You are soaked, you’re gear is sinking and your paddle is floating away faster than you can swim for it.
You’ve just tipped over your kayak.
Even the most advanced kayaker is susceptible to rolling.
This sounds like a nightmare scenario, but it’s easily avoidable.
This list of the Best Kayak Outriggers and Stabilizers will safeguard you from tipping over, whether you are paddling in calm lakes or choppy ocean conditions.
With the stability of your new outrigger, you will be standing up in even the narrowest kayak.
The Top 5
#1 Best Overall Outrigger/Stabilizer: Brocraft Kayak System
A lightweight aluminum frame outrigger for ultimate stability and balance! You will be able to use this outrigger with any kayak with the easy to install anodized arms and lock posts. Take it on a touring, sit on top or angler kayak.
The stainless steel mounting hardware install and detaches in minutes and is rust resistant. The side deck mounts are Brocraft made, so you can count on the same great quality as the actual floats and stabilizing bars.
The floats on this outrigger are made with ultra tough PVC, so you won’t have to worry about damage while you transport them. Because they are so durable, they will hold up in rougher water conditions.
The Brocraft is great for beginner kayakers, sight and fly fishing or any other kayak activity. They are especially useful if you plan on bringing a lot of gear for fishing or longer trips and are worried about the gear tipping your kayak over.
#2 Best Overall Outrigger/Stabilizer: Inspired By Nature w/Yellow Floats
You won’t have to worry about punctures or water logging with this ultra durable outrigger system. The Inspired By Nature Outrigger has furniture grade PVC material (five times stronger than normal PVC,) that won’t bend or crack.
The yellow floats are made with compression PVC and are water and puncture proof. Both the stability bars and floats are UV and stain resistant, as well. Whether you are on a calm river or rough ocean, this outrigger will hold up to any conditions.
The 30” long stabilizing bars are attached to the kayak with stainless steel Scotty 350 Rod Holders and Locking Scotty 241L bases. The Scotty rods holders are versatile, doubling as fishing rod holders when not being used with the floats.
They also can be used with a myriad of other awesome Scotty brand accessories. The Inspired By Nature Outrigger also comes with a four foot long stand assist and docking strap so you can get in and out of your kayak with ease.
#3 Best Overall Outrigger/Stabilizer: Canoe Kayak Outrigger Stabilizer
Tipping over is a possibility for even the most experienced kayaker. But not every paddler needs the same amount of stability. The Yak Gear Outrigger Stabilizer is adjustable to meet different desired level of balance. For the beginner, the arms can extend the floats to up to 22” past the kayak rail. If you are looking for a little more challenge, simply shorten the stabilizing bars.
The stability bars are attached with Scotty 350 mounts that can also be used for accessory and fishing rod holders when the outrigger is not in use. Yak Gear also provides stainless steel mounting gear and installation instruction with every outrigging system sold.
The floats can easily be lifted out of the water by a hinge system on the mounting hardware, allowing you to choose when you use the outrigger. Rough water conditions and natural elements are no match for the durability of this outrigger system. The bars are made with super strong PVC material and the floats are high-density closed-cell foam for ultimate buoyancy.
#4 GymTop 2 Pcs Kayak Canoe Outrigger/Stabilizer
The Gym Top Outrigger is good for the paddler who is looking for a simpler set up. This system consists of inflatable floats that can be universally attached to a any paddle shaft. These floats will work anywhere along the sides of your kayak and will provide stability and balance to any paddler.
The floats are made from durable PVC material that minimizes the risk of tears and punctures. Industrial strength seems prevent seam tears and will keep your floats at peak performance for years to come.
Inflated and deflated in seconds, these floats will be the easy outrigger support you’ve ever installed. Because they are deflatable, they are a cinch to store and transport. For those who want a lightweight and portable outrigger option, the Gym Top 2 Piece Kayak and Canoe Outrigger float is for you.
#5 Homyl 2 Pcs PVC Inflatable Outrigger/Stabilizer
Another great option for a simple outrigger set up. The Homyl outrigger floats are lightweight and easy to use. Simply inflate them in seconds and attach them to any paddle shaft to fit any kayak. Great for stability for a wide variety of kayak activities.
Homyl PVC inflatable stabilizers are an impressive 35” long and 11” across. There’s no way you’ll tip over with these bad boys. These floats are also great for stand up paddle boards, canoes and fishing kayaks.
PVC is an incredibly durable material, so you can be assured that the Homyl floats that use this material won’t tear or puncture. The seams are industrial strength and mounting hardware is also durable PVC so you will get years of use out of these floats.
What Is a Kayak Outrigger/Stabilizer?
Stability in water is directly proportional to the amount of surface area you have. If you increase surface area, you will increase stability and balance. There are convenient ways to increase your surface area without increasing the width of your kayak.
If you don’t want to be weighed down with a bigger kayak just to get stability, outriggers are a great way to go. You won’t add a substantial amount of extra weight or sacrifice any maneuverability. Kayaks with outriggers are, by the laws of physics, pretty impossible to tip over. The extra stability will allow you to ride a narrow kayak, kayak fish or learn to kayak without the fear of tipping over.
An outrigger is typically composed of floats that add buoyancy attached to stabilizing rods. The stabilizing rods attach the the sides of the kayak and will keep the paddler from tipping over. Outriggers/stabilizers are great for extra stability and balance on the water.
What Kinds of Kayakers Use Outriggers/Stabilizers?
Outriggers/stabilizers are typically used by beginner kayakers, stand up fishing kayaks and stand up paddle boards. This is because you are either learning how to balance, or raising your center of gravity higher, increasing chance of tipping over.
Anyone theoretically can use an outrigger system, but it’s not efficient in every case. A racing kayak, for instance, rarely has outriggers.stabilizers because kayak racers don’t need them. They are advanced paddlers and are not as susceptible to tipping over. Outriggers can also add drag, which is not good for racing. But unless you are a serious kayak racer, outriggers/stabilizers never hurt to try at least once.
Things To Consider When Buying Kayak Outriggers and Stabilizers
There are essentially two kinds of outrigger/stabilizer systems. You can get inflatable float systems, or outriggers with PVC foam floats.
The advantage of inflatable floats is that they are much easier to transport and store. They are lightweight and compactable, which means they can be kept in small spaces and don’t weight much to carry.
The downside is that they aren’t as adjustable as compressed foam float systems They sit parallel to the surface of the water until you completely remove them. With the molded PVC float outriggers, you can lower the floats as low or as high as you’d like with a hinge system attached to the stabilizing bars.
The molded PVC float outrigger/stabilizer systems, like the Brocraft outrigger/stabilizer, can be lowered and raised at any time while you paddle. If you are going through a narrow passageway, you can simply raise the floats so that they don’t hit rocks or cave walls.
You can also adjust the level of buoyancy you get with different sized floats. The Homyl 2 Pcs PVC Inflatable Outrigger/Stabilizer, for instance, is an impressive 35” long, great for beginners and rough water conditions, as it will give you optimum stability. Looking for something a little smaller? Try the Inspired By Nature outrigger. These floats are only 30” long for more of a challenge or a smaller kayak.
Mounting is a little different from brand to brand as well. Though outriggers with adjustable hinges are great, they typically take a little more time and patience to mount. If you are looking for a quick and easy installment, try an stabilizer system that has minimal mounting hardware, like the inflatable outriggers.
Besides outriggers and stabilizers, there are many other accessories that you should consider purchasing for your kayak. We recommend visiting our top kayak homepage to check out our best kayak reviews and must-have accessories!
How Do You Mount a Kayak Stabilizer?
As I mentioned above, there are a couple different types of mounting hardware for outriggers/stabilizers. The more complex systems have mounting hardware that can be installed to preexisting gear tracks. Or you can install the rod holders in by drilling holes into the kayak.
The more simple installation is done with systems that don’t have adjustable stabilizing rods. These also include hardware that you can drill straight into the kayak, but it consists of less components.
Where Do You Position a Kayak Stabilizer?
Outriggers usually come with a set of mounting instructions, but it’s really important to mount your stabilizers where they won’t be hit by your paddles while paddling. You should place them at the front or back of your kayak, not the middle where you paddle.
How Do You Line Your Outrigger on Your Kayak?
You want the outriggers to be as perfectly perpendicular to the rail of your kayak as possible. A good idea when mounting the attachment hardware is to use alignment tools to map where you drill the mounts. Once you make marks where the mounting hardware will be properly aligned, then you can actually drill holes into the kayak.
Final Thoughts - Which Should You Get?
If you are looking for an overall best outrigger/stabilizer system for your kayak, the Brocraft Outrigger/Stabilizer System is definitely it. Great for all skill levels and types of kayaks, this outrigger will have you paddling in any water conditions with ultimate stability.
Want a outrigger that’s lighter and easier to store? Inflatable outriggers like the Homyl 2 Pcs PVC Inflatable Outrigger/Stabilizer is a great inflatable option that is durable and versatile. It is lightweight and compact, making storage and transport a breeze.
You can find exactly what you are looking for on our list of Best Kayak Outriggers and Stabilizers, whether it’s durability, versatility or stability. With any of these outrigger/stabilizing systems, you’ll be cruising on the water without a single care of tipping over. So mount those floats, get out there and have fun!