Make Your Own Gear?

Anyone here ever make any of their own gear?

Jackets…gloves…etc… OR,

Ever improvise or come up with something better that works better than something store bought?

I consider myself pretty handy when it comes to making my own gear for any sport or interest I get into.

Just thought it would be interesting to hear from some of the other folks here that are just as creative.

A few things
Made a spare paddle holder that’s about to be redone to version 2.0. I also made a cockpit cover that actually fits drum tight. Lately, I’ve been thinking about trying to make a neo spray deck, but I’m a bit apprehensive. I often sewn things like lightweight stuff sacks. I hope to upgrade to a walking foot, heavy duty machine, at which time I’ll be able to tackle some more ambitious projects. Bombproof drybags, cags, etc.

Lots of people here like to carve their own greenland paddles, and quite a few have even made their own boats. SOF’s can usually be made relatively quickly, whereas a strip built boat can represent hundreds of hours of work.

truck racks for the yaks
total cost…$100.00 at Home Depot, sure beats those Thule and Yakima’s runing upwards of 600-700

While I have not
made from scratch anything. I built a tie down system for my P/U truck for 2 yaks. also made a system to hang em in the shed. I like to find less expensive alternatives for some gear. I.E. a small chest pouch for a deck bag, paracord for a paddle leash. small carabiners for locking down painter rope. Ect, ect.

Tons of stuff
Removable GPS holder for the Yak, and also ones for the canoe, sliding rear seat for my C-2 Canoe, foot braces for the canoe, extensions for my Yakima rack bars are just some of them.

My wife made paddle bags for our canoe and kayak paddles.

Some day when I am 100 years old and have accomplished everything that I always wanted to do, I would like to design and build my own skin on frame canoe or kayak or if I live to 105 both!



A Start
So far I have made a storage rack for my two Yaks, and started a list of projects.

I am searching for material to make kayak socks and believe I’ll use some canvas that I found at Walmart. Their price is a bit better than what I have been able to find on-line. I am going to make zip up storage socks to make the yaks critter proof and UL damage proof.

I need to make something to stop water from pooling in my cockpit covers. Am thinking of a spring loaded rod or maybe just a bag full of bubble rap in the seat.

I am working on a rack to attach two paddles to the roof rack for transport.


PVC kayak stacker.

– Last Updated: Apr-18-05 8:25 AM EST –

I made one of those for my Ford Ranger pick up.
It's made from 1 1/2" schedule 40 pipe. It's
custom fitted to the bedliner and securely holds
boats with the tailgate up. It only cost about
$45.00 and an hour to make. The stacker comes
apart in two and is easily stored when not in use.

Five Boats
How’s that for gear?

6-Hour canoe

15.5 2-masted Sharpie

Chesapeake 17 Kayak

13 Foot Open Skiff (row, sail, motor)

Glen-L rob Roy canoe

Never used a kit. Own lofting, Sharpie and Skiff are my own designs. Gear would include some sails, masts, spars, rudders, dagger boards, lee-boards, centerboards, drift sock, anchor, anchor system, alcohol stoves, stadimeter, cleats.

I love building and creating. Using something hand-built is a joy.

“zero cost” stuff
rack for Ranger PU, garage storage racks, gear box for river trips, all material used was leftover from other projects or scrounged from the company scrap yard and dumpster. Ain’t real pretty but works well.

Happy paddlin’

Grandpa P.

Topic comes up at least once a year,
but love to hear both new ideas and the rehashed ones. I also think it’s cool how so many come to the same conclusions on gear fabricating, each on their own. Currently, I’m building a folding Greenland kayak based on info from Tom Yost’s (non-traditional designs) and kayakforum (material mods) websites, Chris Cunningham’s book (anthropometrics), and the HULLS program (specs, LWL, CB, capacity).


like david
i like to make everything, usually from scratch. sailing skiffs and kayaks mostly. and paddles. what fun!

Minor projects…
…compared to the stuff some of you say you’ve built, but my husband took one look at the pricetag on Ocean Kayak’s custom seatback for their SOTs and decided he could do better himself. He modified a camp chair–the kind that looks like a sleeping pad that you fold into an L-shape,then clip the sides of the bottom and top together so you sit on the bottom of the L and lean your back against the top part of the L. These camp chairs cost about $5 at Target and other such stores, and makes a plenty comfy paddling seat and back for a SOT if you can sew just a little bit (my sweetie’s a parachute rigger, so he knows his way around nylon webbing.)

Also I built a half-skirt just to protect my legs from the summer sun–took a length of bungee and some coated nylon. It was a tiny bit tricky getting the right shape, size, and curve, but it does the trick nicely.

Drysuit for child size?
I am currently trying to figure out how to make a dry suit for my little girl. She is so tiny! And I have just not been able to find anything commercial to fit her yet. Tall Skinny size 5 in kids clothes now. Besides that, Im not sure I could afford one new.

So Im looking for ideas to make one.

Had a super suggestion from a super nice guy I met in REI this week… “Hi Joseph”… He suggested making one from a sleeper/pajama pattern using the right material to make it waterproof and then sewing in the latex at the neck and cuffs. Not a bad idea, but not sure what material to use. Still pondering… and looking for other suggestions.

Has anyone ever tried this?

Im also looking for a paddle leash idea that might work as well as a store bought leash.

**Wishing I could hang out with some of you creative folks!!! Wow!

Seatle Fabrics sells Goretex.

Under $20/yd, 57" width. They sell seam sealer too.

Seattle Fabrics is a good source for material. For a child though, I wouldn’t recommend the extra expense of using a breathable material. I would suggest using a non breathable nylon or a breathable non Gore fabric if you felt like splurging.

Plan on seam sealing any fabric you use.


another place
another place to check out is they have most everything you could want.

I have made a bit
I made a spray skirt for my old kayak. I have made a pretty nice backpack. just made a drybag the other night, neon orange with a clear window. I will be making a nice deck storage bag soon. and an overly simple paddle leash, little bit of velcro, a “D” ring, a bit of strapping and a length of rope.

If anyone would be in need of anything…I am always in the mood for requests. I am also handy in the workshop, years of being a carpenter, built lots of stuff with alot of stuff.

Happy paddling, and happy creativity

how bout a pfd?
after the boat and the paddle, the next necessary part. is it possible to make your own?

Make pfd? Yep.
One of our club members made a really nice one. Good luck getting it certified though…

You COULD wear your home-built pfd as long as you carry a legal horse-collar with you I suppose.

six hour canoe
been thinkin of making one of the six hour canoes.

Any comments? do they add a kneeling thrawt or a seat?

Thanks, Chris