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#2282921
Recently I reached out to, in my opinion, the 10 most popular kayak manufacturers of today to figure out what their "weight capacity" number actually represented. The 10 manufacturers (comprising 15 brands) I contacted are: Bass Pro (Ascend), BIG Adventure (Native Watercraft and Hurricane), Bonafide, Confluence Outdoor (Wilderness Systems and Perception), Hobie, Jackson, Johnson Outdoors (Ocean Kayak and Old Town), Joy Sports (Feel Free, 3 Waters, Cabelas), Pelican, and Vibe.

I wasn't really interested in how the number was determined but more what the number meant. When I reached out I asked how the weight capacity was determined for a particular model, so I am making an assumption that if it's calculated a certain way for that model then the company uses the same standard across all model of kayaks under its label/brand.

One thing nearly all manufacturers mentioned was that as you approach and potentially exceed the weight capacity you won't actually sink the kayak, but you will begin to negatively impact its paddling characteristics. Even after reaching out and getting responses I am a firm believer you should try not to exceed 70% of the listed max weight capacity of the kayak you plan on purchasing.

Anyways here are the responses for weight capacity:

Brands: Bonafide, Hobie, Jackson, Pelican, Perception, Vibe, and Wilderness Systems
Weight Capacity = Published Weight Capacity

Brand: Bass Pro Ascend
Weight Capacity = Published Weight Capacity - (Seat + Accessories + etc)
Example: Ascend 12T's true weight capacity is roughly 340 lbs (350 lbs - 10 lbs for seat & rod holder)

Brands: Hurricane, Ocean Kayak, Old Town, and Native Watercraft
Weight Capacity = Published Weight Capacity - (Weight of Kayak + Seat +Accessories+ etc)
Example: Native Watercraft's Titan 10.5's true weight capacity is 379 lbs (500 lbs - 121 lbs for kayak, seat, drive, etc)

As of right now Feel Free (Joy Sports) has not responded. I'll update when I get a response.
#2282940
interesting that weight of kayak is added to capacity in some cases - so you have to subtract the boat weight up front to figure out what the boat will really hold.
Some of these new boats are really heavy to begin with.

Of course the all-time capacity champ is X-factor, which was designed as a SCUBA platform.
My buddy bought his (has since sold it) to take both his young daughters and dog together on the upper Guadalupe.

He's used his X-factor and I've used my T160 to kid-tandem - both boats work great for that.
For a year, my daughter had a rigged cockpit in the sternwell, but after that, she wanted her own boat.
(Also a great way to teach a kid to paddle without ever having to say anything to them - important if your daughter is like mine)
#2282943
Good information Neumie. When I had my Acend 12T I it always felt like I was overloaded. It wouldn't track well, unstable & the rear tank well would have about an inch of water in it without the scuppers. I called Ascend (Tracker Boats) and spoke someone who answered in customer service. They said the weight rating (of 350 lbs) included the person operating the kayak, seat & gear.

I believe the overall weight rating of a kayak is definitely something to be considered when buying a kayak.
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