Spray Skirt

I’ve posted a few times and gotten some great advice- thanks! I’m back for a little more.

Quick desc- going to be using my kayak on lakes for exercise, scenery, etc. Will also take it to some mild rivers when the group wants to get together for a float trip.

Do you think I can get by with a 1/2 skirt like below


or do I need to full on. The full on would be best I’m sure, but to those with experience, will the 1/2 work good enough for what I’m planning on doing? I’m hoping so just for ease of use.

probably fine
If you don’t expect waves washing over your boat and you aren’t going to be rolling then you don’t need any skirt at all. Half skirts are good if just trying to avoid the annoying water splashes from paddle and such.

An outfitter provides rec kayaks to
complete newbies on the class 1-2+ Broad River in north Georgia, and does NOT provide skirts. The newbies almost always do just fine, though an occasional flip will fill the kayak, and then it is a huge chore to get it landed and dumped out.

I don’t think you’ll need a full skirt unless you are in fairly serious whitewater.

That’s the one I use…
works well enough for me.


– Last Updated: May-08-09 5:11 PM EST –

What kind of paddling do you do? Is it lake, etc?

Along these same lines, is it necessary for me to have float bags? Flipping the yak (esp for a newb) is always a possibility, but not as likely with what I plan on using it for. Paddling a Dagger Blackwater 12', by the way.

not just rolling or waves
I regularly edge my cockpit combing under water while turning the boat.

Just this past weekend
I had to recover a rec kayak with a rear bulkhead (like I believe the Blackwater) that flipped on a Class II- rapid. I could not lift it to empty it. I had to roll it upright and then two of us pumped until it was light enough to lift the bow and drain. Based on that experience I would say a front float bag would be really nice to have, but not absolutely mandatory.

On the skirt question, I really believe in having a full skirt easily accesible on almost every trip on any open body of water. You never can be sure when a thunderstorm or sudden winds will come up and generate waves that could fill and destabilize your kayak. You do not need to wear it all the time, but having it easily available if you do need it can sure make life easier.


Float bag test
Take the boat out to several feet deep of water, better yet in front of a stream flowing into a larger body, flip it without a float bag in front. Make sure it totally floods with water, like it would in even mild class 2.

You’ll have plenty of time to mull over the need for a float bag up front while you wait for a motorboat or similar to come help you get it pulled up.

(Yes - you definately want a float bag for the bow.)