A shaky, unsteady kayak is very annoying to ride on and can be a bit dangerous, especially when you’re trying to hook that dream fish. A fishing kayak with outriggers has a higher level of buoyancy, which means it’s less likely for your canoe to flip over. To enjoy going across the water safe and stable, it’s essential you get some of the best kayak outriggers, pontoons, or stabilizers.
Regardless of what they’re called, outriggers for your kayak are specifically designed to withstand rough currents and give you the safest and most stable ride. Here is our comprehensive review of simple outriggers for kayaks. For more information on kayak fishing. See our guide to fishing from a kayak.
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Table of Contents
Best Kayak Outriggers and Stabilizers
If that piqued your interest, read on as we’ve tested some of the highly recommended ones to see which ones are worthy of your investment. Check them out!
1. YakGear Outriggers Gen 2
YakGear outriggers are super easy to install. They aren’t prone to punctures and they provide additional spots for mounting a GoPro.
The set consists of two plastic floats with 30-inch adjustable arms which are the float base 22 inches from the sides or port of a kayak. This entire kit weighs only 6.8 pounds and they use the Railblaza StarPort mounts.
What we love most about this stabilizer system is that it’s all about performance. It guarantees security and excellent stabilization while enjoying a smooth glide over the water.
As a bonus, it’s relatively low-cost! The stabilizers also come with pre-installed balancers in order to enhance the stability of a kayak. It’s suitable for fishing, kayaking, paddling, and standing.
2. Scotty Kayak Stabilizer
The Scotty Stabilizer is a set of outriggers that can easily adapt to fit various canoes without having to drill holes. This is because it comes with the brand’s portable clamp mount. The pontoons include a locking mounting system that allows an easier installation and removal process.
Just unlock and swing this system inboard in order to get them out of your way. Each stabilizer kit from Scotty includes inflatable pontoons, a locking combination side/deck mounting system, baitcaster rod holders, and anodized arms and posts.
The anodized aluminum support arms are 28 inches in length (each arm). As for the 30-inch-long pontoons, they are manufactured using heavy-duty, tear and puncture-resistant PVC material for the outer shell or membrane.
It’s a good option if you want a portable set of outriggers. It’s also everything that you’ll need from an inflatable stabilizer.
3. Brocraft Outriggers
Another great kayak stabilizer system, the Brocraft kayak outriggers have a rather rigid set of outrigger floats.
With two molded PVC floats or pontoons and two 32-inch aluminum arms that are mounted on locking bases, they’re sure to bring stability to your fishing kayak. It’s one of the best sellers and it’s in vibrant yellow, which makes it very visible on the water as it extends from your kayak.
The floats are able to withstand harsh water and weather conditions, and even rocks, debris, and weeds. We particularly like the fact that it has the right arm length which lends an immense amount of stability.
The arms also have an aluminum build, as mentioned earlier, which means it’s guaranteed to last a fairly long time. Moreover, it comes with repair patches and a comprehensive warranty.
4. Hobie Sidekick Ama
Among the most versatile sets of outriggers we’ve tested, the Hobie Sidekick Amas has an adjustable float height for optimization.
Whether you’re angling on flatwater or whitewater kayaking, these inflatable stabilizers are an excellent companion.
The kit comes with 2 inflatable floats which offer a wider floating base that extends to 20 inches from a kayak. They are easy to install and detach as well, not to mention they are also easy to carry around for transport.
The mounting hardware is included and consists of 4 expanding nuts and bolts. The adjustable floating height can be manipulated with just a quick click and twist. The three positions are high, medium, and low, making it a versatile kayak stabilizer set.
5. Meter Star Kayak Stabilizer
For beginners or those who simply want to test out having stabilizers mounted on a kayak, Meter Star Kayak Stabilizers are some of the best to try out.
They lend sufficient stability to any canoe and it’s durable and lightweight. Their inflatable design makes them popular with families with little kids who love going out in the water.
Weighing just 2.6 pounds and measuring approximately 36 inches in length, these stabilizers are ideal to ensure your kayak is stable. The package also comes with repair patches like the majority of excellent stabilizer kits.
Since the Meter Star Kayak Stabilizers are made of thick and lightweight materials, there’s no need to worry about having leaks or getting the floats punctured. They’re easy to carry and they’re light in the wallet as well. It’s definitely an excellent buy and a good starter stabilizer system.
6. Lixada Inflatable Outrigger
An affordable option, this product is a set of inflatable stabilizers with aluminum sidekicks and an adjustable mounting bar.
It also features an ergonomic bent support bar which makes adjustments a lot easier compared to other outriggers.
Mounting the stabilizer system is easy. With the Lixada Outriggers, you can ensure stability while fishing, standing, or kayaking as it has a PVC and aluminum construction. It’s sturdier and more durable compared to the other alternatives.
With regards to its performance, it doesn’t create a lot of drag so you can enjoy a more comfortable and smoother ride. They also offer a great amount of buoyancy so you won’t have to stress or worry about having to fall overboard.
7. Pactrade Marine Inflatable Floats
Pactrade Marine Inflatable Outriggers are fully adjustable and are simple to add to most any kayak. They give maximum stability as their inflatable design is tall and boasts a very high volume.
The connecting bar is made of PVC which means these are light and easy to maneuver.
There is not a lot of height adjustment available, but there is a bit of horizontal size configuration with the adjustable connecting rod.
We like inflatable kayak outriggers because they add to your kayak’s buoyancy without being bulky and the difficulty of transporting the molded type of PVC outriggers.
8. Spring Creek Hydrodynamic Canoe Stabilizer
Another set of outriggers that we highly recommend is the Hydrodynamic Canoe Stabilizer of Spring Creek Manufacturing. Although it’s often sold out as stocks are limited and a lot of people are trying to get their hands on them, we still love them as they don’t disappoint.
Made here in the US, the outriggers are perfect for fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. They’re made of durable, lightweight polyethylene plastic which ensures smoothness and stability while in the water. The width can be adjusted, depending on your specific needs. It may be extended to a maximum of 20 inches from each direction.
The stabilizing float package is able to boost the buoyancy of a kayak up to 27 pounds per float. The hydrodynamic design of this set is excellent for ensuring minimal water drag.
Apart from being easily adjustable and having locking arms, you get three different color options such as grey, red, and yellow. Personally, we love yellow as it’s brighter and more visible in the water.
How to Choose the Best Kayak Outriggers
Selecting the right outrigger for your kayak won’t be difficult if you pay close attention to a couple of crucial factors. Prior to deciding on a specific model, get a quick checklist of your requirements together. The choices are many! Make sure you understand what you are looking for before making a purchase.
Doing some research like what you’re doing now and measuring the kayak itself will make it easy for you to select the right one according to your needs and preferences.
Among the main reasons to install one of the best kayak outriggers is to increase a kayak’s buoyancy. Because there are different sizes of pontoons for a kayak, the level of buoyancy varies.
A product that has the highest level of buoyancy will be a good choice as that means the kayak is safer and a lot more stable.
Buoyancy can come with the drawback of large sizes and weights though, so make sure to balance your selection with outriggers that are buoyant enough to do the job, but not too large or cumbersome.
Various types of materials are used in making a kayak or canoe outrigger/stabilizer. How well the gear performs and its lifespan will depend on its material construction.
Select the right material for you to get more out of your investment. Most manufacturing companies use PVC for the floaters while stainless steel or aluminum is used for an outrigger’s mounting hardware.
If you prefer a more portable kayak stabilizer system, opt for the inflatable type instead of the PVC. The only issue with inflatable stabilizers for kayaks is their exterior membrane. If you are fishing in lakes where the likelihood of running into sharp objects is lessened, an inflatable outrigger might be a great addition. If you are floating on a cramped or shallow river or in an area with a lot of rocks, you may find the inflatable to be risky. A PVC balast would be a better selection.
There are kayaks that already come with pre-drilled holes so the best kayak stabilizers can be installed on them quickly an easily.
This isn’t always the case, however, as there are also kayaks that will require you to drill holes yourself should you need to add a kayak stabilizer system. Before you choose a stabilizer system, make sure that you check first that the mounting hardware is aligned with the pre-drilled holes which may already be in your kayak.
One other important note is about permanency. Some outrigger mounting systems are designed specifically to attach to kayaks permanently. You will also find others that may be removed when you don’t need them. If you plan to use your kayak in a number of varying ways, having an easily removable outrigger is super important.
You may also want to consider transportation of a kayak with mounted stabilizers as they can be much more difficult to simply thrown in the back of a truck or on top of a car once a permanent outrigger is attached.
A kayak stabilizer kit can be 30 to 36 inches. Lately, manufacturers are producing even larger or shorter stabilizers than the average to meet market demands.
When deciding on the size of your outriggers, remember that the longer the arm of a stabilizer system, the more stability it’s going to offer. This is due to the kayak having a bigger surface area, decreasing the chances of it flipping or tipping from one side to another.
If you ask us and most anglers, we prefer stabilizers to be 30 to 36 inches tall as this is the best length to increase stability and buoyancy without putting extra drag and weight onto the kayak.
You do have to keep a stabilizer system’s size in mind as it definitely increases the size of the kayak, and may create some problems in narrow waterways.
Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly can the best kayak outriggers do?
Outriggers offer both balance and stability to a kayak or canoe while it’s used in the water. They increase the buoyancy of the kayak and act as stabilizers as they reduce the risk of the kayak from tipping or rocking.
In order to ensure that your outriggers give you the maximum stability possible, positioning is crucial.
Ideally, you would want the stabilizers to be positioned and set in place so there’s no need for adjusting or rearranging when you’re already on your kayak.
The back of the kayak is often the best position as it’s less likely to be obstructive while you’re paddling. You can also reduce the likelihood of it getting caught up in a fishing line.
Do outriggers really work?
Yes, they definitely work. A good outrigger will prevent kayak tipping entirely and give complete stability no matter if you are just paddling around or if you are standing up fishing. Aftermarket kayak stabilizers can be easily added to most kayaks and provide safety and buoyancy to most any kayak or canoe.
How do I decide if I will need stabilizers for my kayak?
Kayaks are narrow water vessels. This means they’re prone to flipping over when they’re out on the water. Do you do a lot of kayak fishing?
If so, then you most definitely need the outriggers or stabilizers as you won’t have to worry about the kayak tipping or rocking as you fight fish.
If you’re not the best swimmer, you can also be safer with a kayak stabilizer system. Outriggers help prevent you from falling into the water. They can also make kayaking more enjoyable and memorable for you as there is no fear of the kayak turning upside down.
When you’re trying to decide whether or not there’s a need for you to get a set of outriggers, you should also consider the general water conditions and typical wave height of the body of water you’re heading out into.
When the wave height is high or if the water is choppy, outriggers will help ensure you remain safe and stable on your kayak.
What is the right angle for kayak outriggers?
You would want the floats to just sit on the water to give the most stability while minimizing the amount of drag. Attaching pontoons or floats at a 90-degree angle is just about right.
Most outriggers have adjustable heights. The adjustability feature is great as it can be very useful. Just bear in mind that the adjustments can be easier to make (and also safer) when you are still on land instead of while on the water.
Moving around in a kayak to make adjustments as soon as the kayak is already in the water will make the task more challenging. You will also be less effective in adding stability to your kayak.
Are there difficulties I should know about when using outriggers?
The extra width of outriggers can provide a huge advantage to the stability of your water vessel. But, this has an impact on the kayak’s maneuverability, as well as on your ability in getting up into smaller creeks. You may even have issues getting close to pylons and bringing fish aboard.
Fortunately, these difficulties are manageable. Just be aware of the fact that there are some trade-offs when adding stability to your kayak. Above all, remember that your safety has to be your utmost priority.
If you have health issues, you’re not the best at swimming or you don’t trust your ability in getting into your kayak should it flip, it’s best to be cautious and get some of the best outriggers.
Are outriggers necessary for fishing?
This means a shift in your position or an unexpected bump will result in your gear flying to the side of the watercraft or worse, to you launching into the water!
When you have a kayak that’s specifically designed for standing, an outrigger can help ensure complete stability as they prevent the kayak from tipping or flipping.
Kayak and canoe outriggers are great at mitigating those risks. Seasoned anglers worldwide rely heavily on the best stabilizer system to provide them with a firm deck to cast from. There are also those that use them for trolling with various lines or offshore fishing.
Are accessories worth purchasing for kayak outriggers?
Yes, it would be best if you have accessories for your kayak stabilizers.
There are those that already come with an accessory kit, complete with bolts and nuts. But, there are products that will require you to acquire them separately.
We advise you to stick to the kayak stabilizer system that already includes the accessories not only to avoid inconvenience but also to ensure you have every single thing needed to use the stabilizers.
Are there other gear or equipment I will need for my kayak to be stable?
Other gear or equipment isn’t needed for improving the stability of your kayak other than a stabilizer kit.
There are, however, lots of convenient gadgets and tools which can further enhance your kayaking or fishing venture and make it all the more effective, fun, and successful.
You’ll never go wrong with having an anchor or rod holder either. Another thing that will especially boost your odds of getting something if you are into kayak fishing is getting an effective kayak fish finder. A good fish finder can make a world of difference when looking to locate those fish.
You’ll need something that’s compact and portable that also has excellent water resistance. This means you need to specifically look for one that’s for kayaking or boating.
Using the best kayak outriggers will not only help ensure your stability and safety on the water but also improve your overall kayaking experience and performance. The number one product we highly recommend is the YakGear Kayak Outriggers Gen 2.
The stabilizer kit comes complete with everything you need – even the installation manual and mounting hardware are included! What’s more, it’s from a trusted brand so you can be sure you’re getting one from a reputable company.
The company has an excellent reputation for producing high-performing and highly buoyant outriggers that can last for years. It’s even perfect for amateurs and professionals. Remember that even experienced kayakers need a good set of outriggers for improved stability and safety.