How To Increase Weight Capacity Of Kayak: Top Tips And Tricks Explained

Fact Checked By James A Rockey | Post Updated On: November 27, 2022
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The only sure way of increasing your kayak’s weight capacity is by changing its hull design. However, you can use some tricks to make your kayak carry more than its recommended weight capacity without compromising on safety. You can use floatation devices and some paddling skills to make the kayak load more.

Key Takeaways

  • If you are looking for the maximum performance from your kayak then you should not load your kayak with more than 70% of its weight capacity
  • Changing the kayak hall is the most convenient way of increasing the kayak weight capacity
  • Paddling Location has a big impact on how the kayak reacts to overloading so, you can change the paddling location to increase the load capacity
  • You can use kayak outriggers, float bags, pool noodles, etc. to increase the storage capacity

Every kayak has a weight limit that the manufacturer normally determines. These limits are meant to discourage paddlers from overloading their kayaks which compromises on maneuverability and performance of the kayak.  

The weight capacity refers to the maximum weight a kayak can accommodate; this includes the paddler’s weight and gear. If your kayak has a weight capacity of 250 pounds, it means that your weight and that of your equipment combined should not exceed 250 pounds. Experts recommend loading your kayak up to 70% of its weight capacity for maximum performance. Sometimes, when paddlers are paddling long distances, they need to carry more gear that exceeds the kayak’s recommended weight capacity when combined with their weight.

This article takes you through all the information you need to handle such situations. We also give you some valuable tips on making your kayak carry more than its capacity without compromising on safety. Let’s get into it already!

Top Five Ways Of Increasing Your Kayaks Weight Capacity

Ways Of Increasing Your Kayaks Weight Capacity

1. Change The Kayak’s Hull Design

Changing your kayak’s design is the only sure way of increasing its weight capacity. By changing the hull, a kayak whose initial weight capacity was 250 pounds can be made to accommodate up to 300 pounds or more. Some people have tried revamping their kayak hull by themselves and succeeded. If you are not into DIY and don’t know how to change your kayaks design, we recommend contacting the manufacturer for insights. Sometimes, changing the design of a kayak can compromise its integrity and performance. You can also adjust the design by adding airbags to your kayak to make it handle heavier loads.

2. Changing Your Paddling Location

Your paddling location dramatically impacts how your kayak reacts to overloading. Paddling in rough waters causes water to splash into your cockpit even when you haven’t loaded to the maximum capacity. If you overload your kayak, then paddle in rough waters, your cockpit will fill up with water, and your kayak will keep sinking lower into the water. This could eventually cause downing, and you will need to bail water out of the vessel or leave your kayak in the water.

When you have overloaded your kayak, it is advisable to kayak in calm waters since the chances of capsizing or your boat filling up with water are minimal. Saltwater is also more buoyant, meaning you will float better with an overloaded kayak on saltwater compared to freshwater.

If you intend to lead your kayak more than its weight capacity, we recommend paddling in saltwater and flat-water areas to guarantee your safety.

3. Get Floatation Equipment And Accessories

Different kayak accessories and equipment can help your kayak handle more weight without compromising on safety and stability. These accessories do not increase the weight capacity of your kayak directly, but they will keep your vessel afloat. They include; kayak outriggers, float bags, and pool noodles. These equipment are designed to keep your kayak from sinking, and they will come in handy when you’ve loaded your kayak to the maximum, or you’ve exceeded the limit by a few pounds.

a. Kayak Outriggers

These are floatation apparatuses that are designed to keep your kayak stable. When your kayak is overloaded, they come in handy to ensure you stay afloat without compromising on maneuverability and stability. 

b. Float Bags

Float bags are lightweight inflatable bags made of nylon fabric fixed to the kayak’s hull or bulkhead then inflated to improve the vessel’s buoyancy. They resemble balloons and are primarily triangular. They come with a long inflation tube to allow you to fix them in place before inflating.

c. Pool Noodles

These are cylindrical polyethylene foams that are designed for maximum buoyancy. They are used interchangeably with floatation bags to keep your watercraft from sinking. There are various types of pool noodles in the market, and the best to use on your kayaks are the ones that don’t absorb any water.

4. Use Your Paddling Skills To Keep Your Boat Afloat

When paddling an overloaded kayak, you will need to use your best paddling techniques to ensure you stay afloat. How you paddle will also determine if water gets into your cockpit. Use paddling strokes that don’t get water into your cockpit, making the kayak sink further. Paddling a fully loaded kayak will also require more effort. Ensure you use paddling techniques that help you save your energy. It would help if you used paddle strokes that minimize the chances of fatigue so that when you are back to the shoe, you can offload and haul our vessel with ease.

5. Get A Bigger Kayak

We understand you want to make do with your kayak and still carry as much gear as possible, but you will have to upgrade your kayak to something bigger in the long run. Getting a kayak with a significant weight capacity guarantees your safety, and you won’t have to spend extra on stabilizer systems and floatation devices. If you find yourself overloading your kayak almost all the time, you need an upgrade. When shopping around for your next kayak, consider your weight and your gear combined, then get a vessel that accommodates more than that. Doing this ensures you don’t worry anymore about overloading your boat.


Every manufacturer includes a weight limit on the vessels they make. These limits help the users know the appropriate load weight for the kayak to perform its best. For paddlers with smaller kayaks, sometimes overloading the kayak is unavoidable because you need to carry specific gear and also account for your weight. If you want your kayak to carry more, you can change its design if you have the know-how or use accessories to keep the vessel from sinking. Your paddling skills will also come in handy if you want to load your kayak more. We hope you are now enlightened on how to stay safe on those rare trips when o need to overload your vessel. If you find that you overload your boat frequently, we recommend getting a bigger kayak.



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