What Sized Kayak Do I Need?

Every kayak is different. It comes in different size, width, length, shape and form. But what matters is if you can choose the right size for you. So, there is no right answer to the question- “what sized kayak do I need?

However, you need to know a few things before understanding which size of kayak is perfect for you. Here, we will discuss all of that and a lot more, to help you make the best decision.

Multiple aspects need to be considered for this. And we will be discussing each of them for you to understand them better. So, let’s get started.

What Sized Kayak Do I Need?

As already mentioned, there are multiple things to think about before coming to the conclusion as there is no perfect answer to this question. For everyone, the choice will be different and will be unique to that individual.

But, we will go through the different aspects and figure out how each of these will affect your choice while you are looking for the right kayak for yourself. Let’s have a look at the different factors that need to be investigated.

The Purpose

First things first, you need to identify what is the purpose of your kayaking. People go for kayaking with different reasons.

Some go just for adventure, some pursue it as a professional sport, some people just want to chill with their friends or family on the river, and some people take the chilling up a notch and go in the middle of the sea. And all of these will affect the choice you make about your kayak. 

In case of kayaking in a river or a small water body, you can buy a smaller kayak. But, if you are going into the sea, then bigger kayak is needed as that gives you a lot of stability in the middle of the wild waves.

The size of the kayak will also affect the speed with which you move. For example, the bigger kayaks will slow you down. On the other hand, smaller kayaks are better for agility and control.

Also, you should think of how long you are going to stay in the kayak. If it is going to be a short trip, then you can make do with small kayak.

On a longer trip, you will need to accommodate a lot of stuff, your gears and everything. For that you will need to a bigger kayak with a deck to store the things.

Kayak for the Tall People

It is very difficult for the tall people to find the right sized kayak for themselves. And the height plays a very crucial role in determining the right kayak size as your center of gravity is dependent on your height.

But along with the height, tall people also have wider shoulder, waist, and longer legs. So, these measurements must be taken beforehand to be absolutely sure about the right size of your kayak.

Cockpit Dimensions

If it is a sit inside kayak, then the dimensions of your cockpit is very important.

Cockpit Width

The opening width needs to be a perfect fit for your size. If you are taller than average, then you will need a cockpit opening width of around 20-inches as it will be difficult to get in and out of the cockpit if the width is not perfect for your physique.

Cockpit Length

You might wonder what length of the cockpit has got to do with you. Well, the length of the cockpit will determine how comfortably you can sit in the kayak. Tall people have longer legs.

So, it is difficult to accommodate them inside a cockpit which has a very little space left. This can affect your kayaking as well.

That is why, you need to check the length as well. Usually the length of recreational cockpits can vary from30 to 56 inches in length.

What Sized Kayak Do I Need?
Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels

Kayak Volume

There are four ways to measure kayak volumes- low, medium, high, and gallon or cubic foot. G

etting the right kayak volume can be the most difficult part as someone who is new to this will not instantly understand what a vague term as “low volume” means. So, let’s get to know about this with a bit more understanding.

Low Volume and High Volume Kayaks

The rule of thumb is that low volume is for shorter people and high-volume is for the taller ones. Also, the volume has a connection to the weight of the rider as well. The low volume kayaks are designed for people who weigh 140 pounds or less. The height can be around 5 feet 6 inches or less.

The high-volume kayaks are designed for the taller people who weigh around 180 pounds and their height is 5 feet 10 inches or less.

You should also consider how much gear you are going to carry. By now this might be clear to you that low volume kayaks can fit-in light gears and the high-volume kayaks will accommodate the heavy gears.

Medium Volume Kayaks

The medium volume kayaks are the ones which is the more generalized size for a kayak. These are designed for the people with average height and weight, not too tall or too short.


To wrap it all up, we must tell you that there is no “one size fits all” for everyone.

If you are wondering what sized kayak do I need, then you need to check and balance all the factors discussed so far. It is can feel tiresome to investigate so many things at once.

But do keep in mind that the right kayak that perfectly fits you is going to be a long-term investment.

And kayaking is an adventurous sport. You will never get bored of it. So, investing a little bit of time in buying the right kayak for you will be worth it.

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