Best Kayak Outrigger and Stabilizer In 2020 [Top 5 Reviewed]
Most kayaks with a narrow and speed-oriented design are built for racing and recreation activities. Ideally, fishing boats have a wider and less lengthy design. This construction shape improves their stability, increases their capacity, and ensures adequate space for storage of fishing gear and catch.
But some sailors desire to use their kayaks in a variety of ways; fishing in kayaks, racing or leisure. And while doing so, they put themselves at risk of sailing accidents. If you want to start fishing but you only own one of these narrow vessels, all you need is an outrigger or stabilizer for your kayak.
Outriggers and stabilizers are structures that project out the sides of a boat. They are inflated and when afloat, increase the stability level of the vessel. With these devices, people of bigger sizes and weight can now comfortably sight fish and stand up while on a kayak.
Below are reviews of five of the best kayak outrigger and stabilizer options for vessels of any size or functionality. We have also included a buying guide that explains the factors to look out for when buying outriggers and stabilizers for your kayak.
- Why the Outrigger / Stabilizer Is Important to Your Kayak?
- Top 5 [Table of Comparison]
- 5 Best Kayak Outriggers and Stabilizer Reviewed
- Kayak Outriggers / Stabilizer Buying Guides
- Frequently Asked Questions
- FINAL VERDICT
Why the Outrigger / Stabilizer Is Important to Your Kayak?
The euphoria that comes from sailing a kayak is better experienced than read about. Most kayak owners love speed and easy gliding, but beyond all that they want stability. This is a feature that is sacrificed in the faster sailing vessels. This is because they are designed with longer and narrower hulls to improve tracking. This design almost eliminates maneuverability, especially in narrow waterways; this greatly reduces stability.
Attaching an outrigger to your kayak boosts the stability of your vessel. It affords you a higher level of liberty in using your kayak. Some of these liberties include the ability to stand up, while on a kayak that is afloat, and the ability to sight fish, which greatly aids anglers when fishing from a kayak.
Fishing is not the only activity that is improved when you install outriggers. They also aid amateur kayakers act like training wheels. They help the novice sailor support the weight of the vessel, so as to prevent unnecessary accidents.
Also, in choppy and turbulent waters, stabilizers give your kayak a higher chance of remaining afloat, while maneuvering through the unstable waters. They can be used by extreme sports sailors as an extra layer of safety precautions.
Top 5 [Table of Comparison]
We have designed a comparison table below for your easy reference. However, it is important to note that the positions are in no particular order of importance.
|Product||Specifications & Features||Our Rating|
Scotty #302 Kayak Stabilizer System
| Outrigger Arm Length: 28 inch|
Inflatable Pontoon Length: 30 inch
Inflatable Pontoon Diameter: 8 inch
Pontoon Material:Rugged PVC
Offers over 30 lbs of extra buoyancy
Brocraft Kayak Outriggers/Stabilizer System
| Outrigger Arm Length: 32 inch|
Arms Material: Marine grade 6061-T6 aluminium
Floats made of PVC
Compatible with Scotty Track System , BroCraft Track system, Yak Attack Track system
Hobie Kayak Sidekick AMA Stabilizer Kit
| Easily inflate / deflate|
Adjustable cross arms with High, Medium & Low positions
Adjustable float height with simple twist and click
Weight: 5 lbs
Yak Gear Canoe & Kayak Outrigger/Stabilizer
| Outrigger Arm Length: 30 inch|
Connect through a Scotty 350 rod holder
Floats add 60 lbs of extra buoyancy
Optimal for weights under 350 lbs
Mexidi PVC Inflatable Kayak Outrigger Stabilizer Kit
| Easily inflate / deflate|
Length: 35.4 inch
Width: 11 inch
Weight: 1.3 lbs
5 Best Kayak Outriggers and Stabilizer Reviewed
1.Scotty 302 Kayak Stabilizer System
The Scott 302 stabilizer system comes with a pair of inflatable/deflatable pontoons, a pair of adjustable stabilizing arms and other accessories. This device is on this list of the best kayak outriggers because it gives a great level of stability.
With this system attached to your kayak, you are just a DJ away from being able to dance on your vessel. The stability achieved from this outrigger, allows you to stand confidently in your vessel. It allows you sight fish and angle better. It also makes getting back into your kayak after a swim, quite easy.
Nevertheless, using the Scotty 302 is not all rosy. It is difficult to move your boat while they are attached. A detachment of the arms is quite difficult as tools are needed.
2. Brocraft Kayak Outriggers / Stabilizers System
Anyone looking to buy an outrigger or a stabilizer for their kayak needs to check out the Brocraft stabilizer. This device has a great reputation for providing stability and balance to your kayak. Its sturdy build enhances its durability, giving you a system that lasts about as long as your kayak itself.
The pair of kayak pontoons that come with this system are made from the very tough and durable PVC plastic. These are attached to the 32 inch long arms. These aluminum arms are then mounted on the hull of your kayak. These buoyant stabilizers can be extended or retracted to any distance within the full length of the stabilizer arms.
It is advised that you install your outrigger closer to your stern, so as to avoid interference with any paddling or fishing activities. Also, you should know, this system is not childproof, so place out of reach of children.
3. Hobie Kayak Sidekick AMA Stabiliser Kit
Hobie is one company that is not only known for pioneering the pedal kayak technology. They are also known for giving the world the Hobie Sidekick; a good example of what the best outrigger and stabilizer for kayak should look like.
This device is well known for its great level of stability, its ease of installation, ease of use, ease of disassembling and easy storage. It is great for use when fishing, sailing, standing and sight-fishing, and shooting photographs. Also, this system guarantees the safety of your children, pets, and properties.
Even though the Hobie Sidekick is a tremendous confidence booster and works as an important safety measure. It still has a few drawbacks, which include reduction of speed and a lack of durability due to the quality of certain materials.
4. Yak Gear Canoe / Kayak Outriggers & Stabilizer
With the Yak Gear Outrigger system, it is quite easy to feel secure and safe in your canoe. This is because of the remarkable stabilizing effects of the system. This stabilizer has a different function for different sailors, but in the end, stability is what it gives you.
The amateur paddler or pedaller needs an extra layer of buoyancy for confidence; a pet owner needs to be able to secure their pet in the vessel without tipping; an angler in choppy or slightly turbulent water needs to be able to sight fish. Different strokes for different folk, but this canoe outrigger comes through for each of those needs and more.
Its components include a pair of non-inflatable PVC pontoons, a pair of stabilizer arms with a length of about 30 inches, a Scotty-350 rod holder that is mounted on the boat, etc.
Although, you should know that one of the shortcomings of this system is the fact that it only supports a vessel whose total capacity contains at most 350 lbs. This includes your weight, the weight of any passengers and the weight of all your gear.
5. Mexidi PVC Inflatable Kayak Outrigger Stabilizer Kit
One of the factors looked out for when buying an Outrigger system is the ease with which it can be inflated. Most people do not want an outrigger that requires an extra pump or an outrigger that is not deflatable, these are hard to store.
With the Mexidi outrigger, inflating your pontoon is as easy as blowing a few breaths and your kayak pontoons will be fully functional and ready to go. After blowing, it is important to take note that the right size should be able to give in about half an inch. This is because while outside, the hot air further inflates it. Making it at risk of bursting.
A disadvantage is that Mexidi Outrigger and Stabilizer system is more suited to people interested in DIY. And for them, it is one of the best products.
This is because this system does not come with extra accessories and hardware, there is just a pair of inflatable pontoons. Although this drawback is reflected in its almost ridiculously low price; buying the other necessary parts will still accrue a significant cost.
Kayak Outriggers / Stabilizer Buying Guides
Owning a kayak that has an outrigger and stabilizer installed is one of the safest ways to sail. This system comes in handy in different situations, saving you from accidents, stress and even reduces your expenses. But it is imperative that you buy the right system for you and your kayak. With the above list of best kayak stabilizer systems, it becomes easier to make this choice, but your job is yet complete.
It is not that difficult to choose kayak outriggers and stabilizers that are perfect for you in every way. You just need to pay attention to certain details and factors. Some of which include the buoyancy your outrigger system adds to your vessel; the type of construction materials used in constructing the devices that make up this system; the accessories that come with your stabilizer system and their efficacy; and even the prices offered for these products.
Outlined below are these factors in more detail.
An ideal kayak floats on its own; it has a level of buoyancy already. However, this buoyancy is strained when the kayak contains heavy load, unstable passengers, or sails in turbulent water.
Installing an outrigger system increases the total buoyancy level of the kayak. This buoyancy added depends on the size and capacity of the vessel, the size of the pontoons, and even the material used to make these pontoons.
And so, since the buoyancy added varies from product to product, it is important that you pay attention to these parts of the system to be purchased.
An outrigger and stabilizer system is only as durable and sturdy as the materials used in its construction. And so the type and quality of these materials are a factor that should not be overlooked when searching for the right outrigger system. The entire system is made up of a pair of pontoons, a pair of stabilizer arms, two mounts for mounting on the hull.
The pontoons are typically made from either PVC plastic or Polyethylene nylon. The PVC pontoons can be inflatable or non-inflatable. The non-inflatable ones are very sturdy and provide a high level of buoyancy, but they are difficult to store after use.
The inflatable PVC pontoons are also quite sturdy and tough. And although they do not offer as much buoyancy, they are easier to deflate and store away. The polyethylene pontoons are always inflatable.
They offer much less buoyancy, but they are very easy to inflate. Deflation and storage are the easiest.
The pair of stabilizer arms are made of metal, but this metal needs to be rust proof. Some stabilizer systems offer arms made from stainless steel and even marine grade aluminum. These prevent rusting, increasing the lifespan of your device while avoiding marine pollution.
You probably already have a budget you're not willing to compromise on. That is because this is one factor we all pay utmost attention to. It is usually the deal breaker for any purchase and for good reason too. But you should know that the best materials cost more, and this is almost always reflected in the price.
Most differences in the cost of outrigger and stabilizer systems are caused by the difference in design; complementary accessories added; construction materials used. The higher the quality of these, the better the performance and the longer its lifespan. But while you should not be scared to spend well on quality, you should know that there are some products that can serve you well, while saving you costs.
These are one of the factors that are easy to overlook, but they are just as important as the other factors. A lot of outrigger and stabilizer systems come with these accessories like bolts, nuts, rivets, the mounting system, etc. But this is one way to cut costs for you because some of these accessories are of low quality or are even incompatible with your vessel.
So one way to avoid this is to go for outrigger options that do not come with these accessories, then go to a local tool shop and pick up everything you need at a good price and good quality too.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I inflate the pontoons?
This depends on a few things. One is the type of valve provided. Some valves make using your mouth very inconvenient and ineffective these kinds are more suited to airguns or an air compressor.
Some pontoons come with an adapter. This depresses the center valve and makes it quite convenient to use your mouth. This is a good option because it is quick and can be done anywhere.
2. Do I need to drill a hole for installation of the outrigger system?
Drilling a hole into the hull of your kayak is quite optional. This is because some mounts are designed like clamps, and can be secured to the hull of your vessel without any holes drilled.
But, also, in some cases, about four holes need to be drilled into your kayak for nuts and bolts, or pops and rivets, to securely be inserted.
3. What part of my kayak is best for installing the outrigger device?
When installing an outrigger on your kayak, it is important to note the activities you intend to carry out. This is because you would not want to inconvenience yourself by installing your outrigger in a part of the vessel where you are going to be working from.
Having said that; due to the fact that most of your activities will be done with you sitting at the center, it is best that you do not install your outrigger in the center of your vessel. That leaves the front part of your kayak and the rear. The rear is preferable because that is where your gear and catch will be stored. And the added buoyancy in that area helps maintain the balance.
So install your outrigger a few inches behind your kayak seat. That is the best area.
4. How do I align an outrigger on my kayak?
This is an important question. When installing kayak outriggers, alignment is a step that should not be overlooked. The pair of pontoons need to be in positions that reflect each other and also run parallel to the sides of the kayak. If this is done wrong, the balance provided by your outrigger is compromised.
In order to get it right, when installing the mounts on the hull of your kayak, mark each position that allows your pontoons to remain parallel to the kayak while reflecting each other. These marks help you keep your alignment, even when adjusting on water
Installing a kayak outrigger is a good decision for you to make. It ticks all the right safety boxes and saves you money on getting a newer and more stable kayak. It keeps you and your gear secure from falling into the water and gives you the confidence you need to bring a pet or a child kayaking along with you.
It is also very important to make the right choice on the best kayak outrigger and stabilizer. This saves you from wasting funds unnecessarily, allows you to get the system that fits your vessel best and gives you the option of buying based on your budget. With this article, five of the best outrigger systems have been reviewed to help make your decision easier.
Last but not least, we are going to rate our top pick, Scotty 302 Kayak Stabilizer System, 4.9 stars of the possible 5.