There is a reason why kayaks have weight capacities. You cannot just hop in any kayak without knowing whether it is the perfect match for you or overload it. Kayaking is a fun outdoor activity in which you can participate with your friends. But what happens if your kayak is overloaded? For sure, the possibility of accidents increases, and there is also a chance that you will not enjoy the day. In addition, most of the time, you will be worried about the stability of the kayak. However, if you already own a kayak and you are in no position to buy another one, there is a way you can increase its weight capacity. Keep reading, and you’ll find out the different ways you can increase the capacity of your kayak.
Determining The Right Capacity of a Kayak
There is a good reason why manufacturers set a limit on the capacity of a kayak. The main reason is to avoid overloading. Before getting into a kayak, you need to ask yourself how much weight can a kayak hold. For example, if a kayak’s weight capacity is 500 pounds, you need to weigh less than that. At least, weigh 30% less than the kayak. This will give enough room for your belongings. Weighing less makes it easy to row safely and helps you stay above the water level. For a beginner especially, you need to ensure you are consistently below the weight limit. This will allow you to maneuver easily.
How To Increase A Kayak’s Weight Capacity.
Sometimes we are caught in situations where we exceed the weight limit of a kayak. For example, tagging along with your child or spouse is why you need to increase the weight limit of a kayak. Different people have different reasons for wanting to increase the weight capacity of a kayak. An extra 5 or 10 pounds will not deter the kayak from rowing or get you in an accident. Here are some of the ways you can keep the kayak stable despite the extra weight.
- Investing in new equipment
- Improving the kayak’s design
- Paddling in the right waters
- Learning proper paddling techniques
Paddling in the Right Water
As interesting as this thought sounds, your paddling location in one way or another can help increase the weight capacity of a kayak. The change in paddling location works better by enhancing the stability of your kayak despite the extra weight. Overloading will result in negative impacts, especially in rough waters. There is a high probability of splashing water in rough waters to get into the cockpit even when the kayak is not overloaded. Now try to imagine sailing in this kind of water exceeding the weight limit? The amount of water getting into your cockpit will increase, which jeopardizes your safety. So, kayaking in still waters when overloaded is safer. Also, consider kayaking in salty waters when overloaded. Naturally, salty water is more buoyant compared to freshwater.
Improving the Kayak’s Design
Altering the design of your kayak is one of the best ways to increase the weight of a capacity. To make this possible, you need to pay keen attention to the hull. A kayak’s stability, speed, and purpose are determined mainly by the hull. The hull has different makes and designs. The purpose of the kayak primarily determines the design. The fishing kayak, for instance, has the most stable hull. The hulls are tunnel-shaped, so you can easily stand while fishing. Therefore, changing the hull will help increase the weight capacity of the kayak. However, there is a chance that you might end up ruining the kayak. Changing the hull might weaken it or even diminish its value. Purchasing a larger kayak remains the most viable option.
Paddling Using the Right Technique
As an experienced kayaker or sailor, you can easily tell a beginner or expert in paddling. When going out with an overloaded kayak, you need to ensure you have proper paddling techniques. Even for an expert, paddling is tiring and can cause fatigue. Imagine how tired you’ll get if you are doing it wrong. Good paddling techniques will ensure that less water gets in the cockpit. Also, you get to maximize the effectiveness of your paddle strokes, so you don’t get tired quickly. Minimizing fatigue at all costs will help ensure you can control the already heavy kayak to your kayaking destination and back to the shore. Otherwise, without the proper technique, you might find yourself abandoning the kayak due to muscle cramps.
Getting New Equipment
Getting new kayak equipment will help increase the weight capacity of a kayak. The increase is done indirectly, but it helps keep the kayak afloat. This extra equipment will improve the buoyancy of your kayak. This equipment includes;
- Floatation bags
- Pool Noodles
Outriggers are support floats that are fastened on one or both sides of the hull. Kayak outriggers add stability and help improve the balance of your kayak. If you are going out with an overloaded kayak, then you might consider adding the outriggers. This will prevent any chances of drowning and flipping over.
Floatation bags are triangularly shaped balloons, and they are mostly fixed in the bulkhead of a kayak. They are made of nylon-like fabrics that make them flexible due to their lightweight. They help keep your kayak afloat. Anytime you are heading out with a kayak exceeding its weight capacity, carry the floatation bag. They also come along with an inflation tube so you can wedge the bags in place before inflating them with air.
Pool noodles are cylindrical polythene foams that can be used in place of floatation bags. They help reduce the chances of a kayak drowning despite its excess weight.
Once in a while, we find ourselves exceeding the set capacity in our kayaks. Although you cant increase the weight capacity of a kayak, you can improve its stability and ability to remain afloat. The tips discussed above will help improve your safety in an overloaded kayak and give you more confidence as you sail. However, the most secure way to use a kayak is by getting the right size kayak. With the many manufacturers, you can get any design or make you want. If you enjoy kayaking alone, then get a kayak that matches your weight. If you love some company, numerous kayaks can accommodate two or three persons.