People consider adding outriggers to their kayaks for a host of reasons – the primary concern being stability. Kayak outriggers ensure that fishing kayaks remain stable and maintain balance at all times. As such, if you learn how to use kayak outriggers rightly, you’re much safer wading through the water; this applies for both paddle kayaks and kayak trolling motors.
With outriggers, you can add sails to your kayak or convert your recreational boat into a fishing podium. More so, if you’re looking to make your kayak more balanced, they pose as viable solutions.
However, outriggers have their own set of pros and cons. And to help you make the right choice among the available choices, we have compiled this buying guide that you can refer to.
Best 5 Kayak Stabilizers
Affiliate Disclaimer: This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions (at no additional cost to you) if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site.
Scotty #302 Kayak Stabilizer can transform an otherwise highly unstable kayak into a tame beast. You will be pleasantly surprised how this Scotty #302 Kayak Stabilizer can improve the stability of your kayak just like that! This kayak stabilizer has got a thick PVC outer shell that will keep it protected. It is highly resistant to tear and punctures. Works flawlessly, this Scotty #302 Kayak Stabilizer can take a beating. Even if it develops a puncture, you don’t have to worry about it because it can be patched up easily. Easy to inflate and deflate, Scotty #302 Kayak Stabilizer does not take too much space. Unlike other kayak outriggers, Scotty #302 Kayak Stabilizer flaunts a sleek and compact design. The arms are made from anodized aluminum that adds to their incredible strength and durability. These arms are corrosion resistant and will last long for sure. Scotty #302 Kayak Stabilizer increases the buoyancy of a kayak by 30 lbs.
Pactrade Marine Boat Kayak Canoe PVC Outrigger will keep centered throughout the journey. This kayak outrigger will let you fly fish without destabilizing your kayak in the process. The installation process is fairly simple. One can easily make adjustments in it by loosening or tightening the locknuts. The deck mounts are made from premium quality fiber-reinforced Polypropylene that makes it highly resistant to impacts. You can easily take this Pactrade Marine Boat Kayak Canoe PVC Outrigger off. All you have to do is to detach the mounts and lock nuts and it will come off automatically. Locking and unlocking this outrigger is as simple as it can possibly get; just press the big red button that acts as a quick-release lock and it will do all the heavy lifting. It comes equipped with 2 aluminum arms and 2 PVC float kits.
Lixada 2Pcs Kayak PVC Inflatable Outrigger will make you feel safe even in choppy water. Easy to inflate and deflate, Lixada 2Pcs Kayak PVC Inflatable Outrigger is extremely durable. Easy to carry around, Lixada 2Pcs Kayak PVC Inflatable Outrigger comes standard with two repair patches. If your kayak has a narrow hull, you should get it fitted with this kayak stabilizer and it will keep it stable no matter what.
Spring Creek Manufacturing Hydrodynamic Canoe Stabilizer is made from Polyethylene plastic. This outrigger is super stable on the water and can take a lot of abuse. Lightweight and durable, Spring Creek Manufacturing Hydrodynamic Canoe Stabilizer is extremely easy to use. When deployed correctly, this kayak outrigger gets itself expanded 20 inches in each direction and thus offering maximum stability in the process. Spring Creek Manufacturing Hydrodynamic Canoe Stabilizer flaunts a simplistic design and it causes minimal drag.
Spring Creek Manufacturing Hydrodynamic Canoe Stabilizer offers an impressive 27lb float buoyancy. Use the locking cam lever arms to make adjustments in this kayak stabilizer.
METER STAR Kayaking Floats Stabilizing Rods allows you to stabilize your kayak without spending a ton of money on it. 4 repair patches come included in the package. Extremely lightweight, METER STAR Kayaking Floats Stabilizing Rods can be inflated very fast. To deflate this kayak stabilizer, you just need to turn on the knob switch and it will do the trick. Float height can be adjusted. The use of thick PVC adds to its extreme durability. METER STAR Kayaking Floats Stabilizing Rods can hold air for days.
Want To Rig Outriggers? Here’s What You Should Know.
Stability is the sole reason for kayakers to add outriggers to their boats. Even so, a stable kayak can solve the following issues.
Sails add versatility to your kayak. Upon mastering them, you can extend canvas above your head for more adventurous times than sole paddling. However, before you consider a spinnaker, know that sans a keel, you cannot manage much sail.
They are the weighty, long blades that are found below the sailboat’s hull. Their objective is to provide a counterbalance to the forces that the wind generates on the sail. Kayaks do not come with keels; hence a slightly hard push can tip it over. Outriggers can avoid such problems, for they offer the requisite stability while making the kayak fit to withstand light breezes.
Tall and Well-Built fisherman
Kayaks that are designed for sight fishing are not stable enough for tall-sized and bulky anglers. Though, outriggers are a good option to have them standing tall while they try to catch some fish.
If you’ve purchased a recreational kayak and are looking to start fishing during your kayaking expeditions, then adding outriggers is a good choice. Several fish species are caught when they’re directly cast upon.
Upon spotting your prey before casting, you can cajole them into direct strikes. And if you’re planning on trying fly fishing, then you should cast while standing and not sitting – for it is easier to do so.
All the same, if you try standing on your feet in most recreational kayaks, you may not be able to do so easily. Though, by adding a pair of outriggers, you can stand in your recreational boat comfortably.
Can Outriggers Slow Down Your Kayak?
One main drawback of outriggers is that they slow down your kayak. The study of hydrodynamics can explain the reasons for this phenomenon better. Put simply, the longer the hulls of kayaks, the speedier they can race through the waters. In general, outriggers are extra hulls that you can attach to your kayak and by adding them on you create a trimaran or catamaran.
This also indicates that the shorter the hulls, the slower the kayak will move in the waters. However, to get your kayak moving faster, you may want to add more sail to your outriggers.
Inflatable Outriggers or Solid Outriggers
You can choose to go either with inflated PVCs or Solid ones. Both have their own pros and cons.
Inflatable outriggers come with a bladder that is enclosed within a tough outer membrane. You have to inflate them via mouth when hitting the waters. And for storing them, you have to deflate them. The drawback of inflatable outriggers is that though the exterior membrane though may be tough, yet it can be punctured. Now, if you’re a fisherman or you land on beaches that contain debris, then this can be an issue.
PVC outriggers come with solid floats for greater buoyancy. Their strength lies in their robustness. You need not worry about their durability when sailing in the waters. Also, fishermen use this material on their traps and nets. Nevertheless, they are not easily storable as compared to their inflatable counterparts.
Setting up Outriggers to A Kayak
Setting up your kayaks is an important aspect that you need to ponder upon when you’re planning on adding outriggers to your kayak. Keep in mind that installing outriggers may not be that easy as you may think.
For mounting the outriggers, you will require a drill for inserting holes in your kayak. More so, you have to be comfortable drilling holes in your kayak. And if you have no experience with DIY projects, setting up your outriggers to your kayak can be daunting. However, follow the instructions in the user’s guide. And bear in mind that pilot-drilling holes can ensure accuracy when concerned with larger bits.
The placement of your outriggers is an important consideration. You must consider placing them near the stern of your kayak to avoid them from coming in the way of your paddle strokes. You will require open space to measure the correct size and how much clearance you have.
Arthur G. Moore is a veteran paddler. He has over 10 years of whitewater kayaking experience in his kitty. When he was young, he used to love kayaking in rapid III and rapid IV but as time went on, he decided to concentrate mainly on covering long distances on a standard touring kayak. He is currently working as a senior editor for Kayak Manual.