When one comes to buy a kayak, there are several factors to consider. One of those is usually its weight capacity; yet, things change, and sometimes you initially purchase the suitable weight capacity but later find out that you need to increase it.
For instance, by time, the weight capacity can become not within your weight range, or your gear's weight plus yours exceeds the kayak's weight capacity.
In such cases, the question of whether it's possible to increase the weight capacity of your kayak comes to mind. That’s precisely the question that we answer in this article.
A Snippet on Weight Capacity of Kayaks
The weight capacity of a kayak is the weight limit attached to the kayak by its manufacturer. Knowing the kayak's weight limit, a kayaker knows how much gear and human weight the kayak can hold while remaining afloat.
To prevent water from entering into the kayak's cockpit uncontrollably and ultimately capsizing or, worse, drowning the kayak, it's essential to take into careful consideration the weight capacity of a kayak before purchase.
A rule of thumb for easy maneuverability and to ensure safety is that the whole sum of you and your gear’s weight should be 70% of the kayak's weight capacity. So, if your kayak has a weight capacity of 500 pounds, the sum of all the weight in the kayak should be 350 pounds.
However, there are ways to keep your kayak afloat and enjoy kayaking, despite having loaded your kayak to its maximum weight capacity or past it.
4 Ways to Improve Your Kayak’s Weight Capacity Through Buoyancy
Now, the simple answer to whether you can increase your kayak's weight capacity is no; BUT, a simple trick to loading your kayak beyond its weight capacity while still enjoying kayaking with little to no fear for safety is buoyancy. Buoyancy is the ability to keep your kayak stable, and afloat despite the weight it's carrying.
1. Change Your Paddling Location
Calm Waters/Rough Waters
If your kayak is loaded to its maximum weight capacity or past it, you might want to consider where you paddle. It may sound obvious, but paddling in still and calm waters will prevent or reduce the amount of water that enters your cockpit to a large extent.
The continuous entry of water into the kayak's cockpit will keep pushing the kayak lower into the water, increasing its risk of capsizing or drowning.
Needless to say, you’re more likely to get away with loading your kayak to its maximum weight capacity or past it when you paddle in calm waters as opposed to paddling in rough waters.
You might want to consider paddling in salty water, not freshwater. Salty water has more density than freshwater due to the presence of salt, giving it a natural tendency to keep things afloat.
2. Invest In Extra Kayaking Gear
Due to the way they're made, kayaks naturally stay afloat. Still, if you intend to load a kayak past its weight capacity, you should consider investing in extra equipment that improves your kayak buoyancy and keeps it on top of the water. Here are some of them.
Flotation bags are durable, water-resistant, nylon-like fabrics that are lightweight and flexible.
They usually look like triangularly shaped balloons and, depending on the size, can fit into the bulkhead of the kayak.
Flotation bags come with a long inflation tube that allows you to wedge the bags in place before inflating them with air, as inflating them before wedging them in place might be difficult.
Kayak outriggers help balance the kayak, adding to its stability level while reducing the chances of it flipping over or drowning. If you'll be loading your kayak to its weight capacity or past it, stability is something you want to consider.
Pool noodles are cylindrical pieces of buoyant polyethylene foam. They can be used in place of flotation bags and are useful in keeping kayaks afloat. Due to the variety of pool noodles in the market, it's best to ensure you're getting the right type, that is, the type that doesn’t absorb water.
3. Paddling Using the Right Technique
Having a proper kayaking paddling technique can improve the buoyancy of the kayak and also prevent fatigue. With the appropriate paddle strokes, you can reduce unnecessary arms fatigue while preventing water from entering and filling your kayak's cockpit.
This skill is a lifesaver, especially when the kayak is carrying a lot of weight.
4. Amending/Changing the Kayak's Hull
The hull of a kayak refers to its skeletal frame, and the purpose of a kayak can be perceived from the hull's design. For instance, pontoon hull-shaped kayaks are best for fishing; the tunnel shape gives the kayak the necessary stability when standing up to fish on the water.
If you want to improve your kayak's weight capacity, you might want to consider rearranging the hull design of the kayak. However, bear in mind that revamping the hull of your kayak can tamper with the integrity of your kayak, making it weak and detracting its value.
It's advised that purchasing another kayak might just be the best option rather than rearranging the hull design.
As stated earlier, for now, a way of actually increasing your kayak's weight capacity doesn't exactly exist. But, you can get away with loading your kayak to its maximum capacity or past it while staying afloat and enjoy kayaking by focusing on the buoyancy of the kayak. By employing the above tips and tricks, you'll undoubtedly reap the benefits of more capacity!