Kayaking and Weight-Everything You Have To Know About Their Connection

If you’re thinking about getting a kayak, selecting a type, material or model are only few things to know about. You also need to know how to understand the numbers related to a kayak and that definitely means you should also learn about the weight.

Is the weight important?

If you’re a newbie, the whole weight information is going to be a bit confusing. The weight may be the main reason for getting too much water in the scupper, if your kayak is a sit on top model. Even if it’s going to be helpful when using some scupper plugs, it’s better that you run the numbers for the weight capacity.

An important note for the entry-level kayakers- entry level kayaks are lower in the weight capacity. If you’re going to pay less than $1000, you may find models that present even 450 pound capacities. But these are the numbers for the new models. You can find good deals and attractive prices for used kayaks that present higher weight capacity. If you don’t really know what exactly do you need, it’s a good idea to take an experienced kayaker along.

What’s the kayak weight capacity?

The weight capacity is a specific “number” that every manufacturer that all manufacturers are going to use for their designs. The specific number is supposed to help a paddler if a certain model suits their needs or not. This number also helps the paddler make an idea about how much gear or equipment he/she can pack on the boat.

When you’re getting a new kayak, you’re going to find the list of capacity too. However, there is no industry standard for how to identify the maximum weight capacity of a kayak and every company has its specific take on the whole problem. This is why so many people have problems figuring out about the weight capacity of a kayak.

It’s only natural that you find yourself asking: if the kayak has a 250 pounds listed weight, does it mean that it can be paddled by a 250 pounds’ man?

A closer look at the weight capacity of a kayak

Truth be told, there are many questions and problems related to the weight capacity of kayaks, especially if you’re an entry level angler or kayaker. Another typical problem is how to keep water away from your kayak.

Let’s get things clear right from the beginning: no kayak is ever going to be 100% dry. It doesn’t matter if you pay more or less for it (you may have a look at kayaks under $700 https://truthreels.com/best-fishing-kayak-reviews/under-700/ or kayaks under $ 500 https://truthreels.com/best-fishing-kayak-reviews/under-500/). It doesn’t matter if it’s a sit in, a sit on or a hybrid. You’re always going to find some water near the scupper holes. Dreaming of a dry kayak when in water is similar to diving in your swimming pool without getting wet. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try your best and remove as much as water as you can through the scupper holes.

As for the weight, we can honestly say that almost every kayak is a lightweight capacity. Most people out there have a problem about the number on the kayak.

Let’s understand the numbers!

Let’s say a kayak is a weight capacity at 350pounds- but this doesn’t mean that it can be used by a person weighing 350pounds, though. The weight capacity shows in fact the amount of weight a kayak is going to take, without sinking. If it’s a sit on top, this refers to the water line, as the most part of the kayak is going to be under the water. But that’s not going to be possible for paddling. Therefore, if the weight capacity is 350, what size the paddler should be for being capable to paddle that kayak?

The debate is still out there as some think that the minimum should be 25%. This means you need to subtract 25% of the weight capacity, for making sure you remain in the safe zone. You need to be capable to paddle the kayak without leaving the safe zone. 25% from 350 is going to result in 262.5 pounds or less for the paddler’s weight. But this means that you’re not going to carry any gear whatsoever. In order to stay on the safe side, you should weigh in your gear too, adding the clothes, the shoes weight and even your waders (as long as you’re planning to wear them). In the end, the weight of the paddler should be around 230 pounds, if you’re planning to pack more gear. Don’t forget to weigh in your gear so that you have the accurate numbers.

Unfortunately, staying in the 25% zone doesn’t mean you’re going to remain all dry or that it’s going to be really easy for you to paddle. In order to have less water coming in the scuppers and get more efficient when paddling (remember that the kayak moves further per paddle stroke), you’re going to have to look at a number closer to 50%. This means, that if you want to stay efficient and dry at the same time, a person weighing around 150 pounds is going to give the best performances for paddling a 350lbs kayak. Therefore, it’s gear weighing only around 25 pounds.

Ultimately, you want your gear to remain dry and not to have too much water inside the cockpit. The more weight you add to your kayak, the lower the performance of your kayak is going to be.

In order to make it a lot easier for the use, many reliable manufacturers out there are listing two weight capacity ratings for the kayak. One is for performance and one is for the safety, leaving it to you which one counts the most for you.

You should use the aforementioned formula for finding the precise weight capacity. You should also use a scale for weighing your clothes and gear as well. The rule of thumb is to never have 80% of your kayak under water, especially if you’re hoping for a good paddling session. Otherwise, it’s only a matter of time your kayak turns into a submarine. Long story short, the weight plays a big part into your kayak’s performance so you should keep that in mind when packing your gear.

Weight limit, kayak weight capacity- are they the same?

Do kayaks have weight limit? It most certainly does and the type of kayak you’re going to buy is going to give you the weight capacity of the model.

Here are some general tips about kayak weight capacity:

  • Sit-on-tip kayak: 350lns to 400 lbs.
  • Touring kayak: 350lbs
  • Recreational kayak: 250lbs to 300 lbs.
  • Tandem kayak: 500 lbs. to 600lbs

A 250 pounds’ weight capacity kayak is still going to float if the paddler weighs 250 pounds, but the kayak is only going to be a bit above the water. This means that he/she is going to have less maneuverability and stability, which makes the padding a lot more difficult.

We cannot stress enough about how every manufacturer has a specific point of view on weight capacity. Most of the time, though, the weight capacity is going to show the amount of weight a kayak is able to hold and still float.

Can you increase your kayak’s capacity?

Despite of what one may think, the float foams, airbags, outriggers are only going to give you better chances for not sinking, but they’re not going to improve your kayak’s weight capacity.

It goes without saying that you may not add something for increasing the weight capacity. If that’s the plan for you, you should start paddling your kayak in salt water as it does have more buoyancy.

You may try to increase the capacity by increasing the volume or by improving the hull design so that it ensures a better performance with a heavier load. You can use the air bags so that water doesn’t let the hull float higher in a capsize situation or other scenario that leaves your kayak filled with water. This is also going to make the rescue and the recovery a lot easier. Some believe that filling them with helium is also going to help you get more pounds. However, you should know the volume of the bags in order to identify the weight difference between the helium and the water, so that you can have the right number for the possible lift.

What’s the fair conclusion?

Weight capacity is really important when selecting a kayak. For instance, a big guy or a big gal is going to have to look carefully when shopping.

Even if your kayak isn’t going to sink from the overload, it’s definitely going to ride lower in the water, reducing your possibility of control, especially if you’re big and tall. A spray skirt and full flotation bags may help in the case of a closed boat, but you may also have to practice a wet exit (exit the cockpit underwater, flip your kayak over, turn the boat over, climbing it back in) under controlled conditions.  In the case of a sit-on-top, the water is going to get a lot over the gunnels simply because it’s lower in the water (In which case a hand pump for some fast bailing is going to do the trick).