A spray skirt is an essential accessory on a kayaking adventure because it keeps you dry when paddling. And that is beside the protection it offers to the cockpit of your kayak by keeping water from the compartment. If you value your comfort while enjoying the thrills of kayaking, you will understand the importance of a dry cockpit.
Choosing the ideal spray skirt of your kayak could be a tortuous task. However, if you know the features you need to look for in a spray skirt, it will make your search easier.
Choosing a suitable spray skirt for your kayak
A spray skirt gets its name due to its shape. It has three segments with each serving specific functions. One portion protects you when paddling. Another section protects the cockpit from the water. The last segment, which is cord-like, ensures the spray skirt doesn’t come off, regardless of the turbulence you might be facing in the water.
A spray skirt could be made from a variety of materials. Neoprene and nylon remain the popular options. Also, a combination of both materials can be used.
Neoprene is a thermal insulator, which means that with a neoprene-based spray skirt, you should feel warm to an extent. It should keep water out to a great extent. Neoprene spray skirts often have terminal ends which are elastic to hold the spray skirt firmly in place over the deck. You will find this useful when paddling in rough waters. A neoprene spray skirt wouldn’t be ideal for warm weather conditions because it will trap heat.
With a nylon spray skirt, you can be sure of a dry cockpit. Also, you get ample space when paddling. It lacks the thermal insulating ability of neoprene which makes it a worthy choice for warmer days. Most spray skirts don’t just use nylon due to its lack of aeration; it is often combined with another material to ensure air gets to your skin. The ends of a nylon-based spray skirt won’t have that much of a firm hold on rims of your cockpit, which makes it unsuitable for turbulent waters.
Some spray skirts are a mix of nylon and neoprene. With such a spray skirt, you get the best of both materials. This is becoming quite popular among kayak enthusiasts.
Having a spray skirt which can do a lot more than keeping water out of your cockpit should appeal to any sea kayaker. Some spray skirts have pouches where you keep any gear you might need on your trip. Others have features such as a drawstring and straps to ensure the perfect fit.
There are various types of spray skirts for different kayak trips. Some like the half skirts are ideal for less turbulent waters and warm weather; they keep water out of the cockpit compartment and protect your legs from excessive ultraviolet light. Others are made for two people with ample covering for the kayak cockpit.
Before purchasing a spray skirt, take note of the size of your kayak cockpit.
Benefits of a spray skirt
The primary function of a spray skirt is to keep water out. It could also serve other purposes depending on your chosen spray skirt. Below are some of the custom benefits a spray skirt can offer:
How to use a kayak spray skirt
A kayak spray skirt needs to cover the cockpit area; its dome shape is responsible for that. Using a neoprene-based spray skirt could be difficult since neoprene is known to shrivel when dry. Spraying water on such a spray skirt will solve this problem.
Here are some steps you can follow:
Most spray skirts, especially the neoprene-based ones, have cords to make it easy to cover the cockpit with the spray skirt. These cords also ensure the removal of the spray skirt is done seamlessly. However, to remove the spray skirt from the cockpit rim, you will need to pull the cord forward and then backwards. This is very critical so you don’t panic when faced with a situation when kayaking.
Best Kayak Spray Skirt Reviews
Frankly, you might find it easier passing a camel over the eye needle, compared to choosing an efficient spray skirt from the market without any guidance. To make the task easier, we have compiled reviews of 6 spray skirts currently on sale.
Best Kayak Spray Skirt Overall
This spray skirt is a mix of neoprene and nylon. You will find this beneficial since it keeps you dry and delivers additional warmth. The Tropical Tour Ver II has a pair of adjustable suspenders so you won’t need to worry about the spray skirt slipping away from your body. Another decent feature of this spray skirt is that it comes with a zipper-enabled mesh pocket. This provides protection and accessibility for your small accessories. This spray skirt has a band attached to its anterior rim. You should find this handy in affixing and removing the spray skirt from the cockpit of your kayak. The seams of this spray skirt are double stitched which improves the durability of the spray skirt and ensures water doesn’t enter the cockpit.
The Seals Extreme is made from neoprene. You will find this beneficial considering the taut nature of neoprene. Also, it delivers warmth and allows ventilation of your skin. Another feature is the 4mm thickness of the spray skirt’s deck; this is great since it enhances the durability of the spray skirt. This kayak skirt has a pair of suspenders which you will find of immense help in keeping the spray skirt in place. The Extreme Tour has a visible band on its anterior end which is useful in securing the spray skirt on the rim of the cockpit. It should also come in handy when removing the spray skirt.
This is another nylon-based spray skirt which comes with the numerous benefits the nylon component gives the spray skirt. The stripped band at its anterior edge is useful when you need to put the spray skirt on or detach it from the cockpit rim. The Seals Inlander Spray Skirt also has double-stitched seams which improves durability. The tunnel of the spray skirt has an adjustable cord; you will find this beneficial in keeping the spray skirt in place.
The Harmony Gear Fusion Spray Skirt is made from a combination of nylon with a polyurethane coating to ensure the spray skirt doesn’t get worn out with time. Also, the nylon component is responsible for the waterproof capability of the spray skirt. This harmony product has its seams double stitched and sealed which extends the life of the spray skirt while reinforcing its waterproof nature. Another feature is the adjustable cord which comes with the tunnel. You will find this resourceful towards keeping the tunnel in place.
Best Kayak Splash Deck
This spray skirt takes a different approach towards keeping water out of the cockpit. It doesn’t cover the entire cockpit since there’s a space in the middle. You will find this great for warm weather due to the adequate ventilation provided by the gap in the center of the spray skirt. It has a mesh pocket with zipper. This is great for storing your accessories while paddling. Another feature of this spray skirt is the cord fastened to its rim. You will find this beneficial in installing or removing the spray skirt. The Seals Splash Deck is made from a nylon derivative material which ensures you get the benefits of nylon with this spray skirt.
This is a half skirt which has no protection at the back. It has dual pockets with ample space in the anterior segment. You will find this resourceful for carrying things along you. The Seattle Sports Paddling Half Skirt has a handle attached to its vertex which makes it easy to install the half skirt.
A spray skirt is an important component for kayaking because you can get wet without one. A good kayak spray skirt should be able to keep out and protect the lower half of your body from the sun. The spray skirts discussed above do what they are supposed to do. However, the Seals Tropical Tour Ver II outperforms the rest. It is colorful, convenient, and keeps out water from the cockpit. You can’t go wrong with this spray shirt.