Kayaking is a fun sport enjoyed by people of all ages, many of whom own kayaks, the main equipment of the sport. As with all equipment, kayakers must maintain their watercraft if they want them to be safe and stand the test of time.
One way to ensure the longevity of your kayak is to make use of kayak cockpit covers. This gear protects your watercraft’s cockpit from weather conditions, debris, and dirt, ensuring the kayak’s well-being.
For the cockpit cover to function adequately, it must be snugly fitted to your kayak. That is why you must size your kayak cockpit before procuring a kayak cockpit cover.
This article helps you on your journey to ensure the longevity of your watercraft and tells you how to size your cockpit cover.
What Is A Kayak Cockpit Cover?
A kayak cockpit cover is a piece of gear designed to protect a kayak’s cockpit from the elements. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are typically attached to the kayaker’s vessel with quick-release buckles.
They vary in price, but most covers are affordable and provide great protection from the sun, rain, and snow. They also help to keep the kayak clean from dirt and dust.
A good kayak cockpit cover should completely protect your kayak’s cockpit from water, dirt, the sun, and other debris. It should be sturdy enough to stay put in rough conditions like gusty winds and durable enough to last your kayak’s lifetime.
Why Do You Need A Cockpit Cover?
When you head out on the water, your kayak is one of your most important pieces of equipment. Not only is it a means of transportation, but it’s also a place where you can relax and enjoy your surroundings.
That is why it is important to have a cockpit cover when paddling. This cover shields your watercraft from weather conditions, ensuring its well-being. Other reasons to use a cockpit cover include:
- A kayak cockpit cover can help protect you from the cold weather and provide a place for you to rest your head if you fall asleep while kayaking.
- Kayak cockpit covers are a great way to keep your kayak looking new and clean. By covering the kayak’s cockpit, they make it impossible for dirt and debris to gain entry into your kayak, keeping the watercraft clean and new. This allows you to be comfortable and relax on your kayaking adventure.
- Kayak cockpit covers are essential even in storage, particularly when storing the kayak outside during the cold winter months. Cockpit covers cover the kayak cockpit, not only protecting it from dirt but also keeping it safe from the invasive presence of animals. Animals seeking refuge from the elements, especially in winter will find your kayak a desirable home, and their taking refuge there will both dirty and damage the watercraft. Kayak cockpit covers help spare you from this headache by ensuring your watercraft is not accommodative to these life forms.
- Kayak cockpit covers can increase your safety when you’re out on the water since they can help keep debris and other objects from falling into your kayak.
- Cockpit covers also help increase a kayak’s lifespan as they protect it from the elements, thus slowing down its degradation. Kayak cockpit covers protect the insides of the kayak whether the watercraft is on the water, in storage, or even being transported from one place to the other. One thing kayakers tend to forget is that while kayak roof racks are great for transporting the watercraft, they tend to expose the kayaks to the elements particularly the sun and wind slowly damaging the vessels. Kayak cockpit covers help mitigate that.
Can All Kayaks Have Cockpit Covers?
Cockpit covers are essential and help protect the kayak from the elements. However, they can only be used to protect cockpits. This implies that only kayaks with defined cockpits can make use of a cockpit cover, so no, not all kayaks can have cockpit covers.
How To Size Your Kayak Cockpit Cover
Kayak cockpit covers are important in maintaining your kayak and it’s crucial to get one for your vessel if it has a defined cockpit. Fortunately, the process of sizing a kayak cockpit is easy and does not require special skills. The steps to successfully measure the dimensions of your kayak cockpit are given below.
Step 1: Get Your Measuring Devices
Choosing the right kayak cockpit cover is important for several reasons. It can keep you comfortable in warm weather, protect your vessel from wear and tear, and help keep your kayak clean.
However, choosing the wrong cover can make these benefits irrelevant. To ensure that you get the perfect cover for your kayak, it is important to measure your cockpit before making a purchase.
This will ensure that you get the right size and fit. To measure your cockpit though you have to make sure you have the right tools for the job at hand. Some of the most common devices used to measure kayak cockpit covers are the tape measure, ruler, and hemstitch gauge.
The flexible measuring tape usually used to measure the body for clothing is also a good measuring device for this task. Once you have the measuring tools and writing materials for documentation, you are ready for the next step.
Step 2: Measure The Kayak’s Cockpit
Next, you measure the cockpit’s dimensions. You can start this process by using your tape measure to measure and then record the length and width of your kayak cockpit.
The length is to be measured from the kayak’s centerline. It should be measured from one outside edge of the kayak’s cockpit rim to the other outside edge.
For the width, you should measure the widest points of the kayak’s cockpit. This will usually be at the location of your kayak seat.
The width should also be measured from one outside edge of the cockpit’s rim to the other outside edge. Do not forget to record your measurements.
The next step is to obtain your cockpit circumference and the best measuring tool for this is the flexible measuring tape.
You could make use of paper tape to hold one end of the flexible tape in place while you bring the other part around the cockpit’s circumference to take your reading. It is imperative you avoid making mistakes while taking your readings.
Remember that the cockpit cover is to protect your kayak cockpit from weather conditions, debris, and dirt and it can only perform this function perfectly if it fits the cockpit of your kayak as it should.
The Easy Method
Sizing a kayak cockpit yourself to procure the cockpit cover is a fun and involved way to look out for your kayak but as you might have already guessed, there is a simpler and easier way.
If for whatever reason you decide you have no interest in measuring the dimensions of the cockpit of your kayak yourself, you can just obtain them online. This option is particularly beneficial if you are shopping for a kayak and cockpit cover at the same time.
Quality kayak brands always advertise the dimensions of the cockpits of their merchandise on their website so simply surfing the manufacturer’s website of the kayak you already own or hope to own will easily give you accurate measurements for the cockpit with little stress.
If you feel like being involved in the process, you can always measure the cockpit dimensions yourself, and then go online to see how accurate you were. It will be fun knowing how accurate you are and how handy you are with tools.
Step 3: Go Shopping!
Once you have your measurements (either measured yourself or gotten online) and you are sure of their accuracy, you are ready to purchase your kayak cockpit cover.
You can purchase this cover online or at a local paddle sports store. Should you head to a local store, you must make sure the cover you purchase fits your kayak perfectly.
Your kayak brand probably already has a cockpit cover if you are interested in obtaining one from them but if not, several other kayak cockpit covers are available on the net; you just have to go online and find one that fits your needs.
How To Install The Cockpit Cover
Installing the cockpit cover of your kayak is a great way to protect it from the elements and make it easier to carry around.
Fortunately, installing a cockpit cover is easy and requires no special skill. If you don’t want to do it yourself you can always get some help but take my word for it when I say doing it yourself is more fun. Here are 5 tips for installing a cockpit cover:
- Ensure the kayak is clean and dry then place it on a dry surface before you.
- With the cockpit cover in hand, straddle the watercraft such that you are facing the bow and the vessel’s cockpit is just in front of you.
- Secure the front of the cover to the edge of the cockpit rim before you. Each cover has a string, loop, or other maker to help you tell the front from the back.
- You now pull the cockpit cover towards you such that it stretches towards you and covers the entire cockpit.
- Tighten the bungee cord, string, or clip to the rim’s edge to secure the cockpit cover.
And there you have it; you would have successfully installed your cockpit cover. Some cockpit covers may come with instructions from the manufacturer on how best to install them on a kayak.
If you have one of those, it is advisable to follow instructions for a perfect fit. If you are still unsure of how to go about installing the cover you can get help from a local kayaking club or through a video if you are a visual learner.
Choosing Your Kayak Cockpit Cover
Measuring your kayak’s cockpit for its dimensions or obtaining those dimensions on the net is important in procuring your cockpit cover but does not give you enough information to choose a suitable cockpit cover.
Before making a purchase, you must weigh other factors to determine which cover is most worthy of your kayak considering the circumstances.
Some things to consider when selecting a cockpit cover include waterproofness, breathability, durability, and fit. They are explained in detail below.
When choosing a kayak cockpit cover, it’s important to consider the material it’s made of and its durability in the elements. Choosing the right material is key to ensuring coverage while still being comfortable on the kayak.
While some materials are more durable than others, all kayaks should be covered to protect them from rain, snow, and sun. Some good choices for kayak cockpit covers include water-resistant fabrics like PVC or TPU.
Kayak cockpit covers are however usually made from nylon, neoprene, or cloth. Nylon covers are the most waterproof of the three making sure you are protected from water, rain, and snow.
Sadly, they are not as durable as others and will consequently have to be replaced from time to time. Neoprene covers are waterproof enough and particularly durable making them very effective at keeping the kayak’s inside safe from both the elements and dirt.
Neoprene cockpit covers are also popular among those storing their kayaks outside in harsh weather conditions, particularly in winter. Nylon cockpit covers are most waterproof while neoprene cockpit covers are most durable.
Cockpit covers made of cloth thus fall in the middle range being neither as durable as neoprene nor as waterproof as nylon covers. They however make up for this by being the most affordable of the three.
While shopping for a kayak cockpit cover, you should consider the material the cover is made of, how long you hope to use the cover given the weather conditions in your location, and how much you are willing to spend. The material directly influences the price.
Fit And Style
Frivolous though it may seem, you want to be sure the cockpit cover of your kayak not only fits well but also looks good on the watercraft.
You can get a cover that fits by first making sure the dimensions of your kayak are taken into account when selecting a cover. Next, choose a cover that is designed specifically for kayaks. The style depends on you and your tastes.
Kayaking is famous for being a relaxed sport and a good way to ensure you relax is by leaving no stone unturned and ensuring any gear you use (in this case the cockpit cover) agrees with your aesthetic sense and enables you to easily relax in its vicinity.
Method Of Security
To protect your kayak, the cockpit cover first needs to be securely installed such that it won’t get loose even in trying conditions. The method by which the cockpit cover fits your kayak should also be considered before making a purchase.
Many cockpit covers use elastic bungee cords found at their edges to fit your kayak and that is great. But with time, their elasticity naturally decreases and they end up not being as functional as they ought to be.
A cockpit cover that makes use of a clip or cord to be pinned in place is an ideal solution to this dilemma. Just keep in mind that the elastic one will be easier to adjust on a whim than the clip cover.
Also, there may be a variance in the price of these covers due to their security method and aesthetics. Just consider all criteria and make the best choice.
The Cockpit’s Brand
Another key thing to consider is which company makes the cockpit cover you are interested in and what others who have used their products have to say about them.
You might not have to consider this if you are purchasing your cockpit cover from the same brand that made your kayak but if you can’t get a cockpit cover from them or simply decide you want to try something else, the brand of the cover is important.
Do your research and choose a brand you feel comfortable with and are sure will give you quality products. Popular brands in the business (like Seals, NRS, and Harmony Gear) already have a trusted name and will sell you quality products.
You can also be assured that it would be easier to have any issues with the product easily addressed if you pick a brand famous for such. A kayaker’s cockpit cover should be sized to fit snugly and not interfere with the paddler’s ability to control the watercraft.
A cover that is too large or too small can create a dangerous situation while kayaking. To size a kayak cockpit cover, you will need to measure the length, width, and height of your kayak cockpit.
Once you have those measurements, you can find a cover that will fit your kayak perfectly. It is also important to choose a cover that is made from a durable material, such as vinyl or neoprene. Make sure the cockpit cover fits your aesthetic sense and is quite affordable.
After purchase, you can install the cover. Installing the cockpit cover of your kayak is a relatively easy process that will help to keep you and your belongings safe and dry while you are on the water.
Make sure you use a cover that’s specifically designed for kayaks and be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Always use caution when working with ropes and straps, and be sure to have someone help you if needed.
By following these simple steps, you can have your kayak ready for your next outing in no time! Remember to always be safe when out on the water, and have fun!