what helps cut down wind drag?

I recently bought two kayaks and the stacker for the yakima roof rack. Can I make or buy something that fits over the cockpit holes to help cut down on the wind drag?


its called a cockpit cover, but the actual drag is pretty small.

Cockpit covers by Seals got good reviews (see product review section) http://www.sealsskirts.com/sprayskirt_cc.html

Also check out Snap Dragon http://www.rei.com/online/store/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&catalogId=40000008000&storeId=8000&partNumber=723758&memberId=-2000&link=1&cm_ven=ps_Tleader&cm_ite=datafeed&source=14804&cm_pla=pd_inclusion&cm_cat=datafeed

I would still strap them down so you don’t lose them on the highway.

Cockpit covers
We bought them not for wind drag but for protection against filling up with rain or creepie-crawlies.

Seals makes a great one for $30 that has a rubberized edge (good grip) and an adjustable belly strap. Fabric seems very heavy-duty.

I added a belly strap to my lighter SnapDragon cover ($25 plus about $5 in parts that are readily available at places like REI).

belley strap
What does the belly strap do? Doesn’t look like it straps to the boat?

Belly strap
Loop it around the hull below the cockpit, then close the buckle and adjust to be snug. It keeps the cover from flying away in case the edge is not secured well on the coaming.

My cover has a hook on the front that can be clipped to deck rigging, but I like the additional protection of the belly strap.

cockpit covers
Cockpit covers will eventually shred to ribbons if you drive on the highway with them. I’ve driven in the rain without them and never had a boat fill with water; the aerodynamics (or whatever it is!) must keep the water from going in. If you’re going to stop for awhile and it’s raining, it’s a good idea to use a cockpit cover.

Water level
That simply means you haven’t driven in the rain for long or not in a downpour. Water level in your boat should be no more and no less than what is measured in a rain gauge.

I made one out of neoprene. Performed
much better that coated Nylon (no leaking, no flapping) but did not last as long. Might try again with a better grade of neoprene.

You’ll notice I said “highway”, implying faster speeds and not a lot of stops. Driving in the rain this way without a cockpit cover seems fine.

Not alway’s true
Being a Jeep fan, (pre Chrysler CJ5’s) I can tell you that driving a jeep with a bikini top in a downpour doesn’t get much water in the driving area - - just down your back a bit. Most blows right over top. Same with pickup trucks, the faster you run, the less the cargo right behind the cab gets wet.

Cover myths?
I own a few covers but have felt little use for them. (1) Regarding wind drag, I’m not sure a cover would decrease it in any significant way. (Studies show that keeping your pickup truck tailgate CLOSED results in less wind drag than keeping it open. Those tailgate nets – yeah I bought one too – are apparently a crock. Does this relate?) (2) When moving, rain doesn’t seem to come in much either. (3) Even when stopped, rain doesn’t amount to much inside a kayak. Even a large cockpit opening is probably only 50% of the cockpit area. Thus a 1 inch downpour probably amounts to less than less than half an inch of rain in your boat. Call it an extra rinse and sponge it out!

nah, the air stream will take care
of the majority of water… The rain gauge / open boat analogy does not hold…

wait for it…


What about canoes?
If there is wind resistance from the opening of a top-carried paddling boat, wouldn’t a canoe catch a lot? I’ve never heard this discussed before.

makes a really heavy duty cockpit cover, there is no way wind/rain would damage it, is made of the same tarp material that they use on truck trailers to cover the cargo.

Seals "Cockpit Seal"
Got one from REI, not necessarily for aerodynamics, but to keep rain and particularly bugs and such out between trips. It really is quite sturdy and well made. With the belly strap and deck bungee clip, I wouldn’t hesitate to use it en route on longer trips.

+1 for the Seal cover
We have a pair of these and like them. Not sure how much they actually do but they’re nice if you’ve got a multi-day drive in the rain to deal with.

As far as canoes, they’re going to be a sail no matter what you do.