Articles, Skills

How To Increase the Weight Capacity Of a Kayak

When it comes to kayaks, weight capacity is determined by the kayak’s hull shape and size.

A prepared kayaker knows beforehand how much gear and human weight the Kayak can hold while keeping it afloat. To ensure your safety, the gear weight in total should be 70% of the Kayak’s weight capacity. That means, if your Kayak holds a weight capacity of 1000 pounds, then the sum of all the weight should be 700 pounds.   

However, there are many ways a kayak can float past its maximum capacity while keeping afloat.

In What Ways Can You Increase Weight Capacity

woman kayaking 1

Below were go through some ways you can increase the weight capacity beyond set limits. We will recommend that when using these techniques, be very careful since overdoing it can be dangerous. 

Site or Location of your Kayak

The most surprising way to increase the weight capacity of your Kayak is by changing where you paddle. However, this technique is more about minimizing overload than increasing your Kayak’s weight capacity.

Rough Water is Risky for Weight Capacity: When you paddle on rougher water with larger waves, the water will splash inside your cockpit, even when you are not overloaded by much. However if you are loaded with the maximum capacity, then the water splashing in will increase drastically as the cockpit of your kayak drops just above the waterline.  

As your Kayak’s cockpit fills up, you will have a higher chance to descend lower and lower into the water.

Saltwater vs Freshwater For Weight Capacity: When sticking to flat water, you float smoothly and can get away with putting in a lot more weight. Natural freshwater is also less buoyant than saltwater. Thus, calm and flat coastal waterways will be the best choice to facilitate maximum kayak weight capacity.

Paddling the Correct Way During Added Weight

Choosing a proper paddling technique will ensure your safety by decreasing the amount of water entering your cockpit, also maximizing the efficiency of paddling strokes so you are not tired easily.

When choosing your location to paddle in, you should make sure that the movement of your body parts is separated, that is ensuring your upper and lower body is independently yet supporting each other. Moreover, while paddling you should use your torses power to enable a good posture and rightly sit up. Adopting these paddling techniques properly will help you load the Kayak with maximum weight. (1)

Furthermore, the technique ensures to help minimize your fatigue when you head out on a kayak with a much larger weight capacity, saving much of your energy.

Changing the Design of your Kayak

In regards to other techniques, altering your Kayak design will help you increase the weight capacity.

The main focus in the design is on a hull in a kayak. These kayaks are built for specific purposes, and the hull design reflects it thoroughly. This hull styling helps you with more stability when in the Kayak. Here’s a kayaking stability tips and guide that you can check.

These hulls are super narrow and V-shaped, providing its best touring feature in a kayak. These are meant for speed and efficiency than the former style ones. At the same time, the former ones are more stable and buoyant.

It is always better for you to buy an entire new kayak with a higher weight capacity than revamp your Kayak’s design. 

However, you can also add airbags in the bulkhead compartments of your Kayak for easy floatation. This will help your Kayak carry heavy gear for longer trips. Some kayakers fill up these airbags with helium to increase the floatation. (2)       

Required Equipment for your Kayak


Some kayaks have outriggers that help you with stability throughout the ride. However, stability is more important when carrying more load than the capacity it can hold. The outriggers help you move.

Another piece of equipment that you can use is NRS infinity float bags. However, these items are not directly meant to increase the weight capacity, and they only ensure your floating.

How Close Can you Get to the Weight Capacity?

man kayaking 1

Every kayak has its own weight capacity, and while using yours, you have to weigh less than the recommended weight to not risk capsizing. Many manufacturers suggest that you should not get anywhere close to the weight capacity of your Kayak. 

The weight must be 30% less to float above the sea or water level. That means your Kayak should hold 70% or even less weight than its maximum capacity if you haven’t made any extra modifications for buoyancy. This will indeed ensure your safety. Make sure you count the weight of equipment and gear as well.

For example, you bought a new kayak with 500 pounds of weight capacity. You should make sure to weigh less than 350 pounds including your weight and gears weight. This will help maximize your Kayak’s effectiveness and performance while being on the water.

How Much is the Weight of your Gear?

kayak gear

How can you tell how much your gear weighs? The best way to do this is to keep track of the weight it holds. Placing different gear items and measuring the weight through a traditional scale is too much work.

buying a popular hanging scale for checking how heavy a pack is a great way to weigh your kayak gear.

Choose the Best Kayaks

The kayaks mentioned below that can hold a maximum capacity of at least 500 pounds. Below is the list of best kayaks for larger weights.  

  • Brooklyn Kayak Company TK122U Tandem: This kayak company offers the highest weight capacity of 770 pounds. Its weight itself is 74 pounds and is 34 inches wide and 12’8″ long.
  • Brooklyn Kayak Company RA220 Solo: This kayak company offers a weight capacity of 550 pounds maximum. Its weight itself is 68 pounds and is 34 inches wide and 11’6″ long.
  • Brooklyn Kayak Company PK13 Angler Solo: This kayak company offers a maximum weight capacity of 550 pounds. Its weight itself is 80 pounds and is 33.25 inches wide and 13′ long.
  • Driftsun Rover 220: This kayak company offers a maximum weight capacity of 600 pounds. It can hold 2 kayakers with a gear.
  • Brooklyn Kayak Company TK181 Tandem: This kayak company offers a maximum weight capacity of 595 pounds and is built for 2 kayakers paddling together. Its weight itself is 68 pounds and is 34 inches wide and 12’8″ long.

You may also want to read other learning and product guides we’ve written, for your reference. Don’t forget to bookmark them, in case you needed them in the future. Until our next kayak article!

(1) good posture –
(2) helium –

How helpful was this article?

Were Sorry This Was Not Helpful!

Let us improve this post!

Please Tell Us How We Can Improve This Article.

About Julian Thompson

cb787c59d2808e1f609076e790ca977e?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: Certified Kayaking Instructor (AKA)
Education: American Kayak Association
Lives In: Denver Colorado

I am a kayaking expert/instructor who has been fishing for over 15 years. Fishing is my passion, but kayaking keeps me on the water. I love to share my knowledge of techniques and tips with others. I live in Colorado with my wife and two kids and own a small kayak rental business On Grand Lake where I rent and instruct.