A kayak’s weight capacity is among the most crucial elements in establishing the right kayak size. However, the kayak’s dimensions, width, length, and other aspects can confuse a beginner. Due to this, you can forget the amount of weight that equipment and carried gear can add to the kayak.
In this article, we’ll look at how to make a kayak hold more weight, and how to manage your weight limits.
- Every kayak has a weight limit, and an ideal kayak should have a capacity of up to 125 pounds more than the weight of your body.
- To establish your body weight and the weight of your equipment and gear, you could use the maximum capacity rating from the manufacturer and deduct this by 20 to 35 percent.
- The result is a safe 80% of the weight restriction of a tandem kayak, as per a good rule of thumb.
In this article, we’ll go over tips on how to manage your kayak’s weight requirements to safely maximize your ability to carry stuff.
What if You Exceed a Kayak’s Weight Limit?
When you exceed the load limit of your kayak, you make it sink lower into the water. However, some designs like sit-on-top and custom recreational kayaks may not sink. Instead, they become unstable, and the risk of capsizing increases significantly.
Some designs like sit-on-top and custom recreational kayaks may not sink. Instead, they become unstable, and the risk of capsizing increases significantly.
Various things happen when you overload the kayak.
First, there is the risk of your cockpit flooding if the kayak is a sit-in kayak. On its own, this is not usually enough to sink the kayak, though it will obviously increase the weight, making it sink further lower in the water.
When this happens, your kayak’s safety is compromised, and paddling in sea kayaks could cause an accident.
Risk from Wind and Waves
A kayak that sits too low in water exposes you to wind and waves. Upon getting to the weight limit of the kayak, you lose stability and have a higher risk of capsizing.
If you use a sea or touring kayak, it is important to spread the weight of your gear. Weight influences balance.
Overloading the kayak’s stern or bow can lead to weight imbalance and the risk of capsizing.
If you use a sea or touring kayak, it is important to spread the weight of your gear as weight influences balance.
Is the Weight Limit in Kayaks Accurate?
A kayak’s weight limit represents the total upper limit of how much the vessel can carry. Therefore, as you shop for a kayak, ensure you check its weight capacity.
Most manufacturers advertise this capacity, and going beyond the limit can be tempting if you are experimenting with different brands or models.
However, in reality, the limit at which you will start experiencing performance decrease from excessive weight often occurs below the limit advertised.
The limit at which you will start experiencing performance decrease from excessive weight often occurs below the limit advertised.
If you are a novice, weight information can be a little confusing. Therefore, carrying out weight capacity calculations is important.
As a beginner kayaker, you should note that an entry-level kayak has a reduced weight limit. You will come across 450-pound capacity models if you are on a tight budget. You should limit your cargo, especially when you haven’t yet gained a lot of experience kayaking.
How To Make A Kayak Hold More Weight
Before getting a kayak, it’s important to estimate what you intend to carry in it so that you get the right model in relation to your weight and cargo. But what happens if you have a kayak already that does not match your increased activity weight range?
Most kayak anglers seek to better their fishing experience, which usually translates to increased weight limits as they ensure the kayak remains stable. As a result, if your body and gear weight exceed the limit, the kayak’s performance is compromised.
You will struggle to move or fit into the kayak.
Sometimes you find yourself in situations where you have more supplies and gear than expected and exceed the kayak’s weight capacity and hull design. Unfortunately, no design modifications can be introduced to the kayak to enhance its weight capacity.
Unfortunately, no design modifications can be introduced to the kayak to enhance its weight capacity.
Nonetheless, there are means of increasing the kayak’s buoyancy, accommodating extra weight, and staying afloat with the increased weight capacity.
Here are a few ideas:
1. Paddle the Correct Waters
Selecting the correct kayak location helps in increasing the kayak’s weight limit. As you paddle on rough waters, large waves form, and more splashing water enters the cockpit. When loaded to the weight capacity, water splashing also increases.
Therefore, kayaking in calm and flat water lets the kayak carry more, safely.
Furthermore, you can also increase the weight limit of a kayak by kayaking in salty water.
Salty water provides extra buoyancy, hence an easier time trying to stay afloat even with extra weight. Your paddling technique also affects the balance of your kayak. The correct paddling technique will help you balance and manage heavier cargo without increasing the water splashing into your cockpit.
2. Enhanced Kayak Design
You could consider a hull design enhancement for your kayak to realize better performance when heavily loaded. For example, airbags can prevent lower sinking of the hull in the water and reduce the risk of capsizing for safer kayaking.
You could consider a hull design enhancement for your kayak to realize better performance when heavily loaded.
You can also add helium to the airbags to offer extra wiggle room while maintaining a considerable weight difference between what you can and cannot carry. Understanding the airbag volume is important to calculate what is necessary to counteract the extra load. It is recommended to try this in a swimming pool before heading out to the open waters.
However, note that these additions work best in calm waters. If you are going kayaking in a river, you are better off getting a newer model with a higher weight limit that meets your needs.
3. Get Equipment
You can get various kayak gear like kayak outriggers and float foams. Though this is handy in enhancing buoyancy, they do not enhance the weight capacity but rather help prevent you from sinking. This is only useful when you exceed the weight limit by a few pounds.
When kayaking, it is important to be conscious of your weight, loaded gear, and equipment. Overloading the kayak puts it at a greater risk of sinking and compromises its performance.
You can increase the buoyancy of your kayak by applying any of the ideas explained in this article.
However, note that these methods allow you to carry only a few extra pounds above the recommended weight limit. The best way to carry more weight in your kayak is to get one with a higher weight limit.
If you’re pushing the weight that much… it’s time to get a new kayak!