How To Make A Kayak Hold More Weight (Tips For Increasing Weight Capacity Of Your Kayak)

Fact Checked By James A Rockey | Post Updated On: November 27, 2022
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There are many ways you can make a kayak hold more weight. You can add extra floatation equipment to hold more weight. You can also consider using Kayak buoyancy bags to hold more weight.

Key Takeaways

  • You can add extra floatation equipment like floatation bags, pool noodles, and outriggers to increase the weight capacity of your kayak
  • Kayak buoyancy bags come filled with air and add extra stability to the kayak
  • Using Pool Noodles can increase the weight capacity of your kayak as well as get protection from scratches and damage
  • If you are considering increasing the weight capacity of your kayak, then you can rearrange the hull design of your kayak

Top Four Effective Ways To Increase The Weight Capacity Of A Kayak

Unfortunately, there is no way you can increase the weight capacity of your kayak without altering its design, but what you can do is find ways to improve its buoyancy so that your kayak can remain afloat and stable, no matter how much weight it’s carrying.

1. Add Extra Floatation Equipment

You can add different equipment to your kayak to increase its buoyancy, which will allow you to load your kayak beyond the expected weight capacity. This equipment includes; floatation bags, pool noodles, and outriggers. 

Floatation bags are lightweight, long-lasting, nylon-like fabrics that are water-resistant and have high flexibility. Their shape resembles triangular-shaped balloons. They can be fixed into any kayak bulkhead, depending on size. These bags have to be inflated, and as a result, they have an inflation tube that will help you wedge them in place before inflating them. Failure to wedge them in place before inflating, you’ll have many difficulties.

If you don’t have flotation bags, you can use pool noodles. These are cylindrical-shaped polyethylene foam pieces used to keep the kayaks stable and afloat. You have to research which pool noodle is good on the market

The outriggers help balance the kayak by increasing its stability and keeping it safe from drowning or flipping over when loaded past its weight capacity. This gear has been discussed further below:

a. Using Kayak Buoyancy Bags

With these bags, you can easily increase the weight capacity of your kayak. You can carry more gear when using these buoyancy bags. They come filled with air, so they are ready for use by putting them between your legs or at the rear. These bags also add extra stability to the kayak, so you can now kayak with confidence.

b. Pool Noodles For Kayak Floatation

If you are on a tight budget but at the same time want to increase the weight capacity of your kayak, then this is a great option. It is relatively cheap and easily found in the local shops that supply gear. For this, you will need one for every foot of your kayak. To use it properly, you should cut the noodle and hold it down with tape on either side of your kayak, then inflate. Apart from increasing capacity, you will get protection from scratches and damage.

c. Kayak Stabilizer System 

With the kayak stabilizer system, you can now increase the weight capacity of your kayak without worrying about your stability. It reduces excess movement when in rough water, preventing seasickness. You can now keep your fishing equipment in your kayak with confidence about your stability. The stabilizer system is easy to install and one of the cheapest ones in the market.

2. Changing The Hull Design Of Your Kayak

The hull design of the kayak depends on the purpose of the kayak. For instance, fishing kayaks have pontoon hulls because these hulls are of high stability that you require when standing to fish. The touring kayaks have super narrow and v-shaped hulls that make them high-speed and can travel long distances. That means kayaks have different hull designs because they are meant for various purposes. If you are considering increasing the weight capacity of your kayak, then you can rearrange the hull design of your kayak. This one is not advised because your kayak will be weak, have low value, and its general integrity will be tempered. It will be the best option to consider buying another kayak, rather than tampering with its hull design, if you feel like the kayak you have does not have the weight capacity that you need to hold you and your gear.

3. Paddling Location

You may be surprised by this, but it is very important to consider your paddling location before loading your kayak to its maximum weight capacity or past it. It’s obvious that paddling in calm and still water will help the cockpit of your kayak not to be filled with water that enters it to a larger extent. Paddling in rough waters will make the water continuously enter the cockpit of your kayak. This will result in it being pushed lower into the water, and the chances of capsizing will be very high. To add to that, if you have loaded your kayak past the weight capacity range, it’ll be safer if you paddle in salt water compared to paddling in freshwater. This is because the presence of salt in the water makes it have a high density as opposed to freshwater, which makes it the ability to keep things afloat.

4. Have Proper Paddling Techniques

It’ll be great to master proper paddling techniques that will help you paddle even when your kayak has an excess load. Paddling techniques that are required will help reduce the amount of water entering the cockpit of your kayak. In addition, you won’t get tired easily as the effectiveness of your paddling strokes will be maximized. Therefore, being free from fatigue will give you the energy to paddle your overloaded kayak without much struggle. 

Importance Of Kayak Weight Limit

Importance Of Kayak Weight Limit

Different kayaks have different weight limits and choosing which one is good for you will depend on you. For instance, you have to consider the amount of gear you will take with you, the length of your trip, and even your weight. All these will determine how much more weight you should be able to carry in your kayak. If you, for example, always go kayaking with your dog, you can’t compare yourself with someone who never kayaks with their dog. So, every person’s needs are different, and deciding should not depend on what your neighbor says.¬†

The weight capacity of a kayak must never be exceeded. If you want a smooth trip in the water, you should always follow the instructions for the kayak. If not, it will be a rough one, hard to maneuver, and not enjoyable. What is the point of going kayaking if you won’t enjoy it? 

The kayaks are manufactured with their maximum weight capacity. This is done to ensure that you do not overload your kayak to the extent of making it sink deep into the water. When you want to buy a kayak, there are various factors you put into consideration before deciding which one will meet your needs, and the weight capacity is one of those factors that you look at. You may purchase a kayak that has a suitable weight capacity for you, but as time goes by, your needs change, and at the time, you may be required to increase it to fit your weight range. Sometimes, your weight plus that of your gear may exceed the available weight capacity of your kayak, and that will force you to think of other options; one option will be whether you can increase the weight capacity of your kayak or not.

Frequently Asked Questions On Increasing Weight Capacity Of Kayaks

Q. What Happens When You Exceed The Weight Capacity Of A Kayak?

When you buy a kayak, it comes with how much weight the kayak can hold. It is recommended to only fill up your kayak by 80% of its weight limit, although manufacturers have designed the vessels o hold more weight than specified on the limit. Sometimes, exceeding the weight capacity of a kayak barely has an impact, but other times, the kayak may become unstable and hard to control. To guarantee your safety on the water, always ensure you don’t exceed the weight limit.

Q. How Do You Add A Bulkhead To A Kayak?

A bulkhead is added to the hull of a kayak to increase weight capacity by keeping the eight at a specific part of the vessel. If you have a bulkhead, you need to install it in the scupper hole or any drainage holes in the kayak’s hull.

Q. Are Outriggers And Kayak Stabilizers Worth It?

Yes, if you want to make your kayak more stable while holding a lot of weight, stabilizers are worth every penny. If you enjoy fishing, outriggers will make your experience more enjoyable; you can stand to cast and retrieve your catch and carry your catch home without worrying about the kayak’s weight limit.

Final Thoughts 

Kayaking is a skill that every watersport enthusiast knows. However, no matter how skilled you are, you cannot have fun with an overloaded kayak. It is difficult to maneuver, and you and your gear will get wet, and most, unfortunately, your kayak may overturn and drown. If you want to carry more than your kayak can hold, kindly follow the instructions above, or don’t carry more at all.


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