Kayaks can be used for a lot of different adventures - everything from cruise paddling across the lake to maneuvering through quick rivers and fishing the secret hole to getting to your favorite secret camping spot. Because there are so many different types of kayakers, most kayaks come without anything super specific to any certain use of the kayak. You can buy some brands of kayaks or kayaks with accessory packages that come with things that make it more comfortable or efficient for your kayaking needs. But, if you do buy one of the basic kayaks there are a load of things you can do to deck it out and make it completely suited to your kayaking style.
Decking Mat Kits
One of these add-on accessories is a decking kit. These usually range from about $50 to $150 and are pretty easy to install yourself. The mats are typically made of foam with adhesive backing, so it’s as easy as peel and stick. Some brands have decking kits specific to models of kayaks, which makes the install simpler, but may make the price steeper and give you less options. You can also find more generic decking mats that may be brand specific but not necessarily model specific, so you could make it work on the kayak you have.
The major advantage to adding a decking kit is the coverage you get on the kayak floor. Not only will it help to give you some grip in an otherwise slippery contraption, but it will also protect the bottom of your kayak. Decking mats give you traction whetherthey are wet or dry making it ideal for anyone using a kayak. With added grip it makes it much easier, and safer, to stand up while kayaking. The kit will also add a unique look to your yak with many different trims and color options.
Another way to upgrade your kayak is by adding an anchor. You can easily find these anchors almost anywhere that sells kayaks and you don’t have to break the bank since there are plenty of good options under $50.
An anchor is ideal for kayak fishermen. If you’ve ever been trying to paddle and land a fish at the same time, you know that there is almost nothing more useful than an anchor to keep you in the right spot and keep your hands free. It usually doesn’t take much to hold you in the water, so don’t go overboard by buying a super heavy anchor. Make sure to do your research, so you have an anchor that won’t weigh your kayak load down, but that will be heavy enough to hold you where you need it to. If you are planning on getting a super heavy anchor to keep you in swift water, think again and remember that you are in a kayak. Just because an anchor can hold you does not mean it’s a good idea to use one.
If you don’t want to drop the money on a kayak specific anchor, there are plenty of DIY options to anchor your yak that are less expensive. All you need is the anchor and some type of paracord or rope long enough to reach your kayak from the bottom of the water. Having a bunch of paracord all over your kayak is dangerous though when you don’t have the anchor out. If you’re making your own, make sure to find a way to keep the cord neatly tucked out of the way so it doesn’t tangle you up or pull you under if you tip your kayak.
Fishing Rod Holders
Again, this accessory is so helpful for those that like to land fish in their kayak. While a lot of kayaks come with some type of opening or rod hole already, installing a true rod holder will make your life so much easier. One of the biggest issues with the pole holes that come in kayaks is that most of the time they’re behind the seat meaning you’ll have to reach around to get the pole in and out and you won’t be able to see the rod while you’re trolling. By setting a kayak up with an attachment rod holder, not only will you be able to put the pole in front of you so you can see it, but it will secure your rod in the kayak better and you’ll be able to position it so that you can fish, paddle or move around your yak without it getting in the way.
Not only is it a blast to kayak, but getting some awesome video while you do makes it even better. With so many beautiful views and cool adventures, it’s a shame to not be able to share it with the people who weren’t there.
A lot of people wear go pro chest or head mounts while out on the water. While these may make for some nice shots, neither is a long term solution to making great kayaking videos and here’s why. Chest mounts are in a terrible place for kayakers. Your paddle, fishing reel, or hands are probably going to block most of the shot most of the time. Head mounts would make a better option but they can get uncomfortable if you wear them for extended periods of time and you won’t be able to get any shots of yourself. The best options is to mount camera setups onto the kayak.
There are many affordable options for camera mounts out there. It may be easy to jimmy rig something to hold a camera, but when dealing with expensive electronics and water, it’s best to get something made to hold onto not only the camera but also onto the kayak.
Some setups mount to either the gear track of your kayak, which is where the seat attaches or they can be mounted to other features of the kayak, like sturdy handles or other accessory mounts. It’s possible to attach a mount anywhere on your kayak using something like a clamp mount, which tightens around almost anything or a suction cup mount. It is ideal to be able to put the mount wherever you want it instead of wherever the attachment spots are, but if you are using a clamp or suction mount just be sure it’s going to be a good shot and it won’t get in your way while trying to paddle or fish.
Upgrading your seat is one of the best things you can do for yourself on a kayak. Some brands of kayaks already come with pretty durable, comfortable seats. But for those that don’t, it makes a long day of kayaking seem extra long and extra cramped. Since you will be sitting in this seat for hours at a time, a seat is the best place to splurge on a kayak. Swapping out kayak seats is very easy. A lot of kayaks come with the gear track, so changing the seat is as easy as screwing one seat off and putting another on the tracks. For other kayaks without tracks, kayaks can be traded out with usually only a clip or two.
There are also different kinds of materials used in seats. Mesh seats are the most breathable and will help keep you cooler while sitting all day. Inflatable seats are nice for those who like to adjust the amount cushion in their seat. You can also find foam padded or gel-filled seats.No matter your comfort choice, there is a seat out there for everyone.
Another advantage of upgrading your seat is getting adjustable seats. A lot of seats can either be moved along the gear track for different weight distributions or leg length and many are adjustable to how far back your seat leans. But imagine being able to swivel 360° on top of your kayak, or being able to adjust your height off the kayak deck. These improvements make the day so much more comfortable and enjoyable.
Depending on your kayaking needs and style, there are so many other ways to deck out your kayak. Try a custom paint job or some decals from your favorite outdoor brands. You can also try adding accessories like fishing rod tip protectors so it holds your fishing pole snuggly in place instead of it sliding around your kayak. Are you planning on being in the sun all day? Try adding an attachment to hold an umbrella to keep the sun from wearing you out. With all of the hooks, rings and handles, try setting up some bungee cords to hold your cooler in place, or use these spots to make a cupholder and a spot to strap your waterproof speaker.
There are so many attachments and accessories out there, it’s easy to get lost in all the ways you can enhance your kayak. The best thing to do is take it out a couple of times and see what would help to make you more comfortable and a more efficient kayaker. Everything on your kayak should have a purpose and if it doesn’t, it’s either weighing you down or getting in your way. So figure out what you really need and then get to work on decking out your kayak!