Cheap, DIY, alternatives, tips thread

-- Last Updated: Sep-23-05 12:04 PM EST --

Here is a chance to add a tip to save a buck. Please share your DIY, tip, alternative use tidbit that may help others. You reap what you sow, let's share our collective wisdom's and experiences. I will go first via a reply.

free signal mirror
Do not buy a signal mirror, use an old Compact Disk. Remember those free AOL thingies? They take up no space and have a sight hole in the mirror to see if your signal is hitting your target.

I seem to remember SeaKayaker Mag doing a test of mirrors several years ago. CD’s came out poorly, small plastic mirrors only a bit better, with glass mirrors being on top.


paddle leash
4 hog rings and 3 ft of bungee material and you have a great paddle leash…cost under three bucks.


I need a good kayak cart kit plan with photos and also want to do a bicycle cart for a 17 ft kayak.


The cheapest signal mirror
Join the USAF hang around for a bunch of years. Get a job that requires you to be in the bush, desert and or back country most of the time and they will give you free of charge a “mirror, emergency signaling, mark3, mil-m-18371e, type II” Man I love this country.

No Plans
but simple enough. I made a cart out of PVC and PVC connectors purchased at Lowes. Neumatic wheels from tractor supply, pipe insulation from Lowes, and a solid rod from Lowes. I used some electrical tape to cover the insulation, and I had the PVC glue and cleaner. Total cost just under 30 dollars and it works great with my two QCC’s, (1 at a time).



Looks a lot like my ACR:

kayak cart

I’ve seen a good design for a folding cart that’s very easy to make. I can get you a picture, and help with any info you need. One of our Florida Trail members made it, and I doubt it costs more than $20 -$30, depending on where you find the wheels.

Please contact me @, and bug me if I don’t get back to you soon enough. Sometimes I foget to follow up.



Inexpensive bail out box
Consider wide-mouth Nalgene bottles for storing emergency gear. With their large openings you can fit matches, fire starter, flares, cell phone, energy bars, mylar space blanket, line, penlight, knife, garbage bags and much more. They are waterproof, will not crush and they float. They hold water too. You could by 2, and have water in one, and “stuff” the other. Store on deck or in the cockpit and have a spare biner on the lid retainer to clip to something.

mouse pads
as heel rests. actually work really well in the rec boat. haven’t put them in the tempest yet. Would imagine they would work really well as padding. glue down very easily.


If you’re male and like honey.
Wal-Mart “Great Value” brand 48-ounce Clover Honey. Great P-bottle. In the Jams & Jelies aisle. Product of USA!

leg supports
I use two large sponges (like car washing sponges - 99 cents or less from dollar stores)to support my calves. No weight, easy to carry, keeps my legs from cramping, handy for sopping up in the cockpit.

My handheld compass
has a sighting mirror built in. I don’t carry a redundant one.

Ziplock bags and duct tape rule!


mesh bags
Also, I use a large mesh laundry bag to carry gear in if I need to carry yak a ways. They’re large enough to hold everything. That way I split the weight and don’t have to carry a loaded boat, and they don’t take any storage space. I also store pfd’s and other stuff in it, and I’m ready to go. All I have to do is grab my boat and go.

Floor supports
I keep my carbonlite Eddyline Nighthawk 16 in the house, and often want to sit it in for stretching, torso rotation exercise, etc. My tip is to use foam pool noodles, one on each side of the boat, wedged in, to support the boat while sitting.


Agree with doubledipper
regarding the utility of Nalgene wide-mouths. Interestingly, I have heard and read the suggestion to use a peanut butter jar, but everyone I have salvaged was NOT waterproof.


Kayak storage
Someone on another forum suggested this, I tried it and it is awesome. Rather than buying the kayak slings that hold kayaks onto wall of garage, simply buy three hooks, like the J hooks that are used for bicycles. Find the studs with a stud finder and screw the three hooks hozizontally in a line in the wall. Then, using three of the ratcheting type cam straps (Wal-mart, about $4.00 each), put your kayak on the floor, loop all three around the yak (one in middle and two near ends) with yak on side, and slowly crank them up a few cranks each, and now your yak is hung on the wall! Keep cockpit out and you can slide your paddle and PFD right into it. Neat storage idea, thanks for whomever posted it.

hey cooldoctor1
could you e-mail me regarding the storm paddle you got on e-bay? I just got one also and was wondering about it.


Kayak maintenance cradles
I lucked into a set of Talic Seahorses on sale recently, but prior to that I used a pair of old folding “directors” chairs as supports. Just remove the backs and you have what amount to to stools, with fabric slings that support kayaks quite well for maintenence and storage.


Honey as first aid too.
Has antimicrobial properties. Use as a salve under dressing in a pinch.