Share your home-made kayak accessory

-- Last Updated: Jul-18-05 4:03 PM EST --

Tell us about your favorite and perhaps inexpensive home-made kayaking accessory, that has either saved you money over a commercial version, or just did not exist in the first place. (perhaps a gadget or item for safety, towing, rescue, kayak camping, hauling, storage, photography while paddling, night lighting, decking, navigation, etc. (not boats, paddles, cockpit outfitting,paddle leashes, paddle floats)

The thing that caught my eye in you post was this: “kayaking accessory, that saved you money over a commercial version, or just did not exist in the first place”

That’s clearly pretty marketing oriented. So, are you looking for free product ideas here or what? If just asking out of curiosity and for personal info/use - why the weeding out up front? Maybe you are writing another article? People should know why you’re asking (particularly overly suspicious Product Designers like myself…).

Why not include “boats, paddles, cockpit outfitting, paddle leashes, paddle floats”? Particularly the last three?

Outfitting is a lot more important that gadgets and gizmos flat water paddlers have free hands to fuss around with. Often very innovative too. Only reason I can think to leave that out of discussion is that it’s too individualized and you can’t market it well.

The other smaller items you’ve ruled out have been done to death and have plenty of commercial options. Could always be a better one, and these items do have a market - but it’s well covered. Boats and paddles are a bit harder to compete/innovate in and are even more dollar intensive.

Anyway, there are lot’s of people one who’d like to come upon some unique niche market items! Forgive me if I don’t offer up all the ideas for kayaking related products I have scribbled down.

PS - You’ve been posting for a year now Martin. How about honoring us with a profile?

Surf Fins

– Last Updated: Jul-18-05 5:39 PM EST –

at about $25 per, I find that I enjoy the early mornings turning out half a dozen at time of different sizes. Made with luan and glass/epoxy, they are not quite as strong as the glass ones from the factory, but they do fine until I run into rocks. This happens every so often and thus the spares.

Yeah, I've made my own boat, paddles, dry bags, inflatable and foam floats, throwbags, neoprene stuff... but they don't count in your query. I do think it's interesting the things that are common and would be more interesting to the folks here would be ruled out for something less common, e.g. surf fins, or indiosyncratic and possibly unique... Rocket power harpoon anyone? ;)


Let’s give martin a break!

– Last Updated: Jul-18-05 9:29 PM EST –

He has been posting for a while and seems to be interested.


– Last Updated: Jul-18-05 7:46 PM EST –

No secret motives here or plans to market or steal ideas. I just thought it would be interesting to see examples of creativity and ways that people might save money by making things themselves. Obviously, people posting are willing to share their ideas.It's funny, in a photography forum I'm a member of, this type of post is very common and welcome. I'm surprised but do understand at your negative reaction to the post. I only ruled out the items I did, realizing that they had been covered time and time again. I was trying to narrow the ideas down to not core kayak gear, already in the archives. I am not in the kayak industry, believe me. I paddle for enjoyment only!

I just checked and do have a public profile.

What’s so important about profiles?
Oh yea… it validates things…

Actually my mistake on the profile. I did complete one a long time ago, but just saw that I did not select the box to share with others.

My mistake and sorry.

Hey, My Apology To Martin!

– Last Updated: Jul-18-05 7:53 PM EST –

I did offer something unusual - surf fins. I just don't know how many folks are interested in this forum though I will gladly send directions and templates.

I am genuinely pondering, since seeing this post, what would fall outside of the categories already excluded. And, I haven't seen any responses from anyone else, some others must also be wondering what...

Okay, I have carved small hand paddles using minicell foam when learning to hand roll. Very useful because you can go from larger to smaller size until you're just using your hands.

I have used kydex to make a holder for my VHF radio. It holds the radio place firmly in place, on the shoulder strap, when I snap it in and I can extract when I need to use it, even with drygloves on.

I've also used kydex to make a deeper and stronger rudder holder so the rudder doesn't pop off when I am bracing or rolling.

I have made a paddle cart with 2 wheels, a metal rod, and 2x4 bought from the hardware store. Haven't used it since I don't paddle a heavy plastic kayak anymore.

I have made a flyrod holder for the kayak from pvc piping so I can troll while paddling.

I have made a hot wire cutter to shape large pieces of foam if anyone is interested in building possibly a surf board or waveski.

I have actually made a slimmer PFD, not coast guard approved, with minicell and ballistic nylon. It's kind of a compromise for waveskiers who are caught between the gung ho, down under folks who don't believe in PFD's and the surf kayakers here who are used to wearing one. The idea is to get some floatation but still be able to dive under before taking a big crashing one on the head. Think of NRS' "Anti Gravity" shirt.

I have in the works an idea to use left over polyester from my SOF to make an on the deck fish bag to stuff that elusive keeper striper than I haven't caught yet... I just saw an ad actually advertising a fish bag which parallel my idea. They beat me to the market though...

That's it for now...


Spit it out… who are you working for???

homemade accessory
I made some tiedowns to secure stuff in the boat. Bought some plastic “D: rings and used some 1” nylon straps, fiberglassed them to some 4 mil plywood than epoxied them in place.

Another item (not homemade), I use a “Fanny” pack with 2 water bottle holders attached to my front bungy cords. This allows me to have my binoculars and phone (or wht have yo) handy and reasonably dry.

I also made the boat but, as above, that don’t count.

Nothing really original
Plumbing-pipe spare paddle holders for the front deck. Minor variations on ones discussed here previously and on other similar ones.

Heat sealable nylon dry bags. See the Sea Kayaker article or get a copy sent when you buy the material from Seattle Fabrics.

Wood beads and deck lines. Is that considered out of scope?

Modification to my Northwater tow line to make it easier to adjust length.

Made my own tow belt from 2" webbing and a plastic buckle. Never use it.

Bungie around my rudder to hold it up - not as nice as the ones Seaward builds.

home made accessory…
I’ve put together a retractable skeg for my ancient boat which knows no tracking ability. Seems to work. Inexpensive to build. Pics available.


Well, actually…
… I assumed as much (no hidden agenda), but it did read a little odd.

As you will notice there are a lot more modifications than actual new items. Straps holders, paddling and such. People making things better for themselves more than coming up with new things - and everyone has different gear to begin with. Because of that, many are not really of much use to others. Some are, and some serve as inspiration for others.

I have done a lot of modifications to boat, and some to gear - but nothing of note. I did rig a much better working skeg control using parts from a SealLine trim control kit - but only useful for people with spring loaded skegs.

Spare paddle holder (my fav invention)
The more I use this thing, the more I love it:

Custom cradles
Commercial ones are way too expensive, IMO. And it’s fairly easy to make custom cradles yourself.

I needed ones that could serve as storage supports on a floor, as well as sit securely next to our trailer’s crossbars (which are not commercial, either).

Does this count?
I made loops out of road bike tire tubes that I slide up the boat and over the hatch covers. Keeps them from flying off as I speed down the interstate. Just remember to take them off when you put in.

Saves me money and frustration.

And, viator, I like the spare paddle holder

If you can sew at all, it is actually pretty easy to make.

Ok…it’s the foot brace in the tern
and credit should go to a fellow WNY Paddler (Jim) and Sheerwater boats for the plans (tho I went from memory of what jim showed me in his boat and simply modified the design to meet my specific needs)

The keeper foot braces placed my size 11s in an area of the boat where size 9s might have worked.

I wanted something moveable so other folks could also paddle the boat so reinstalling the bulkhead rearword and using it as the footbrace wasn’t feasable…and I wanted something I could easily remove between paddles (so I could clean sand out of the cockpit etc.)

The more I paddle the more I’m taken back to the halcyon days of drag racing in the late 50s-mid 60s when the guys in the pits would share tips, tools, and even parts, with a fellow racer. Kayakers seem to be of the same breed.

Anyone interested in an idea of what the footbrace design looks like can see it on sheerwater boats home page under plans/designs.

Mine is secured with a moveable T pin vs the ratchet design sheerwater offers.

Dry box
I use a plastic peanut butter (crunchy if you must know) jar as a place to stow cell phone , wallet, car keys and spare glasses. I attached a padeye (sp?) a bit of 3 mm cord and a carabiner to it. I then attach it to a secure place in my canoe or the day hatch of my kayak. It is water proof, durable and cheap. I also have a pair of J type saddles made from plywood and aluminum. Lastly a cajun toothpick, though I think these are always home made. It is a piece of thin aluminum pipe, 'bout 6 feet long. I attached an surf board rack pad on it for floatation. So when I am fishing in my canoe and want to anchor, just poke it into the bottom and tie off to it. One more thing, I made a canoe aspray cover for my canoe. I am sure there are a few other things, but alas they have escaped my feable mind.

Refrigerated BEER Dispenser
for my boat. So far, the only problem (other than the rather high deck mounted cabinet… outriggers seem to solve the resulting “stability” issue however) is the reallllly long extension cord. But I am working on that little problem.