My first kayaking experience was definitely not what I was expecting. It started with the big struggle of getting into the kayak I had rented and feeling cramped the entire time. Plus, it seemed like the back of the kayak drug a little so it was hard to push through the water. I was exhausted by the time I finished!
While that first experience wasn’t the greatest, I’m glad kayaking isn’t something that I gave up. I realized not long after that the issue wasn’t me- it was the kayak that I’d rented. It just didn’t have those features that you want in a kayak for big guys.
On the plus side, I didn’t shell out a ton of money for the experience and it taught me a little about what I didn’t want in a kayak. Then I started doing some research on what I did need and what I wanted.
Fortunately, I came up with plenty of kayaks with high weight capacities for fat guys and plus-sized women, so there’s no excuse not to get out on the water and enjoy yourself.
Below, I’ll go over some of the features you should be looking for in the best kayaks for big guys, as well as answer a few questions and give you a few tips.
If you want to get straight to the point, here are the top contenders and their weight limits. There’s a lot to pick from here so check out the category that makes the most sense for you to work from there!
- Best Overall: Retrospect Coaster 12.5′ with 660 Pound Weight Capacity
- Best on a Budget: Sevylor Quikpak K1 8’7″ with 400 Pound Weight Capacity
- Best Pedaling Kayak: Old Town Sportsman 12′ with 500 Pound Weight Capacity
- Best Motorized Kayak: Old Town Sportsman 10’6″ with 440 Pound Weight Capacity
- Best Fishing Kayak: Driftsun Teton 120 12′ Fishing Kayak with 500 Pound Weight Capacity
- Best For Touring: Advanced Elements 15′ Kayak with 550 Pound Weight Capacity
- Best Whitewater Kayak: Aquaglide McKenzie 125 12′ Inflatable with 600 Pound Weight Capacity
- Best High-Weight Capacity Recreational Kayak: Intex Pro 12’6″ with 400 Pound Weight Capacity
- Best Sea Kayak for Fat Guys: Oru Coast XT 16′ with 400 Pound Weight Capacity
- Best Hard-Shell Kayak: BKC TK122 12’6″ Angler Kayak with 770 Pound Weight Capacity
- Best For Tall People: Wilderness Systems Atak 120 12′ with 400 Pound Weight Capacity
- Best Inflatable Kayak for Heavy People: Driftsun Almanor with 600 Pound Weight Capacity
- Best High Weight Capacity Kayak: Sea Eagle 370 Pro 12’6″ with 650 Pound Weight Capacity
- Best Tandem Kayak for Bigger Couples: BKC PK14 14′ with 670 Pound Weight Capacity
- Best Foldable Kayak: Oru Haven TT 16′ Foldable Kayak with 500 Pound Weight Capacity
Types of Kayaks
Living as a bigger guy, you learn that one-size-fits-all never really means that it’s the perfect fit for everybody. I tend to take that approach as I try different products to learn what works.
With high-weight capacity kayaks, the features you need really depend on what you plan on doing with the kayak. Plus, everyone’s body is shaped differently and what works for one person may not work for another.
Below is a quick rundown of the different kinds of kayaks out there. This is by no means an all-inclusive list of the kayak types. I tried to group them together the best I could- you’d probably still be reading this section an hour from now if I broke each of the dozens of kayak types down individually.
We’ll also talk about the usual weight capacities for each type of kayak.
Of all the styles of kayaks on this list, recreational kayaks are the ones most likely to have a lower weight limit. Recreational kayaks are smaller and more compact than most others and have a cockpit that you sit inside.
While recreational kayaks are easier to maneuver because of their small size, their shorter length means they don’t track as well across the water. They also don’t generally have a higher weight capacity for this reason.
Fishing Kayaks and Touring Kayaks
Fishing kayaks are set apart by their large, stable size which makes them a great choice for bigger guys. Additionally, most of them have a sit-on design, which results in a higher weight limit and a lot more room to move around.
Fishing kayaks usually work by pedaling them or using your kayaking oars, though there are some models that are compatible with a trolling motor. Some of the best fishing kayaks for fat guys are also loaded with cool features, including rod holders, plenty of space for your gear, D-rings, waterproof compartments, and hookups for electronics like a fish finder.
Like a fishing kayak, touring kayaks are usually built a little wider and longer, with the goal of giving the ‘yak more stability and a higher weight capacity. Touring kayaks are great for a day out on the water, but some people take them and travel along the water for 3-4 days.
Basically, a motorized kayak is just like a regular kayak- except it comes with a trolling motor for movement instead of pedaling or paddling it along. ‘Yaks with trolling motors use a gas or electric motor to push them through the water. This is usually a quiet motor, so it’s not especially powerful, but it is strong enough to get the job done.
There are also kayaks that have pedals or require paddles that come with the option of adding a trolling motor, should you decide on that later. That might be a good idea if you want to give kayaking a try, but you’re worried about getting tired when you’re out on the water.
Pedaling kayaks are another alternative to more traditional paddling or using a trolling motor. Instead, you use pedals (think like a bicycle) that are connected to a propeller under the kayak. Some are also designed so you can switch to paddling the kayak along if you get tired of pedaling.
While pedal kayaks are a little more expensive, the flexibility of either paddling or pedaling is nice. You’ll usually find pedals on touring or fishing kayaks.
There are also two different kinds of pedals. One type requires you to pedal like a bicycle, while the other one moves up and down like you’re climbing a Stairmaster. Both kinds work really effectively to push along the ‘yak, so this feature is something that really comes down to preference.
While an inflatable kayak can handle some turbulence in the water, it’s still at risk of damage if it gets slammed into a sharp rock. Even so, for the type of kayaking that I usually do, inflatables get the job done and I haven’t had one fail me yet.
Inflatables are usually made from PVC, which is a plastic material, Hypalon, which is a synthetic rubber, or Nitrylon, which is laminated rubber over fabric.
PVC is lightweight and easy to patch, but most susceptible to damage from the sun. Hypalon is strong but expensive and Nitrylon is extremely puncture-resistant, but it is also heavy.
Even heavier inflatable kayaks weigh less than hard-shell because of the weight of materials. As a result, they can be built bigger and have higher weight limits. They also have the advantage of easy transportation and storage, though you do have to take time to inflate and deflate.
Hard-shell describes any type of kayak that is hard on the outside. While they don’t have the convenience of easy storage or transportation, they are great if you’ve got a way to get them in the water because they don’t require any inflation. You just drop and go.
Hard-shell kayaks are usually made from wood, fiberglass, plastic, or composite materials. Since the manufacturer has to account for the weight of materials in the total weight capacity, they often don’t hold as much as inflatable kayaks.
Tandem kayaks are any type of kayak designed for two people to use at once, or in tandem. They may be hard-shell or inflatable, although the inflatables usually have a higher weight capacity.
Tandem kayaks are a great idea if you want a multi-purpose kayak that you can go out alone in or go out with a friend, significant other, child, or even your pet. If you want that flexibility, though, it’s important to choose one that has seats you can move to the center of the ‘yak. Otherwise, it’ll be unbalanced if you try to ride in it by yourself.
There are several different styles of sit-in kayaks that are designed to handle whitewater, which is much more active than flat water. This includes playboats, river runners, creekers, duckies, long boats, and quite a few other varieties.
Generally speaking, whitewater kayaks need to be smaller and narrower to allow for quick turns and better maneuvering. They don’t usually have higher weight capacities, but there are definitely some models out there for the bigger guy looking for an adventure.
While sit-in kayaks aren’t usually my preferred type of kayak because I like a little more room, you will see some on the list. There are definitely some contenders that work well for fat guys and plus-sized women.
Sit-in kayaks do have some advantages. Since most of your body is inside the kayak, you’re less likely to get wet. Adding a spray skirt gives you even more protection and even makes it possible to take your ‘yak out in colder weather.
Plus, the sit-in design also keeps you closer to the ‘yak so you’re less likely to fall out. It’s the better choice if you’re in fast-moving water, while you’re more likely to find the sit-on design works best for touring or fishing ‘yaks.
If you tried to take a kayak with a sit-on design down a fast-moving river, you’d likely get tossed out of the ‘yak. For this reason, most sit-on styles of kayaks are designed for flat water that isn’t going to send you flying through the air. While there are benefits, which we’ll get to those in the next section.
For now, you should know that a lot of the kayaks I’ve chosen are sit-on-style kayaks. These have the extra wiggle room that you need when you’re plus-sized to move around while paddling, fishing, or just relaxing. They’re also easier to get in and out of (another feature that a bigger guy or gal really needs).
There are only a few models of foldable kayaks out there- but the ones that I’ve checked out are pretty cool. Foldable kayaks don’t require any type of inflation- you just unfold them, make a few snaps, and get out on the water.
Like inflatables, it surprises me how sturdy these kayaks are. They may even be more durable than a hard-shell kayak and they are definitely more convenient!
Sea kayaks are set apart by their length, which is usually somewhere around 15-19 feet. Even though they have a longer size, they have a sit-in design and a smaller cockpit. They are also narrow, which makes them great for handling the waves. Some are only 20-inches across!
Unfortunately, their small cockpit and narrow design are not a great choice for big guys. You won’t find any of these on our list, but the option is out there.
What Big Guys Should Look for in a Kayak
Factors like total weight capacity, the stability of the kayak, and overall design affect your kayaking experience as a bigger guy or gal. Here’s what you need to know and what features to look for in a kayak for heavier people.
Factors That Affect Weight Capacity
Length, width, and hull shape all play a factor in the total weight capacity of a kayak. The length and width of the kayak matter because they affect the surface area and how stable the ‘yak is in the water. When you weigh a little more, having a stable kayak stops you from teetering side to side as you try to paddle.
The ratio of length to width also matters. Wider means more stable, while something that is longer and narrower has a higher chance of flipping over.
In addition to the length and width of the kayak, factors like the shape of the hull affect its total weight capacity. Kayaks, boats, and other buoyant things float on the water because the amount of air inside the boat is lighter than the water around it.
Now, you may think that this means you should find the widest kayak you can. Unfortunately, the wider a kayak is, the harder it becomes to push through the water. While wider is better, you can overdo it. You’ll want to avoid something too wide if you want your ‘yak to slice through the water as it should.
If you’re more of a visual learner, be sure to check out this video on gear weight, weight capacity, and choosing a kayak seat for a fat guy.
Inflatable vs. Hard-Shell
The decision between inflatable and hard-shell comes down to your personal preference, as well as what you plan on doing with the kayak. I won’t go too far into detail here to stop from being repetitive, since we already covered a lot about these two varieties of ‘yak in the last section. I see benefits (and disadvantages) for either option.
Either of these options can be durable, especially if you buy a well-built kayak. Inflatables do have the advantage when it comes to storage and transportation, but they require a little more work to get into the water once you arrive at your destination.
With hard-shell kayaks, they are more rigid. Since they don’t need to have air between the layers, there’s more room inside for your gear. Plus, there’s no need to inflate to the perfect PSI to get the kayak to work as it should.
The one benefit for bigger people that inflatables have is their higher weight capacity. While there are plenty of hard-shell kayaks with a high weight capacity out there, you’re most likely to find that feature in an inflatable ‘yak.
Stability of the ‘Yak
Have you ever tried to stand up in a small boat and felt your legs tense up as you frantically tried to find that sweet spot for balance? When you’re a bigger man or woman in a smaller boat, you want something stable that isn’t going to teeter-totter from side to side when you try to stand up.
Now, you might be thinking, why would I want to stand up in a kayak? Well, if you’re out on the water fishing, standing up definitely makes for an easier cast in my opinion. Plus, you have to stand up to get out of the boat- and being able to do that without teeter-tottering definitely makes it easier.
Factors like the width of the kayak and the shape of the hull are big factors in how stable it is. Additionally, while a sit-in kayak tends to be more stable than a sit-on kayak, I personally prefer the sit-on design- which brings me to my next point.
Sit-on vs. Sit-in
Regardless of the outer design, kayaks are either sit-on or sit-in. Kayaks that you sit on are usually wider because they require more stability. As someone who is both big and tall, stability is a really important feature if you don’t want to wobble every time your weight shifts.
For me, I also find that the sit-on design works best because I have room to move my elbows and turn around, whether I’m fishing or paddling. Plus, they’re a lot easier to get in and out of and you aren’t as likely to fall in the water.
Of course, sit-in-style kayaks also have their benefits. If you plan on going out in colder water or you want to get to your destination without getting too wet, adding a spray skirt to a sit-in kayak is going to help you do that.
Sit-in kayaks also are easier to maneuver if you’re moving quickly, so they’re better designed for faster kayaking or moving water. However, they are hard to get in and out of- especially if you tip over.
I’ve sat in a few kayak seats that were almost unbearable in terms of comfort. Like when trying out the best bicycle for fat guys and plus-sized women, a wider seat is going to be a lot more comfortable because it has a wider surface area for your bottom.
In addition to width, features like mesh backing keep you cool, while thick padding makes you more comfortable. These are always nice bonuses to have.
Even though a good amount of lumbar (that’s the lower back) support is nice, you don’t want something that goes up too high. A high-backed seat interferes with your life jacket and that’s really something you should always have on while out in the water.
If you do find a kayak that you absolutely love aside from the seat, it might be an option to replace it with something more comfortable. Adding padded foam underneath the seat is also an option- just don’t add so much padding that you’re more likely to fall out of the ‘yak.
Extra Features and Accessories
Like with most products, companies sometimes use unique features of flashy accessories to set themselves apart from competitors. Now, features and accessories should really be the last thing you consider. All those bonuses don’t really mean anything if you’re in a poorly built kayak.
That being said, the features you look for really depend on how you’re planning to use the kayak. Consider things like the amount of storage, if there are hookups for your gear and electronics, and if there are holders for your paddles or fishing rods. The amount of storage you need really depends on if you plan on bringing along a lot of gear, whether for fishing or longer expeditions.
Cup holders and dry storage areas or storage bags are also nice features, but again might not be necessary. You can often buy a dry bag separately if your ‘yak doesn’t come with one.
What to Look for in a Kayak for a Tall Man
While taller guys aren’t always on the heavier side, it is helpful to have a kayak with a wider and more stable design. Tall guys have a higher center of gravity, so the kayak is more likely to teeter from side to side when they adjust themselves or as they paddle.
As a general rule for kayak length, people over 6-feet tall need a kayak that is at least 12-14 feet long if it has a sit-in design. It’s slightly more forgiving with a sit-on design, but if the seat isn’t elevated then you’ll want the space in front of you to be long enough for your legs to sit comfortably- especially if you’ll be out on the water for a while.
Finally, an adjustable seat is also a must-have feature when you’re tall. While the average seat works well for the average person, that extra adjustability can give you the legroom that you need as a taller man or woman.
Are There Kayaks with 500+ Pound Capacity?
Yes, there are kayaks that have a weight capacity of 400-500 pounds, and even more than that! Many people find they need something with a higher weight capacity than they thought, especially since the weight capacity of a kayak is very different from the performance capacity.
For a kayak to perform its best and be easy to maneuver through the water, you shouldn’t exceed more than 70-80% of the weight capacity of the ‘yak. This means that if the manufacturer says there’s a 500-pound weight capacity, someone who weighs more than 380-400 pounds should try a larger ‘yak.
While there aren’t as many ‘yaks designed for bigger folks, they are definitely out there. You’ll also find several kayaks that support more than 500 pounds on our list.
Is Kayaking Hard if You’re Fat?
Let’s be honest- a lot of things are more difficult when you’re fat. But, like most things, fat people can kayak and it’s something that gets easier the more you do it.
My first experience kayaking left me winded, to say the least. And, while I wasn’t feeling it at the moment, my muscles were sore the next day. I had sore muscles that I didn’t even know existed.
I’ve been kayaking for about two years now, though. It is something that has definitely gotten easier, especially since regular kayaking is a great workout and improves strength and flexibility. I’ve also found it’s a lot easier to kayak when you’re out in the water in the right ‘yak. My kayak outings now are much more enjoyable than my first one.
What Happens if You Overload a Kayak?
The manufacturer’s weight capacity for a kayak is not the amount of weight that it can hold. It’s all too easy to overload a kayak, especially if you don’t know that you actually aren’t supposed to use more than 70-80% of the total weight capacity of your ‘yak.
The length and width of a kayak and the shape of its hull are all factors that affect how it sits on top of the water. This is a major factor in buoyancy, but the total weight of the kayak comes into play, too. Weight affects buoyancy because of water displacement. A kayak floats because the weight of the kayak and everything(and everyone) it’s carrying displaces some water. However, the air inside of the kayak keeps it afloat.
When you overload a kayak, it weighs more than it should and sits deeper in the water. This means there is greater resistance while you’re paddling and you don’t have as much control over the kayak. An overloaded kayak is more likely to get the rider wet because water splashes up and you’re more likely to lose control, or even capsize.
Best Kayaks for Big Guys with a 400+ Pound Weight Capacity
Now that we’ve gotten the info out of the way, here’s a closer look at our top picks for kayaks for bigger men and women. Most of our picks are kayaks for big guys with 400+ pound weight capacity, so you’ll be able to find something regardless of your size.
Best Kayak for Big Guys Overall: Retrospec Coaster 12.5′ Kayak
- Impressive 660-pound weight limit, perfect for bigger guys
- Easy to maneuver as a solo kayak, even though it has a tandem design
- Comes with a removable fin that lets you track better through flat water
- Made from rip-resistant polyester that won't rip under your dogs nails if you bring them along
Even though this is technically a tandem kayak, the 660-pound weight capacity is great for the larger rider and the seats are convertible, so you can easily move one to the middle. There are actually two options for buying the Coaster kayak from Retrospec, as you can buy it with one seat or two. Having the second seat is nice if you plan on using it tandem, but if you’re a bigger guy just interested in the higher weight limit, you can get it a little cheaper by buying the model with a single seat.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one kayak that is wide enough and stable enough for a bigger guy, but still easy to maneuver and handle waves, this is an excellent choice. This is because of the shape of the hull of the kayak. Plus, this comes with a removable fin that you can put on the bottom to improve tracking. This makes the ‘yak pretty speedy when you want it to be.
This is an inflatable kayak, so it’s lightweight and easy to carry. Even so, it’s made from ripstop polyester and is puncture-resistant. You can even bring your dog aboard.
You’ll also get all the basics you need as far as accessories, including a dual-action pump, two double-sided paddles, a removable tracking fin, and a carrying bag. I didn’t necessarily love the bag that the ‘yak comes in, but it’s easy enough to buy a backpack to put it in instead if this ends up being necessary. The paddles weren’t my favorite either, but I didn’t buy the kayak for the paddles and those are also easy enough to swap out.
You can check out the two-in-one design, read more reviews, and see the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Kayak for Fat Guys on a Budget: Sevylor Quickpak K1 8’7″ Kayak
- 400 pound weight limit, great for big guys
- Shorter, 8.5-foot kayak handles waves and rapids better
- Carrying bag turns into the seat for your kayak
- Comfortable and durable, despite being an affordable kayak
Whether you aren’t sure about kayaking as a hobby or you just aren’t ready to invest hundreds on a kayak, this model from Sevylor makes a great choice. Even though it’s the shortest kayak on our list, the small size has its benefits when you’re moving down the river. You’ll notice that the hull shape and short size make it incredibly easy to maneuver.
If you go out on your own, this is also super lightweight, easy to carry, and folds down into a convenient bookbag so you can throw that on your back and easily carry the rest of your gear. The paddle even splits in two so you can carry it in the two side pockets of the bag, plus the air pump gets you inflated and ready to get on the water in just 5 minutes. Oh, and the actual bag turns into the seat for your kayak.
This ‘yak also doesn’t skimp on quality or comfort with the budget price. It’s made from durable materials with a rigid bottom that won’t fold in on itself when it experiences resistance in the water. You’ll also appreciate the built-in adjustable footrest and bungee storage area in the front.
You can check this affordable kayak, read more reviews, and see the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Pedaling Kayak for Fat Guys: Old Town Sportsman 12′ Pedal Fishing Kayak
- Solo kayak with a 500-pound weight limit, great for fat guys
- Hull has a unique double-U design for better stability, even when standing
- Seat is breathable, adjustable, and very comfortable to sit in
- Five-year warranty for the pedal driver
While this is technically a fishing kayak because of its features, it works for touring and other expeditions too- you just won’t get much use out of the fishing rod holders. The pedal lets you propel the kayak forward or backward and the hull is designed in a way that you can paddle this if you choose to as well.
This pedal kayak has a 500-pound weight capacity and supports around 394 pounds of actual weight, according to the manufacturer. The seat in this ‘yak is one of my favorites that I’ve tried out. It’s fairly wide and the seat itself is designed flat, so it isn’t painful if you’re a little bigger than the seat. It also has plenty of padding, adjustability features, and a mesh design that allows breathability.
The pedal drive has a low profile, so it’s fairly easy to get this into and out of the water without the pedal getting stuck on rocks or reeds. It features a bicycle-type of pedal that is easy to use, plus the company backs its pedal drive with a 5-year warranty. It’s always a bonus when companies trust in the quality of their product enough to offer a warranty!
As far as features, this company also sets itself apart with an EVA-padded deck that is less slippery and more stable under your feet. There are also some other extras, including a customizable accessory track, bungee tie-downs in the rear, side pockets, and a waterproof storage area in the front. It also has a transducer mount and rod holders if you take it out for fishing.
You can see the low-profile pedal driver, read more reviews, and check the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Motorized: Old Town Sportsman 10’6″ Motorized Fishing Kayak
- 440-pound weight limit, great for kayakers who are 350+ pounds
- Salt water motor, low-profile so it doesn't get stuck on rocks and reeds
- Unique, double U shaped design makes the kayak extra stable
- Seat has thick, breathable mesh so you don't sweat as much when it's hot out
If you want something that comes with the option to use a trolling motor, this is it. It has a fairly high weight capacity (440 pounds) for being a hard-shell kayak. Plus, the specs tell you that the usable weight is 363 pounds and it’s always nice when they don’t make you do the math yourself.
The 12-volt motor comes with 45 pounds of thrust, plenty enough to get even a big guy going across the water. While the battery isn’t included, everything else you need is. Plus, the motor can be safely used in saltwater without worrying about corrosion, so it’s great for all your water adventures.
The hull of this ‘yak features a double “U” shape that makes it super stable. Even though it isn’t especially long, this does have lots of storage under the deck, including a dry area, a built-in tackle box, and a mount for your fishfinder. I also appreciated the seats, since the padding was thick enough to be comfortable but had a mesh layer to stop me from sweating too much.
Truth be told, the only thing I didn’t really like about this kayak is it didn’t feel authentic. It just doesn’t feel like I’m making the most of my kayaking experience when I’m letting the ‘yak do all the work for me. On the plus side though, the design is really stable and the kayak is only 10’6″ long, so I can paddle this if I’d like to.
That motor does come in handy if you’ve had a long day out or you run into some bad weather. You know, those times when you want to get to shore quick!
You can check out the unique hull shape, read more reviews, and see the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Fishing Kayak for Fat Guys: Driftsun Teton 120 12′ Hard-Shell Kayak
- 500-pound weight limit is great for fat dudes
- Built-in molded footrests and EVA-padded seats for adjustability and comfort
- Wide, stable design so you can stand up and cast while fishing
- Hard-shell design that's super rugged for different fishing locations
As far as fishing kayaks for big guys go, there are plenty of options. It was honestly hard for me to pick, but I really liked the high weight capacity of this ‘yak (which is an impressive 500 pounds). Then, once you added in all the bonus accessories, it was definitely the top contender.
While this is sold as a tandem kayak, it’s one of those that has adjustable seats so you can take it out on the water solo. The seats are adjustable and padded with EVA foam for extra comfort and I really love the molded footrests that are built into the bottom of the kayak. It makes it super easy to brace yourself when you need a little extra support while paddling.
I’m able to stand up in this, which is always a plus when fishing. It has convenient paddle holders so they’re out of the way when casting or reeling in your fish. Plus, the paddles felt pretty comfortable in my hands and were sturdy enough to push me through the water pretty easily.
All the fish-friendly features are also a plus, including rod holders (with covers to keep dust and junk out), two accessory mounting points, and built-in cup holders. There’s also plenty of storage, including a rear bungee storage area and two watertight inserts.
You can check out the molded footrests, read more reviews, and check today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Touring Kayak for Big Guys: Advanced Elements 15′ Elite Convertible Touring Kayak
- 550-pound weight capacity is great for fat dudes
- Aluminum ribs in bow and stern for added stability
- Sit-in design works well with a spray skirt if you don't want yourself or your gear getting wet
- Multiple air chambers and layers of material for extreme durability
This is considered a convertible kayak because of the sturdy aluminum ribs that run through the bow and stern. These ribs give the ‘yak a lot more stability in the water, which makes it a great choice for fat dudes. While this is technically a tandem kayak, it’s easy enough to move one seat to the middle and use it solo as well.
The longer style makes this work well no matter what you’re doing. It’s great for heading to a camping site via water because you can load it up with gear, or you can take it out and tackle the surf of the ocean. Even though it’s longer and wider, the extra stability and shape of the hull make it easy to maneuver.
While the ribs are a bonus, the added materials make this a little heavy for an inflatable. Even so, it only weighs just over 50 pounds and is still a lot more compact than a rigid kayak.
Furthermore, this kayak is made using multiple layers of durable fabric for puncture resistance and multiple air chambers, so even if the kayak is punctured it won’t sink in the water. It is missing a lot of extras like paddles, but there is plenty of room for storage onboard and there’s a bungee tie-down area, too. The seats are also well-padded, adjustable, and generally comfortable.
You can check out what’s so special about the aluminum ribs in the design, read more reviews, and see the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Whitewater Kayak for Fat Guys: Aquaglide McKenzie 125 Inflatable 12′ Whitewater Kayak
- 600-pound weight limit, great choice for bigger guys and gals
- Rated to handle Class III rapids for kayakers who want more adventure
- Optional tracking fin for added speed
- Works solo or tandem with seats that can be repositioned in the middle for a solo rider
While this is a tandem kayak, it has the hookups in the center of the kayak to take it out solo. This is nice for bigger guys that need a higher weight limit, especially if you’re looking for a kayak that won’t tip on you when you’re going through rougher waters.
The Aquaglide inflatable kayak features Evobeam technology, which basically means there’s a rigid beam running through the middle of the ‘yak to make it more rigid. With this added rigidity, it’s ready to tackle rushing rapids and even swells in the ocean. You can also attach the included posi-tracking fin to improve tracking and make the ‘yak more speedy.
This is another ‘yak that isn’t really loaded with features, but the features that it does have really count. It’s super durable with the Evobeam and Duratex construction, but you will need to get your own paddle and air pump. (It’s compatible with a Halkey-Roberts valve, for those who are interested). I also recommend a water bag, since there isn’t a whole lot of room for storage onboard.
You can see the durable, rapid-ready construction, read more reviews, and check today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best High-Weight Capacity Recreational Kayak: Intex Excursion Pro 12’6″ Kayak
- 400-pound weight capacity, great for bigger guys
- Built-in adjustable footrests so you can brace yourself for more power while paddling
- Spring-loaded high-pressure valves for faster inflation and deflation
- Two separate removable fins are included for tracking in different water types
This isn’t really practical for two riders who are on the large size with a 400-pound weight limit, but it does make a great choice for a solo rider who is heavier. It also has the type of seat that you can easily move to a more centered position, so it’s easy to maneuver when you’re out on your own.
If you want a seat with a little extra padding, this comes with a removable seat booster that adds comfort (and height). The seats are inflatable though and do not breathe well, so I did find they made me a little sweaty where they were touching my clothing/skin. However, the adjustability features were nice.
What I really loved in this kayak was the adjustable footrests. The footrests slide along a track on the bottom of the ‘yak, so you can set them where you need to and brace your legs for a little extra oomph while paddling.
The extras they included weren’t bad either. This comes with a pressure gauge and high-pressure pump, paddles, and a carrying bag. While the paddles and bag didn’t necessarily stand out, it was fast and easy to get out on the water with the high-pressure air pump. I also liked the two different tracking fins that help you move faster and maneuver better, depending on the type of water you’re in.
You can check out the adjustable footrests, read more reviews, and see the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Sea Kayak for Fat Guys: Oru Coast XT 16′ Adventure Kayak
- 400-pound weight limit, great for bigger guys
- Long, 16-foot design glides over waves easily
- Best kayak for more advanced riders who like a challenge
- Folds down and unfolds for use, super convenient and easy to store
Sea kayaks usually have a pretty narrow design, so they wobble from side to side and don’t make the best choice for fat guys because of their narrow design and low weight capacity. However, this folding kayak by Oru is an impressive 16-feet long, so it’s long enough and narrow enough to handle the weight. It also has a decent weight capacity, topping out around 400 pounds.
This kayak from Oru is actually rated for advanced riders- so it’s really not a good choice for me. That being said, the cockpit is 30″ long by 16″ across, so it is big enough for some fat guys and more advanced riders might enjoy taking it out on the ocean. I’d definitely try it out in calmer water, first though. It takes a little extra skill to stop from rolling in a long, narrow kayak like this.
Something that’s awesome about foldable kayaks is that they are durable like a hard-shell kayak, but convenient like an inflatable. They are also lightweight, fold down to a square, and come with a carrying handle. While they don’t need to be inflated, they do require some assembly. Honestly, I’ve put a few of these together and it wasn’t too complicated to do on my own.
While this isn’t something I personally used a lot, each of the kayak’s folds is rated for 20,000 uses. It’s one of those things you might be skeptical about at first, but the system of zippers, straps, and buckles really does keep the water out.
You can check out the long, narrow shape of this ‘yak, read more reviews, and see the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Hard-Shell Kayak with a High Weight Capacity: BKC TK122 12’6″ Angler Kayak
- Impressive 770-pound weight limit for bigger guys or couples
- Built-in footrests for added stability
- 34-inch beam makes this easy to maneuver even in waves or currents
- Lots of storage space for all your gear (or just room to move around)
This is technically a fishing kayak, but there’s always a little overlap with these kinds of things and there’s no reason why you couldn’t use this for recreational padding, too. The seats are designed to allow for anywhere from 1-3 paddlers and there’s a 770-pound weight limit for this kayak- the highest on our list.
This kayak from Brooklyn Kayak Company has built-in footrests for more stability while paddling and tons of storage. There is a watertight storage area on either side of the ‘yak and a bungee tie-down area. Plus, there are rod holders both mounted on top of and on the side of the ‘yak, so you can have your lines out or just keep your poles out of the way so you can paddle.
Even if you aren’t fishing, this kayak is a great choice because of its stable, 34″ beam and the shape of the hull. It’s able to handle some fast-moving currents and waves without capsizing, making it perfect for recreational kayaking or fishing in all kinds of weather.
You can see the high weight limit, read more reviews, and check the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Kayak for Tall Guys: Wilderness Systems Atak 120 12′ Fishing Kayak
- 400-pound weight limit and over 12 feet long, great for tall guys or bigger guys
- Adjustable suspension seat for better legroom
- Comes in several colors, including mesa camo, aqua, midnight, and grey
- Stand-up assist strap makes it easier for tall guys to keep their balance while standing
If you are on the tall side (think around 5’10” or taller), you’ll want at least a 12-foot kayak to give you the legroom that you need in the water. This is long enough for tall guys, plus it has a sit-on-top design and adjustable suspension-style seat for a little more forgiveness when it comes to legroom. The profile of the kayak is also close to the water, which minimizes wind resistance and makes it easier to control in the wind.
Another plus for the taller man or woman is the extra-large adjustable footrests in this kayak. You adjust them using a locking lever, which is really easy to operate. There’s also a stand-up assist strap, which is honestly perfect for giving you that little bit of extra support you might need to stand up without wobbling too much.
This is technically a fishing kayak, so it does have some other features for fishers like silent traction pads for sneaking up on fish and a transducer mount. However, it also has lots of extras that everyone can appreciate, including accessory tracks that run along the ‘yak, hatches at the front and rear of the kayak, and bungee tie-downs.
If you’re a tall guy who isn’t sure he’ll love paddling along in a kayak, this also makes a great choice because it’s compatible with the Helix MD motor drive. It’s easy enough to install a compatible motor and still get use out of your ‘yak.
You can check out the unique suspension seat and adjustable footrests, read more reviews, and see today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Inflatable Kayak for Heavy People: Driftsun Almanor 146 14’6″ Kayak
- 600-pound weight capacity for heavier men and women
- Beam through the middle of the 'yak gives it added stability
- Easy to maneuver, even as a solo rider
- Removable tracking fin helps the 'yak move a little faster when you want to
This isn’t the kayak you want for high-speed kayaking, but this is great for a relaxing paddle across the lake or in small ocean swells. It’s designed for anywhere from 1-3 riders and the adjustable seating makes it easy to use it solo if you want to. The shape of the hull makes it fairly easy to use by yourself, even though it’s 14.5 feet long.
One of the reasons this has such a high weight capacity is the rigid beam that goes across the middle. The beam makes it a lot more stable for bigger people since it won’t shift as much when you move around. Plus, it comes with a removable tracking fin that will help it move a little faster through the water.
I didn’t love the seats necessarily. While they’re high-backed and would provide plenty of support if you weren’t wearing a life jacket, I find the larger size I need really gets in the way and almost leaves me feeling a little hunched over when I try to relax against the back of the seat. The included child seat is inflatable though, and that’s a little more comfortable than other ones I’ve seen.
However, a lot of the other features are nice. It has an adjustable footrest for added stability while you’re out on the water and a strap to hold your paddle when it’s not in use. It also comes with all the basics, like a dual-action pump, storage areas, and a travel bag.
You can see the hull shape that makes this ‘yak fast, but stable, read more reviews, and check today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best High Weight Capacity Kayak: Sea Eagle 370 Pro 12’6″ 3-Person Kayak
- 650-pound weight capacity for bigger men and women
- Can be used for flat water kayaking or up to Class III rapids
- Manfactured by a company that has been in business 50+ years
- Hull shape makes this easy to maneuver even in wind and waves
While this isn’t the highest weight capacity of the kayaks on our list with a limit of 650 pounds, this one is better suited for all types of kayaking. It’s rated for up to Class III rapids and has a hull shape that makes it really easy to maneuver even when you’re going fast. There are also two removable skeg fins included for more speed and stability.
I can say there are not very many kayaks out there that I’d trust going down a river current. The company that makes this ‘yak, Sea Eagle Sport Kayaks, has been in business since 1968, though. You don’t last that long without having a product that people can trust.
This is a tandem kayak that can also be used solo, plus there’s a middle seat for a small child or family pet. It’s 12.5-feet long and tracks well through the water. Since the seat can be moved to a central position, it’s fairly easy to maneuver this by yourself too unless you’re in especially strong water.
The kayak comes with the basic accessories like paddles, pumps, and a carrying bag. The paddles separate in two, so they’re easier to carry. While they will fit inside the carrying bag, the metal ends seem a little sharp to me. I wouldn’t put them in the bag without capping them first, just to avoid the risk of damage to your kayak.
You can check out the speedy design, read more reviews, and see the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Tandem Kayak for Bigger Couples: BKC PK14 14′ Pedal Kayak
- 670-pound capacity for larger couples
- Seats sit a little bit higher, doesn't feel as cramped
- 14-feet long so there is plenty of legroom for two people
- Option to pedal or paddle
This is a true tandem kayak since you can’t move the seats and pedals to a new position. Honestly though, I love that you can either pedal or paddle depending on your preference or whether the water is a little more choppy. It also has a high weight capacity that’s perfect for bigger couples.
The pedal drive system has a hand-operated rudder, so it’s easy to turn it when you need to shift direction. This ‘yak is a little wide and doesn’t necessarily maneuver as well when you try to turn with the paddles, but the rudder system works great. The kayak is also compatible with a trolling motor. Fortunately, there’s also holders for the paddles when they aren’t in use.
For people that want something solid under them, they’ll appreciate the super strong hard-shell design. It can handle some waves and turbulence well and is molded from a single piece of high-density polyethylene for durability.
This also has a few fish-friendly features like rod holders and accessory mounts. There are also plenty of other add-ons, like paddles, water-resistant storage areas, and bungee tiedowns.
You can see the rugged hull and rudder system, read more reviews, and check the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best Foldable Kayak for Big Guys: Oru Haven TT 16′ Foldable Kayak
- 500 pound weight capacity
- Foldability makes it super easy to transport in just about any vehicle
- Sleeek and smooth design
Oru actually has two foldable, 16-foot kayaks included on this list. This one is a little wider, by just three inches, but it makes a big difference in handling. Compared to the earlier model, which was better for advanced kayakers, this long kayak is good for someone with beginner to intermediate experience.
Even so, it is a little more narrow than some of the others I’ve included on the list. It’s not a kayak that I would start with, but it is pretty fun if you know what you’re doing as far as balance. I’d definitely say it’s a pain to get in and out of though, especially if you aren’t on shore.
Foldable kayaks have the benefit of being super easy to travel with- most even fold down small enough that you can check them on an airplane. It’s rated for 20,000 folds, so you know the material is durable and it has also been sprayed with 10 years of UV protection, so you’ll get plenty of use out of this kayak.
It more than likely will take a little reading when you fold it up the first time, it’s fairly easy to get the job done. I’ve also found that once you’ve assembled one folding kayak, you pretty much understand how to do the rest of them as well.
You can check out the cool folding design, read more reviews, and see today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
So, did you find your new favorite kayak? Even though I didn’t have a lot of luck my first time out on the water, experience has taught me that the ‘yak you put yourself out there in really matters. I’ve had plenty of fun excursions in kayaks better suited to my weight since then. Hopefully, this article has helped you choose the best kayak, too!
I’m always down to try something new so if there are any I missed, or any key features that you really like, feel free to drop a comment below.