Purchasing a kayak can be an overwhelming experience. There are many factors that go into making a decision with several key elements to look for that assure you have an enjoyable time out on the water.

One of the most common questions we receive from customers during the purchasing process is: What size kayak do I need?

While most understand that their body size will ultimately determine the kayak that best suits their needs, there are many more features regarding size to look for that cater to the kind of paddling you’ll be doing.

Here are the top 4 aspects to consider when purchasing the right size kayak for you:

1. Length

The length of your kayak is one of the most important factors that determine whether or not you have a fun and efficient time on the water.

  1. Shorter kayaks are designed to maneuver around and turn with ease as seen by most recreational styles.
  2. Longer kayaks will deliver better tracking. This makes the kayak more enjoyable for longer paddles as it ultimately takes less energy to keep it going fast and straight.

2. Width

A wider kayak will provide more stability and may even provide you the ability to stand while you paddle or fish. However, as the width of the kayak increases, you may lose some performance in regards to speed and tracking. There are rudder/skeg options to help offset this issue, if it hinders your experience on the water. 

In turn, a narrower kayak will result in faster paddling performance as it cuts through both calm and choppy conditions with ease.

3. Weight Capacity 

Let’s face it, a lot of us kayak fishermen are gear junkies. If you can identify, it’s a good idea to consider weight capacity. We recommend adding 150 lbs to your bodyweight and using that total to decide what weight capacity you should look for in a fishing kayak or sea kayak.

If you’re planning to use the kayak solely for recreational paddling, adding 100 lbs to your bodyweight is a safe bet for finding a kayak with the right weight capacity for you.

4. Legroom

Whether you’re tall or short, you should consider how much legroom is available on the deck of the kayak. You’ll want the option for adjustable foot pegs that will allow you to dial in the distance needed for your legs to be comfortable.

Also, we recommend taking the center console into account. If the kayak you’re looking at has a console in the center of the deck, you should weigh the pros and cons of leg room vs storage. While it’s convenient to have close and accessible storage, you might find the freedom of leg movement both when sitting and standing to be more rewarding.

5. Conclusion

Your height and weight isn’t everything when it comes to choosing a properly sized kayak. Remember to take into consideration your style of kayaking, length of trips, and need for storage. Taking these important steps will help you narrow down the selection and assure you have a successful day on the water.


  1. I thought it was interesting that you emphasized the importance of the correct width for whatever activity you’ll be doing. My best friend is looking to purchase kayak supplies and wants to get a kayak for his wife as well. I think I will talk to him about making sure it’s the right width.