10 Top Kayak Outfitting Tips: Get Your Kayak Fishing Ready

Updated on December 8, 2022 by
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Many people don’t realize this but outfitting your fishing kayak is as important as choosing the fishing kayak itself. And this is not limited to fishing only. Whether you are planning a rough rafting adventure or just going out to fish on the lake, outfitting your kayak is important.

If the outfitting is not done properly, you will lose stability, security and control

On the other hand, with proper outfitting, your performance is enhanced exponentially and your control on the water is increased, making your kayak more efficient.

10 Kayak Outfitting Tips for Your Fishing Kayaks

To help you get your fishing kayak outfitted, I decided to share some tips that helped me with my kayak.

But before we begin have a look through this brilliant overview put together by ACK:

Kayak Fishing Gear Guide

Tip 1 – Use Minicell Foam To Outfit

Minicell foams are the dense foam people use as the pillars of kayaks. These foams are available in various sizes and shops. However, buying these cell foams in a kayak shop can be expensive, but you can get these foams in a car audio shop for much less.

Minicell can be shaped with a knife to fit anywhere you need it. It is lightweight, with a velvety feel and is densely packed.

It is not uncommon to see homemade minicell kayak seats.

Tip 2 – Proper Backrests / Back Bands

The lumbar pads and back bands against your back and prevents the paddler from sliding to the back from the seat while also holding him forward towards the foot braces. This helps the paddler by lowering strain off the lower back. Through the holes in paddler’s seat, the pads should be added and securely fastened.

You only need to have one day on the kayak without a backrest to vow never to do it again, particularly if you are a bit older or have a sore back. Getting the correct back support can significantly improve your comfort levels.

Tip 3 – Install The Hip Pad Properly 

Hip pads go on the side of your hip (pretty self explanatory). But before installing one in its place first sit in your seat and check whether you’ll need a hip pad or not. If you can fit your hand between your hip and the side of your kayak, you will need a hip pad. If the distance is even wider, use additional cell foam to increase the padding.

It will also increase your performance. These hip pads make it easier for you lean and tilt as well as help you stay in place so that you don’t roll upside down when in water. If you don’t make those shims too restricting, your kayak will grab your hips and give your proper control over your hip region.

But make sure to leave enough room for the vests and padding you’ll be wearing when paddling. If it is too tight, your movement will be restricted and efficiency will be compromised. However, If you feel like you are getting numb after sitting for some time in your kayak, try moving the pads a little and you’ll be fine.

Tip 4 – Pad The Seat

Most of the standard seats that come from your kayaks supplier are made of plastic and use a generic mould that may not be suitable for you. However, like me, many people don’t fit on that generic mould which can feel uncomfortable after long sessions.

It is important that the seat is padded properly to fit your shape and provide maximum comfort. To modify or outfit the seat, you can use sleeping mats foam or the usual rubber seat pads available in the market.

Remember, the padding is not about comfort only. It also helps with the control by increasing friction between your hip and your kayak.

Tip 5 – Don’t Forget The Pleasure Pods

Where the pleasure originates from, I do not have the foggiest idea. Basically, this is a touch of cushioning that sits on the facade of the seat in the middle of your legs.

It gives more contact between the pontoon and your internal thighs giving the seat a “saddle-like” feel. Both Prijon and Perception used to fit these as standard and they permit some alteration through the screw that affixes the pod to your seat. These pods can be effectively created from minicell foams or from layers of sleeping foam/mat.

Tip 6 – Use Thigh Braces 

Just a couple of years back kayaks accompanied standard thigh braces that offered just a little in the adjustment section. These days the circumstances have improved with most manufacturers offering flexible, adjustable and removable thigh braces.

Remember, the right alteration/fit is crucial. Invest a lot of energy sitting in your pontoon and testing the thigh braces out.

Tip 7 – Fasten The Thigh Pads 

Each time you lean or move, one of your thighs will sneak toward the focal point of the cockpit. Left to its very own devices, it would slip free from its thigh prop and cause you control issues. Neoprene thigh cushions or foams ade not just padding – they give the ability to keep a strong grasp on your vessel.

You can even form foam snares along within your knees if your thigh braces come up short, or the knee cups for both of your kneecaps to give you the ultimate in fit and control.

Tip 8 – Bulkheads and Foot Braces are important

This is the last contact point of your kayak. Bulkheads and foot braces give strong balance and help you push the remainder of your lower body firmly into the proper position. At the point when your feet will lean easily against those footbraces.

In any case, when you apply a little weight, your hips, thighs, butt and your back press marginally harder against their particular cushions which gives you more control. Generally, you have two alternatives – either plastic/metal footrests that are darted into the pontoon or the foam bulkheads.

Tip 9 – Fix The Leaks 

Last but not least, fix the leaks in your boat. Remember, even if the leak seems small right now, the consequences can be far worse.

The increased weight of a heavy kayak sinking into the water will make it much more difficult to steer. It is also more uncomfortable, particularly if you have your camping equipment stored.

Tip 10 – Get a Tow Along Kayak Cooler

Space is limited and valuable on a kayak, particularly for a multi-day adventure when you need to store camping equipment as well. A big win we have found is to get a tow-along kayak cooler. This is attached to the back of your kayak and you tow it – effectively giving you extra (and valuable) space.

There are some great kayak cooler designs available. Just keep in mind – when they are full of food (or fish!) this can add a fair bit of extra drag to your paddling.

Bottom Line

Now that you know how to outfit your kayak properly, you better get started since it might take a while to collect the materials and go through the procedures. Remember, even if you are just looking for a good time fishing in a steady lake, outfitting your kayak is as important as choosing a fishing kayak. 

Photo of author

Russ Egan

Russ is an avid fisherman. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ writes reviews for all of his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. There is nothing I prefer than heading down to my local tackle store, buying the latest fishing reel, and taking it to the water to test. My favorite reel is a Shimano Curado Baitcaster. My dream is to catch a Black Marlin.