Hatch Covers

What sorts of hatch cover do you like and why?

I like the old neoprene and a splash cover type

I can’t stand Wilderness systems rear hatch covers on their Tsunami and Tempest.

The style on my Zephyr is excellent.

Kajak Sport or Valley
Work fine and are replaceable in a pinch without going proprietary. The newer Tempests have Kajaksport covers, BTW.

I just bought a pair of ovals and install rings for a cedar strip boat I’m starting soon. Big money, but big results!

Valley is by far the driest and tightest I’ve used. Not a drop of leakage. Personally I never found the neoprene with hard cover to be water tight, except for splashes over the deck.

ones that work
Valley and Kayaksport, the CD hatches work. It amazes me how much effort goes into reinventing the wheel and coming up short.

As much as some of the hatches for old plastic boats leaked, the ones with hard plasic cover over neoprene cover, they couldn’t fail catastrophically like a lot of the poor fitting covers that showed up in the last six years.

I’ve had 2 kayaks with the plastic cover over neoprene type hatch cover (Necky), which always leaked at least some when I practiced rolls or spent a lot of time in rough conditions. However, the hatches on my Valley boats don’t leak a drop and the ovals are easier to get gear through as opposed to NDK round style.

Valley & Kajak-Sport
Because they are dry and easy.

CD, Swift, et al use Kajak-Sport

Necky, Impex, et al use Valley

Until recently NDK used Kajak-Sport for main hatches and Valley for day hatch. Now use all Kajak-sport.

I find both to be very good and superior to most other hatches I’ve seen.

those old sea lions
I paddled an Avatar once out at the beach, forgot to put the neoprene cover on under the plastic lid,amazingly enough after 30 minutes in the surf I only got a couple gallons in the compartment,which was about what one of the seal lions with an ill fitting neoprene hatch got during rolling practice.

What I can’t figure out was WS attempt to reinvent the wheel with the Tempest and all those boats with near useless rear hatches. One of the rental boats at the local shop had a hatch that was so loose you could lift it off with your little finger.

not all wildy hatches are bad
i have had 4 tempests…and sold a lot more Wildy boats…

my tempests have never leaked at all…none of them…3 plastic and one glass…

90% of the rest never had any issues…

Valley and Kajaksport
The ONLY hatches I’ve ever used that always worked well were from Valley and Kajaksport. Nothing else has come close. The worst I’ve seen have been from Wilderness Systems. Some of theirs seal but too high a percentage were useless. Recently they have switched some of their hatches to Kajaksport but not all of them.

If I were building kayaks to sell, I’d pay the extra and install proper hatches. Valley or Kajaksport. Nothing else.

Valley are great,
but subject to regular replacement. The sun does a number on them, and when it’s cold, they can be tough to open with cold wet hands. I had a CD Caribou that was also totally dry, and those hatches not only performed flawlessly, but looked great! They may just outlast the boat. Ken

I think you received your answer.

– Last Updated: Mar-03-09 10:19 PM EST –

Most of those that have Valley (or Kajaksport) boats or hatches, won't go back. I've had a set of Valley hatches on one of my boats for 4 years and they really do look as good as new. I'm careful to keep the 303 or UV Protectant flowing regularly. But living in the south with the Valley hatches exposed to the sun regularly will deteriorate them much quicker than up north here, I'm sure. At $90 a pop, take care of them and keep them out of the sun as much as possible. Good luck!

new valley hatches
Valley recently reformulated their hatch material to make it more UV resistant. They no longer float unfortunately, but as long as you don’t drop them in the water, they’ll apparently last a lot longer now.

"They no longer float"
That is really unfortunate. I always thought it was one of the common sense aspects of Valley hatches.

The hatches on my Aquanaut (acquired in June 2004) are still fine. I 303 them but not obsessively.

a tether solves that
It was a nice feature though.

tethers detach.

Though fortunate to have Valley boats whose hatches float, I’ve had the tether with which my Aquanaut came equipped unhook at times.

7.5 Inch VCP Only
In my book there’s only one kind of hatch, the 7.5 inch VCP round. It’s rugged and water (and air) tight. On my 4 kayaks I have a total of 11 of them. So if VCP ever goes out of business, I’ll be molding rubber in my garage when it’s time for replacements.