Kayak inventions that (maybe) don't exis

-- Last Updated: Sep-03-11 8:25 PM EST --

As a new-ish kayaker, I occasionally think of ideas that might be helpful for kayaking but don't seem to exist as a ready-made product.

Here are three examples. I would love to hear other people's "kayaking inventions that don't exist". Of course, if any of these do exist in some form I would love to hear that, too!

Cockpit-span water bottle holder:

Some kayaks have molded bottle holders either near the seat or in a console dashboard, but many (like my Kestrel) have nothing. I like to bring plenty of water on a paddle and keep it easy to reach.

Failing to find a good solution on the market, I fashioned a double bottle holder using a plastic car console from Walmart, with the excess plastic cut away, that is secured to the lip of the cockpit using pipe clamps and bungee hooks. The bottle holders are essentially suspended across the width of the cockpit. No permanent modifications to the boat, it just "hangs" off the cockpit lip.

It seems like something in this vein could be manufactured more robustly than my makeshift version. Does nobody else want water bottles within easy reach?

Rearview mirror:

It is very difficult to see behind you in kayak. Turning your head way around twists your body and throws off your center of gravity, especially in wavy conditions. Spinning the whole boat is inefficient. But sometimes you want to see behind you. Maybe you want to see where a fellow paddler is, or how close a motor boat might be that you hear closing in.

Why not some sort of small rearview mirror, like the kind for bike handlebars, that could be secured to the cockpit lip? Has anyone hacked together their own using available products?

Launch Pad:

I paddle many different waterways, and put-in conditions vary widely. Some, like concrete or rock, seem hard on the bottom of the boat. I am not comfortable entering the boat entirely floating in the water, so I try to put it about 70% in the water. Still, once in, I need to shuffle forward a few feet to launch, and cringe at the scraping sounds from some surfaces (like concrete boat launches).

The idea is to carry a large but thin rubberized mat, something that can roll up much like a yoga mat. The mat would have a long leash attached to it. You lay the mat at the edge of the launch area, and sit the rear of the boat on the mat. Sit in boat, shuffle forward to launch, and slide non-destructively across the mat. Once launched, use the leash to pull the mat in, roll it up, and tuck it under some rigging.

This concludes my kayak-inventions-that-don't-seem-to-exist!

Rear View Mirror
Good timing. I was out yesterday and heard a motor behind me. I couldn’t see squat. I needed to have my cycling mirror with me. It clips to my sunglasses.

My invention would be a seat that’s easily adjustable fore and aft. Long leggeds would set it here. Short leggeds would set it there. All seats should provide plenty of thigh support.

In the bike world you can choose between a jillion different saddles and seatposts for your buttal comfort. If kayak sales would catch up with bike sales maybe we’d see some similar numbers of choices.

Water solution

– Last Updated: Sep-03-11 8:41 PM EST –

A PFD mounted water bladder. The only diff between these and the ones for bikes are that the ones for PFD's mount on four points so they don't flop around if you capsize. And like the camelbacks etc for bikes, most people find that the PFD mounted ones are a much better solution for actually drinking water than having to reach for a bottle. (Also, for anyone paddling with a skirt, nothing mounted off of or inside the cockpit is easily accessible.)

To launch, wheels or a kayak cart to get one end floating in the water, works for most solid pads. Lift up the other end and get into it while it is floating in a few inches or so of water (this means not leaning on the paddle to get in), Straddle the boat and sit on the back, or drop butt into the seat then get the legs in. You have plenty of room for this in the cockpit of the Kestrel. It means your feet and lower legs get wet. But it is paddling.

Rearview mirror - my husband and others we have known have used bike mirrors that clip onto glasses. Or - in a boat with a large cockpit like the Kestrel - just turn around. You should be able to do that without capsizing as you get some balance up.

Maybe this vest Celia ?

Kudzu, call me sometime if you want to talk about adjustable seats. I wish I could get the prices composite bke parts go for ! : 0

None of my kayak seats provide
thigh support, and I don’t miss it. Do you just mean something about the front lip of the seat?

Nice vest!
I have to admit, I thought it was a joke, the manufacturer (distributor?) name being Mocke…

water bladder…
I found a bladder pack inteferes with my shoulders too much – cannot paddle as well. I would think you wanted something loose enough you could get out of it quickly if dumped in WW.

I have not tried a bladder hip or lumbar pack. That would not have straps on the shoulders to restrict paddling.

Camelbak Reservoir for deck
Being of small stature, PFD-mounted hydration packs don’t work for me (they drag my PFD down & raise my center of gravity).

I messed around with zipper pockets on sprayskirts, but they only hold a small bottle and if I forget to put extra in my dayhatch I go thirsty.

Have settled on a 100-oz Camelbak Reservoir in its own casing with 4 D-rings, which I secure to my front deck. Low-profile enough not to interfere with paddlestrokes or get washed off in surf, large enough so I never run out, long feeder tube with bitevalve just like the packs, works great.

I don’t see the outer casing on the Camelbak website, but it would be easy to cobble something up, even a mesh bag. The reservoir is at http://www.camelbak.com/Sports-Recreation/Accessories/2010-Antidote-Reservoir-100-oz.aspx

Count Your Blessings
I’m pretty miserable if I don’t have some thigh support. I also take an old, half squashed foam block and put it under my calves or ankles to take pressure off my heels.

High Dollar
A bike buddy recently had a very expensive wheel fail. The dealer said “You paid big bucks for light weight, not strong and durable.”


my vote 4…
water…deck bag to hold bottled water or a water reservoir. Camelback also could stashed behind the seat or a holder custom fabbed to the seatback. I use a bicyclist’s mirror that clips to sunglasses or 'scription glasses. concrete ramps …learn to do a “gorilla” launch.

How to look behind
Assuming the kayak is moving forward, take a couple or three strong forward strokes and then turn toward the back while edging the boat to the side you are turning to and support yourself with the back face of your paddle. Your paddle will give you good support while the boat is moving.

Water solution
Under-deck bag. http://www.northwater.com/html/products/sea_kayak/SKsubdirectory/Under-Deck-Bag.html

That vest…
Kokatat PFD and bladder systems are set to mount on four points too, but I am guessing that is standard for the better ones. I tried the 2 point mount for my first one - yuck! Was not a plan when I capsized to try a roll - it banged around my head behind me and was too distracting.

The ones in this link look kinda binding to me though - less openness around the shoulder and more length down the sides on the torso than I would find comfortable. But maybe it’s just because they have shot them so close. I tend to look for really generous shoulder openings between what I wear and where I still am holding mass.

Yeah to the heels
Part of the reason I need to have a loose foot (bulkhead blocks not footpegs) as well as shoes with some amount of rear sole to paddle for a period of time. It is getting close whether the balls of my feet or the heels go first.

You guys are all a bunch of wimps and
wimpetts !

Just get on your log and paddle it!

They have come a hell of a long way, since the gang I used to hang out with paddled our home made raft using a 2"x 4" paddle in Boston Harbor

Jack L

Number one
I would like an invention that would allow me to urinate without having to stop or lean out of the cockpit and get the inevitable dribble . I have tried the cup with little success.

Here you go, Redrocket,

Astral vests
Most of the Astral vests have a pocked inside the back to accept Astral’s hydration bladder. http://www.astralbuoyancy.com/2011/products/Bladder.php

The Greenjacket does not accept their hydration bladder, but the one made by NRS works well.

Astral has a new vest for sea kayaking that is due out this spring. It is similar to the Greenjacket (pull over the head), but will take their bladder.


deck flask
I’d like to see a water bottle made to stay more securely under the deck rigging than a round sectioned bottle. AtT present I use a thin flexible water bottle and don’t fill it full, so I can squash the middle down and it works fine but some kayak entrepreneur…