Best Kayak for Big Guys [2023] − 300lb, 400lb, & 500lb Capacity for a Heavy Person

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If you’re on the taller or bigger side and love to kayak, then at some point you’ve been there.

You’re trying to squeeze into a boat that was made for someone much smaller than you and all you want is to know what the best kayaks for big and tall people are.

You don’t have to worry about finding a sturdy kayak anymore.

No matter your body type, in this article we’ll cover the best kayak for big guys and the best kayak for tall guys.

Let’s get started.

Best Kayaks for Big and Tall Guys

  1. A.T.A.K 120 – Best kayak for big guys overall
  2. Sportsman 120 – 500 lb capacity and great fishing features
  3. Pelican Catch Mode 110 – Cheap kayak for big guys
  4. Sea Eagle 370 Pro – Inflatable yet 650 lb capacity kayak
  5. Pungo 125 – Fast yet roomy sit-in kayak (57″-long cockpit)
  6. Old Town Loon 126 – Best touring kayak (comfy seat)
  7. Jackson Zen 3.0 – 300 lb capacity whitewater kayak

1. Best Sit-On-Top Kayak for Big Guys (400 lb capacity): A.T.A.K 120

Wilderness Systems ATAK 120, the best kayak for big guys

There’s no better place to start than with this great fishing kayak that can handle ocean swells.

The Wilderness Systems A.T.A.K 120 has the weight capacity and ruggedness to handle anything you throw at it.

It’s got great rear tankwell storage to fit a black pack and a cooler.

But what really sets it apart is that it’s crazy stable. It’s one of the most stable fishing kayaks and is suitable for paddlers up to 400 lb.

If you want to fall overboard, you’ll have to throw yourself out of the boat because this baby won’t flip. Ever.

  • Unbeatable stability for big guys
  • Fast enough
  • Great storage space

Read our full review of the ATAK 120

2. Best Fishing Kayak for big guys (500 Lb capacity): Old Town Sportsman 120

A big, beefy kayak, the Sportsman 120 from Old Town has a sit-on-top design that gives you a lot of room to move around.

Add in the 500-pound maximum load capacity and this is a boat that can handle any tall guy and your fishing/camping gear with little trouble.

It is on the heavy side, checking in at 85 pounds but the easy-grip handles simplify tandem carries.

On the water, the Sportsman 120 feels sturdy underneath with impressive maneuverability that allows it to squeeze into areas other kayaks can’t go.

But the main calling card is the boat’s customization. Several strategically placed gear tracks allow you to outfit this perfect kayak to your precise specifications and a handy central console allows you to install a fish finder or GPS.

  • One of the heaviest solo fishing kayaks
  • Customization opportunities galore
  • Stable and responsive

Read our full Sportsman 120 review.

3. Best Plus Size kayak On a Budget: Pelican Catch Mode 110

Pelican Catch Mode 110 Kayak

The Pelican Catch Mode 110 won’t knock your socks off. But at this price point, you’re not going to find any kayaks that do that.

Instead what you get is a reliable, stable, and durable kayak that’s responsive and versatile in one affordable package. 

I was impressed with how well it tracked and the extra accessories that make your time on the water more enjoyable.

The adjustable foot braces are a must for big and tall paddlers and there’s a watertight storage hatch for your more sensitive gear.

The kayak stability is very good, and you could even stand on it if you’re into kayak fishing or if you just want to stretch your legs.

  • Comfortable position for big guys
  • Wide base (34-inches) for great stability
  • One of the most price-efficient kayaks out there

4. Best Inflatable Kayak for big and tall guys: Sea Eagle 370 Pro

Picture of the Sea Eagle 370

If you’re looking for a cheap inflatable kayak that requires almost no storage space, look no further than the 370 Pro from Sea Eagle − the only tandem kayak on our list.

It’s big for an inflatable, measuring twelve and a half feet long with a mammoth weight capacity of 650 pounds. Depending on your size, there’s room for either two or three people.

This recreational kayak doesn’t handle rough water as well as some of its newer contemporaries, but the three inflatable chambers and 34-inch beam make it stable and durable for its price tag.

At its best on calm lakes or low-key rivers, the design includes a pair of skegs to improve tracking should mild wind or waves crop up.

The inflatable seats are comfortable enough for big guys, but they’re not the best I’ve ever sat in.

  • One of the biggest inflatable kayaks with a huge weight capacity
  • Not suited for whitewater or dynamic ocean environments
  • One of the top-reviewed inflatable kayaks
  • Comes with paddles, a pump, a repair kit, and a carry bag

5. Best Sit-In kayak for big guys: Wilderness Systems Pungo 125

With a huge cockpit that measures 57-inches long, Wilderness Systems has developed a great kayak with long-legged and big paddlers in mind. 

The Pungo 125 also has an extra six inches of legroom and the seat adjusts easily for maximum comfort.

Add in the removable console in front of the seat along with the thigh pads and you couldn’t ask for a more accommodating boat.

There’s ample storage with bow and stern storage hatches and bungee cord webbing while the 425-pound kayak’s maximum weight capacity should allow for some weekend getaways. 

It’s a little narrower than some kayaks on this list at 29-inches, but it should still be more than stable even for big guys. 

  • The central console has molds for a drink holder, fishing tackle, or a camera
  • Foot and knee braces allow for a custom fit
  • Solid stability and tracking

6. Best Touring kayak for big guys: Old Town Loon 126

Picture of Old Town Loon 126

Built with a ton of gear storage, the Old Town Loon 126 has room for a paddler of any size and their gear.

If you want you can also use the space for a small second person or even your canine companion if you want the company. 

Like the Pungo 125, there’s a removable “work deck” to provide more room when you’re getting in and out of the boat or if you require more storage capacity. They’ve even included a USB charging port!

The seat is really comfortable which is invaluable on longer trips and the easy-to-adjust seatback allows you to shift in mid-paddle if you need to.

It’s at its best on calm water, though I’d feel comfortable taking it out on the ocean as long as the weather forecast is promising. 

  • High weight capacity kayak for big guys
  • One of the roomiest kayaks for larger paddlers
  • Large watertight stern hatch

7. Best Whitewater kayak for big and Tall guys (300 lb capacity): Jackson Zen 3.0

Jackson Kayak Zen 3.0

Finding a good whitewater kayak is challenging for big and tall people. Most in this category are narrow sit-inside kayaks with tight cockpits to allow for better maneuvering around rapids. But Jackson Kayak has managed to meld the best of both worlds.

With a 280-pound weight capacity, the Jackson Zen 3.0 can accommodate most paddlers and their day gear.

As expected from a premium whitewater kayak, the seat is fully adjustable and comfortable for hours.

Just as importantly, the high volume (390L) helps maintain the boat afloat, which is particularly important for class III+ whitewater.

Finally, this whitewater kayak for big guys is currently sold at a 25% discount at Backcountry, which makes it the best value as long as it lasts.

  • Can handle class IV whitewater
  • Great 300lb capacity for a whitewater kayak
  • Easy to carry (only 50lb)

How to Choose the Best Kayak if You’re a Heavy Person

Get a Large and Wide Kayak


You can look at a kayak’s specifications and read reviews from fellow big and tall paddlers, but there’s no substitution for sitting in your kayak before you buy it.

If possible, visit your perspective model in-store and try it out, bearing in mind that it will be more challenging to get in and out of when you’re on the water. 

In most cases the longer a kayak the more legroom you’ll have. This can vary though depending on the design of your boat (sit-inside, sit-on-top, etc). For a sit-inside kayak, check the dimensions of the cockpit opening and make sure that the boat has adjustable foot braces and seatback.

Some boats have a higher deck which gives the paddler more room for larger feet. This is especially important if the boat has a rudder that is controlled via foot pedals.

Finally, make sure you know what the boat’s weight capacity is. This refers to the total weight that the big man kayak can carry, including the paddler.

If a big man kayak is overloaded it will sit lower in the water which can make the kayak sluggish and less responsive. Stability can also be compromised and can make capsizing much easier.

Consider What You Plan on Doing the Most

Once you know what kayaks will fit, it’s time to determine what sort of paddling you plan on doing.

If most of your trips will be on calm mellow lakes on sunny afternoons, then you can probably save some money by going with a cheaper plastic or inflatable kayak. These are easier to transport and store and come with a lower price tag. 

If taking your family or dog is in your plans, make sure that you have room in the kayak for extra passengers and that the material is durable enough to withstand a dog’s nails.

If your paddling includes some more ambitious trips, you’ll probably need a more expensive kayak.

Fishing kayaks in particular are worth the extra money as the higher-end models come with a lot of customization features and fishing rod holders.

The same can be said for multi-day or “touring” trips. Extra storage area is paramount and a longer keel and narrower design will make for faster, more efficient paddling.

Make sure your touring kayak has a comfortable seat with adjustable foot pedals and maybe thigh braces to make those longer paddle days more tolerable.

Sit-In Vs. Sit-On-Top Kayaks for Fat Guys

The two primary kayak design types, there are several differences between the two models. 

Sit-in kayaks have a defined “cockpit” that the paddler sits inside that protects their legs and lower torso. This makes them good in wet or cold environments where the cockpit can be enclosed by a spray skirt. 

Since you sit inside the boat, your center of gravity is lower which makes sit-in kayaks more stable and allows their design to be narrower, faster, and less likely to be blown off course by wind or waves. This makes them popular choices for longer trips or for those that need a higher-performing boat.

A sit-on-top kayak gives the paddler more room since there’s no defined cockpit which makes them easier to get in and out of. There’s no way to protect you from splashing waves or rain however and to compensate for this, sit-on-top kayaks sit higher in the water to protect you.

This can make them more unstable, so to counteract this sit-on-top boats tend to be wider to maintain stability. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t high-performing kayaks out there. Many high-end angling models fit this category and can still move at a decent speed with plenty of storage area. Most recreational and entry-level kayaks fit into this category.

Best Kayak for big guys – FAQ

are wide kayaks better for big guys?

Yes, wide kayaks are generally better for big guys as they are more stable and generally have a higher weight capacity. On the flip side, wide kayaks are slower than narrow kayaks. This is why we’ve recommended the Old Town Loon 126 for touring: it’s still wide enough to be stable, but narrow enough to go faster than the ATAK 120 and the Sportsman 120

Is a Kayak 400 lb capacity stable enough?

Remember that the load capacity of a kayak includes the actual weight of the kayak, plus any accessories you plan on bringing along. Therefore, a 400 lb capacity kayak will generally be good for a heavy person weighing up to 300 lb, but I wouldn’t push it farther than that.

What Is the Best Fishing Kayak for Big Guys?

The best fishing kayak for big guys is the Old Town Sportsman 120. With amazing fishing features, stability, and speed, this is actually one of the best fishing kayaks overall. But paired with the 500 lb capacity, this makes it the #1 best fishing kayak for a heavy person.

best kayaks for big guys – Conclusion

Any experienced big or tall person can tell you horror stories about trying to pretzel themselves into a kayak designed to fit someone much smaller than them.

But if you’re going to buy a kayak of your own, there’s no reason not to find one that fits like a glove. 

Thanks to its massive stability and ability to handle open ocean conditions, the Wilderness Systems ATAK 120 is the best kayak for big guys. The included rod holders and massive storage space allow you to be out as long as you like, and all the room means you can bring a second paddler if you like. 

Wilderness Systems Pungo 125 is another competitive model. I love the clever removable deck for added space that makes getting in and out much easier. Add in all the storage space and the narrower design and you’ve got another boat that can be out for several days. 

What do you think of our list? What’s the most comfortable kayak you’ve ever paddled? Got any good stories from your last time out on the water? Let us know in the comments below. 

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Max Richardson

    Greetings. I think the ATAK 120 is the best kayak for fat people for the money.

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