Buying a kayak will be a most thrilling experience for you. But, there are a lot of factors that go into making the right choice with different key elements to check out and assure you to have the most enjoyable time on the water.

Often one common question that we come across from the customers during their kayak buying process is “what is the right size of kayak for me”?

Whereas many people think that their body size can decide the kayak, which suits their needs, but, there are some other features to look for, which cater to the type of paddling you will do.

What Size Kayak Do I Need?

What Size Kayak Do I Need?

The most important elements of the kayak dimension are its length, width, volume, height, weight, and legroom. There are a few other size factors that you need to consider, like cockpit size and more and every kayak dimension will affect essential parts of a ride, such as maneuverability, speed, and comfort. If you want to find the right kayak that’s a perfect fit for you then choose one that sits very comfortably at one place where other factors line upright for an experience that you are looking to have.

Also Read: 7 Best One Person Inflatable Kayaks


An average kayak is 10feet long, however, there is a large range of lengths, however, you might see it from 6 ft to 16 ft long. Normally, if a kayak is longer, it means it is faster. Thus, a boat for rapids will be shorter than the standard recreational kayak, or shorter than one made especially for speed.

  • Recreational kayaks: Whereas there are some exceptions in boats that are made for performing various tricks & boats meant for young people, the majority of the recreational kayaks start at 9.5 ft. You can see it go over 12 feet and shorter ones are a bit slower, but simple to maneuver while paddling.
  • Sea kayaks: Known as touring kayaks appear longest of all, over 12 to 17 feet. 
  • Tandem kayaks: This type of kayaks are from 10 to 14 feet but generally tend to hover over 12 to 13.
  • Performance kayaks: These kayaks are made for speed, and runs from 15 to 18 feet.


If a kayak is wider it can provide higher stability and offer you the ability to stand when you are paddling and fishing. But, as the kayak width increases, you might lose performance regarding its speed & tracking. There’re rudder or skeg options that will help to offset such an issue, in case it hinders your kayaking experience out on the water. 

But, a narrower kayak may result in a faster paddling performance since it cuts through calm & choppy conditions with complete ease.


The kayak volume will give you the right idea of how much room the kayak has inside its cockpit. Its available space is related to the body type, though. 

Mostly it is described as: 

  • High volume, appropriate for the paddlers above 5 foot 10 and weighing above 180 pounds 
  • Medium volume, appropriate for the paddlers between 5 foot 7 & 5 foot 10 and weighing 180 pounds 
  • Low volume, appropriate for the paddlers under 5 foot 6 & weighing below 140 pounds 

You will see that some kayak brands list volume as cubic feet or gallons to indicate an actual physical space in a kayak. 

Unfortunately, the volume of the kayak does not tell you a lot about how space is distributed – particularly when this comes to the onboard storage space.

Height and Deck Height

It is noticed that taller people have higher gravity than shorter people and it is where the overall height matters. If the center of gravity is higher, you will feel less stable in your kayak.

If you are tall and have higher gravity, you may counteract it by finding the kayak with the lower deck height, deeper seat, or sometimes both. Both these can lower the center of gravity & make you feel a bit more stable.


Weight capacity is the total weight a kayak will safely carry. Thus, it is natural to think that you must choose the kayak that will take your body weight. But, it is one mistake that many people make.

The reason is you will not go kayaking along and you will carry a few gears along with you, though you paddle solo. Thus, it is a general rule to purchase a kayak, which has the weight capacity, which equals to your body weight and 150 lbs.

But, if you are using a kayak just for pleasure, then add 100 pounds to your kayak’s weight capacity.

Most of the kayakers prefer taking plenty of gears with them, and like to get everything new & fancy! But, it is good you consider the kayak’s weight capacity when you buy any new gear. You do not wish to go overboard or end up with your kayak in the water!


Another mistake that you can make when buying the kayak isn’t considering the leg length & thickness when purchasing. Kayaking comfortably and successfully needs legroom. You do not want a lot of legroom. Optimally you need a snug fit, which gives you room to adjust & stay comfortable in and out. Get inside a kayak in a shop if you want to. It may look a bit strange but this can save you from discovering you cannot fit once it is bought and out on the water!

Final Words 

Your weight and height are not everything when selecting a well-sized kayak. You need to take into consideration your kayaking style, length of your trips, and storage requirement. Taking these steps can help you to narrow down your selection as well as assure you have a successful and wonderful day.

Remember with all the things you are possible to spend huge amounts of your time in a kayak thus it has to be comfortable while you get inside. If it’s uncomfortable right at the start, then it is just downhill from there when your trip progresses.

Finding out the best kayak isn’t rocket science but it is important t make sure you get this right and save yourself from the headache of re-sell or re-buy condition and potential risk. I really hope this guide has helped you make the right decision, have fun!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *