Nothing beats the feeling of getting out in your fishing kayak and cruising through the water with a paddle in your hands. However, a lot of things happen as we grow older. In my case, the most evident is that I’m not as fit as I used to be.
Top 4 Best Kayaks for Big Guys (Summary)
For more detailed and complete product reviews on benefits and features, keep reading.
As such, I’ve found it difficult to find a fishing kayak that can fit a big guy like myself; but it’s not impossible. There are inflatable kayaks that are specifically made for big and tall guys alike. So I decided to test some of these out and review them in this guide.
10 Kayaks for Big and Tall Guys Tested
Intex Challenger K1 is designed to offer one person safe and enjoyable trips on lakes and rivers. It has a sleek and fun design that is optimized for easy paddling. It is the most lightweight fishing kayak out of all the ones I tested for this guide.
It is made of durable vinyl material for added safety on the water. It is lightweight and compact and easy to assemble. With its Boston valve, it can be inflated and deflated in minutes.
An I-beam floor, low profile deck and high buoyancy side chambers serve for stability, comfort and function. What I really liked about this one was its inflatable and adjustable seat with the backrest, as it was very comfortable.
It features a cargo net for storing extra fishing gear and grab linex on both ends. It comes with an 84-inch aluminum oar and a repair patch.
- Lightweight and compact
- Easy to set up
- Has a cargo net for extra storage
- Liable to get perforated easily
Sea Eagle 370 Pro is lightweight and has an efficient hull shape that makes it easy for beginners and expert paddlers to use. Sea Eagle is a well-known name in the fishing kayak space, so I had to review one of their best products. It folds down into a small size that can be easily transported and set up in less than 10 minutes.
This inflatable kayak from Sea Eagle can also hold up to 3 people or 650 pounds of weight. The hull is pretty tough and can not get torn or perforated easily. I really liked the extra cargo space the Sea Eagle 370 Pro has, as I was able to store camping gear and other supplies when I reviewed it.
An I-beam construction floor helps with extra rigidity and stability. It has two removable front and rear seats that can be easily adjusted and rope handles on the front and rear.
A self-bailing drain valve and two molded kegs provide extra speed for tracking smoothly across the water. The Sea Eagle 370 Pro also has high strength seams that hold the material in place.
- Can hold up to 650 pounds of weight
- Material is tough and resistant to wear and tear
- Has cargo space for storing gear
- Might not be easy to maintain stability
Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 Kayak is designed to provide comfort and convenience in a small and portable package. It features built-in foot braces that can be adjusted to fit any size of paddler, whether small or tall. This was a standout feature when I tested this kayak, as I was able to let my smaller-sized friend test it out right after me.
It is built to provide optimum stability and tracks smoothly across all types of water conditions. Leak-proof and durable construction with in-built buoyancy provides added safety.
Sleek hull design ensures a high tracking speed. It has backrests and cushions with 4 fishing rod holders that are easy and quick to reach. There are also an easy access cup holder and 4 in-built grip handles for easy transport.
It has a load capacity of up to 300 pounds. With its front and rear storage spaces and waterproof cargo hatches, I managed to store a lot of extra fishing gear, similarly to the Sea Eagle kayak I reviewed above.
- Tracks smoothly on all kinds of water conditions
- Has features that ensure maximum comfort
- Has enough storage spaces
- Seats might not be comfortable
Perception Pescador Pilot is designed to provide optimum stability and performance to paddlers of all levels of abilities. It’s easily the most comfortable fishing kayak I tested for this list. It has a sit-on-top design that can support anglers standing to cast.
Pilot Drive propeller system effortlessly moves the boat, even in reverse, thereby leaving both hands free for other activities. The removable pedal system can deliver an efficient and quiet performance.
It has a removable chair that features front and back adjustment and breathable mesh. It has a large front and rear open storage space for storing gear. Four in-built rear rod handles are for hands-free storage while paddling.
One-Piece construction is built to be leak-proof. Even though I took this one out in some rough conditions, it didn’t leak at all. It features gear tracks for adding accessories, thereby eliminating the need for drilling holes.
- Features a removable pedal system for effortless tracking
- Comfortable seats
- Might be difficult to propel in rough water conditions
Brooklyn Kayak Company RA220 is equipped with the necessary features that an angler needs to have a fulfilling experience on the water. The sit-on-top kayak provides optimal stability, allowing you to stand up while casting for a long period without losing your balance. I really enjoyed fishing with this kayak, as it was always extremely stable.
It features three watertight storage areas where mobile devices, wallets and other personal effects can be safely kept. It also has an open cargo area with bungee cords for keeping large gear secure.
Two flush-mount rod holders can hold your poles in place while you are paddling or doing other things. It has a rudder operated by foot that allows you to steer the kayak around obstacles safely.
Multiple drain ports that clear water that splashes into the boat. I tested their functionality by dumping some water inside, and the drainage was among the best I found in the fishing kayaks on this list. It has a maximum weight capacity of 450 pounds and it has three carrying handles for easy transportation on land.
- Has adequate waterproof storage spaces
- Foot-operated rudder for easy steering
- Drain ports that let out water from the interior
- Storage hatches might not seal up completely
Perception Pescador Pro 12 offers premium performance and stability. Comfort was amazing on this one, as I was out fishing for a few hours without getting any cramps. It has a sit-on-top design with adequate storage space and accessory mount options that allow you to store all the gear you need for an enjoyable time.
It has a removable mesh seat with a 2-level seat adjustment and a breathable mesh back for ultimate comfort. The seats can be lowered for relaxed paddling or raised for optimum casting.
It also features a large front and rear open storage with bungee cords for holding large supplies. Footrests can be easily adjusted for paddlers of all ages and sizes, which I found to work great, adding to the comfort of the kayak.
It has two molded-in fishing rod holders for storing your rods. A removable skid plate allows you to drag the kayak without getting it damaged.
- Has an adjustable ergonomic mesh seat
- Adjustable footrests for comfort
- Adequate space to hold your personal effects and gear
- Straps and buckles on the seat might become defective after some time
Lifetime Tamarack Kayak for Big Guys is designed for anglers who want quality performance consistently. It is a 52-pound product that has a maximum weight capacity of 275 pounds. I have to say that it’s the most durable out of the bunch I tested, without sacrificing any comfort.
It is constructed with high-density polyethylene that is optimized for protection from the effects of UV rays. The sit-on-top kayak features multiple footrest positions for riders of different sizes.
It comes with an adjustable padded seat with a padded back for extra comfort. It features a stable flat bottom with deep tracking channels and stability chine rails.
It has two 6-inch storage hatches in the front and center with three-rod holders and two paddle cradles outfitted with shock cords and handles located on the sides for easy transport.
- Constructed with a durable material
- Features that provide adequate comfort for the rider
- Sufficient storage space
- Might be challenging to maintain balance while standing on the kayak
Sun Dolphin Boss is designed specifically to provide anglers with high-quality features that will make fishing easier. The product is a sturdy sit-on-top kayak that makes it easy to travel on water. Throughout my testing, it was pretty stable, while also being super maneuverable.
It is made of Fortiflex high-density polyethylene that has been UV-stabilized. The kayak is a strong and durable product, which was evident during my testing as it withstood some frequent use and provided consistently excellent performance.
A catamaran hull design with a flat and stable platform allows you to stand comfortably on the deck. With an anti-slip decking and a stand assist strap, you can easily maintain your balance while standing as you cast your line.
It has a quick lock, waterproof hatches on the bow and stern where you can keep devices and other effects. It has adjustable foot braces and a padded seat for comfort.
- Strong and durable product
- Provides optimal stability
- Features waterproof hatches for storage
- Seat is liable to come apart in warm weather conditions
Driftsun Teton Kayak is a tandem product, designed for fishing or touring comfortably. It uses high-quality features and accessories to form a product that will stand the test of time. I actually gifted this kayak to a tall friend of mine, who has used it frequently for years. That’s evidence of its great durability!
The kayak is made of high-density polyethylene that is UV resistant for optimal strength and durability. It can safely accommodate a maximum weight of 500 pounds and seat two adults and a child or pet.
With its flush mount rod holders, mounting points, paddle parks and rests, the kayak eliminates the need for undue stress. The wide balance hull provides excellent stability and tracking for a smooth ride.
It has built-in cup holders and self-bailing scupper plugs. It features a rear storage with bungee cords and two watertight storage hatches with inserts.
- Highly durable
- Designed to provide extra comfort
- Has stability and fast-tracking
- Might be too heavy to handle while on land
Vanhunks Voyager Deluxe is suitable for use on rivers and lakes, which is where I tested it out. The product is designed to provide enough space for two adults and a child or some extra gear. It comes with two aluminum paddles that are lightweight and easy to use.
The seat is designed to offer the comfort that can last for a long day on the water. And comfortable it was, as I took it out for multi-hour spins without feeling sore the next day. It is made with a breathable mesh and raised to avoid water spray in the deck. It can be easily adjusted into an upright or reclining position.
Two large front and rear storage with bungee cords and two storage hatch compartments serve for keeping bait and other supplies. Apart from four mounted rod holders, it comes with two swivel rod holders that rotate from side to side.
The kayak is constructed with sturdy material and has a maximum load capacity of 550 pounds. The polyethylene material is resistant to abrasion and features brass inserts that protect the parts from corrosion.
- Can provide optimal comfort for a long time
- Has sufficient storage compartments
- Strong and sturdy
- Might not be easy to transport on land
What Is a Kayak for Big Guys
To begin with, an inflatable kayak is a small and slim boat usually used by a limited number of people, most of the time, one person. It is considered a piece of sports equipment because it is often used in aquatic races and sports.
There are various kinds of kayaks available on the market with designs that differ with usage. For example, I’ve previously reviewed some great kayaks for beginners, especially the leisure ones, which are light in weight and easy to maneuver with.
A whitewater kayak usually has a maximum weight capacity, with some having a higher capacity than others. For heavier people, therefore, this can be a problem, but luckily some kayaks, like the ones I tested above, are made with the big guy in mind.
Fishing kayaks for big guys are just like regular kayaks except for the fact that weight capacity is an important feature in such. They are as practical as a regular whitewater kayak, but the weight capacity is made for a big guy such that you won’t tip over when you are on the water.
Benefits of Using a Kayak for Big Guys
Whether you are looking for a kayak designed for open fishing or for sports, there are a few benefits of going with a kayak designed specifically for big guys. I’ve compiled most of them below:
If you are a big guy, chances are that you have been putting off kayaking because you are not sure that you can find a kayak you can fit in. I initially thought the same, but there are advancements being made all the time. That means it’s easier than ever to find a kayak that can work for you and the good news is that these are as comfortable as regular kayaks.
Every fishing kayak is designed with specific weight capacity and the same goes for those that are designed for big guys. The kayaks I reviewed above have the right weight capacity to ensure that they don’t tip over when you are in the water.
Whether it’s the weight or storage capacity, these are the features that are catered for when you are looking for kayaks for big guys. That said, the kayaks have enough capacity to load all your gear for a few nights and not to mention one that can fit you as well. I also want to note that there’s an “ideal” weight capacity. According to Eddyline, a well-known kayak manufacturer, your weight and any gear you get onboard should be around 60-70% of the maximum weight capacity of your kayak .
After testing many fishing kayaks, I’ve come to the conclusion that most kayaks for big guys tend to be very stable. This stability ensures that you don’t tip over when you are on the water, which could lead to serious accidents.
How Does a Kayak for Big Guys Work
A fishing kayak for big guys works just like a canoe but with a slight difference in the sitting position of the paddler as well as the number of blades on the paddles.
A kayak is low to the water boat, where the paddler sits facing forward with their legs in front. You then use a double-bladed paddle to pull from front to back on one side and the other side on rotation.
There are three different kayaks that are ideal for big guys and they include; inflatable, sit-inside and sit-on-top kayaks. I’ve tested all three types, and they have their advantages and disadvantages. At the end of the day, whichever you choose is a matter of personal preferences.
Pros and Cons of Kayaks for Big Guys
Just like when you are looking for the best lunch cooler for your kayak fishing trip, there are certain advantages and disadvantages of kayaks for big guys that you need to be aware of before you make a purchase. I’ve included some of the most important ones below.
- Most kayaks for tall guys tend to have extremely good stability; hence you never have to worry about tipping over because of your weight.
- The seats of kayaks for big guys are surprisingly comfortable based on various online reviews.
- These kayaks have enough storage space such that you can fit anything you might need when you are away. For example, I was able to fit a lot of extra gear on the Sea Eagle 370 Pro I reviewed above
- Kayaks for big guys have enough room; hence are suitable for tall guys as well.
- Some fishing kayaks for tall guys don’t track smoothly as thinner kayaks might, which can be a problem for some people.
- Some have canoe-like handles because of the high center of gravity.
- Some kayaks for big guys can be very heavy; hence you might have problems transporting the kayak alone. For instance, the Driftsun Teton Kayak was a bit too heavy to handle on land when I tested it out.
Types of Kayaks for Big Guys
When it comes to fishing kayaks for big guys, there are a number of them that are available on the market. In my opinion, whichever you choose comes down to your preferences.
Inflatable kayaks continue to grow in popularity based on the fact that they are cheaper than regular kayaks. Such kayaks are buoyant and contrary to popular belief, some models are very durable. The ones I tested, like the Sea Eagle inflatable kayak, are pretty sturdy.
However, the problem with these kayaks is that they don’t have a high weight capacity that is required to support a big guy. When you are looking for the world’s best inflatable kayak with enough weight capacity, you are better off investing in a more expensive kayak that is more durable.
Sit-inside fishing kayaks get their name from the way your body stays in relation to the kayak where your body is protected when you are inside the kayak. Based on my testing, this kind of kayak is ideal for those who are looking to kayak all year long or want to stay warm and dry when on the water. However, the small cockpit and narrow body of these kinds of kayaks make it difficult for a bigger person to get in and out of the kayak.
Sit-on-top kayaks are at the top of the list, mainly because they make it possible for you to sit comfortably with the legs in front of your body on top of the kayak rather than inside it. I think that this makes them the ideal choice for bigger guys because they are easier to get in and out of while leaving enough room to move around. If you want to learn more about how these compare to sit-inside ones, I suggest checking out this guide by GILI Sports, a leading paddle board manufacturer.
How to Choose the Best Kayak For Big Guys
Choosing the best fishing kayaks requires more than just ordering the first thing you see online. Being that these kayaks are different from regular ones because they are made for bigger bodies, I’ve compiled some important factors that you need to consider to ensure you get a kayak for big guys that meets all your needs and is comfortable to use.
When it comes to weight capacity, you need to consider more than your individual weight, but that of your fishing gear, as well as when you want to bring your catfish rod with you.
This is one of the factors I take into consideration when trying out a new kayak, to ensure that I stay under the weight limit for safety purposes. Weight capacities vary from one kayak to another and it is important to check to ensure that you get a weight capacity that will give you comfort on the water.
The width of the fishing kayak affects it in different ways. First, higher width means that you will have a higher level of stability, according to Aqua Bound, a high-quality kayak paddle manufacturer. As I discovered during my testing for this guide, stability is something you really need when you are big so as to ensure that you are secure when on the water.
Second, a wider kayak means an increased surface area with the water. This will, in the end, affect the speed of the kayak, which means that more effort will be required from you.
Weight of the Kayak
When you are buying a fishing kayak, ensure that it can comfortably support your weight. In such a case, I suggest ensuring that the kayak is solid and has just the right buoyancy.
Higher weight capacity will also come in handy should you decide to bring anything with you like when you are going kayak fishing and need a place to store all your gear in which case ensure that you always store your food in some quality cooler during the duration of your fishing trip.
Large Cockpit Size
The size of the cockpit matters if you are tall, whether it’s a sit on top or a sit-inside kayak. While sit on top kayaks have a more open deck, you still need to ensure that there is enough room for your legs. For taller folks, a 12-14-foot cockpit to start out is suggested by Boatsafe, a team of kayak experts and enthusiasts.
With a sit-inside kayak for big guys on the other side, it would be better if you went with a larger style cockpit so that it will be easier for you to get in and out of the kayak. During my testing, I found that a larger cockpit is also important in ensuring that there is enough room for your legs to assume a comfortable position throughout the duration of your paddling trip, especially when you are using a fishing kayak with paddles.
When you are big, your center of gravity is higher, which will make you feel less stable when you are sitting in a kayak. To regain stability, I’d advise you to go for a kayak that has a lower deck or a deeper sitting area.
This means sitting lower in the kayak, which ends up giving you a lower center of gravity, making it harder to tip over. There are so many fishing kayaks on the market that are designed to provide maximum stability and allow you to stand up when you are fishing or when you want to stretch your legs.
These are ideal for tall guys due to the added stability they offer when one is standing up, although you could also get yourself a recreational kayak with increased stability.
The materials of the kayak end up affecting its durability in the end. An inflatable stand up paddleboard can carry a lot of weight, for instance, but you need to ensure that the material is very quick.
Regular kayaks, on the other hand, are made of high-density plastic. I suggest getting a whitewater kayak made of high-quality materials not only to minimize accidents but also ensure that you will be in a position to use the kayak for a very long time to come.
Comfort and Seating
The way a fishing kayak is designed is that there is a cramped amount of space and if you are tall or big, it is important to ensure that the kayak for big guys you are buying has enough room. For instance, the Perception Pescador Pilot I tested was one of the most comfortable kayaks I’ve ever used for fishing because it had lots of room.
It’s always recommended that you ensure that there is more than enough room in the footwell but that it is wide enough as well. The comfort of a kayak is also, to a great extent, affected by the seat in which case you need to ensure that it is wide enough and has enough padding so that you can spend as much time as you want on the kayak.
When it comes to fishing kayaks for big guys, portability is very important, in which case, inflatable kayaks carry the day, but they require more maintenance and repairs.
If you are planning to launch and land the kayak, I suggest going for a kayak that has grab handles, as they will come in handy. For heavier kayaks, one thing you need to ensure is that they have enough handles for easier carrying.
When you are buying a whitewater kayak, you need to decide beforehand whether you want an inflatable or a regular one. While an inflatable kayak is light in weight and is easy to transport, they are less durable, as I’ve found after testing many of them out.
You will also need to decide on whether you need a sit on top or a sit-inside kayak, both of which have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to usage by bigger guys.
How to Use A Kayak for Big Guys
Step 1 – Decide where you will go
Once you have reached the place you will propel, the first thing I suggest you do is ensure you know where you will go into the water. Choose a quiet area that is free of rocks.
Step 2 – Put the kayak in the water
You first need to decide if you will be entering the kayak on land or when in the water. You can then glide the kayak into the water bow first.
Step 3 – Secure the boat
Place the paddle at right angles to the kayak behind the seat and up against the cockpit rim. You can then get inside the kayak, making sure that you balance your weight to prevent you from tipping over.
Step 4 – Put the spray skirt
Ensure that the kayak is stable and in quiet water. Place the kayak parallel to the shore such that you can support yourself when you are putting on your spray skirt.
How to Maintain Your Kayak for Big Guys
Step 1 – Cleaning the kayak
Clean your kayak with water and a mild detergent to remove dirt and grime that may have built up. Ensure that you clean both the inside and outside and allow it to dry well before you store it. I always thoroughly clean my kayaks after I take them for fishing, and most of them last longer because of that.
Step 2 – Apply sun protective spray
Apply the spray to hard-shell kayaks so as to prevent UV light damage. Apply on both the inside and outside of the boat.
Step 3 –Clean the accessories
Before you store your kayak, clean the accessories like the paddle, spray skirt, bilge pump, and float bags. Then I suggest finding a place to store them indoors, so that they can remain dry. Remove the float tank plug if your kayak has any.
Step 4 – Oil the metal parts
Before you store the kayak, ensure that you oil the metal parts of your kayak. Additionally, tighten any bolts and screws and check both the hull and the deck for damage.
Does More Spending Mean More Quality
When you are buying a whitewater kayak, especially if you are a big guy, more spending does mean more quality. Your safety when you are on the water matters at the end of the day, which is the reason why you need to consider stability.
High-end fishing kayaks tend to be very stable even when you are standing; they have enough legroom and high capacity to ensure your comfort when you are on the water.
At the same time, it’s important to consider the durability of the kayak if you don’t want to be shopping again in a few months. Inflatable kayaks are cheap, light in weight.
But, after testing many of these, I have to say that they fail in the durability department, with most lasting up to 2 years if you don’t take care of them. That said, as long as you properly maintain it, your kayak should last for 7-10 years, according to Nootica, a well-known water sports equipment retailer.
Do’s and Don’ts With Kayaks for Big Guys
- Do oil the metal parts before your store your kayak to prevent rust, which can damage your kayak.
- Do apply a sun protective spray to minimize the damages that may be caused by UV rays.
- Do consider your weight and that of your gear when you are buying a kayak for stability.
- Don’t go over the weight capacity of the kayak if you don’t want to tip over when on the water.
Quick Tips for Larger First-Time Kayakers
If you are starting out, I’ve put together a few tips that you need to consider when you are using a kayak.
Getting In and Out
When you are big, the hardest part of kayaking is getting in and out of the kayak and it will take time to get used to it. Always ensure that you have someone you can trust out there with you. You can kayak with your partner in a tandem kayak easily. This person can easily help you get on simplifying the process.
I also recommend you practice getting in and out of the kayak at home on the floor until you get used to the process. Additionally, it is a good idea to understand your limitations so that you can avoid a lot of frustrations when you’re starting out.
At the end of the day, the chances are that you will tip over at least once. When this happens, the last thing you want is to be alone; therefore, ensure that there is always a person with you until you get used to it and can go out on your own. In case you tip over, it helps if you have attached a safety strap to the cockpit’s cowling so that you are able to pull yourself up with the strap. That said, always remain calm to not worsen the situation, as suggested by EZ Dock, a leading floating dock manufacturer.
When you are out on the water, your safety should be the most important thing. Always ensure that you are wearing a plus-sized life jacket and that you have someone with you to make it safe and fun. Additionally, in cold waters carry ice fishing boots. And, I highly recommend you always recharge your flashlight if you’re kayaking at night.
FAQ About Kayaks for Big Guys
What kayak has the highest weight capacity?
The Elkton Outdoors Tandem Kayak has the highest weight capacity of 650 pounds and can also be paddled by two people at the same time.
Is there a weight limit on kayaks?
Yes, kayaks always have a weight limit, which is something you need to pay attention to when you are buying one. Ensure the kayak you are buying can support your weight and that of your gear without going overboard.
What is the widest kayak on the market?
The Feelfree Lure 13.5 Kayak is the widest kayak on the market with a width of 36 inches.
What happens if a kayak capsizes?
When this happens, it is very important that you know how to execute a self-rescue and also ensure that there is someone with you or that you have a safety strap on the cockpit’s cowling.
Are kayaks for big guys safe?
Yes, kayaks for big guys are safe if you buy a quality kayak and ensure that you don’t go beyond the weight limit.
If you love kayaking but are not sure how to do it anymore because you have added weight or are taller than regular people, worry not. I reviewed several that are specifically designed for big guys. Such kayaks have a higher weight limit, capacity, are wide enough and have a large cockpit size. This gives you more stability when you are on the water and not to mention contributes to your overall comfort.
Photos from: AnoushkaToronto / depositphotos.com, forestpath / depositphotos.com, nadtochiy / depositphotos.com, vetal1983 / depositphotos.com and stocco.claudio.libero.it / depositphotos.com.