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How Long Should Your Kayak Be? What Kayak Size Do I Need? A Quick Guide

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Published May 4, 2022

Are you going to buy a kayak for yourself but wondering how long should your Kayak be? Or do you want to choose the best size Kayak for yourself? If yes, then you are not alone. Many people struggle to find the right kayak size for themselves, and they do this by trying different sizes. But don’t worry, I’m going to write a detailed guide that will help you find out the best size Kayak for yourself.

A Kayak’s length should be according to your height and weight. If you are a tall person, a longer Kayak will be best for you. Generally, Kayaks come in different sizes, from 6 feet to 15 feet. But, there is no size or length that fits all. That is why you will need to choose Kayak according to your own size.

In order to help you choose the best sized Kayak, I’m going to write a detailed guide that will help you quickly determine what size of Kayak will be suitable for you. This will be very helpful for people who want the save their time, money, and efforts.

So, let’s begin the guide.

How Long Should Your Kayak Be? What Kayak Size Do I Need? A Quick Guide

How Long Should Your Kayak Be?

How Long Should Your Kayak Be

Generally, kayaks come in a range of sizes from 6 feet to 15 feet. The best size for you depends on your height and weight. A taller person will need a longer kayak than someone who is shorter. If you are heavier, you will need a larger kayak than someone who is lighter.

If you are just starting out and don’t know what kind of kayaking you want to do, consider getting a longer one so that it is less likely to tip over when paddling through rougher waters. If space is an issue, you should also consider getting something smaller because they take up less room in storage or on your car’s roof rack.

The ideal kayak size also depends on what kind of activity you plan on doing with it. If you’re planning on fishing, there are special types made just for fishing designed specifically to accommodate all those lines and hooks.

What is Kayak Size?

When you go kayaking, the last thing you want is to run into a bad fit. That’s why it’s so important to be aware of your Kayak’s specifications, like length, width, and height.

Kayaks vary widely in length, but they tend to be between 6 and 15 feet long on average. Width also varies, but most are between 30 and 38 inches wide. Height matters more for transportation and storage than it does for paddling.

So, the most important thing in the size of a kayak is its length and width. According to Performance Kayak, the narrower the width and longer the kayak length, the faster it will go in the water. So, let’s find out how you can choose the best kayak size according to your size and your needs.

How to Choose the Best Kayak Size?

Choosing the right kayak length is very important. If your Kayak is too big or small, you can run into problems using it, especially if you are a beginner.

When choosing the best kayak size for yourself, there are many factors that come into play. Let’s discuss them in detail.

Your Height & Weight:

Your height and weight play a very important role while choosing the right Kayak size. Choosing the wrong size can cause you uncomfortable and even a horrible riding experience.

So, if you are between 5′ 6″ and 6′ 0″ and weigh between 130 to 180 lbs, you can comfortably fit in a kayak with a length of 10-12 feet.

Similarly, If you measure between 5’2″ and 5’6″ and weigh less than 200 lbs, you can opt for a kayak measuring between 9-10 feet. For those who are shorter than 5’2″, go for the ones that are 6-9 feet in length.

Besides, if you are taller, you should go for a wider width kayak but remember, wider width means slow speed.

Purpose of Usage:

You will also need to consider the purpose of your Kayak. If it’s just for recreation and fun, then getting a shorter or narrower kayak according to your size is fine. These are usually less expensive as well.

However, if you plan to take longer trips or do more advanced canoeing, you might want to go with a larger kayak. These typically cost more, but they are also designed with comfort in mind.

Where Will You Kayak?

Another important question is, what kind of environment will you paddle in? If it’s going to be calm waters like lakes or bays, then getting a smaller model would work well because these tend to be easier to handle than larger ones.

However, if you are going to kayak in shallow or rough waters, you will need to buy a standard-sized Kayak that will not flip easily.


If you have a big enough car to load the Kayak on the roof, you should go for the bigger Kayak according to your height and weight. If you can’t transport a Kayak in your car, then you should choose a standard one.

Similarly, if you don’t own a car but still want a good kayak, you should go for an inflatable kayak. They are portable and easy to inflate and deflate when needed.

Your Budget:

Budget is a key consideration when choosing the right kayak size. The larger the Kayak, the more costly it tends to be.

The best kayaks are made from high-quality materials, which can be expensive. So, it’s important to keep in mind that buying a larger kayak could cost you more money, but it will be worth it.

If you are short on your budget, you can choose a standard-sized kayak according to your height and weight.

If budget is not a problem for you, then choose the suitable size according to your height & weight and all your other needs.

Best Kayak Type and Size for Different Types of People

Here I’m going to discuss some best kayak types and sizes for different types of people according to their height and overall size.

Best kayak Size for Tall People:

If you are tall and looking to buy a kayak, then your best bet is to go with a sit-on-top kayak. These kayaks are ideal for tall people because they offer more room and can accommodate taller people and their long legs.

I’m not recommending sitting inside kayaks for taller people because sit-inside kayaks have a limited cockpit area. It will be difficult for tall people to get in and out of the Kayak. Besides, sit-inside kayaks provide less legroom than sitting on top kayaks.

Similarly, if you are taller than an average height person or more than 6′ 2”, you will have to choose the bigger size possible.

Best kayak Size for Average People:

If you are an average height person, then you can go with both sit on top or sit inside kayaks. Both types of kayaks will work great for you because they are very comfortable for average height people.

The best kayak size for an average height person is 10 to 12 feet long. But, you can also operate and enjoy all types of kayaks available in different sizes, and you will face no problem at all.

Best kayak Size for Short People:

If you are a short heightened person, you can also go for both types of kayaks: sit inside and sit on top of kayaks. But, you will have to choose the size of the Kayak wisely because a lengthy kayak could be difficult to handle for a short person.

So, my recommendation for short people is to choose the Kayak that is less than 10 feet in length. Besides, you should also go for those kayaks that are wider, it will provide you more stability, and there will be fewer chances of flipping.

Best kayak Size for Kids:

There is good news for kids; many companies make special kayaks for kids. So, you can easily choose the perfect Kayak by just determining the weight.

If you weigh around 80 lbs, you should choose the Kayak that can handle 100 to 120 lbs. It will be best and suitable for you, and there is no need to determine the height because they are made according to the kids’ heights.

How Long Should Your Kayak Be: Final Words

So, you have read the article, and now you know exactly how long should your Kayak be. I hope I have answered all of your questions regarding the kayak size with this guide. I also hope that you are going to get the most appropriate sized Kayak according to your height so that you are comfortable while having fun.

Jay Schwartz author of Kayak Guidance

About the Author - Jay Schwartz:

Hey there kayak lovers! I’m Jay Schwartz, the author here at Kayak Guidance! You know water sports – you know me! My life is all about it. Kayaking, Paddleboarding, Fishing, Snorkeling and so much more. I love to share my passion and knowledge with all of you. 

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