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Best Kayak Outriggers For Max Stability [2024]

Kayak Outriggers

Kayak Outriggers

Updated on 6/11/2024
Abigail ScottBy Abigail Scott
Hi, I'm Abigail 👋 Since embarking on my kayaking and boarding adventures in 2010, I've navigated rivers and lakes across North America and beyond. With over a decade of experience and countless waterways explored, I'm here to help enthusiasts like you embark on unforgettable water adventures!
Learn More about Abigail Scott

Your kayak's outriggers are a great addition for a number of reasons, but they're all driven by one primary concern: stability.

Outriggers are a great option if you want to add a sail to your recreation boat or turn it into a fishing platform. A yak may not be able to provide enough balance for a tall, heavy angler.

You'll need to know plenty about these additions before you put your credit card down on Amazon. Check out the following buying guide and reviews to learn more.

Are you considering rigging outriggers? You should know these things.

Stability

Although outriggers can solve a variety of stability problems, this is the only reason you're looking into them.

Your 'yak can be a lot more versatile with a sail. You can have longer and more exciting adventures by stretching some 'canvas' over your head once you have mastered it. You can't handle much sail if your kayak doesn't have a keel. Think twice before dreaming of a spinnaker.

Under a sailboat's hull are long, weighted blades called keels. They counterbalance the force created by the wind on the sail. A heavy push will send your 'yak over because it lacks a keel. Outriggers can help fix this problem. Whether you're facing a light breeze or a strong one, they provide the stability you'll need.

Angling - Maybe you've bought a recreational kayak and have realized you'd like to start fishing on some of your trips. The best way to catch many species of fish is to cast directly to them. Coaxing your prey into a strike is easier if you see them before you cast. In addition, it's much easier to cast fly fishing from a standing position than from a seated position. When you try to stand up in a rec 'yak, you'll be surprised by how hard it is. A pair of outriggers is an easy fix. In no time at all, you'll be standing in your recreation boat!

A tall, heavy fisherman already knows what the problem is. It can be difficult for tall, heavy anglers to maintain stability in kayaks designed for sight fishing. If you want to stand tall so you can concentrate on catching fish, outriggers are an excellent option.

Your speed will be slowed down by outriggers

Outriggers have this major drawback, and there's not much you can do about it.

You probably don't want a lesson in physics about hydrodynamics. A kayak's hull length determines how fast it can be pushed through water. The longer the hull, the faster it can be pushed. In essence, outriggers are extra hulls attached to your yak that make a catamaran or trimaran out of it.

You will, however, be slower if they are shorter. Most of the time, you'll be slower than you were alone in your kayak. Outriggers are not favored by physics. With outriggers, you can add more sail than you can with a 'yak alone in sailing. In this very specific circumstance, you might be faster.

Inflatable or Solid PVC?

There are pros and cons to each, so you can decide for yourself.

An inflatable outrigger consists of an inner bladder enclosed by an outer tough membrane. When you're ready to hit the water, you can simply inflate them by mouth and store them when you're done. What are the downsides? It is possible to puncture the exterior membrane despite its toughness. It's something to consider if you're a fisherman or launch and land on beaches where debris could accumulate.

A solid float is used to create buoyancy in PVC outriggers. Their main advantage is their robustness. These are the kinds of materials that professional watermen use on their nets and traps because they are durable. Inflatable designs are easier to store, but they're not quite as portable.

Systems for installation and mounting

It is important to consider this issue as well. Getting outriggers mounted can be challenging if you aren't handy.

Your outriggers should be placed near the stern of your 'yak to prevent them from interfering with paddle strokes or fishing lines. It's important to find an open area that's the right size and measure carefully how much clearance you'll need.

Drill and hole-punching skills are required for mounting. There is a possibility that you may be intimidated by this project if you have no experience with basic DIY projects. Follow the manufacturer's instructions, and remember to pilot-drill a hole to ensure accuracy with a larger bit.

An example of how to install the Hobie AMA kit can be seen in this video.

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Hobie Sidekick Ama Outrigger Kit

You'll find everything you need for installation in Hobie's Sidekick kit. Hobie's instructions are extremely specific, so you'll need to break out the drill, measure carefully, and follow them closely. The aluminum crossbar will be mounted behind the cockpit, and two detachable outriggers will be attached to it.

Outriggers can be adjusted to three different heights: high, medium, and low. Several hard breaths are all it takes to fill the bladders. Deflation is also quick with their valves.

In addition to Hobie kayaks, this outrigger kit should fit other kayaks as well. If you order from Amazon, you'll be taking a chance as to whether your particular model will accept this kit. This may be worth the trouble, however, given their generous return policy.

There is an immediate improvement in stability and excellent quality reported by customers. It is possible to puncture the outriggers, though, so anglers may want to avoid this system. Nevertheless, if you're looking for a kayak mount with added stability, this is a great option.

PROS

  • Transportable and easy to store
  • Inflates and deflates easily

CONS

  • It is possible to puncture outriggers
  • Installation requires power tools

Brocraft Kayak Outriggers

Our Overall Review
4.2
Read full review

As with Scotty's outrigger system, Brocraft's attaches to your yak with rod holders. The rod holders for its two 32-inch aluminum mounting arms are adjustable, and the arms themselves end in outrigger floats.

On the water, you won't be able to adjust the position of the arms unless you can reach these attachment points. Mounts driven by rod holders have this weakness.

Brocraft's outriggers feature molded PVC floats rather than inflatables. The convenience of not having to inflate/deflate, leaks, or pierce them with hooks is a nice feature for fishermen.

A few customers complained about the mounting hardware, and others complained that the screws included were not long enough for their kayaks. Make sure your screws, washers, and nuts are stainless steel if this is the case.

However, stability is not a concern. Several users report that these Brocraft outriggers provide the firm footing needed to stand in their kayaks, and if this is an issue for you, you might want to consider these. It is worth a closer look for anglers who might puncture bladder outriggers.

PROS

  • Strong and durable

CONS

  • Transport and storage are difficult
  • On the water, it's not easy to adjust
  • Power tools are required for installation

Scotty #302 Kayak Stabilizer System

There are two inflatable pontoons included in Scotty's outrigger kit, as well as two 28-inch anodized aluminum mounting arms and two rod holders for baitcasting.

There are two Scotty rod-holding mounts that attach the mounting bars to the kayak. Choosing a location, drilling holes, and attaching the mounts will need to be done.

There is one drawback to the kit, which lacks the screws, washers, and nuts needed to install it.

This set of outriggers is made of rugged PVC, so they should last for a long time.

As a result of the design of the rod holders to which these outriggers are attached, some customers complain that they're hard to adjust after fishing. A tiny pin that needs to be depressed to blow air into the bladder can make inflating the bladder hard.

This system, despite its weaknesses, has received rave reviews from users for its stability in wind and waves. This outrigger system is a very good option if you don't mind punctures and you know where to find the right hardware.

PROS

  • Transportable and easy to store

CONS

  • Inflates slowly
  • On the water, it is difficult to adjust
  • Punctures can be made in outriggers
  • Power tools are required for installation
  • Hardware is not included

 

Inspired by Nature Outriggers

For its outrigger system to connect to your kayak, Inspired by Nature uses Scotty 241L deck mounts and Scotty Rodmaster rod holders. You'll need to use your drill and measure carefully, like its competitors. Fortunately, the system comes with stainless steel hardware.

Inspired by Nature takes advantage of the versatility of PVC, which comes in hard and soft varieties. Strong, stiff PVC arms extend into yellow PVC floats at the ends of its 30-inch arms. Polyvinyl chloride is used in both components. Like Borcraft, these aren't susceptible to punctures or leaks, but transport and storage will be a concern.

If you need to stand in your 'yak or are concerned about tipping over, these outriggers are a good choice. A hook or two that errs won't be a problem for anglers either.

PROS

  • Robust and durable

CONS

  • It is difficult to transport and store
  • On the water, it is difficult to adjust
  • Power tools are required to install
FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Are outriggers worth it on a kayak?

Yes, Kayak outriggers provide added stability and security to paddlers, helping them balance their kayaks and decrease the likelihood of them tipping over. This is no surprise since they were originally designed to make vessels more stable.

Do outriggers slow down a kayak?

Yes, outriggers slow down your kayak. Your kyak becomes a catamaran or a trimaran when you attach outriggers. You'll be slower if they are shorter. It is almost always the case that you will be slower in a kayak than you were on your own.

How far out should outriggers be on a kayak?

You probably have all kinds of questions about outriggers, including, “How long should a kayak outrigger be? In general, outriggers should be between 30 and 36 inches long. They're usually placed about three-quarters of the way toward the stern, just behind the seat.