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Kayak Outriggers & Stabilizers: Everything You Need to Know


Article Categories: Gear
Article Tags: Kayaks

Kayak outriggers are a vital piece of kayaking gear, and if you’re not using them, you’re doing it wrong. Outriggers provide stability and improve your kayaking experience in a number of ways. In this article, we’ll discuss what kayak outriggers are, why they’re used, the benefits they offer, and all the information you need to know about them before you buy a set for yourself.


Increased Safety in Rough or Cold Water

Sea kayaking is one of those sports that has been gaining in popularity over time. More people are venturing towards rougher waters, and increasing the risk of capsizing a kayak by heading out on these waters.

Kayak outriggers can save your life. If you’ve ever tried paddling a sea kayak in rough seas without an extra leg for stability, then you know how hard it can be, how dangerous capsizing can be, and how surprisingly quick a dangerous situation can arise.

Kayak outriggers make it extremely difficult to capsize a kayak. They may also be great options for anyone venturing out where cold water is. Capsizing in cold water, even in mild conditions, can lead to deadly situations.


Increased Control

Using a pair of outriggers creates a more stable fishing platform and increases your control over the kayak.

Your body position will be more solid, and you’ll have better leverage over heavier fish.

It also allows fisherman to fish from standing positions much easier and more safely than they could without outriggers.

In addition, outrigger fishing chairs are widely available on many different styles of kayaks. With a pair of kayak outriggers, it’s easy to convert any new or used boat into an all-around watercraft.


Reduced Stress on Arms and Shoulders

Proper positioning allows kayakers to reduce stress on their arms and shoulders. By taking the strain off of your arms, you can increase your stamina and improve your fishing experience.

Even if you’re not an avid kayaker, having two outriggers on a vessel that’s small in size will make it easier for individuals who aren’t familiar with how kayaks should be positioned. Simply put, outriggers make they kayaking process a bit more intuitive, which can be a major help for beginners.

The two-outrigger system helps people feel comfortable and avoid awkward positioning that might cause injury or discomfort over time. It also makes it easier for those who are used to a larger vessel because they can use the same arm positions that they use when standing up or sitting down in a boat.

Save your arms from unnecessary pain while you help increase your stability. You’ll be able to paddle further with less effort if you can rely on a sturdy set of outriggers that are sturdy and reliable.

You might even use these outriggers for your paddling needs, so don’t compromise with an unsteady product. Propelling kayaks is tough enough without adding unnecessary struggle into the mix. Add in some reputable outrigger supports and you’ll be able to enjoy more fishing trips without being tied down by muscle strain or backaches.


Save Time on Boarding or Disembarking

One of your biggest concerns when using a kayak is getting in and out of it. Without outriggers, that’s a balancing act and can be a difficult feat if you aren’t very experienced, or lack balance.

With outriggers though, boarding and disembarking is easy enough even for children. All they have to do is step onto something stable (the kayak itself) to stay balanced.


Zero Learning Curve

You don’t need any special skills or experience to use kayak outriggers. You can start using kayak outriggers on your first trip.

All you need to learn is how to fix them onto your kayak and you are good to go. It turns a kayak into a vessel that is more friendly to beginners.


Easy Storage

One of the biggest benefits of using kayak outriggers is how easy they are to store. Since they fold down into themselves easily, they take up less space in your garage or storage area than other types of boats do.

Basically, outriggers increase the versatility of a kayak without increasing the weight, or storage space needed very much.


What to Look for in Kayak Stabilizers



Do you want your outriggers to be made of a robust, long-lasting material like polyethylene plastic, or do you want something lightweight and inflatable? What about the side arms: are they aluminum, fiberglass, or polyethylene plastic? Check to see if the materials are corrosion-resistant; especially you intend to put them to use in saltwater. Materials will affect overall weight, cost, durability and looks.



Make sure you get outriggers that are big enough to support your kayak size, and not so large that they significantly hinder performance. Outriggers will specify what size vessels they are best for.



DIY outriggers, or cheap inflatable sets can be less than $50. But most quality outriggers are between $150-$650. Depending upon your use cases, materials needed, and need for additional features, your price will vary within that price range. Find what works best for you.

Check out this great DIY video:



Is it possible to adjust the side arms (e.g., are they telescopic) or must they be kept at a constant width? Can the height of the outriggers be changed? Is it easy to remove them for storage? These are important questions to ask yourself when searching for outriggers.



Do the outriggers fold up out of the way? Can they easily be removed? If you need to store in certain areas, these are some very important questions.



The benefits of using kayak outriggers are many, and they can help you take your fishing trips up a notch.

The most important thing you need to know when it comes to kayak outriggers is that they give you greater mobility, flexibility, and safety. They’re easy to use and once installed, require no additional work or upkeep.

If you are in the market for kayak outriggers, you can support our content by purchasing after clicking our affiliate links:

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Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, backcountry skier, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued climbed all of the Colorado 14ers, is always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about