VCP hatch covers

In the last month 3 VCP round hatch covers failed on me. All 3 cracked in various points.

The last one cost me a new cell phone.

Hatch covers were 4 years old, 2 came with my Nordkapp and I purchased an extra one for spare.

For some reason the oval hatch cover seems ok (so far)

Kayak is stored in my garage, never outside.

Question #1 Is this normal? Any suggestion?

Question #2 Do you guys carry with you a Neoprene or nylon emergency hatch cover?

After my experience I think I’ll make a couple (a round one and an oval one) and keep them in my boat at whole time. Last one failed during a morning of rolling practice but this accident can ruin a camping trip.

VCP hatches
Lots of people I know have boats with VCP hatches, and lots of them fail after a while. The Kajaksport ones seem to last quite a bit longer.

If you don’t already, consider coating them inside and out with 303, or UV Tech. Should make them last longer.


That’s par for the course.
VCP hatch covers are made from a pretty crappy material. They seal well when new, but they deteriorate pretty quickly when exposed to UV. Using 303 on them will extend their life, but they still turn soft and crack over time. I carry one each of the round and oval emergency neoprene covers that VCP sells, but I haven’t had to use them yet. In a pinch, a plastic bag and some bungee cord will work as an emergency cover.

Crappy material
The covers I bought last month are not the same material as the old cracked ones I replaced. Is the new material “crappy”, or the old? The old ones seemed to be some kind of rubber, and since they lasted ten years before cracking, I don’t think they were too “crappy”. The new ones are some kind of plastic. Should I expect a shorter life from them?

The Kajaksport seem much denser
material and much more pliable. The VCP ones seem like they might even float? But feel like they are made from recycled plastic or something, much stiffer too. Don’t like hearing that they are prone to failure since I just decided to trade my Capella for an Avocet…

did you coat them with 303?

I’ve got an 8yrold VCP hatch that’s definately getting near the end of it’s life but not anywhere as bad as some I’ve seen. Most of the time I turn the kayak over but it’s been out in the elements.

I’m thinking of making some hard fiberglass covers for the vcp hatches on a Chatham18 that’s on order. Anything to reduce maintenance.

When i got my new Valley boat in June, Tom Bergh suggested I really soak the hatch covers in 303. He noted it genuinely prolongs their life.

I’ve 303’d my Valley day hatch in my Elaho a few times easch season and it still looks and acts as new.

I don’t see it as extra maintainence as I 303 all our boats a few times each season. I simply use more 303 on the hatch covers.

The material is actually a foam…
…which is why they float. The outer skin surface is shiny, black and plastic feeling when new. As they age, they become softer, dull, more rubbery feeling and often turn brownish, which is probably what your old covers are like. AFAIK, VCP has not changed their material recently and they’ve been using the same stuff for at least 12 years.

Kajak Sport covers are rubber
VCP covers DO float. They’re quite stiff when cold, but pretty flexible when hot. I wouldn’t say that they are “prone to failure”, they just deteriorate faster when exposed to the sun. If you keep them coated with a UV protectant and store your boat out of the sun, you’ll get good life out of them.

Brooks Hatch Covers
A while back, I saw that Brooks will make custom neoprene hatch covers, to whatever specification you want. I believe it was on their website

I thought that these would make good back ups, since they wouldn’t take up a lot of space, but should provide a better emergency back up than the alternatives.

New Kajaksport hatches
Have you seen the new Kajaksport hatches? They have a very familiar oval shape, some might say VCP like. The new Nigel Foster boats are now using them. They’re also a bit different than the old Kajaksport hatches, a bit stiffer on the top but still made out of rubber.

Are they VCP compatible?
Or are they just a new cover design for the standard Kajak Sport hatch sizes? I’ve been hoping someone would start making better covers to fit VCP hatch rings. Whatever patent(s) they may have had must have expired by now.

Palm has been making them for years
I’ve got Palm neoprene emergency covers in both round and oval VCP sizes. They’re available through GRO or any of their dealers.

I have the same hope
In the mean time I ordered a new hatch cover and the Palm emergency covers

I don’t think so
I don’t think they fit the valley rims. I think you would have to remove the valley rim and install the kajaksport rim. I’m also not sure if they’re the exact size rim either.

Next time I see the new hatches I’ll take a closer look.

I just order a pair of emergency neo
hatch covers yesterday, directly from GRO. One to cover the large oval VCP hatches on my boat and one for the VCP day hatch.

Safe Paddling,


VCP and KS use different sizes
If the covers fit KS rims, they won’t fit VCP.