How to Install a Kayak Outrigger Step-by-Step

Posted by Author David Lee


Last Updated September 1, 2021

Installing a kayak outrigger is an excellent way to improve your kayaking experience. Outriggers are used for stability and can make it easier to load your boat in the water. The following article will guide you through the installation process so that you get the most from this accessory!

Decide which end to install it.

The first thing you need to do is decide which end of the kayak will be most convenient for installing your outrigger. If you have a solo boat, it may make sense to install an outrigger on both sides so that when paddling with one arm or leg, this accessory doesn’t push the kayak into waves and create instability. Otherwise, if there’s only room for installation on one side (a tandem), go ahead and start by bolting this piece onto the back.

Installation tip: When deciding where to place your kayak outriggers, keep in mind that they can help improve stability as well as prevent wave contact while paddling. For optimal performance from this accessory, try placing them near the ends.

Mark locations to drill screw holes.

Mark the locations to drill screw holes. To find the best spots, stand next to your kayak and put one of the outriggers where you want it installed. Now put your foot against that side’s skeg box (the back edge of a kayak) as if you were standing on an imaginary “mark.” Extend your arm in front of you holding a pencil like it was a paddle blade. Your face should be positioned about six inches from the surface of your boat with feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. Make sure that while doing this exercise, there is no tension or pressure exerted by any part of either leg or arm onto the boat hull itself – just contact between shoe sole and heel pad; palm and fingers gripping.

Drill the holes to attach the mounting plate.

Now that you have the mounting plate positioned as desired on your kayak, drill two pilot holes through each of the four corners. This will both ensure a good hold and make it easier to install screws or bolts later without splitting the wooden hull. Alternatively, if you are only going to use adhesive (or some other form of glue) for attachment and don’t need to tighten any nuts or bolts after installation, skip drilling these pilot holes now.

The screw length should be long enough so that when screwed in place they go all the way into their hole but do not reach up against your kayak’s skeg box – this is important because if there is too much pressure from being screwed in with an outrigger mounted onto them.

Attach the mounting plate to the kayak.

The next thing to do is open up the holes for your bolts with a bolt cutter so they fit more easily onto the kayaking hardware (often made from aluminum). This can be done now before installation if it’s easier than doing it later when everything else has been installed. The length of these bolts should be at least three inches longer than what would normally come off of most building supply

Attach the adjustment mechanism and outrigger arms.

Now you’ll want to install the kayak outrigger arms. The screws or bolts that come with your kit should be long enough, but if they’re not, then you will need ones that are longer than what is typically found at a hardware store. If this is the case, buy nuts and washers for where these screws go on so it doesn’t damage the kayak’s surface while tightening them down. You can also use two small pieces of wood as spacers between the bolt head and bottom-most hole in order to make sure there isn’t too much pressure from being screwed in with an outrigger mounted onto them. Next, attach any adjustment mechanism.

Attach the outrigger!

See Also Outriggers/Stabilizers Review

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