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What are Kayak Outriggers & Why Use Them?

Kayaking has continued to grow in popularity as a family-friendly, cost-effective, simple way to get active. But some people still balk at the very word “capsize”. If the idea of flipping your ‘yak has kept you away from the kayak game, then you should consider outriggers

kayak outriggers

What are Kayak Outriggers

Outriggers are devices that attach to your kayak to increase its stability. Basically, two pontoons (or floats) are attached to a pole that extends out perpendicular to the kayak. This provides three points of contact with the water to ensure maximum equilibrium. Outriggers are usually secured aft of the paddler’s seat so as not to impede paddling.

Outriggers are generally made of plastic and they can be hard or soft. The convenience of inflatable outriggers can’t be overstated as they are easily installed and stored. Check out Brooklyn Kayak Company’s inflatable outriggers. Hard plastic outriggers may require more storage space but they can also provide additional storage options for longer kayaking excursions.

With these buoyancy aids, you can paddle with freedom. It becomes nearly impossible to capsize with these in place, so entering and exiting the kayak from the beach is much steadier. However, they can make a dock landing more difficult. So consider your needs before installing outriggers.

kayak outriggers

Why Use Kayak Outriggers

Balance for Beginner 

Outriggers are excellent for new or uncertain paddlers. Similar to training wheels on a bike, outriggers give the stability kayak paddlers need as they learn the techniques of paddling, steering, and maneuvering their kayak.

Friend for Fishermen

As you up your kayak fishing game, you might want to increase your casting range. That might require standing up in your kayak. Many kayaks are stable enough for this on their own, but outriggers are fabulous for an added measure of security. In addition, outriggers can help balance a loaded kayak so you don’t lose any gear to the standard side-to-side rocking common in kayaks or help your remain stable as you reel in the trophy catch.

Stability for Surprises

Kayak outriggers can also help protect you from any unexpected events that can blind side kayakers. Whether it is seasonal flows, quick-moving debris, or an unfriendly wake, it is nice to have an outrigger in place to counteract those effects. 

Poise for Paddling Pairs

If you are inclined to enjoy tandem kayaking, then outriggers can be of particular interest to you. Because of the inherent challenges of having two people in a kayak (for example, shifting at different times and in different directions), kayak outriggers can offer much-needed stability to a tandem adventure. 

Adaptability for All

Having outriggers can open up the kayaking game to everyone. With the added stability comes the ability to load easier so that paddlers of all kinds can get in the kayaking game. The decreased likelihood of capsizing can bring many others to the kayaking fold.  

Don’t let your fear of capsizing keep you beached! Embrace the options that are available to make kayaking an adventure that everyone can enjoy. 


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