7 Best Kayak Outriggers in 2022: a Guide to Stability, Gear, and Fishing

Kayaking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. Whether you’re using your kayak for fishing or just paddling around, you must have the right gear and accessories on hand.

Many people think kayaks are best served with outriggers, which act as stabilizers when they’re not in use.

In this blog post, we will go over what makes the best kayak outriggers so unique and how they can improve your experience while paddling around.

What is the best kayak outrigger?

Hobie SideKick Ama Kit is the best kayak outrigger, as it comes with everything you need to get on the water. It’s a complete kit that includes all of your gear and an instruction booklet — perfect for beginners or experienced paddlers looking for stability in their boat.

Being made of high-quality materials and fair price, the Hobie Sidekick Ama Kit is an excellent choice for kayakers at any stage of their paddling. The kit comes with an instructional booklet that provides clear instructions on assembling and installing your new outrigger system.

If you’re looking for stability, gear, or fishing options in your boat, this model has it all — and at a reasonable price.

Best kayak outriggers and stabilizers

Best kayak outriggers list

  • Hobie SideKick Ama Kit
  • Scotty #302 Kayak Stabilizer System
  • Spring Creek Canoe and Kayak Stabilizer
  • Lixada Kayak Stabilization System
  • YakGear Kayak & Canoe Outriggers (Generation 2)
  • Pactrade Marine Kayak Outrigger
  • Brocraft Kayak Outriggers/Stabilizers System

Hobie SideKick Ama Kit Review

Kayak with Hobie SideKick Ama Kit installed

These kayak outriggers have so many cool features, but the best one by far is how easy it is to attach and adjust. Setting up these outriggers took me less than 15 minutes; no tools were required.

These won’t slow you down because they are mainly out of the water. That means you can confidently set your gear on the deck without fearing that a single bump will capsize your boat. I love fishing from this sit-on-top kayak in waves because my equipment stays securely anchored while I cast.

I had purchased it to stabilize the boat, as my Golden Retriever was riding with me. It did great and kept the boat stable. I love that you can adjust it to three different settings.

For instance, while at anchor, I could stand up and go into hatches without feeling like my balance would be compromised.

This accessory kit is beneficial to have when sailing in a kayak. It includes all of the necessary equipment, which means you can put it together in minutes and start having fun right away.

Red kayak with white the Hobie outriggers/stabilizers

The Hobie Sidekick Ama Kit kayak outrigger is a high-functioning and high-quality canoe stabilizer system that provides the best stability for any rough water conditions.

Once you have the initial installation kit, it is simple to install the Hobie SideKick Ama Kit on your kayak. You can attach it with screws that are already in your boat. The screws go into two holes on the plate and then into four holes at the bottom of the mount.

The process is easy and takes just minutes, allowing you plenty of time to explore fascinating new waterways while using your enlarged stability for higher speeds.

Though a bit higher priced than other brands, Hobie has made a fantastic product worth the price.

Scotty #302 Kayak Stabilizer System Review

Green kayak with Scotty 302 stabilizers on the grass

All in all, this kayak outrigger is excellent for beginners and could be perfect for those who like to fish. It’s easy to set up and offers a lightweight design that floats reasonably well.

The Scotty 302 kayak outrigger system is designed for stability and perfect for beginners. I can confidently say that you will not have any troubles keeping your boat upright.

The sturdiness of the pontoons makes them easy to inflate and deflate, so you can store your kayak stable without worrying about bulky attachments.

The inflatable pontoons have remained intact after enduring sharp rocks and tree branches – you name it. They are incredibly thick material, most likely for durability purposes.

All the hardware included in this kit is of fantastic quality and very easy to install.

One of the first things you will want to do is mount these stabilizers on each side of your kayak. Once I put the door on, it was still flexing. I put a piece of wood inside and then tightened 2 bolts. The flexing stopped, and the door is more stable now.

Drag is increased, and susceptibility to currents is higher with these outriggers. But if you intend to fish while using them, then the tradeoffs are worth it.

best kayak outriggers - 7 Best Kayak Outriggers in 2022: a Guide to Stability, Gear, and Fishing

The Scotty 302 Kayak Stabilizer System is by far the easiest and lightest product of its kind. It improves stability without adversely affecting balance or speed. I am pleased with this product, but not as much as some other people seem to be based on the product reviews.

I also like how easy it is to store. It takes you a couple of minutes with the proper attachment for the bicycle pump to air up. Air compressors take two seconds. Be sure not to overinflate as the sun may expand them some on water. Periodically checking it is best practice.

That is a good addition for people who stand a lot in their kayaks or want more stability. With the purchase of Scotty rod holder bases, You can quickly move the stabilizers from one kayak to another. When not in use, they can also be used as rod holders.

The stabilizers come with an attached pair of rod holders that can be removed or left on depending on what you need them for.

Spring Creek Canoe and Kayak Stabilizer Review

Yellow canoe with yellow Spring Creek outriggers

The stability that this product provides is incredible. It’s easy to install and works for kayaks and canoes, making it a must-have item if you’re looking to upgrade your fishing canoe or have a hard time standing in your boat (since the other person has to stay sitting).

That is a much lighter-weight and more accessible accessory to use for our kayaks. The Spring Creek Canoe & Kayak Stabilizer can be attached, detached, stored, or adjusted with minimal effort.

Red Spring Creek kayak outriggers on the grass

After some time, one or both of the pontoons might collect water through the top. That usually doesn’t affect performance, and you can empty them by:

  1. dumping water from one side to another,
  2. removing the outriggers and pouring out all of the water that collected,
  3. then reinserting and wiggling them back into place.

The Spring Creek Canoe and Kayak Stabilizer is compatible with the wide variety of canoes and kayaks you may find. They produce adjustable outrigger arms, which are helpful for individuals paddling alone, as well as ensuring stability in rougher water.

Lixada Kayak Stabilization System Review

White canoe with yellow Lixada outriggers on top of the water

If you spend a lot of time on the water and need to do your fishing, paddling, or just hanging out in your kayak, you will need a stabilizer that can hold up in all types of weather.

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The Lixada Kayak Stabilization System is a durable and lightweight way to add stability to your kayaking endeavors. This system comes with adjustable outrigger arms that measure 34.6 inches in length and will stay securely attached while you’re on the water.

Paired with two inflatable pontoons, this kayak stabilization system was designed to be as flexible as possible.

With the double valve system, inflating Lixada kayak stabilizers take only a few deep breaths. When deflating them for transportation, simply pull out the second valve, and you’re ready to go home.

This kayak outrigger system includes a secure locking ferrule at the end of sidekick arms, which means you can paddle without fear in any conditions. You’ll also get mounting brackets and hardware to get the poles attached quickly.

Fishing takes on a new level of accessibility and beginner-friendliness with these kayak stabilization systems.

YakGear Kayak & Canoe Outriggers (Generation 2) Review

Gray YakGear kayak outriggers and light green fishing kayak

These outriggers are great. Installing was a little tricky, and I need to mention that I put them on in an area with less than perfect level ground. As a result, the one sits with a slightly greater attitude of the nose end in the water. But overall, they function very well.

The main benefits of the YakGear kayak and canoe outriggers include:

  • Easy assembly,
  • Transportability,
  • Adjustment capability for all types of boats,
  • Increased stability when paddle fishing or anchor fishing.
New YakGear kayak stabilizers on the concrete floor

Dragging occurs while paddling, but it’s minimal. It’s nearly impossible to raise and lower outriggers once you’re already in the water – mine are pretty close behind my seat.

The only downside of these kayak outriggers is the lack of adjusting them while they are on the water.

There is nothing worse than being out on the water and fearing how unstable your kayak might be. The YakGear Kayak and Canoe Outrigger ensure that you can still enjoy an experience without worrying about tipping over or rocking in choppy waters because of its stability.

Installed with a Railblaza Starport base, these outriggers are sure to be a hit among paddlers. They will have something to balance their boat on without it falling into the side of the ship.

Pactrade Marine Kayak Outrigger Review

Pactrade Kayak stabilizing kit

Kayaks can face some precarious situations on the water. From calm rivers to rough and choppy weather, any type of travel with a kayak requires excellent skills that fuel lifelong enthusiasm for outdoor excursions.

Pactrade Marine Boat Outrigger Systems are durable, buoyant, and lightweight enough to handle ocean waves or shallow water.

This stabilizer kit is made to last with stainless steel mounting hardware and 2 deck clamps built from high-impact fiber-reinforced polypropylene. The lock nuts allow you to adjust the kayak system quickly when needed, with a red release button for locking or unlocking it.

The Pactrade Marine Kayak Outrigger Package includes two PVC floats, red and off-white, measuring 27.5″ long by 8.25″ wide. These durable pontoons are made with durability and stability in mind, so you can always enjoy adventures worry-free.

The best part about these outriggers is their versatility.

Brocraft Kayak Outriggers/Stabilizers System Review

Yellow Brocraft outriggers and orange kayak with paddle

These outriggers work as advertised and are a perfect choice for a kayak. They add stability so that you can safely stand on your kayak or cast without knockback from the waves.

The lightweight aluminum “struts” on the kayak outriggers makes for a much easier setup and take-down process. The mounting brackets allow you to adjust the arms in many different positions that can cater to any type of size boat or fishing.

Yellow kayak and canoe outrigging stabilizers and a kayak

This product has a lot of great features that make Kayaking safer. The kayak outrigger system is easy to install, and when combined with the stabilizer, it makes for a pretty excellent and low-maintenance multi-activity product.

What is a kayak outrigger and stabilizer?

Kayak outriggers are stabilization devices that help kayakers keep their boat steady and upright. Outriggers provide support to the hull of your kayak by attaching to the bottom edges, preventing it from tipping over or keeling in response to waves. The inflatable floats on either side serve as stabilizers to be used while paddling or fishing off the coast.

The best kayak outrigger systems offer adjustable arms for quick installation with minimal effort required during trips. They also come equipped with paddle holders and mounts for other accessories such as lights, cameras, GPS units, bait buckets, and fish finders. It allows you to access them without having to take your hands away from paddles when necessary.

Kayaks can be a lot of fun, but if they don’t have the proper stability, it’s easy to capsize or keel over in response to waves or wind gusts.

What do kayak outriggers do?

Kayak outriggers are a balance and stability system just like traditional outrigger systems.

People use outriggers in the kayak to engage stability. They also extend the buoyancy of your boat, making it less likely to rock or tip over.

Kayak outriggers are essential for stability, but the placement of your system matters.

Outriggers usually work by balancing the boat, conferring stability, and keeping you from moving around too much so that you can sit up in the kayak without repositioning.

Outriggers are positioned outside kayaks to stabilize them and allow you to load gear, fish, or boat without it getting in your way.

Are kayak outriggers necessary?

Outriggers are not necessary but can be a valuable accessory for kayakers who need extra stability or want to mount fishing gear such as rods and reels.

Imagine fighting with bass when you are riding an unstable kayak or canoe. Not only will it be tough to control the fish, but you are also at risk of tipping over and ruining your equipment.

Kayak outriggers provide stability in those circumstances by extending outward from either side of the kayak or canoe. It is possible to provide a wider base that is less likely to tip than a single pole.

Kayaks can be made wider by using outriggers. They help balance the kayak, so it is not so hard to turn.

Do I need kayak outriggers?

It depends on what you want to do. If your kayak is too narrow for stability, or if the water you fish is shallow and doesn’t have a lot of wave action, then outriggers might be a good idea.

Kayakers who use their boat as an anchor may also need outriggers. It is vital to have more stability to stay balanced when fishing.

If you plan to use the boat only for paddling in areas with no waves or currents, it is not necessary to buy a stabilizer. That will not provide benefits over just adding weight inside the hull of the kayak.

Many people find it challenging to keep balance and stability without outriggers. If you have a hard time with balance, it is a good idea to use stabilizers. They will help your kayak stay still and not tip over.

If you are an experienced paddler looking to try something new, you may want to invest in a set of outriggers.

Are outriggers worth it?

Yes, a high-quality stabilizer is what you would love to have for your next fishing trip. It can provide better stability, balance, and paddling control in the water for fishing kayaks.

Outriggers help boats to stay upright even when they are moving away from the wind or into it. That is because an outrigger extends the boat’s width. It has more surface area on one side of the craft, which helps with stability and buoyancy.

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The best kayak outriggers will have adjustable arms. This way, people who don’t need as wide of an extension can just use what they need.

What is the best kayak with built-in outriggers?

The best kayak with built-in outriggers is the Freedom Hawk. However, I would not recommend you get a built-in stabilizing system.

What are the benefits of kayak outriggers?

  1. They add stability to your kayak, which is excellent for beginners.
  2. They allow you to use various paddles and fishing equipment easily since they are adjustable and come in sets that attach easily.
  3. You can extend the length of your paddle arms to accommodate different-sized kayaks, e.g., narrow kayaks.
  4. It’s easy to balance yourself when using them because it gives you more room in the decking area, especially if multiple people are on board at once.
  5. Kayak outriggers are the perfect solution for standup fishing.

What are the cons of using an outrigger for your kayak?

  1. Weight: an outrigger will add weight to your kayak, so you need to consider this when deciding if it’s a good idea.
  2. Slowed pace: as mentioned above, an outrigger can slow down your kayak paddling pace.
  3. They can interfere with kayak fishing: if the outrigger is too close to your paddling surface, it could interfere with any fish you are trying to catch.

Kayak Outrigger and Stabilizer Buyer’s Guide

Wooden canoe with DIY wooden outriggers/stabilizers

How to choose the best kayak and canoe outrigger

Many factors go into choosing the best kayak outrigger, and it can be overwhelming for a beginner.

That is why I made a list of the essential factors to help you make the best choice.

Buoyancy

If you are kayak fishing, and the boat does not have enough buoyancy for your kit to balance on top of it, purchase a standup paddleboard to attach to the back.

The float should be able to support you while still giving your craft clearance from tipping over.

Buoyancy is crucial when purchasing water safety gear because if you end up capsizing far from shore, an inflatable float will allow you to stay afloat until help arrives.

Adjustability

Outriggers are designed to fit various kayaks and have adjustable arms so you can get the perfect fit. Once installed, you can make adjustments while on the water.

When installing your outrigger, don’t forget to play with the adjustment feature and set ids for your kayak’s specifications and needs.

Retracting floats may be helpful when transporting or storing the boat. Also, height is important because you need to calculate what kind of waves or turbulence it will face in sea conditions poses challenges.

Adjustable kayak outriggers are also a great option for beginners who may not know what to do or want to experiment with different mount positions.

The best thing about adjustable kayak stabilizers is that they come in both types: inflatable and rigid. So, people can decide whether it’s more convenient for them to have their paddle up high, like when the boat is on the water surface or lower during transport.

Materials

When shopping for inflatable outriggers, it is significant to check the materials used. That will help you know if the item you are about to buy is durable and how heavy or light it may be.

Mounting hardware can vary between plastic, stainless steel, etc., which also affects weight.

The floatation for an inflatable outrigger can be either PVC or closed-cell polyethylene foam core (PE), which affects its durability and shipping weight.

Installation process

To install a kayak stabilizer kit, you may require additional tools and hardware. There are two different types of installation kits that will depend on your preference: permanent or easily removable with a locking mechanism.

Before purchasing, one must consider the pros and cons of each type before buying so they can decide their preferences.

The pros of the permanent installation kit are that it is more comfortable and less likely to damage your kayak.

On the other hand, this type can be inconvenient for those who want to use their kayaks in different bodies of water. It will also cause your boat to become heavier, and you may have more trouble with stability.

Removable-type kayak attachments are suitable because you can quickly take them off and put them on a different kayak. They are easy to clean and maintain too.

Before choosing an outrigger system for your kayak, take the time to find one that is compatible with your boat.

The best way to do this is by adding adjustable bars or universal stabilizers. These will ensure the perfect fit for different brands and styles of boats.

Some people choose narrower kayaks because they are lightweight and take up less space. If you live in an area where space is limited, this is helpful.

Outrigger flotation styles

There are two main configurations for a kayak stabilizer: inflatable pontoons and rigid outrigger arms.

First, there are inflatable floatation devices like the old-fashioned water wings but for adults. A typical configuration includes two separate parts that are both attached to the boat.

Inflatable pontoons help you, and your kayak stays on the water. If you get pushed into shallow water, the inflatable floats will make it easier when you try to stand up. Inflatable pontoons also help a kayak stay upright during windy conditions.

Second, there are rigidly-mounted outriggers that attach to the side of your boat and extend downwards into the water for stability. Rigid outrigger arms provide more control when you face solid winds or choppy waves in open waters.

The best kayaks with stabilizers combine inflatable floats with rigid outriggers so they can react to different situations using whichever is most suitable at the time.

The exterior is a tough, puncture-resistant membrane designed to keep your kayak safe from damage. The float inside consists of a weak bladder that inflates, and an air-filled wedge stays buoyant via an attached inflator.

Regularly checking for weaknesses in any part of your outrigger will reduce risks and prolong its lifespan. You can buy an inflatable kayak stabilizer made of PVC that is both buoyant and strong. It might be too big to carry, though.

Size options

Outriggers for kayaks come in many shapes and sizes, but generally, they are between 30-36 inches long.

Please consider the size of your watercraft before buying a set to make sure you have enough stability when using them on smaller boats or large waves.

It’s essential to know the size of your boat before deciding on what length you will need.

Kayaks are typically narrower than canoes, so kayak outriggers have a thinner profile and don’t extend as far from the side of the boat.

Kayakers also use shorter lengths because they generally require less stability with their boats than do canoeists.

Canoeists often paddle over choppy water with significant waves where more extended stabilizers would be helpful.

The heavier the outrigger extension, the more stability is provided to your vessel in waves. A more sturdy bracing system means that you’ll be able to spend more time on the water without worrying about capsizing.

It may also be best to select a boat with floats that are compatible with rigging systems.

Inflatable vs. PVC

Kayak outriggers are generally inflatable or made of PVC. It would be best if you thought about which one is best for you. Inflatable kayak outriggers work better for inflatable and narrow-bodied boats because they can be taken down to fit in a vehicle or store easier than PVC ones.

However, vinyl/PVC kayaks will have trouble sliding over rocks if using an inflatable system because of their width.

Inflatable Kayak Outrigger Pros

  • It can be deflated when not in use;
  • compact storage is easy;
  • generally cheaper than other options.
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Inflatable Kayak Outrigger Cons

  • Fewer customization options available;
  • cannot support wide bodies with limited clearance underneath (i.e., “V” hulls).

The next best option would be PVC kayak outriggers. They are durable, compact, and can be used with a variety of kayaks.

When you are on the water, it can be hard to stay balanced. You should buy a kit with a pair of adjustable arms for paddles and two sliding stabilizers. That will help you stay balanced while fishing or when your boat is not moving.

Pros: Adjustable PVC outrigger arms are a great option for those looking to customize their kayak. They can be used with any type of boat and will provide the best stability in rough water conditions.

Cons: The main disadvantage is that you need to drill holes on your canoe or kayak to mount these stabilizers. You also have less flexibility when it comes to customization options than inflatable outriggers, as well as durability concerns.

Inflatable kayak outriggers (or floats) have an outer layer made of rigid materials similar to that found in your inflatable kayaks. They are quick to set up – blow them up with your mouth right before you hit the water.

Disposable, flexible floats are suitable for when you’re in danger. They can be broken and punctured. That is something to remember when you are close to many sticks or other things that could damage your float.

It would help if you also remembered how heavy they are because some people don’t like them. After all, they take more time to set up and store but give better floatation no matter what position they are in: under your boat or for fishing while on a dinghy.

There are also foldable mounts, which can be stored and mounted in a kayak or boat. These are also good options for narrow kayaks where the mounts will fit flush to its side, as they can’t take up much space when not in use.

Price

When you need peace of mind while being on the water, it is better not to skimp when it comes to a kayak outrigger.

Doing so will bring uncertainty and may cost you much more than if you could buy something stable and dependable. A good quality outrigger at a lower price point isn’t easy to find.

You want assurance that it will do what is required for its intended purpose, which means paying more initially might save in the long run.

Young man makes truly DIY outriggers for his canoe/kayak

How to make DIY kayak outriggers

It is possible to make your kayak stabilizing system with materials you can find at any hardware store.

That is a good option for people who have small or inflatable boats that don’t have outriggers. It is also a good choice for people who want to save money.

Do kayak outriggers work?

Yes.

Outriggers are like a free-floating leg, and they make the boat more stable. You can find these on boats that need to be stable in strong winds and when you have heavy equipment to carry.

Kayak outriggers help the boat to maintain stability and balance. They are commonly seen on fishing boats, but they can be found on recreational kayaks too.

Where can I buy a kayak outrigger?

When you purchase a kayak outrigger, the best way to buy is by following the links in the reviews above. I only recommend trusted online stores because these are not sketchy or dangerous websites, and they offer fantastic service.

How long should kayak outriggers be?

You need to measure your kayak outrigger. It should be about 30-36 inches long. Then you multiply that by two because you will have two outriggers. Add the width of a standard fishing kayak which is about 33-36 inches wide, and then measure again to make sure it is long enough for your boat (but not too long or too short).

This value will result in a well over 9 feet surface area, or 300% bigger than what is possible without an outrigger system.

Remember that there are fundamental principles behind having an appropriate length for your kayak, as it does come with benefits both mechanically and physically.

How wide should kayak outriggers be?

There is no rule in choosing the proper width of the kayak outrigger. It will depend on the width of your kayak and how wide you would like to choose. Outriggers are designed for boat stability, so they shouldn’t be too narrow or too long.

When should you use an outrigger?

Outriggers increase your chances of catching fish on the high seas by holding bait lines while you troll them.

The stabilizers usually run in two different positions, with four lines about ten-fifteen feet apart or running up to eight longer lines from the back of the boat. stability

Some kayaks are more tippy than others, and outriggers can help with stability. If your kayak is too unstable, you should consider adding an outrigger to the opposite side of the boat from where you’re sitting.

If you don’t plan on doing a lot of fishing or canoeing, it may not be necessary to attach anything else, but a paddle mount balancing kit. This simple setup will give your kayak enough stability so that it won’t tip over when stopping.

Outriggers add extra buoyancy as well as lateral stabilization, which means they keep the kayak afloat as well. That is important if you’re kayaking in choppy waters and want to avoid capsizing.

For more advanced kayakers, there are inflatable outriggers. These can be used when the water is rough. They are perfect for stability. You can use them any time, and they will provide extra buoyancy to your kayak.

A kayak stabilizer system is a way to make your kayaking experience more stable. It attaches under the boat without you having to attach anything else.

How do you install outriggers on a kayak?

  1. The inflatable arm or floats (if they are not PVC) should be inflated.
  2. Attach the floats to their corresponding outrigger arms.
  3. Mount the outrigger arms according to your stabilizer system’s instructions.
  4. To increase or decrease the stability of your kayak, you will need to adjust the angle of the outrigger arms.
  5. To use adjustable outrigger arms for kayaks, adjust the tilt of the floats up while sailing, down when fishing, and flat when paddling.

Do kayak outriggers increase weight capacity?

No, kayak outrigger stabilizers won’t increase the weight capacity of your kayak. The float, airbags, and outriggers are only going to give you better chances of not sinking.

The kayaks will still carry the same weight as before. But you can also buy safety items such as life jackets that will help make sure that your boat stays afloat.

Can you stand in a kayak with outriggers?

Yes, kayak outriggers are great for standup fishing.

One of the major benefits of using outriggers is that you can get a lot more comfortable balancing and switching positions (standing up, sitting back down) without adjusting your fishing kayak.

Can I make my kayak more buoyant with outriggers?

Outriggers can help solve the problem of a kayak’s limited stability. That is because they will add more buoyancy and weight to your kayak, ultimately making it safer for you and those around you.

Blue kayak with a floating white stabilizer (outrigger)

Wrapping up

I hope this guide has been helpful in your search for the best kayak outriggers. Whether you are looking to buy a new boat or just need some extra stability on the water, I have found the right products and reviewed them with care.

If you still aren’t sure which ones will work best for your needs, feel free to reach back out to me here in the comments.

Last updated on June 19, 2022 by Duncan Barrett

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