Cross Country Travel

Hey all I’ve been researching some different cockpit covers. I’ve been looking at 3 covers: the snap dragon neoprene cover, a mountain surf “100 miles an hour” cover, and the deluxe seal cover.

I personally have the most faith in the neoprene cover, but unlike the mountain surf cover its description does not mention how the cover handles travel.

I will be driving from South Carolina to California in a couple weeks, and I’d love it if anyone had any advice as to which cover would be the best for my trip. thanks in advance.


my experience
has been with all neo Snap Dragon and with Seals. I have had the SD for 5 years and it always stays put and sheads water well. The Seals is a coated fabric model with adjustable shock cord and a spiffy girth strap that goes around boat hull. It too stays put and keeps all water out. It also has a nice snap hook at front whereas the Snap Dragon has a loop that always gets the front tie down strap though.

I am in upstate SC if you want to see either one.

Have both (almost)
I have a Seals cover with a girth strap which is a nice fail-safe touch - it keeps it from luffing too much on the large cockpit of my CD Pachena. It’s worked well, is a little bulky.

I just ordered a Snapdragon neoprene cover for my SOF - I had bought a Seals, but the thickness of the sleeve/bungee around the edge was such that it didn’t fit easily under the wood coaming. Based on how nicely my Snapdragon skirt fits, I decided to fork over the extra $$$ for the neo cover, but haven’t received it yet. For what it’s worth, the Rutabaga product review says the neo cover flutters less (they sell both).

Cockpit cover
I have a Snap Dragon Neo. cover. It fits good but just for insurance I wrap a bungee around the boat and tie a string to the deck bungees to keep from loseing it.

I have transported
hundreds of kayaks over the years over terrible roads and long hauls including lower 48 to Alaska. I carry all my boats upside down on heavily padded bars. That way in our wet climate I don’t flood the cockpit, and the boats ride great in turbulent windy conditions as well. The decks, due to their shapes, cocpit coaming, hatches etc, are typically stronger than the hulls anyway. Even if I had saddles, I’d rig them to contour the deck and carry deck down. The exception to this would be a surf ski or race boat.

Just my way, but it’s advice from someone who’s done it for years commercially and personnaly. I say forget the cover. Opinions will vary, probably strongly!

Doesn’t have to be perfect
I’ve done two trips between CO and Prince Rupert, BC with a coated-nylon Snapdragon cockpit cover on my kayak.

The first trip was with the stock cover. As long as the bungie was snugged well, the cover stayed put, interstate speeds and all (but we did not drive 100 mph!).

For the second trip, I took a clue from the very nice-looking Seals cover: I added a belly strap. That way, even if the cover blew off, something would be holding it onto the kayak. For the price, though–all of about $2 more–I would buy the Seals cover that already comes with the strap AND has a grippy, rubberized edge.

The plain Snapdragon cover is the most compact, though. Nice for rolling up and storing in the cockpit on long kayak-camping trips. I use it to keep the creepy-crawlies out at night.