Fairly new kayaker here using a lay-flat cockpit-up Thule single mount system and I’m looking for advice on a cockpit cover with two goals in mind.
I need something safe at highway speeds that will help cut down on air turbulence from cockpit and increase MPG, and keep the rain out.
I have a Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 with a huge cockpit so these are more of a worry for me than most.
If you carry the Pungo hull-up, then
the open cockpit will be in a turbulent area between the boat and the car top, and whether the cockpit is open or has a cockpit cover will make very little difference.
In general, hull up it the aerodynamic way to go.
The larger the cockpit, the less aerodynamic and the more troublesome the cockpit cover. More likely to go wop-wop-wop in the wind, more likely to blow loose and end up on the highway.
If you find one that increases your MPG
please let me know.
I’ll get rid of our Seals and get yours.
In my experience, a Seals cockpit cover large enough to fit your boat will have a belly strap to keep it from flying away, in addition to a clip to attach it to the deck rigging.
I don’t think a cover will help your MPG. As far as I can tell, the only benefit is to keep rain out or to keep gear in, if carried in the cockpit. I have covers, but only use them for the latter purpose, which only happens on LONG road trips. Otherwise the gear is inside the car. If you carry gear in the boat, the rack has to have a lot of capacity.
Get a Seals cover
I had a Pungo 120 and my wife currently has a 140. We have used Seals covers with great success. Keeps the rain and bugs out. They fit tight and also have an auxillary strap just in case. While they won’t increase mileage, they help keep the kayak as aero as possible.
I’ll add that…
you should use a D ring or carabiner to the cockpit cover to your deck rigging, if your not using straps to hold the cover on your boat.
It may come off in transit, and you don’t want to loose it. Larger cockpits are certainly harder to keep covered when traveling.
Seals and Snapdragon
have stayed put on mine at interstate speeds. Seals has a girth strap. I do secure the front grab loops on both. But never had one get pulled off or collapse from water.
Thanks for the responses, everyone. I’m paranoid about it coming off so I’ll work on some additional securements.
Unless it’s raining
Unless it's actually raining or you're transporting gear, I don't see a point of using a cover during transport - in fact, it will prevent the boat from drying out.
If you have to store a boat outside, a cover is good to keep our the critters. In that case it's probably best to use a mesh cover and store the boat upside down so moisture is not sealed inside.
Here's a couple of mine with Seals covers. You can see the belly straps, and maybe the clips to the deck rigging. This was on a 2000 mile road trip where I kept the paddling gear inside the boats.
I have cockpit covers, but don’t use
I have cockpit covers, but generally don’t use.
I have found they really don’t do anything for gas mileage. Seams just putting the rack on the roof of my car (no boat) makes the biggest difference in reducing my mileage. Add boats and a very slight difference from there. Cockpit cover or not and no noticeable difference.
And I don’t worry so much about water getting in. I did some quick calcs and if you had an inch of rain, the cockpit would get less than 5 gallons of water. That is easy enough to drain out. But part of this comes from my region and experiences - we don’t get a lot of rain and my cockpit openings are smaller (so I’d only get 2.5 gallons with an inch of rain).