INFLATABLE KAYAK STABILIZER: INTRO
Kayak stabilizers are fantastic pieces of kayak fishing gear. They come in all different shapes and styles, but have you ever heard of an inflatable kayak stabilizer? Have you already taken a look at our Kayak Stabilizer Ultimate Guide? Our ultimate guide is a great place to start learning about stabilizers. It is an all encompassing (and free) resource that was written to contain everything you could possibly need to know about kayak stabilizers and how to best use them for your own kayak fishing outings. We have even ranked The 5 Best Kayak Outriggers for your convenience!
Once you’ve learned about the stabilizers, we suspect that you’ll be interested in the possibilities afforded to you by an inflatable kayak stabilizer. We’ve authored this KFC post to walk you through some of the best kayak stabilizers on the market and to provide a detailed write up on their important features, as well as some instruction about how to properly use them!
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This article contains all the important facts about the inflatable kayak stabilizer. We’ve added our opinion as to why it will be a great add to your collection of kayak fishing accessories. We have organized this article into a number of separate categories, summarized as follows:
At the beginning is a list of inflatable kayak stabilizer basics to help you enlarge your knowledge on the subject of stabilizers. After that, we’ve written a short “how to” checklist which will help you learn how to properly use your stabilizer! Next, we’ve included a detailed write up on a number of stabilizer features and show you why each particular feature is important. Lastly, we’ve added a link to our favorite model of inflatable kayak stabilizer and even mention a short story about our own experience using this particular model of stabilizer.
Please note: This post contains affiliate links. An affiliate link means that we may earn advertising/referral fees if you make a purchase through our links.
A kayak stabilizer, whether an inflatable or hard sided model, is basically an enlargement of the width of the fishing kayak. The enlargement is accomplished by way attachment the stabilizer to the two sides of the kayak’s hull. The kayak stabilize is a relatively simple design, generally consisting of merely three parts.
The first part is the connection point to the hull of the fishing kayak. The second part is the arm of the stabilizer. This is the piece that spans the distance from the connection point to the buoy or pontoon (which is connected to the end of the arm). The third piece is the already referenced buoy or pontoon. This piece is basically a floatation device. It provides a floating base against which the kayak stabilizer’s arm can push to provide balance.
Your typically inflatable kayak stabilizer will have a buoy or pontoon constructed of a PVC coated outer shell. The outer shell contains and protects an inflatable inner air bladder. This is essential distinction between a hard sided kayak stabilizer for kayak fishing and the inflatable model that we’re featuring in this post. The PVC coated shell will usually include a zipper into its design. The zipper is intended to allow for easy opening and closing, allowing quick access to the air bladder. Finally, the air bladder is usually capable of being inflated by pump or even your lungs. Once inflated to the proper pressure, the air bladder provides a buoyant float (sometimes adding 30 extra pounds worth of buoyancy) which is more than enough to protect you from an overturn!
How to Use an Inflatable Kayak Stabilizer
Remember the idea of an inflatable kayak stabilizer is to create a more balanced and stable surface area from which the kayak fisherman can operate. The longer the width of the fishing kayak, the less likelihood of an overturn! What good is having an inflatable kayak outrigger if you don’t know how to properly install or use it? Let’s take care of that problem by looking at the short “how to” checklist below.
- First, decide where on the fishing kayak you want to install the stabilizer.
- KFC suggests locating the inflatable kayak stabilizer near the stern (or rear) of the fishing kayak.
- Locating the stabilizer by the stern is great for keeping the stabilizer arms out of the way of your paddle stroking motion.
- This location also keeps your fishing line from becoming entangled with the stabilizer’s arm or buoy.
- Then, securely install the connection point to the fishing kayak’s hull.
- Use the mounting hardware that has come with your specific stabilizer product. This is not time to improvise with left over parts in your tool kit!
- Now is the best time to connect the stabilizer arms.
- Ensure a tight connection of the arms into the connection point by pulling the arms up and down, then pushing them side to side.
- Now its time to inflate the air bladder. Remember, this is contained within the PVC coated stabilizer buoy.
- You can accomplish the inflation by using a common air pump, or even your lungs!
- Close the valve to enclose the air safely within the air bladder.
- Zip up the protective PVC shell.
- Don’t forget to zip all the way closed. This keeps the air bladder protected from the elements.
- Now you should connect the buoy to the arms of the stabilizer.
- To be on the safe side, you’ll want to loop the included straps around the diameter of the buoy. This adds an extra layer of protection against one of the buoys getting loose!
- If you’ve followed the checklist above and any unique instructions that have come with your inflatable kayak stabilizer, you should be all set!
Other questions about proper use of the stabilizer? Check out our post on how to use kayak stabilizers and let us know if it does the trick!
We go over the most critical features of the inflatable kayak stabilizer below. Regardless of which inflatable kayak stabilizer you decide to move forward with (assuming you make that decision at all), promise us that you will make certain that it contains these critical features below. They are critical to a safe and high quality stabilizer!
Sturdy connection point. This is the critical junction between the arm of the stabilizer and the hull of the fishing kayak. Confirm that your connection point accomplishes two things.
First, make sure you’ve made a solid attachment, so that no unintentional separation of the stabilizer arm and connection point can occur. The connection points, or “mounts”, should be constructed of high quality material that will withstand numerous instances of being wet, then dry, then wet again, after all, thats exactly the type of climate that the stabilizer will be exposed to. If the product is made of low quality materials, it will weaken over time putting you and your kayak at risk.
Next, you’ll want a failsafe feature that guarantees the safe connection. Most quality inflatable kayak stabilizers will come with “locking mounts”. These locking devices ensure that the stabilizer’s arm cannot wiggle or slip free once the arm and mount begin to bounce around in the water. A locking mount also gives the convenience of quick connect and disconnect. No additional tools required!
High Strength Arms. The “arms” of your inflatable kayak stabilizer are going to encounter stress as they bounce up and down with the kayak in the water. Remember, these arms are basically a bridge between the mounts and the pontoons. They must be built of a material which will allow them to self support, containing the perfect combination of rigidity and flexibility. Only this balance will allow them to perform appropriately.
The stabilizer’s arm should reach at least 25 inches. Probably no longer than 36 inches, though. Shorter than 25 inches and you will lack the increased width necessary to accomplish the increased surface area needed to provide you the extra stability and control you seek. Longer than 36 inches and the stabilizer might get in the way of your navigation through tight channels.
We think that “anodized” arms (a fancy way of saying that the arms have been coated with a protective oxide layer (like aluminum)), stand up better in terms of longevity. That said, we have found several strength plastics that typically perform very well. For whatever reason, the anodizing process gives the little bit of extra strength needed to keep the inflatable kayak stabilizer in top notch condition season after season. It also is a nice barrier for rust prevention!
Quality Pontoons or Buoys. Pontoons or buoys of sufficient quality are absolutely critical to ensure that the stabilizer performs as intended. The pontoon is the piece of the inflatable kayak stabilizer than takes the brunt of the load when the kayak is tipping too far to one side. That’s a lot of strain!
Do not buy a low quality pontoon or buoy. The difference in price isn’t worth it. Only a high quality pontoon will keep from cracking and rupturing when exposed to freezing temperatures and glaring summer sunlight and heat.
We think that the best buoys are actually two separate pieces – The first piece is an inner air bladder. The second piece is a protective outer shell. The air bladder should be constructed of a durable plastic material. The outer shell is where quality materials and design are going to matter the most, as the outer shell is exposed to the water, temperature, and any obstacles that you might run across (like logs or sharp rocks).
PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is one of the most widely used plastics in the world. It is the perfect material for an outer shell. You’ll find PVC in many different aquatic industries. People love it for its light weight and water proof capabilities, not to mention its exceptional durability!
It is important to be able to quickly access the inside of the outer shell. Remember, this is where the air bladder is going to be located. Consider an inflatable stabilizer with a zipper feature. The zipper will allow you to open the outer shell, access the bladder, then simply zip back up to create a water tight seal! The convenience of the zipper cannot be overstated!
The Best Inflatable Kayak Stabilizer
The inflatable kayak stabilizer highlighted above is one of our favorite pieces of kayak fishing gear. Let’s talk a little bit about what separates this stabilizer from the pack!
Included are 2 inflatable buoys, 2 anodized outrigger arms measuring an appropriate 28 inches in length, 2 locking mounts, and even a couple of rod holders. Who doesn’t need an extra rod holder?! The inflatable buoys within the PVC coated outer shell add more than 30 extra pounds of buoyancy. This is perfect for kayak fishermen who enjoy standing while we are casting. Now you can stand and cast without being worried about tipping over!
The buoys are approximately 30″ long and 8″ wide. They come with the zipper feature that we’ve highlighted above, allowing access to the high quality interior air bladder contained in each buoy. You can disconnect, or reposition, the pontoons by simply pushing a button. The button is conveniently located on the mount of the stabilizer. No special tools need to connect or disconnect. Once properly connected, we have yet to experience a disconnect, probably due to the locking mounts!
My Experience with an Inflatable Kayak Stabilizer
There are a ton of different pieces of kayak fishing gear in my collection, not to mention my fishing kayak by itself. The space within the kayak, my vehicle, my garage, and my home, is growing quite limited. Its becoming a problem.
With these inflatable kayak stabilizer products, I can save at least a little bit of space. The pontoons are easy and quick to inflate and deflate and I can store the inflatable kayak stabilizer basically anywhere. I love the convenience offered by the inflatable capabilities (and so does my wife!).
At first I was slightly concerned about the durability of the pontoons. I thought, “if they are inflatable, won’t they just “pop” if they run across a sharp object”? Short answer: No. These pontoons are tough. The PVC coating makes these pontoons as super tough, as durable as any hard-sided buoy on the market today. Finally, when you are done, you just deflate, dry off, and store. No bulky pontoons sitting around the garage any longer! One additional thought – inflatable kayak stabilizers work really well with any tandem pedal kayak! They provide you and your tandem partner a little extra protection from an accidental overturn!
INFLATABLE KAYAK STABILIZER: CONCLUSION
I hope this article has helped you learn more about the many inflatable kayak stabilizer products for kayak fishing! If you’ve read everything above and find that you still have questions about the inflatable kayak stabilizer or whether it would be a good fit for you, please comment at the bottom of this page. We’d love to be part of your decision making process and we’d love to share your questions (if you allow) with the rest of the kayak fishing community! One final thought – while you should be protected from an accidental overturn, its always safer to wear a life jacket for extra protection. Take a look at our post on the Best Fishing Kayak Life Jacket to see if its right for you! Inflatables haven’t been around forever, learn about the history of the first inflatable boat!
Take your fishing kayak on the road at one of these awesome kayak fishing destinations!
Do you own or have you ever used an inflatable kayak outrigger? Did you have a good experience? Anything particularly memorable about how it performs or any other features you find to be important? What overall score would you give it? Remember, if you have any questions about this article on the inflatable kayak stabilizer, we’d love to discuss them with you! Please share your knowledge with the KFC Community by posting a comment below. I read and reply to all comments, and I love interacting with our readers!