Rope eyelets for deck rigging

Are the rope eyelets used for deck rigging specific to the paddling industry? Can you only get them online or at an outfitter? Or should I be able to find these at my local big box hardware store? I asked about them at Menards today, and the floor associates looked at me like I asked where they stock the alpaca corrals and non-lethal ammunition.

both have deck rigging


I Think I’ve Seen Them at Lowes
But easy to find online too, look for “Pad eyes.”

Be careful with the nylon padeyes
When these are mounted on the front deck of a kayak they can be in a position to really scrape up your hands as you are setting up for a roll, and they can even be in the way of your forward stroke if mounted too far laterally and near the cockpit. They do stick up a good bit.

It is quite easy to make anchors for deck rigging out of short loops of polypropylene or nylon webbing. Just cut a piece a few inches long, flame the ends to prevent fraying, and secure them with whatever hardware you would use to mount eyelets, inchworms, or pad eyes. Run your rigging through the loops. They lie flat on the deck and won’t hurt your hands.

1 Like

Webbing anchors
Thanks for that tip, pblanc! I may give that a go instead. I have a spare cam-lock webbing tie-down laying around somewhere that has a damaged cam-lock. I can just cut up and use the webbing from that, no?! I was going to use rivets to attach the pad eyes. Would that work on the webbing loops, too?


– Last Updated: Sep-23-14 6:45 PM EST –

Pop rivets should work but unless the rivet heads are of a large diameter, you may need to use them in conjunction with stainless steel washers to provide a broader surface on the webbing so the rivets can't cut through.

Any type a decent nylon, polyester, or polypropylene webbing should work. Nylon can be gradually degraded by UV exposure over time, but it takes a lot of time and you could always spray it with some 303 Protectant if your kayak sees oodles of sun on its deck. Polypropylene and polyester stand up to UV quite well.

1 Like

a good source is

– Last Updated: Sep-23-14 8:42 PM EST –

Tom Holtey, who owns the business, is very knowledgeable and very helpful. Sells not just SOT stuff but all kinds of useful stuff. Only source I could find for cam locks for hatches (CD Caribou style), and sells all kinds of deck rigging and fittings. Re-did the entire rigging of my boat, including all deck fittings, from his shop.

No affiliation, just a pleased customer.


Edit: FWIW, I order from Tom (or CLC, Pygmy, etc.) even though stuff can be had from local big box operations. I feel better about it. :)

Soft padeyes!

– Last Updated: Sep-24-14 10:05 AM EST –

So, I ended up taking pblanc's idea and running with it. I used some 1" polypro web strapping and cut it into 3.5" strips. Doubled each strip over and flamed the ends to melt them together. Drilled holes through each strap and also in the hull for the pop rivets. I used neoprene-backed steel washers with the pop rivets to attach the webbing loops. I then ran orange reflective 1/4" diamond-braided polypro rope through the loops and rigged the entire perimeter of my kayak with lining. I used one single long length of rope for the entire perimeter and tied both ends off on the last loop on the back deck. I used grapevine knots to tie off the rope so that I can slide the knots to adjust the tension of the lining if necessary. Once I was done pulling the rope, I went back and covered each rivet/washer with a glob of Marine Goop to help protect them. The washers were just regular zinc/steel and prone to rusting if not protected.

I will include links to a few photos below showing the before/after of my efforts. I would have included the pics directly in this post, but it appears doesn't want to accept new Paddling Perks members at the moment.

Anyway, I'm quite pleased with the outcome. Now I will be able to lash a deck bag to my front deck and clip in gear to my heart's content! The only thing I'm wavering on right now is the rope I'm using for the lining. I chose the orange reflective rope to make it more obvious and easier to see in the event of an emergency. I have the angler version of the Trailblazer 100 kayak, and it only comes in this beige color, which doesn't make it the most obvious floating object in the water. So, I figured a highly-contrasting rope color would help a bit. It was a safety-minded choice on my part, but now that I look at the finished product, it does kind of look a bit "ugly", I guess. Looking at photos online of lots of other kayaks' rigging, everyone else seems to prefer black rigging. I suppose the black rigging IS more stylish. So, I'm trying to decide if I should change out the orange reflective rope for some 5/16" black paracord I have on hand. Any thoughts on lining colors?

Full shot of kayak before rigging:

Close-up of installed soft padeye:

Full shot of kayak after rigging installation:

Back deck showing the lining tied off to the rear soft padeye:

Paracord for deck lining?
I’m still trying to decide between keeping the 1/4" orange reflective polypro rope I installed as perimeter lining last night or change it out for black paracord I have on hand. Doing some Google searches on deck lining, I’ve read in several places that some folks don’t recommend paracord for deck lining as it’s too small. Is this true? I would have thought it would be better than the polypro rope as it has a higher load rating even though it is a thinner diameter.

Still wondering what others think. Stick with the orange reflective or switch to a different color?

Line diameter
The smaller diameter line is supposedly more likely to cut into your hands or hurt your fingers when trying to hold onto the boat. It is also supposedly easier to grasp the larger diameter cord when your hands are cold.

As far as strength goes it is probably a good idea to not have anything too strong. If somehow you got a big load on the line you would prefer the line to break rather than rip out a deck fitting and leave a hole in the kayak. I have no idea of what kind of forces it would take to break out a deck fitting, but I know it takes a relatively small force to hold a wind/wave blown kayak in place.

The reflective line is really nice if you ever do any night paddling.


Looks good
I think I have the same rope. I picked it up for a tow rope as I sometimes have to help my son out and I wanted it to be more obvious that he was being pulled.

I like how you did this. Do they have the reflective rope in another color? I think yellow or white would look good.

Did you put washers on the inside as well?

"Did you put washers on the inside…"
Um, no. D’oh! Darn it, I wish I would have thought of that. Oh well. Too late now. If any of the rivets ever pull/pop out, I’ll remember to add a washer on the inside when I replace it.

Where I bought the orange reflective rope, they also had yellow, red, and green varieties available, too, if I recall. I also saw a black reflective rope online, too, but it was a paracord. So, it would have the same “too thin” issues.

I doubt they will pull out
Aluminum pop rivets expand a good deal when deployed and polyethylene is fairly strong. Many polyethylene kayaks have foot brace rails secured with machine screws going through holes in the hull and those machine screws often don’t have heads much bigger than an expanded pop rivet shank.

If you have access to the inside, you can go fancy and use small SS bolts - bolt heads with finish washer on the outside, nylock nuts with flat washers on the inside.

I did this to add web loops to a skin boat and it worked well. The finish washer gives a nice bite on the webbing.