I’ll admit it, I’m neither big nor tall. I hit my peak of 5 feet 3 inches when I was in 7th grade. I’ve embraced my shortness my whole life, basking in my glee at being able to fit into cramped or tight spaces with relative ease.
So it never occurred to me that kayaks might seem intimidating or present a bit of a challenge to those blessed with more vertical longitude than me. I can just slip into the cockpit and away I go to paddle to far off places.
For big or tall guys, however, it’s not so simple.
I’ve read tons of forums, reviews, and manufacturer’s websites to get the skinny on kayaks for larger fellas and I’ve found 6 that will comfortably and safely accommodate larger than life paddlers.
Whether you’re big boned, long-legged, or have feet that would rival Shaquille O’Neal’s, one of these kayaks is sure to finally get you paddling around in the comfort you deserve.
So if you’re tired of feeling like 6 pounds of poo stuffed into a 5-pound bag while kayaking, read on for a comparison of the best kayaks for big, tall, and heavy people.
Kayaks for Big and Tall: The Contenders
For those who are short on time and can’t be bothered to read the entire article, here’s the long and short of kayaks for big and tall people.
Wilderness Systems Pungo 125 Kayak
This model is a step up from their classic Pungo 120 model and was made with larger paddlers in mind, offering an extra 6″ in leg room. Superb performance without sacrificing cockpit or cargo space. It’s a classic for a reason.
Old Town Loon 126 Recreational Kayak
Extremely spacious cockpit that features a removable work deck which provides ample space for customization and storage. Comfort and stability should provide peace of mind for those worried about a “tippy” kayak.
BKC UH-RA220 11.5-foot Angler Sit on Top Fishing Kayak
A top notch example of a fishing kayak for a large person, the Brooklyn Kayak Company always gives value for money. With a 450-pound capacity and loaded with features, this should be any angler’s wet dream.
Perception Pescador Pro 12 Kayak
Another excellent choice for big guys who like to fish. The standout feature is the stadium-style Pro Seat, which offers 2 positions for paddling or fishing and ultimate comfort so you never get fanny fatigue. Spacious and rated to 375 pounds, this should be another top contender for large humans who like to fish.
- Your perfect first fishing kayak - Made in USA
- Lawn chair style mesh seat with 2-level seat adjustment and breathable mesh for ultimate all-day comfort and no pain
- Seat can be lowered for relaxed paddling or raised for optimum casting
- Leak-proof one-piece construction with built-in buoyancy for added safety
- Large front and rear open storage for cooler tackle and other gear
Malibu Kayaks X-13 Fish and Dive Sit On Top Kayak
Big things come in big packages. The X-13 goes big, delivering a kayak with a whopping 450-pound capacity suitable for dive tanks, fishing gear, and even small humans (kids), with their front and rear child seating areas. If you’re a big man who often fishes in ocean swell or has a need for maximum load capacity, the Malibu is unbeatable.
- MADE IN THE USA: The highest quality and protection for your kayak
- STABILITY: Highest Stability on any kayak
- DIVING KAYAK: Perfect for diving excursion in coastal areas
- COASTAL RECREATIONAL: The perfect kayak to explore along the coast. Break away on the waves to deeper oceans
Sun Dolphin Bali SS 12-ft Sit On Top Kayak
A big, open, sit on top kayak that should delight even the heftiest of paddlers. A simple design for paddlers who just want to get out on the water for some exercise and fun at a price point that’s sure to please.
- Tracks and paddles with ease while offering maximum stability
- P.A.C. (Portable Accessory Carrier) can be used as extra storage
- Storage compartment with shock cord deck rigging
- Lightweight, easy to carry
- Large, comfortable seating area with protective thigh pads, adjustable foot braces and paddle holder
Big Guy Kayaks Comparison Table
Below you’ll find a handy table where you can see a side by side representation of the different features of each kayak.
Based on the info provided, you can make an informed decision as to which kayak most appeals to you. After that, you can read on to get a more in-depth perspective of the kayaks or go ahead and click on the link in the table where you can verify the price and see more buying particulars about the yak.
|Big and Tall Kayaks||Name||Specs||Features||Price|
|Wilderness Systems Pungo 125||Length: 12'6" Width: 29"|
Cockpit L: 57" W: 22.5"
Max Capacity: 425 lbs
|-Phase3 AirPro seat |
-Designed for larger recreational paddlers
|Old Town Loon 126||L: 12'6" W: 31"|
Cockpit L: 56" W: 23"
Max Capacity: 450 lbs
|-Roomiest rec kayak for larger paddlers|
-Removable work deck with space for cameras, gear, and water bottle
-USB charge port
-Click Seal hatch
|BKC UH-RA220 11.5 Angler Kayak||Length: 11.5"|
Max Capacity: 440 lbs
-Cargo area with tie downs
-Upright seating system
-Transducer compatible scuppers
|Perception Pescador Pro 12||Length: 12' Width: 32.5"|
Max Capacity: 375 lbs
|-Pro seat |
-Tankwell with bungee
-Bow mesh cover
-Tackle box storage
|Malibu X-13 Fish and Dive||Length: 13'10" Width: 29"|
Max Capacity: 450 lbs
|-Gator hatch |
-Multiple storage hatches
-Great in big water
|Sun Dolphin Bali SS 12 Foot Kayak||Length: 12' Width: 30"|
Max Capacity: 395 lbs
|-Portable accessory carrier|
-Shock cord deck rigging
-Adjustable foot braces
Best Kayaks for Large People: The Reviews
Without further ado, here are the in-depth reviews for kayaks for heavy people.
Best All-Around Kayak: Wilderness Systems Pungo 125
Wilderness Systems is a very reputable industry brand and their Pungo 120 is one of the most classic all-around kayaks of all time. Therefore, Wilderness Systems wanted to take the success they had with their 120 and go bigger.
Enter the upgraded Pungo 125. Made with a larger cockpit for plus-sized paddlers and with added speed and storage, this kayak was made specifically with larger paddlers in mind.
Wilderness Systems saw a need in the market for a high performing kayak that can accommodate people with bigger profiles. The Pungo 125 delivers on all accounts.
The cockpit is a forgiving 57 inches in length with a console that can be removed for easy entry. The console has molds for holding a drink and two smaller ones that could work for fishing lures, snacks, or a camera if you’re paddling in flat water.
A Phase3 AirPro seat, thigh pads, 2 storage compartments, and front and rear bungee deck rigging are everything you want in a performance kayak.
Here are the words of a couple of happy over-sized paddlers:
“I am 6-4, 225 pounds, and wear a size 15 shoe. Had a lot of trouble finding a kayak in the 12ft range that would fit me comfortably. After lots of research and sitting in many different kayaks – the pungo 125 was the perfect choice! Everything people say about the pungos is true – this kayak is extremely comfortable. I could sit in it for hours and not get stiff or feel cramped. The seat is just that comfortable. The stability and tracking of the boat is very good as well.
I highly recommend this kayak for larger paddlers.”
“First I am 57 years old, overweight (280lbs) and struggle to get in and out of other kayaks I have tried. I feel comfortable in this kayak and I have room to carry some camera gear in the cockpit.”
You will be hard-pressed to find a better performing, more stable kayak suitable for fat or larger persons. The Pungo line of kayaks has been a mainstay in the kayaking world for decades for a very good reason — because it has proven itself to be a winning model that can withstand the test of time.
The Ultimate Recreational Kayak: Old Town Canoe and Kayaks Loon 126
Old Town is another mainstay in the kayak world having produced many reputable brands of kayaks over the decades.
The Old Town Loon was designed with extra carrying capacity in mind, whether that be to accommodate bigger paddlers, average paddlers who have a lot of gear with them, or a furry companion to accompany them in the cockpit.
Although this kayak has been around for over 20 years, 3 years ago Old Town decided to completely upgrade and revamp one of their classic Loon kayak.
What they came up with replaced a traditional, familiar kayak with an upgraded and improved yak, full of innovative, one-of-a-kind features (like a USB charging port) that you won’t find anywhere else.
Not only did they manage to raise the bar in innovation, they did so while maintaining supreme comfort and performance for paddlers of all sizes and abilities.
They set out to create the ‘Ultimate Recreational Kayak’ and knocked it out of the park.
As one plus-sized paddler put it,
“The 126 is the best recreational Kayak I’ve ever used. I’m 6′ 2″, 270lbs and have more than enough room to move around and reach where ever I may need to, even with a PDF on and a 5 year old passenger in front of me.
This Kayak tracks extremely well and is very fast hull for a wider Kayak. The work deck is very easy to reach and after taking on the rain & waves on its maiden trip I can attest it’s absolutely waterproof.
The new seat is very comfortable for long trips and easy it’s easy to adjust. The storage hatch area is secure, waterproof and fairly large. I can’t remember of having used a better ‘recreational’ Kayak for trips in lakes and rivers.
If you’re a person of larger stature, or need to carry lots of goodies, this is an excellent Kayak that I highly recommend!”
The only downside to this kayak was from a couple of reviewers who mentioned that the front carry handle was subpar and comes apart frequently. For the price paid for this kayak, one would expect better quality on some of its features.
But these were the only 2 negative comments I could find about it. Everyone else is in love with the Loon 126!
The Old Town Loon has been in production for over 20 years for good reason.
With the addition of cutting edge new features including the most advance seating system on the market, USB charging port, and a fully removable work deck, Old Town has set the standard for recreational kayaks that everyone else must follow if they’re to keep up.
Not only that, but with one of the most spacious cockpits on the market, larger paddlers will be able to enjoy all of the Loon’s advanced features without sacrificing an ounce of comfort or stability.
This is the Ultimate Recreational Kayak for paddlers of all sizes.
Most Feature Rich Fishing Kayak: BKC UH-RA220 11.5-foot Angler Sit on Top Fishing Kayak
If you’ve read some of my other stuff, you might recall seeing my other article where I review the best tandem fishing kayaks. That article included a review for the Brooklyn Kayak Company’s incredible 2-person fishing kayak.
Like their 2 man fishing kayak, the UH-RA220 Riptide Angler SOT is a feature-rich beauty. The company’s product page calls this kayak the “Swiss Army Knife of solo fishing kayaks”. It has every feature you could want: flush mount rod holders, tons of cargo space both watertight and easily accessible, a comfortable seat, and a foot operated rudder — wow!
More to the point of this article, however, it has an impressive 440-pound weight capacity. So if you’re a bigger guy who’s worried about whether you plus all your gear can fit, rest assured that all your fishy dreams will come true with this kayak.
Its wide 34-inch beam ensures total stability without compromising its paddling performance. Most fishing kayaks out there are super sturdy but feel like paddling a bathtub. Brooklyn Kayak Company has managed to create a fishing kayak that is also easy to paddle.
As with any self-respecting kayak, they have made it possible for you to stand up and fish from although, according to some, that feature is dubious. Despite the sturdiness of the kayak, one user did report that it’s almost impossible to fish from standing up without some sort of stability bar.
As he put it,
“The feeting area is in a downward slant and would make it very off balanced trying to stand on your tippy toes.”
This minor flaw notwithstanding, the BCK UH-RA220 fishing kayak is worth checking out.
Brooklyn Kayak Company has done it again and made a feature-rich kayak at a reasonable value. If you’re in the market for a fishing kayak for a large person, you’d be hard pressed to find one with more bells and whistles than the UH-RA220.
With a huge 440-pound weight capacity and a wide 34-inch beam, the UH-RA 11.5 Riptide Angler should accommodate even the beefiest of paddlers. If you want a fully loaded fishing kayak, this one’s not to be missed!
✅ Best Fishing Kayak for the Money: Perception Pescador Pro 12 Kayak
Perception is another stalwart in the kayaking industry having created dozens of reliable and reputable brands of kayaks over the decades. The Pescador Pro 12 is certainly no different.
Designed to provide added support and storage for the bigger fisherman, this is a serious fishing kayak for serious anglers. Offering 2 molded tankwells in the bow and stern, molded in rod holders, cup holder, and an adjustable stadium-style seat, this has all the accessories a kayak fisherman could want.
With a weight capacity of 375 pounds, there should be plenty of room to accommodate a big guy angler plus all of his gear. Of course, being a sit on top kayak means not having to worry about squeezing into a small cockpit or cutting circulation off to your legs.
The Perception Pescador Pro 12 paddles like a dream as well, so you still get top performance out of your fishing kayak. Other fishing kayaks, while extremely stable and with lots of features, are more like barges than kayaks and paddle about as well.
The only thing missing from this kayak are watertight compartments. For some, though, that’s not an issue at all as some paddlers don’t like having to reach for them not to mention the extra cargo space they take up on the kayak.
To each their own but it’s something to take into consideration while comparing kayaks.
The Pescador Pro 12 is another solid example from Perception. With all of the essential features a fishing kayak needs, this has everything you need to get out on the water and catching fish in no time.
Big guy anglers will feel right at home with its wide beam, extreme stability, and 375-pound carrying capacity. It performs well for a fishing kayak. The only thing to be mindful of is the lack of watertight storage compartments. Otherwise, this is a solid buy for solid guys!
Best Offshore Kayak: Malibu Kayaks X-13 Fish and Dive Kayak
There are no two ways around it: the X-13 is an impressive kayak. Malibu really went to the drawing board with a specific goal in mind and didn’t stop until they had built a kayak that ticked all the boxes of a superior fishing kayak.
The X-13 Fish and Dive Kayak is the perfect kayak for anybody looking for any of the following criteria in a kayak:
- If you’re a large guy who needs extra room or cargo capacity to suit your size.
- You like to take your young kids, wife, or dog paddling with you.
- If you fish in bays, oceans, or large lakes subject to choppy conditions.
The X-13 is perfectly suited for any of the above situations and more.
First off, the X-13 has an impressive cargo capacity of 450 pounds. This is suitable not just for big guys who are worried about sinking their kayak, but for anybody who likes to take a lot of gear with them on their kayak. At 13’ 10” in length, there is storage aplenty aboard this Jolly Roger!
If you like to do long fishing trips, the X-13 offers multiple watertight storage compartments in addition to front and rear bungee netting. That’s plenty of room to store gear and provisions for a long day of roughing it.
Not to be overlooked is the dive function of the fish and dive kayak. Thanks to its high weight capacity and impressive length, there are lots of places to store dive gear like tanks, fins, snorkel, mask and the like.
Whether you’re diving or spearfishing you’re more than likely doing so in an oceanic environment, which means you’ll have some light chop to mid-sized waves to contend with. That’s where the X-13 really shines. The X-13 paddles straight and true even in choppy or windy conditions.
A couple last things to mention about the Malibu X-13 kayak. As I mentioned before, there are multiple watertight storage compartments on this kayak. The very front compartment consists of their revolutionary Gator Hatch.
With a triangular shape, the Gator Hatch is so named because of similarity in shape to a gator’s head. It’s best described as storage on storage on storage.
The top layer is on the surface of the kayak where you can store things under the bungee netting.
Below that is a middle layer that lays on top of the hull. The middle layer offers additional storage for your catch of the day or extra gear. Underneath that is the hull where you can store even more stuff below that.
Or, if you choose, you can leave the middle layer off entirely and just store stuff in the hull. The top layer of the gator hatch has a flip-up seat so you can just flip that up for easy access to the compartment without having to remove the whole thing. Pretty cool, huh?
But wait, did I just say flip-up seat? Why yes, yes I did. The top part of the Gator Hatch is a small molded seat where a child could sit. So if you want to take the little ones out fishing with you, it’s entirely possible. Not only that, but you can do so with peace of mind knowing how stable and dry this kayak stays.
One user was extra pleased with this feature. He remarked,
“I’ve owned this boat for a year. I purchased it to go with my 6 now 7 year old son (45 now 52 lbs.) seating on the front Gator Hatch child’s seat. Im 5’10” and 235 lbs. This Kayak works out perfect for riding with a small child! It is very stable and yet pretty fast.”
There seriously isn’t much to not like about this kayak.
-Insane weight capacity — check ✅
-Super stable — check ✅
-Tons of storage room —check ✅
-Standing room — check ✅
-Room for kids or extra companions — check ✅
If you’re looking for a stable and spacious kayak to do a little offshore fishing or if you enjoy taking the little ones with you while you paddle, you can rest assured you’ll stay safe and dry in this high performance kayak.
Most Affordable Big Guy Kayak: Sun Dolphin Bali SS 12
I’ll be up front: this is NOT the best kayak on this list. This is an adequate kayak — a starter kayak. And one that is suitable for big guys and gals, especially those who are just getting started.
I’m mainly including this kayak on this list because it’s affordable. That’s what makes this an attractive kayak. People can put up with the flaws that it has because they didn’t spend a lot of money on it.
The comments you see consistently about this kayak are that it’s pretty good for the price. So with that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the Sun Dolphin Bali SS 12.
Naturally, as I mentioned above, the price is going to be one of the best things about this kayak. It’s a good starter kayak and for most beginners unsure about trying out a new hobby, they always want to get started as cheaply as possible in case they decide they don’t like it.
In this case, there might be a lot of larger guys or gals who are looking to get into kayaking as a way to lose weight, which is fabulous. It’s a low-impact form of exercise and you’re usually in some of Earth’s most beautiful spots when you do it. What’s not to like?
In addition to an attractive price, the Bali 12 SS also comes with all the basics of a good kayak: bungee nets for cargo storage, adjustable foot pegs, watertight storage compartments (including one that’s portable that you can tow behind), and a paddle holder.
It also scores above average marks for stability and performance, tracking fairly well for a 12 foot sit on top that’s fairly wide (30 inches). This kayak does the basics well and that’s good enough for most paddlers.
Now for the not so good. Despite this being a sit on top kayak, many users have complained that it’s not actually that easy to get in and out of. This is owing to the fact that your bum is actually lower than your feet instead of on an even plane so it throws you off balance a bit.
More about that seat — while there is a seat back, the seat bottom leaves a lot to be desired. So while your back is supported, your booty is not. Many people have gone on to buy a separate seat back or gel pad to sit on to make the ride more comfortable (click here to check out my Kayak Seat Buying Guide).
Not only that but because the seat is the lowest point in the kayak, your booty is going to get wet. Now that’s to be expected with most SOT kayaks, but apparently, there are no scupper holes on this thing so rather than draining out, water just accumulates. If you paddle this on flat lakes and rivers as you’re supposed to, it shouldn’t be a major issue. It only becomes a problem if you’re taking the kayak out in choppy conditions or in the ocean (not recommended).
If you’re a big person looking to try out kayaking as a new activity to help you lose weight but want to get started on the cheap, it’s worth considering the Sun Dolphin Bali SS 12. You’ll get a basic and reasonably outfitted kayak for an affordable price.
Before having read this article, perhaps the thought of getting into a kayak was terrifying. After all, it would be rather embarrassing to have “Death By Kayak” listed on your tombstone as opposed to “Death by Staving Off Alien Invasion” or some other heroic demise.
Hopefully, though, this article and its suggestions will prove useful so that you can go out there and paddle with confidence knowing that you:
- Aren’t, in fact, going to sink.
- Will not have to amputate limbs or require rescuing by the Jaws of Life to get you out of your kayak.
- Will (probably) not make an ass out of yourself entering and exiting your kayak.
Yes, the Board and Kayak Life is for everyone, even our big-boned friends!
Last update on 2021-04-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API