Length: 12’5″ 
Width: 33.75″  
Max Capacity: 475 lbs 
Boat Weight: 85 lbs

This Pescador Pilot 12 from Perception is one of the 2 hardshell kayaks in this guide. If you are planning to get a hardshell kayak, you need to get a suitable kayak rack to transport this kayak on your truck. 

[Also read: our detailed guide on the best kayak rack if you need help to find which rack suits you better]

Despite just barely passing over our minimum recommendation of 33 inches wide kayak for big guys, this kayak is absolutely stable. Why? Because is a specially designed fishing kayak. You can even stand on it to cast your line without feeling like tipping over.

Being a fishing kayak, the Pescador Pilot 12 is rich with amazing features. The most unique feature would be their pedal drive. Yes! You read that correctly, not only you can paddle with this kayak, but you can also pedal (like a bicycle) with their proprietary pedal drive system. You can pedal in reverse and in shallow waters, you can fully stow away the pedal too. 

The other feature that we like is a pair of accessory rails, one on each side of the kayak. Here is where you can mount all your aftermarket accessories like a fishfinder, a GoPro camera or a rod holder. Lots of freedom to customize your kayak to your liking. There is also ample of storage space for you to carry on board.    

Just 1 word of caution, this kayak is rather heavy. You need to be extra careful when moving it in and out of the water. Consider getting a kayak cart so you do not accidentally strain yourself. 

PROS

CONS

  • Has accessory rails
  • Has pedal drive
  • Highly rigged for fishing

 

  • Heavy to transport

Lifetime 10 Foot Specifications

Length: 10′
Width: 36″  
Max Capacity: 500 lbs 
Boat Weight 60 lbs

The Lifetime 10 Foot is another hardshell kayak that we will review. It is also a fishing kayak. Fishing kayaks are built to be very stable because stability is also a top priority for anglers. So, we highly recommend you to consider fishing kayaks only if you are looking for hardshell kayaks.

Unlike the earlier Pescador Pilot 12, this Lifetime 10 Foot is a tandem fishing kayak. That means, it is a fishing kayak designed for 2 people. But its weight capacity is only slightly better because it trade-off storage space to accommodate 1 more person. So, take note that this kayak has limited storage space.

Besides that, the Lifetime 10 has an interesting seat design that allows you to install the pilot seat anywhere on the kayak. This easily lets you adjust the extra legroom that you need to sit comfortably. 

One of the main reasons we like this kayak is because it is very versatile. You can attach a trolling motor to it if paddling is too exhausting. There are some basic fishing features like rod holders for anglers and it is great for a leisure cruise with a friend or solo too.  

PROS

CONS

  • Comes with 2 paddles
  • Can be attached with a trolling motor
  • Adjustable seats

 

  • Limited storage space

How To Choose A Kayak For Big Guys

 

There are many key features to pick an ideal kayak. But for big guys, there are only 3 absolutely critical features to look at – weight capacity, kayak design and stability (kayak dimension and hull shape). 

Weight Capacity

Obviously, how much weight can the kayak sustain is the most glaring factor here. But as you would have noticed from our reviews above, a lot of kayaks can handle massive amount of weight, especially tandem kayaks which are designed for 2 person. 

Whether you are planning to kayak solo or with a partner, there is always a kayak with sufficient weight capacity to fit your requirement. Therefore, the only thing that you need to pay extra attention to is the weight of your items that you like to bring onboard. 

Kayak Design

Generally, there are 2 types of kayak design; sit-in and sit-on-top. The difference between those 2 is quite significant. 

Sit-in kayak has a cockpit area for you to slide your legs & lower torso in. So, the centre of gravity becomes lower and therefore makes the kayak more stable. 

But we usually do not recommend sit-in kayaks for bigger sized people. The reason is quite straightforward; uncomfortable seat and limited legroom. You may feel alright or bearable when testing out the kayak. But after long hours, the uneasiness will kick in. 

When your legs have limited room to move about and your seat feels a bit tight, that’s when you will feel the cockpit area is just too small. For that reason, we always recommend sit-on-top kayaks for big guys. 

A sit-on-top kayak gives full freedom for you to move around on top of the kayak. It is also very easy to get in and out of this kayak. No doubt one may argue that it is less stable, but that’s why we will get into further details on how to pick a stable sit-on-top kayak below.

The Kayak’s Dimension

The dimension of the kayak plays a very important role in ensuring stability on the water. Both width and length matters, especially width. A wider width will provide a higher level of stability to make travelling on the water very easy and secure.

Some may argue with wide width will reduce the kayak speed due to increased surface area with the water. But in our opinion, stability triumph over speed anytime for big guys. 

Last but not least, wider width also means more room for you to sit, stand or move around comfortably. So, we recommend looking for at least 33 inches in width for better stability. 

Hull Shape

There are 4 main hull shapes but we highly recommend looking for either pontoon or flat hull only. Those are the 2 which give the best level of stability.  

The flat hull helps to reduce tilting. Thus, keeping the kayak balanced. But it comes at the cost of speed. We felt that it is a fair trade-off for those who prioritize stability over speed.

On the other hand, a pontoon hull is a sweet combination between a flat hull and a round hull. Giving you the best of both shapes. Due to the round shape, the pontoon hull is slightly faster than the flat hull.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Can fat guys kayak?

A: Absolutely! Believe it or not, some kayak has a weight capacity of 600 pounds and more. It definitely can carry heavy guys. Just ensure you pick the kayak with a weight capacity beyond your body weight.  

Q: Do kayaks flip over easily?

A: This is highly dependent on the type of kayak you get. The kayaks we reviewed in this guide are very stable. You can even stand on them without feeling like flipping over. We have a section on how to choose the right kayak for big guys which outlines the factors that contribute to a kayak’s stability.

Q: Is kayaking good for weight loss?

A: It surely helps to burn calories. So, some people do kayak to lose weight. Some people may argue that you will be sitting most of the time. But there are also specially made stand up kayaks that you can stand instead of sitting. 

Q: Is it hard to get in and out of a kayak?

A: Not if you are hopping in and out of a sit-on-top kayak. This type of kayak offers better movement on it. Avoid getting sit-in kayaks as those are difficult to get in and out from. 

Our Verdict

All in all, there are indeed kayaks made for big guys. So, as long as you pay attention to the specifications, you can get any kayak that fits your requirements. All 5 of the kayaks we reviewed above are great choices. 

If you have been doubtful about kayaking due to your size, we highly recommend the Sea Eagle 380x. With such great length and width, plus massive weight capacity, it is the best starting point for first-time kayak owners. Plus, it is a very established brand too compared to the relatively new Driftsun

However, if you are adventurous and know that you want a kayak for fishing, then the Perception Pescador Pilot 12 is our top recommendation. It is already rigged for fishing and even among other types of fishing kayaks, it is an amazing choice. 

Closing Thoughts

This is a general guide for those looking to buy their first kayak. So, we did not discuss in greater detail on specialized kayaks. If you already have prior experience with a kayak and are thus, looking for a specialized kayak, check out our other guides on the best fishing kayaks, pedal kayaks and stand up kayaks.   

Jules and Ken

Jules and Ken

We are outdoor lovers, travellers, and writers all rolled into one. You have seen our posts here reviewing lots of different types of outdoor gear, camping equipment, RV equipment, kayaking, to cycling. Our reviews are guided by our years of experience being outdoors. We are happy to share our knowledge with you to make a better choice when you are outdoors.

We hope you enjoyed this article and if you have questions about Best Kayak For Big Guys or want to leave your own personal comments, feel free to leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!

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