The 7 Best Kayak Outriggers in 2022: Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

By James @ Sea Kayak Explorer

Learning to kayak is much like riding a bike, it takes practice, determination, and balance. A useful tool to help people with their balance is a kayak outrigger which helps to keep you upright and buoyant so you can focus on paddling or admiring the scenery.

In this post, we’re going to review 7 of what we think are the best kayak outriggers currently on the market to help you pick the right one for you and your needs. Let’s get started.

Quick Answer: The Best Outriggers for Kayaks

Preview
Our Favorite
Spring Creek Manufacturing Hydrodynamic Canoe Stabilizer Float Package (Gray,...
Hobie Sidekick Ama Kit part number 72062101
YakGear Kayak & Canoe Outriggers (Generation 2), One Size
Scotty Kayak Stabilizer System
METER STAR 2Pcs Kayak Inflatable Outrigger Stabilizer Water Kayak Floats...
Name
Spring Creek Manufacturing Hydrodynamic Canoe Stabilizer
Hobie Sidekick Adjustable Float Outrigger
YakGear Kayak & Canoe Outriggers
Scotty Kayak Stabilizer System
METER STAR Inflatable Outrigger Stabilizer
Reviews
106 Reviews
103 Reviews
365 Reviews
96 Reviews
173 Reviews
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Our Favorite
Preview
Spring Creek Manufacturing Hydrodynamic Canoe Stabilizer Float Package (Gray,...
Name
Spring Creek Manufacturing Hydrodynamic Canoe Stabilizer
Reviews
106 Reviews
Rating
Prime
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Price
Preview
Hobie Sidekick Ama Kit part number 72062101
Name
Hobie Sidekick Adjustable Float Outrigger
Reviews
103 Reviews
Rating
Prime
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Price
Preview
YakGear Kayak & Canoe Outriggers (Generation 2), One Size
Name
YakGear Kayak & Canoe Outriggers
Reviews
365 Reviews
Rating
Prime
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Price
Preview
Scotty Kayak Stabilizer System
Name
Scotty Kayak Stabilizer System
Reviews
96 Reviews
Rating
Prime
Price
Preview
METER STAR 2Pcs Kayak Inflatable Outrigger Stabilizer Water Kayak Floats...
Name
METER STAR Inflatable Outrigger Stabilizer
Reviews
173 Reviews
Rating
Prime
Price

The Top Kayak Outrigger Reviews

Before we get to our kayak outrigger buying guide, first we’re going to take a look at some of our favorite models currently on the market. So below are our kayak outrigger reviews to help you narrow down which one to go for.

#1. Spring Creek Kayak and Canoe Outrigger 

Spring Creek Manufacturing Hydrodynamic Canoe Stabilizer Float Package (Gray,...
106 Reviews
Spring Creek Manufacturing Hydrodynamic Canoe Stabilizer Float Package (Gray,...
  • Spring Creek Manufacturing’s float stabilizer packages are the safety and comfort you are looking for while on the water. Made...
  • Extendible up to 20″ in each direction, you’ll get the width that you need, and you’ll be pleased with the ease of use and...
  • Hydrodynamic Design for minimal drag through the water and excellent stability. Easily adjustable with locking cam lever arms....

Coming in at the top spot on our ranking of the best kayak outriggers is the Spring Creek Kayak and Cone Outrigger. Featuring incredibly durable, extendable materials, this outrigger will help you reach whatever destination you have in mind. 

The Spring Creek Outrigger is adjustable, meaning you can extend it in 20-inches in each direction. With this capability, you won’t have to worry if the waters start to get choppy. Adjust the outrigger to the optimal length if you can, and you should be good to go. 

The Spring Creek is perfect for you if you own multiple kayaks or like to split your time between canoes and kayaks. It incorporates universal receiver sizing into the design so that you can attach it to almost any sized kayak or canoe. No need to buy different outriggers when just one will do the trick!

Overall, in terms of design and efficiency, the Spring Creek Kayak and Canoe Outrigger is the best available product on the market today.

#2. Hobie Sidekick Ajustable Kayak Outrigger

Hobie Sidekick Ama Kit part number 72062101
103 Reviews
Hobie Sidekick Ama Kit part number 72062101
  • Adjustable float height with simple twist and click
  • Three positions - High, Medium or Low
  • Inflate with just a few breaths - Rapid deflate

Taking the number two position is the Hobie Sidekick Ama. Its lightweight outriggers are amazingly easy to assemble, able to attach to almost any type of kayak. Whether you’re paddling solo or with a friend, you can adjust the outriggers as necessary to give you the most speed and stability possible. 

The Hobie Sidekick Ama is inflatable with just a few minutes of breathing. Alternatively, you can use an electric or manual pump to get the job done in seconds. The outriggers have three positions to choose from: high, low, medium. These allow you to adjust your position on the go, shifting from a low position for optimal tracking to a high position for more of a challenge. 

This kayak outrigger is the most portable on the list. The floats deflate almost instantly, folding down into a manageable size for transport. The construction poles aren’t bulky, and you can fit the whole setup in your trunk in addition to any kayak you may have. 

#3. YakGear Kayak Outigger

YakGear Kayak & Canoe Outriggers (Generation 2), One Size
365 Reviews
YakGear Kayak & Canoe Outriggers (Generation 2), One Size
  • The YakGear Outriggers provide an easy to install safety net for everything from rocking back and forth to toppling into the...
  • The outriggers are attached by using a RAILBLAZA StarPort base (included) mounted to the boat. The outriggers can be removed at...
  • This set comes with 2 outriggers for the port and starboard side of your watercraft. The adjustable outrigger arms are 30 inches...

The YakGear kayak outrigger takes our third place on the list because of the incredible range of adjustments that you can make to the outrigger setup. Additionally, it’s made from military-spec materials that are way more durable than most other brands. 

While the outriggers are relatively small, they’re very well designed and exceedingly equipped to deal with large waves, choppy waters, or just paddling out with the kids. The outriggers are 30-inches long and made out of stainless steel. 

However, the initial setup is a bit more complicated than other kayak outriggers, which is why this model wasn’t higher up on our list. It’s not too hard to get your outrigger attached, but it will take a bit longer than some people are willing to put up with. Plus, you won’t be able to take off the RAILBLAZA base until you’re out of the water. Not a deal-breaker!

#4. Scotty #302 Inflatable Kayak Outigger

Sale
Scotty Kayak Stabilizer System
96 Reviews
Scotty Kayak Stabilizer System
  • Country Of Origin : Canada
  • The Package Height Of The Product Is 11 Inches
  • The Package Length Of The Product Is 34 Inches

Another worthwhile kayak outrigger, the Scotty #302 is a fantastic option for those looking for a kit that’s easy to take on road trips and plane rides. Featuring two inflatable pontoons, this outrigger only weighs 10-pounds, so you can bring it with you no matter how far you’re traveling. 

Made from high-quality materials that can resist some stretching, you can inflate using an air compressor or breathing into the pontoons. However, you have to be careful not to overinflate: the rubber material tends to burst when it’s overfilled under direct sunlight. 

That being said, the level of stability the Scotty #302 provides is almost unprecedented in the inflatable kayak outrigger arena. With lengths of around 2.5-feet, each inflatable pontoon offers up to 15-pounds of added buoyancy. You can try tipping your kayak with the #302 attached, but all you’re going to get is a mean core workout. 

#5. METER STAR Inflatable Kayak Outrigger

METER STAR 2Pcs Kayak Inflatable Outrigger Stabilizer Water Kayak Floats...
173 Reviews
METER STAR 2Pcs Kayak Inflatable Outrigger Stabilizer Water Kayak Floats...
  • Exclusive Offer,Free Comes with 4 repair patches,Designed and manufactured specifically for outdoor water sports enthusiasts
  • This Float Great for kayak, canoe, boat, paddling, fishing, standing and beginners.
  • Inflatable and Lightweight design; durable and portable to carry; very easy to install and use.Inflatable is very convenient to...

The Meter Star is a fantastic budget option for those kayakers looking for high-performance buoyancy without breaking the bank. Easy to set up but hard to puncture or damage, this outrigger is great for beginners first testing out their capabilities on the open water. 

All you have to do is lay the connecting pole flat across the bow, being careful to give yourself enough room to paddle and get up as necessary. It attaches nicely to almost any rotomolded kayak and many inflatable ones with the proper paddle shafts. 

However, just be aware the at Meter Star is sold as two separate packages: the floats and the rods. While still incredibly cheap for the level of buoyancy you get, it’s not as cheap as you might think at face value. 

Overall, the Meter Star gives more expensive outriggers a run for their money but sacrifices your ability to change its position while underway. If you don’t anticipate shifting the angle of your outrigger, you should definitely check out the Meter Star. 

#6. Pactrade Marine Kayak Outigger

Pactrade Marine Boat Kayak Canoe PVC Outrigger Arms Stabilizer System Fishing
48 Reviews
Pactrade Marine Boat Kayak Canoe PVC Outrigger Arms Stabilizer System Fishing
  • This is a set of durable Outriggers/ Stabilizer System that is suitable for most kayak and canoe use. The outriggers will provide...
  • Stainless steel mounting hardware is included with the outriggers/stabilizer kit, as shown in the listing’s picture. The...
  • Measurement of: PVC Float Kits – 27-1/2” (L) x 5” (W); Aluminum Arms/Poles – 31-1/2” (L), 1-3/16” Diameter; Side/Deck...

Placing sixth in our ranking is the Pactrade Marine kayak outrigger, a great accessory for fishing kayak enthusiasts or for those who just want a bit more stability on the water.

Despite its size, this outrigger is perfectly equipped to handle fairly large waves and currents when you’re out on the ocean or lake. While it works for pond fishing as well, you probably won’t need an outrigger for calmer waters. However, when you know the area that you’re fishing has finicky weather that can change at the drop of a hat, you’ll want the Pactrade Marine around. 

The stainless steel mounting kit is simple to attach to whatever kayak you own, and the PVC floaters are durable enough to take a beating during your trip. You can adjust their position as you’d like, meaning you can adapt to changes in weather and water conditions after you’re already underway. 

#7. Lixada Inflatable Kayak Outrigger

Lixada Kayak PVC Inflatable Outrigger Kayak Canoe Fishing Boat Standing Float...
20 Reviews
Lixada Kayak PVC Inflatable Outrigger Kayak Canoe Fishing Boat Standing Float...
  • Provides added stability for any vessel and make you feel safe and secure.
  • Easily inflatable with several breaths and deflated in seconds.
  • Comes with 2 repair patches.

Taking the final spot is the Lixada, a two-piece PVC inflatable outrigger that can fit into any kayaker’s budget. Casual kayakers love the Lixada because it’s cheap and easy to use but still provides the stability you’re looking for in an outrigger. 

It’s a painless process to inflate the pontoons, requiring only a few breaths to reach full capacity. You can use an air compressor, but be careful not to overinflate to the point that they burst. While of good quality, the pontoons aren’t completely puncture-proof from the inside or outside. 

It’s important to note that Lixada doesn’t provide a metal bar with the two-pontoon support system. You’ll have to install that separately as a DIY project or purchase a suitable bar from Lixada or another supplier. However, doing this is pretty easy and still much less expensive than many other outriggers that include everything you need. 

If you’re a casual kayaker who likes to paddle in debris-free waters, then this is the outrigger for you. 

How to Choose a Kayak Outrigger: A Buyer’s Guide

The outrigger canoe is the classic seafaring fishing vessel in Polynesia as shown in the image above. These long and heavy carved dugouts are seaworthy and stout.

But they have one characteristic that sets them apart from most other traditional canoes. Like the seagoing catamarans used to settle distant islands in the Pacific, the outrigger is incredibly stable.

Of course, you don’t see many canoes like this these days. They’re wide, heavy, and something of a specialized tool. But what if we could relearn the lessons that the islanders knew centuries ago and apply them to our modern craft? Could an outrigger have any usefulness in today’s world?

The answer is a resounding yes! Outriggers are an easy way to make any kayak more stable. And while that might sound boring, a more stable kayak is safer and provides a sturdier platform for things like fishing, photography, or sailing.

What is a Kayak Outrigger?

The outrigger is the feature that differentiated those traditional Polynesian canoes from other types. It is the outer pontoon or sponson, mounted far away from the main craft.

On traditional vessels, it was common to use just one outrigger. The weight of the outrigger kept the boat from tipping away from it, and the buoyancy it provided kept the boat from tipping toward it.

Today, we can apply the idea of the outrigger to nearly any type of paddle craft that needs more stability. In these designs, it’s more common to use a set of outriggers, one mounted on each side. Instead of relying on their weight, they use buoyancy alone to reduce a vessel’s tippiness.

Who Should Use a Kayak Outrigger?

Anyone who wants a more stable kayak would benefit from an outrigger.

They are particularly popular with anglers. If you have a narrow kayak that is difficult to stand in, then outriggers can help. They easily retrofit onto any kayak. They provide that extra bit of stability so that you can move around and even stand up without worrying about unplanned swims.

Another use is for people who are new to kayaking. Some people describe outriggers as “kayak training wheels.” Like bicycle training wheels, they help newcomers, or kids, get used to paddling in a safe and worry-free environment.

Kayakers who want to sail also benefit by adding stabilizing outriggers. While simple downwind sails are easy to control, full sail rigs require some form of extra stability. To counter the wind pressure on the sail, your boat will have to have either a centerboard or an outrigger installed.

Finally, there are times when you just don’t want to risk getting capsized. Maybe you’re carrying camera equipment. Or maybe you’re making a long trip over open water, and you’re worried about getting tired of dealing with a big swell. Whatever the reason is, sometimes you don’t want to risk it!

Types of Outrigger and Stabilizer

There are a few main types of outriggers that you’ll find on the market today.

One Side or Both Sides

Scotty Kayak Stabilizer System

Traditional canoes use only one outrigger. But this is problematic for a few reasons.

Firstly, the outrigger canoes used in the islands are very heavy. In order to keep the boat from tipping away from the stabilizer, the outrigger itself needs to be large and heavy.

Compounded with this problem, it also needs to be mounted quite a ways away from the kayak. That makes the entire craft very wide and necessitates beefy and heavy attachments.

This design is also very weight-sensitive. If you don’t have enough weight loaded in the kayak, then the weight of the outrigger will list the boat to one side. The outrigger will then be too deep in the water, making more drag than it needs to make.

For these reasons, it is far more common to find outriggers mounted in sets of two. This keeps the boat level at all times. Instead of using weight, it functions only on extra buoyancy.

Rigid Versus Inflatable Outriggers

WINUS Fishing Boat Stabilizer, Inflatable 2 White PVC Kayak Canoe Boat Fishing...

Since the outriggers are simple floats, they can be built as light as possible. This opens up the possibility of making them out of lightweight but rigid plastic. But it also means that they can be inflatable.

Inflatable floats are a great value because they can pack small for transport. But, of course, they’re more delicate than hard floats.

In the end, your choice will come down to the sort of area in which you’re paddling. For example, are there sharp rocks or objects at your launch site that could damage inflatables?

Amount of Buoyancy

Bicaquu Portable Kayak Stabilizer, Kayak Outrigger Kit, Safe for Kayaking...

The most significant factor affecting the effectiveness of your outriggers is not what they are made up, but instead how much buoyancy they provide.

When mounted correctly, the floats should only just be touching the surface of the water. As the boat tips, more and more of the outrigger goes underwater. The more of the float’s surface area that gets wet, the quicker buoyancy increases.

When comparing different designs, think about this in terms of the shape of the float. Those floats with wide and flat bottoms will become effective far quicker than those with cylindrical shapes.

Likewise, those narrow cylinders may be buoyant, but as the boat rolls and they submerge, they don’t add much buoyancy beyond the original amount. If the float is shaped like a boat, on the other hand, buoyancy keeps increasing as the boat tips farther and farther over.

Beyond the shape, size is another important element in the equation. Most standard kayaks need an outrigger that is between 30 and 36 inches long—but this depends greatly on the shape as well. In the end, it’s not just about its physical dimensions. It would be best to consider how it makes its buoyancy to ensure that it will produce the desired effect.

Mounting Options

Lixada Kayak PVC Inflatable Outrigger Kayak Canoe Fishing Boat Standing Float...

Once you’ve decided on the style of outriggers or stabilizers that you want to add, now comes time to put them on your boat. Most kits have simple aluminum frames that will easily mount to most boats.

The important thing is to download the instruction and installation manual before purchasing to see what’s required. In some cases, those frames may need to be permanently bolted onto your kayak. If that’s the case, you’re going to have to drill holes—something not every boat owner enjoys doing.

Some outriggers snap on using existing hardware, but these are very dependent on having a solid attachment point. There is no doubt that a custom installed and bolted-on bracket is your best option for maximum stability.

Since each kit is slightly different, there’s no replacement for reading the manual and double-checking the measurements with your boat. Don’t assume that every set will work with every boat—because they won’t. Some will work well, and others won’t work at all. And others may require further modification with spacers or mounting arms to get the floats appropriately positioned.

Adjustability

The frame needs to have some amount of adjustability and some ability to be customized. You need to ensure that the floats are just touching the surface when you sit in calm water. The exact height and angle will vary a little depending on the load you have placed in the kayak and even on the kayak’s design.

Retracting/Storage

Some outrigger frames are fixed, while others allow the floats to pivot up out of the way for storage or docking. This is a handy feature if you need to maneuver your boat against a dock or into a tight space.

If you regularly car top your kayak, you might also look at how easy it is to remove the outriggers entirely. These designs are sturdy, but most are not stout enough to handle 60 mph winds lashing at them.

Pros and Cons of Outriggers and Stabilizers

Pros

  • Reduces the risk of capsizing for people who are poor swimmers, are injured, or just don’t want to risk getting wet
  • Makes it easier to get on and off the kayak, especially from in the water or from a beach
  • Adds stability, allowing you to move freely and even stand up
  • Easy to install
  • Available in multiple styles and sizes
  • Most designs are simple and affordable

Cons

  • Makes your boat wider and heavier, and therefore harder to carry on land
  • Harder to maneuver in tight spaces or around docks
  • Can be difficult to get in and out of at a dock, although some designs pivot up and out of the way
  • Extra equipment to set up before launch
  • If installed incorrectly, they can add drag that slows you down and makes paddling more difficult

Price

No shopping spree is complete without carefully considering the cost. As boat and kayak projects go, outriggers are relatively inexpensive. But only you know what they are worth to you. Do you want to start with a cheaper set, so you can see if they genuinely do what you hope they will?

The only problem with this tactic is the mounting options. If you’re fishing or sailing, it may be better to go all-in on a nice set that will last you a long time. That way, you can spend your time fishing, sailing, or paddling off into the sunset instead of fiddling with a suboptimal setup.

Conclusion: Which One Should You Buy? 

Whether you’re an experienced kayaker or just learning the ropes, a kayak outrigger can be the perfect tool for you to up your game on the water. While you can be sure that every outrigger we included on this list is a worthwhile purchase, one does stand out from the rest. 

We recommend the Spring Creek Kayak and Canoe Outrigger as the best kayak outrigger available today. Hands-down, Spring Creek has made the outrigger with the best materials, ease of use, and performance capability out of any of its competitors. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for speed, stability, or just peace of mind while paddling. Spring Creek will deliver on its promises and exceed your expectations. 

However, always make sure that whatever kayak outrigger you decide on actually fits your kayak. Also, ensure that you’re getting everything you need when you make the purchase: the pontoons, connecting bars, and whatever other accessories the product requires to function.

Spring Creek Manufacturing Hydrodynamic Canoe Stabilizer Float Package (Gray,...
106 Reviews
Spring Creek Manufacturing Hydrodynamic Canoe Stabilizer Float Package (Gray,...
  • Spring Creek Manufacturing’s float stabilizer packages are the safety and comfort you are looking for while on the water. Made...
  • Extendible up to 20″ in each direction, you’ll get the width that you need, and you’ll be pleased with the ease of use and...
  • Hydrodynamic Design for minimal drag through the water and excellent stability. Easily adjustable with locking cam lever arms....