Best Kayak Outriggers Reviewed & Rated for Quality
But rather than trading in your kayak for a larger craft that limits your mobility and freedom, try adding a set of kayak outriggers to your raft instead.
Kayak outriggers--or stabilizers--are not one size fits all. Some stabilizers are made from solid PVC while others are inflatable. And some will need to be installed using a drill if it has a crossbar mount while others will use rod holders for installation.
We’ve provided a nice mix of all of these options along with some kayak tips and hints on our list so that you can be sure to get the best fit for you and your kayak.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
When compiling the group of products for this Ten Best List, we heavily weighed the materials that each product is made out of.
Most of the products on our list feature arms made from metal. Most of these are made from aluminum. Aluminum is a great option because it is, at the same time, lightweight and strong. This is important for durability purposes and for not weighing down your craft.
There are a few products on our list that feature PVC pipes instead of metal. These are also a good option because they are durable and don’t run the risk of rusting as they aren’t metal.
The pontoons on our list are mostly made of PVC. While some are made from solid PVC molds, others have PVC outers. The PVC molded pontoons are super strong and virtually indestructible. The inflatable pontoons with PVC outers are durable and puncture resistant, but may still be punctured in certain conditions.
Almost all of the products on our list come with stainless steel hardware. This is super important. Using stainless steel hardware is the best way to ensure that your hardware is sturdy and will be able to stand up to the test of time.
Ease of Use
When thinking about ease of use, we considered how easy a product is to install. Pretty much all of the products on our list require a drill for installation (though you may choose to purchase a rig to install them on your gear racks). Again, most come with ample instructions and some even come with video tutorials to help you.
We rate a product’s adjustability on its ability to achieve different arm and pontoon positions. Products that can be adjusted to different positions, especially those that can be adjusted at more than one joint, score highly in this category. Additionally, products that are easy enough to adjust while you are still in the water score highly here as well.
When considering compatibility, we looked for products that can be used on multiple different watercrafts. Some of the products on our list are only intended to be used with certain brands. While these work great for those brands, it does make them a limiting option.
Products that can be used across brands score highly here. Additionally, products that can be used not only on kayaks but also on other boats like canoes score highly here as well. Keep in mind that you may need to purchase additional mounting gear depending on the style of boat you have and the product that you purchase.
These products may seem surprisingly expensive to some, but you are purchasing security and you want to be sure that they work. After considering tons of reviews, we ordered our list by giving you the best products for the least amount of money. We do include budget options at the end that will still get the job done decently.
10 Best Kayak Outriggers
1. Hobie Sidekick Ama Kit
The Hobie Sidekick Ama Kit is Number 1 on our list for so many reasons. While you will have to install this unit with a drill as it is mounted with a crowbar, don’t let that scare you away! This product is ideal for stabilizing your craft when you are snapping incredible photos of the natural elements around you or when you are sight fishing and need a stable base.
The Hobie Sidekick Ama Kit is mounted on a crossbar. You will need a drill and a screwdriver to properly install this unit. Don’t worry! Hobie provides their own video and detailed instruction guide for how to install the Ama Kit, and if that’s not enough, there are more than a few YouTube videos that can assist you as well.
You will install this kit behind your seat making sure you leave enough room behind you so that you don’t hit the crossbar with your kayak paddle when you row. You will also want to install it in a place that doesn’t inhibit you from using storage in the back of your boat. Finding the exact correct position for your crossbar is the toughest part of the install.
The entire kit only weighs about 5 pounds, so it won’t drag you down. The pontoons themselves are inflatable and you won’t need to fuss around with a pump. You can easily inflate these with a couple of deep breaths and you’ll be good to go. Plus, the pontoons feature a quick release valve that lets the air out rapidly.
And if you’re worried about your pontoons getting punctured, the kit comes with 4 patches and glue that is specifically designed to effectively patch up your pontoon. Remember to sand the surrounding area before adhering for long-lasting results.
3 Adjustable Heights
The Hobie Sidekick Ama Kit comes with 3 bars and 2 pontoons, plus all of the necessary mounting hardware that you will need to install it. Once you’ve installed the base crossbar behind your seat, you will pop in the other 2 bars to the base crossbar. If you’ve ever erected a pop-up canopy tent, these are the pop button placements you’ll be working with here.
There are 3 different positions that the secondary bars can be twisted and popped into. The positions are high, medium, and low. Because having your stabilizers in the water will slow you down, being able to adjust the stabilizers to the high setting will allow you to pull them out of the water without having to remove the entire bar. This is an amazing feature.
Cost and Value
The Hobie Sidekick Ama Kit rings up towards the top of our price range and we love its value because it is lightweight and easy to adjust when you’re in the water to 3 different heights depending on your needs. Plus, you get everything you require in the kit to ensure that you can enjoy advanced stability for years to come.
The Brocraft also boasts some super cool features that will provide smooth stability while out in the water. There’s a little less hardware with this product than with the Hobie Sidekick but you will still get a strong sense of security when you’re casting reels into the water.
Installed with Rod Holders
The kit from Brocraft features a different installation method than the Hobie Sidekick. Rather than installing a crossbar behind the seat as you do with the Hobie, here you will install rod holders on either side of the raft.
To install correctly, you will again need to make sure that when the stabilizer arms are in place that they won’t interfere with your strokes but you won’t have to worry about this installation taking up room in your boat’s rear storage as there is no crossbar to contend with. You will also need to make sure the rod holders are installed at the same point on either side of the boat.
You will need a power drill to install the rod holders effectively. All hardware is included and is made of stainless steel. However, some reviewers needed to purchase additional hardware to fit their boats as the provided hardware wasn’t long enough.
Once installed, all you have to do is pop the stabilizer arms in. These are 32 inches long and made of lightweight yet durable aluminum.
Ideal for Fishermen
The Brocraft kit is ideal for fishermen because the pontoons are made from solid PVC. While some other products on our list are inflatable and could be easily pierced by a fishing hook, these solid PVC pontoons won’t be damaged if hooks and lures start flying.
You are able to adjust the positioning of the articulating arms which hold the pontoons, but reaching the adjustment joint while in the water can be a bit complicated. Of course, this depends mostly on where you install your rod holders.
Cost and Value
The Brocraft kit rings up in the high middle of our price range and we love its value because it fits a wide variety of different kayaks and because it’s ideal for fisherman as the PVC pontoons won’t puncture. Plus, the whole kit comes with a 2-year warranty.
3. Scotty Stabilizer System
The Scotty Stabilizer System is another great option on our list that won’t take up storage space in the back of your boat. With spinning fishing rod holders as the mounting apparatus, this kit can serve more than one purpose. And because the pontoons are inflatable, they are easy to store and take along with you.
Scotty Spinning Rod Mounts
The Scotty Stabilizer System also uses rod mounts and articulating arms. The rod mounts that are included are from Scotty and they are designed to hold spinning rods. To install, you’ll want to place the rod holders at the back of your boat. Placing them in the front could cause your boat to begin warping.
Again, you need to test out spacing so your oar doesn’t hit the arms once they are attached. But because there is no crossbar, you won’t have to worry about losing space in the back of your boat.
You will need a drill to install the base mounts, making sure that they are even on each side. Then you will attach the rod holders. Finally, you’ll attach the arms. You do not have to use the rod holders as the arms will fit in the base mounts, but using the rod holders makes adjusting the position of the arms easier when you’re in the water.
Durable PVC Outer
The Scotty Kayak Stabilizer System is one that offers up tons of stability--30 more pounds in buoyancy to be exact. And amazingly, the pontoons that do all of this heavy lifting are inflatable. The pontoons come with an adapter that makes them inflate easily while holding in the air for maximum pressure. Make sure you don’t lose the adapter! Blowing up without the adapter is quite difficult.
Each of the pontoons has a super durable PVC outer shell that makes them resilient and resistant to punctures from rocks and stray hooks. But if one should occur, the Scotty Stabilizer System comes with a patch kit.
Cost and Value
The Scotty Stabilizer System rings up at the very top of our price range but we love its value because it works to solve the problem of difficulty adjusting in the water by allowing the articulating arms to attach to rod holders. Plus, you get a bonus pair of rod holders out of the deal.
4. Yak-Gear Generation 2 Stabilizers
The Yak-Gear Generation 2 Stabilizers have reimagined the design of their pontoons for greater stability while out of the water. With everything that you need for installation, plus the option to upgrade your RAILBLAZA StarPort to accommodate camera attachments, this product provides customization potential to fit your exact needs.
Easier to Adjust In Water
The Yak-Gear Generation 2 Stabilizers have designed a way to make it easier to adjust the arms of the stabilizers while you are still in the water. Because of this new configuration, you can also independently move each arm of the other. The adjustment knobs are installed facing forward so reaching for them isn’t nearly as hard.
This is an important feature because paddling with the pontoons in the water will cause some drag, and you won’t want to approach a dock with your stabilizers down. This gives you more control over your entire boating experience.
Can Install in Front or Rear
The Yak-Gear Generation 2 Stabilizers comes with everything you need for secure installation. You will require a drill, but the set comes with clear instructions so you can go into the process confidently. We love that you are able to install this device in both the front and the rear.
The set comes standard with RAILBLAZA StarPort mounts. You may choose to upgrade to the RAILBLAZA Miniport base that will enable you to install additional RAILBLAZA mounts such as camera mounts.
You are able to install this device on kayaks and canoes. If you are installing on a canoe, you will need to purchase an additional hardwood board in order to mount the stabilizer securely. You should not mount the hardware directly on the boat as this will not allow for proper weight distribution.
This product can work effectively with up to 350 pounds of weight in the craft.
Cost and Value
The Yak-Gear Generation 2 Stabilizers ring up in the high middle of our price range and we love its value because it comes with all you need for the install, plus you can customize the fit for canoes and for other attachments to enrich your outdoors experience.
5. Inspired By Nature
The Inspired By Nature stabilizers are another option with articulating arms and solid pontoons. They are made using high-quality materials, are long-lasting, and are built in the United States. Plus, they can be installed on a wide variety of watercrafts and they will add about 60 extra pounds in buoyancy to your raft.
Made Using Durable Materials
The Inspired By Nature stabilizers are made with the highest-quality materials. The arms are not made from metal so they won’t be susceptible to rust. Instead, they are made from PVC that is furniture-grade strong.
The pontoons are made from PVC that has been molded. That means each pontoon is 1 single piece that won’t split apart and break. That also means that you won’t have to worry about damaging the pontoons on rocks or with fishing hooks.
Scotty Locking Mounts
The Inspired By Nature stabilizers come with Scotty Locking Mounts. These are a versatile option that allows you to install your mounts on many different styles of boats. All hardware is included and is stainless steel. These are meant to be installed in the back of the kayak for the most stability.
It is worth noting that you will need to be able to access the inside of your boat in order to install the Scotty Locking mounts properly. You have to bolt the mounts in which means you’ll need to reach underneath the mount to secure it. That being said, you will not be able to install these in sit-on-top kayaks.
Cost and Value
The Inspired By Nature stabilizers ring up towards the top of our price range and we like its value because it is made from top-notch materials and because it can fit on a wide range of boats.
The Canoe Kayak Outrigger Stabilizer is an oversized stabilizer that will make even the timidest of rowers feel secure in their craft. These work with up to 350 pounds of weight and will add an extra 60 pounds of buoyancy so you can feel nice and topple-proof.
Scotty 350 Bracket Rod Holders
The Canoe Kayak Outrigger Stabilizer comes with name brand Scotty 350 bracket rod holders. These are durable and sturdy and allow the arms of the stabilizer to lift vertically out of the water. This is great if you are looking to pull up to your dock and you need to get the stabilizers out of the way in order to do so.
With the Scotty brackets, you can adjust the positioning of the arms of the stabilizer more easily while you are actually in the water. Of course, because the rod holders are installed behind your seat, this can become a bit tricky, but with practice, you should be able to adjust without toppling over.
And what’s even better--you can use the Scotty rod holders to hold your rods when you don’t have the need for your stabilizers.
All Hardware Included
The Canoe Kayak Outrigger Stabilizer includes everything you need to effectively install the kit onto your kayak. You will need a drill, but the kit comes with instructions that are easy enough to follow. You may find, depending on the style of your boat, that you need additional hardware like longer screws.
We like that you don’t need to access the underside of your boat in order to install this kit.
Cost and Value
The Canoe Kayak Outrigger Stabilizer rings up at the very top of our price range and we like its value because it is heavy-duty and super durable, plus it comes with everything you need to get a stable ride right off the bat.
The Yak-Gear Stabilizers are a great option for those who are new to kayaking or those who are boating with young children. Similar to their newer gen brother above, they will also provide stability during casting and will add on a whopping 60 extra pounds in buoyancy.
Best Mounted on the Front of the Boat
The Yak-Gear Stabilizers are a great way to add stability to tons of different styles of watercraft. While many of the products on our list are best suited to be installed in the rear of the boat, this particular set is meant to be installed in the front. Installing this set in the front serves a couple of handy purposes.
First, you won’t have to worry about hitting your oar (or oars) on the rigs. Secondly, because your weight is more heavily distributed towards the back of the boat, the pontoons will lift slightly out of the water when you are paddling so they won’t slow you down. When you stand and the weight shifts, the pontoons will dip into the water for stability.
To install, you’ll need a drill. All hardware and 2 RAILBLAZA StarPort mounts are included. The kit comes with detailed instructions for installation. Reviewers and Yak-Gear both suggest waterproof silicone to close and seal around the mount. This is not included.
Adjustable at 2 Points
The Yak-Gear Stabilizers come with 2 solid kayak outriggers. They work best for weights under 350 pounds but, as mentioned before, will add an extra 60 pounds in buoyancy to your raft. Each of the arms measures 30 inches in length.
The stabilizing arms are totally adjustable and allow for lots of different options. They will adjust at 2 joints: 1 at the StarPort mount and 1 at the head of the pontoons. While you will be able to adjust the joint at the StarPort mount, you will not be able to adjust the pontoon joint while you are in the water.
Cost and Value
This option for Yak-Gear rings up towards the top of our price range and we like its value because it offers multiple adjustment joints and because it is designed to be installed in the front and the pontoons are virtually indestructible.
The Lixada stabilizer is one of the more affordable sets on our list. But don’t let that fool you. It still comes with everything you need for installation and it will keep a variety of crafts afloat and stabilized. Plus, because it is deflatable, it is a nice, portable option that won’t crowd your storage space.
2 Valves for Easy Inflation and Deflation
The Lixada stabilizer comes with 2 inflatable pontoons. Each pontoon has 2 valves. These serve a few purposes. The top valve helps with easy inflation in just a few breaths, and the lower valve allows air to be released rapidly so deflation is a breeze.
The pontoons are made with a durable outer PVC layer that helps to make them resistant to punctures from sharp impacts or fishing hooks. There are 2 patches included in the kit in case you do experience a puncture.
Bars Made from Aluminum Alloy
The bars on the Lixada stabilizer are made from aluminum alloy. This makes them lightweight as well as durable so they are easy to transport and won’t weigh you down. There are only 2 bars and they snap securely together.
The bar brackets and hardware are included and are all stainless steel. However, to install this kit, your boat will need to have a molded-in divot on either side that the bar rests in. The brackets cover the top of this molding to hold the bars in place.
Of course, you can choose to purchase additional brackets that allow for more versatility in installation.
Cost and Value
The Lixada stabilizer rings up in the middle of our price range and we like its value because it offers up durable stability at a lesser price than other products on our list. Plus, it’s easy to transport and won’t weigh your load down.
9. DYNWAVE Inflatable
The DYNWAVE inflatable stabilizer is similar to the last item on our list in price and product. And while the DYNWAVE isn’t made of as high-grade materials, it does allow you to adjust the positioning of the pontoons with a simple “twist and click.”
“Twist and Click” Adjustment
The DYNWAVE inflatable stabilizer has a cool feature that allows you to adjust the position of the pontoon. While this will be a bit hard to manage in the water (as the pole will be installed behind you) it is possible. By clicking in the locking mechanism and twisting the lock into a new position, you can change the manner in which the pontoons hit the water.
Brackets for Install
The DYNWAVE inflatable stabilizer is just that--inflatable. This pontoon also features a dual valve that allows for easy inflation and deflation which makes storage and transfer a breeze. The pontoons are durable and can hold a considerable amount of weight under pressure.
Unlike the last item on our list, this product does feature the additional brackets to make install on a larger array of boats easier. Plus, you’ll get all of the other hardware that you need for installation as well.
Cost and Value
The DYNWAVE inflatable stabilizer rings up towards the middle of our price range and we like its value because it includes 2 types of brackets and because you can adjust the positioning of the pontoons in relation to the water.
10. Prettyia Inflatable
The Prettyia inflatable stabilizer is another cost-effective option that will provide more stability to your raft whether you’re a beginner who needs some training wheels or an experienced fisherman who craves a bit more security while standing up in your yak.
Durable but Lightweight
The Prettyia inflatable stabilizer is inflatable so it is lightweight, all while still being durable. With 2 valves, you can inflate the pontoon quickly and pull the second valve out to deflate in a breeze. Because the pontoons fold down to a minimal size, they are super easy to transport and won’t take up tons of space in your truck or garage.
Easy to Install
The Prettyia inflatable stabilizer comes with a few different bracket types that make it easy to install. You will still need a drill to install this set correctly. You should aim to install it behind your seat, remember to test the space so you don’t hit the bars with your oar. Once in place, you will be able to adjust the position of the pontoons, though it is best to do this out of the water.
Cost and Value
The Prettyia inflatable stabilizer rings up in the middle of our price range and we like its value because it comes with multiple bracket types which make it easy to install and because it is a portable and cost-effective option.
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