Keeping your kayak in a fixed place can come in very handy for a number of reasons. You might want to take a break and enjoy the view, do some fishing or even go for a swim. Being out on the water though means your kayak is not going to be in the same place due to currents, wind and waves. That’s where using an anchor is essential to maintaining your place.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at some of the best kayak anchors available on the market in 2024 and also answer some of the common questions around how to choose one.
How to Choose a Kayak Anchor: Buyer’s Guide
Kayaking is a fantastic way to enjoy nature, exercise, socialize, and get some much-needed peace while being in the water. Paddling our way through our favorite lake or river, we have all had an urge to stop and enjoy the serene and beautiful moment. Or probably we would have liked our kayak to hold still while we were fishing.
Just as we are about to reach your favorite desired spot, struggling a bit with the water current, the anchor’s correct choice can provide us safety and make our experience much more enjoyable and joyful.
Most beginner kayakers go and buy the first kayak anchor that they see. Hence they are not able to get the best experience out of this activity. The correct choice of kayak anchor can make a huge difference in our kayaking experience.
Types of Kayak Anchors
The kayak anchor plays a crucial role in resting your kayak in the waterbody. As there is no friction between the kayak and water, so storing the kayak becomes a little more complicated than stopping a moving car. Hence choosing the correct anchor can save our day.
The choice of kayak anchor depends on the water current and also the floor bed of the waterbody. It also depends on the size, shape, and weight of our kayak. A good anchor will always keep us safe, secure, and still in an ever-moving waterbody.
There are two broad classifications of the types of kayak anchors used by most kayakers:
The mushroom anchor is a type of kayak anchor that is simple and straightforward. It typically hangs upside down in the water, with its weight holding it down against the water’s surface. When released, the boat remains attached to the bottom by its sheer weight.
However, these anchors rely solely on their weight and might not be the best option for smaller lightweight kayaks. These are suitable when water currents or the wind speed is slow or non-existent. The anchor does not need to dig itself into the floor bed.
Grappling Hook Anchor
Grappling hooks are the most popular type of Kayak Anchor among kayakers. They have claws on the bottom that dig into and hold onto the water bed.
When the anchor touches the ground, the anchor’s hooks or tines then dig the ground latch themselves to the water bed, which helps our kayak rest at the same spot. It is essential to have a long anchor line for this type of anchor so that the anchor grabs onto the water-bed at an angle and prevents the kayak from toppling.
This type of anchor is more useful in water bodies that have faster water currents. Unlike the mushroom anchor, this Grappling hook anchor does not rely just on its weight to secure the kayak. Hence due to its lightweight and smaller size, it is a more preferred anchoring solution. Some hooks have a folding design, which requires even lesser storage space.
Weight and Size
The weight and size of the anchor also depend on the type of anchor. Most commonly, the kayak anchors are made out of galvanized iron or stainless steel.
The grapnel hook anchor has four tines attached to its bottom, acting as its hook. It is comparatively lightweight, with options of 1.5lb and 3lb. We may choose between the two options depending on the water current and storage options in our kayak. 1.5lb anchor is preferable for water steams with low current, and 3lb anchor is preferable for waterbodies with relatively higher water currents. As the anchor is more massive, it can dig deeper into the waterbody floor, thus providing more resistance to the kayak.
Since the mushroom anchor depends solely on its weight, it is a comparatively more massive option. It needs a more robust, bigger, and sturdier kayak with adequate storage capacity. A mushroom anchor’s typical weight is around 8lb, which is more than double the grapnel hook anchor’s weight. Since it does not dig or claw into the floor, it causes the least damage to the water body floor. Depending on the shape, it also occupies relatively more space.
It is tricky for us to find the perfect place, to attach or mount the anchor. Some inflatable kayaks do not come with dedicated anchor mounting points. Mounting an anchor to any random spot on the kayak can lead to disastrous results. Depending on the water current, it may also capsize the kayak. To the very least, it may lead to a very shaky kayaking experience.
The best way to have a safe mounting is to add mounting plates to our kayak. The best place to attach these plates is either towards the bow or towards the kayak’s stern. Anchor trolleys are attached for a safer and enjoyable Kayaking experience even in rough weather conditions.
Having the right anchor does not mean that we have met all our perfect Kayaking experience requirements.
Knowing the anchor’s scope is exceptionally crucial for a smooth kayaking experience. The scope is an approximate measure of the length of rope of chain required for the anchor. We should know the approximate depth of the areas we will cover and the approximate measure of its water currents. An insufficient length of anchor chains and ropes will make our anchor’s perfect choice go completely useless. The anchor chains and cords should be at least seven times the average depth of the waterbody.
Shorter ropes might not reach the water-bed or drag and scrape on the water-bed, giving us a frustrating experience. The longer chain or rope might get entangled in the debris on the floor bed at multiple places. So, it is essential to have the right scope.
The anchor line is the rope that attaches the anchor to the kayak from its mounting point. It is crucial to have a good quality anchor line so the kayak remains securely attached to the anchor resisting the water currents. Its material used in the anchor line should have a good tensile strength to not snag and remain securely fastened to the kayak. The most commonly used material for the anchor line is nylon.
The length of the anchor line is very crucial. The anchor line’s length should be sufficient enough so that anchor to reach the bottom and fall on its side to latch on to the water-bed. Too short or too long anchor lines may cause mishaps or accidents. Usually, most kayakers follow the golden rule of 7:1. If the waterbody’s depth is 1 foot, the anchor line’s desired length is 7 feet.
An anchor trolley is a tool that helps in moving the anchor across the length of the kayak. It is vital to switch mounting points to adapt to the changing wind and water current conditions so that the kayak does not flip on its side during rough conditions. Anchor trolleys act as an extension to the anchor line creating an adjustable anchor cleat, thus creating a perfect anchoring position. These trolleys can be attached to either side of the kayak
Anchor trolleys are independent of the type of anchor or anchoring system. Most kayakers like to customize and make adjustments according to the trip conditions. The anchor trolley uses pulleys so that the trolley rope can travel from the bow to the kayak’s stern.
The anchor line is then attached to this trolley rope using a movable clip. It prevents the unnecessary tugging or rubbing of our kayak, thus preventing any mishaps. We must ensure that the trolley fits perfectly to both the anchor and the kayak.
Storage is the key component to a good kayaking experience. The kayak should have enough storage space to hold all the kayaking gear and equipment. The size design of the kayak should include enough internal and external space. It is essential for longer touring trips on kayaks. It should have separate water-proof storage areas to store any of our equipment without spoiling them by water.
Some kayakers also like to enjoy fishing on the trip. The kayak should have enough storage area for fishing lines, fishing nets, and the fish caught. Some kayakers prefer to have additional bungee storage within their reach to store their dry bagged items.
More importantly, the kayak should have separate dedicated storage for its anchor line and the anchor itself. Having additional storage on the kayak becomes convenient for going about your activities in a hassle-free manner and having the best kayaking experience.
Best Rated Kayak Anchor Reviews
Now let’s take a look at some of the best anchors on the market for kayakers.
#1. Extreme Max BoatTector Anchor Kit
- Complete PWC grapnel anchor kit includes 3.5 lb. anchor, 25' rope and snap hook, marker buoy and storage bag
- Anchor: Folding 3.5 lb. grapnel anchor, ideally suited for use in coral, rocky, or heavily weeded bottom conditions
- Rope: 25' hollow braid polyethylene rope with steel snap hook
In at number one for the best kayak anchor is this kit from Extreme Max. It’s a simple, folding anchor that comes in two different weights (3.5lbs and 5.5lbs) along with a 25 foot rope and durable marine grade foam marker buoy.
It comes complete with a durable nylon storage bag that the anchor, line and marker buoy fit in snuggly to put it all away in when you’re done. Another bonus of using the bag is protect your kayak (especially if it’s an inflatable) of an exposed anchor as it can damage and scratch it. An ideal anchor for fishing, kayaking or SUP and at a very reasonable price.
#2. Seattle Sports Kayak Anchor Kit
- 50 feet rope to anchor kayak for angling
- 1.5 pound folding anchor
- Includes a ring and 2 carabiners
Up next we have this great little kayak anchor kit from American brand Seattle Sports. It’s a 1.5 lb anchor so is ideal for smaller, lightweight kayaks or SUPs (although it also comes in the heavier 3.25 lb model too for heavier, larger kayskd).
It comes complete with 50 feet of braided rope that is bright yellow so you’ll always be able to see it, a useful thing when you’re out on murky water. Like the others, it has a drawstring bag to keep you and your kayak safe when you’re not using your anchor.
#3. AIRHEAD Complete Grapnel Anchor
- 3 1/3 pound 4 fluke folding anchor will hold in mud, sand, gravel and rock
- Designed for boats, sailboats, personal watercraft, inflatable boats, canoes, and float tubes
- Fits under most boat seats, in PWC storage compartments, or in PWC storage canisters
In at number three we have this complete grapnel anchor from watersports brand AIRHEAD. It’s a 3 & 1/3 lb fluke anchor that folds up and fits inside the padded nylon bag provided. The 25 foot marine grade nylon rope is a good length with an inline buoy. Perfect for kayaks
#4. MarineNow Deluxe Portable 13 lb Anchor
- 13 lb Hot Dipped Galvanized Fluke Anchor for Boats 20 - 32ft
- 98' Anchor Line - three strand - 3/8" (10mm) with stainless steel rope thimble (316 marine grade)
- 6.5 Feet of 5/16" (8mm) chain - Hot Dipped Galvanized
If you’re looking for a heavier kayak anchor then check out this one from MarineNow which is an 13 lb hot dipped galvanized fluke anchor ideal for larger kayaks, boats and fishermen . It comes with 98 feet of 8mm rope that makes it ideal for setting down in deeper water.
It’s not suited for light kayaks and doesn’t come with a bag so be careful when handling it in your kayak as it can cause damage.
#5. AIRHEAD SUP Anchor Kit
- Bright red Grapnel Anchor, 1.5 lbs.
Lastly, we have another anchor from AIRHEAD that could be a good option. It’s only a 1.5 lb weight anchor so won’t suit heavier kayaks but is more than fine for inflatables and lightweight kayaks.
One down side is that the rope is only 15 feet long so isn’t suitable for deep water but for those looking for a cheap and no thrills option for calm shallow water it’s more than fine.