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Your Guide To Kayak Anchors: How To Choose A Suitable One?

Kayaking is a sport about moving from one point to another. So we paddle and paddle until we’ve had enough fun on the water. But there are times when you may want your kayak to stay in a spot for some time. It could be that you want to rest, after all, paddling can be tiring at times. It could also be that you want to fish, enjoy the beautiful scenery around you, and maybe take some pictures. You can’t do any of these things with your kayak drifting away.

Thanks to kayak anchors, you can securely make your kayak stay in one place and on a variety of underwater terrain. Kayak anchors are important kayaking gear that is often forgotten by most kayakers. And the good news about kayak anchors is that most of them are lightweight, making it easy to store them on your vessel without being a burden.

Choosing a kayak anchor can be a bit overwhelming because there are many options available on the market. To make this worse, all the anchors seem to be exactly the same. But all kayak anchors are not made equal.

On this page, I’ll be taking you through an extensive buying guide. Here, you’ll learn all you need to know about kayak anchors so you can make an informed decision when buying a kayak anchor. This will help you choose a kayak anchor that meets all your needs. So below are the factors you must consider before getting one.

Anchor Types

Anchors come in different types, some of which will be discussed below.

Mushroom anchors are shaped like a mushroom as the name suggests and are very heavy. The holding power of this type of anchor increases as debris accumulates at the bottom. However, this type of anchor is not suitable for use in a kayak because it is too heavy.

Grapnel anchors are used for kayaks because of their lightweight design. They are usually between 1.5 – 3.5 lbs. Grapnel anchors may come with three or four arms depending on the manufacturer. These arms are the part of the anchor that actually grips the bottom and can be folded for easy transport or storage.

This is the type of anchor you should buy for your kayak. And that’s why all the kayak anchors on this list are grapnel anchors.

Anchoring Positions

There are three anchoring positions namely bow, stern, and side. The design of your kayak allows the vessel to properly handle water as it travels the length of your kayak. Your kayak can’t handle water from the side and this means you shouldn’t anchor your vessel from the side.

This means you have to use either the bow or stern positions. Anchoring your kayak from the bow makes for a natural presentation as you’ll be casting up the current. However, you’ll need to be mindful of the anchor rope in front of you. The stern anchor position doesn’t have the anchor line issue but you may see your line carried to your front by the current.

How to Choose Your Kayak Anchor

Material / Coating (Saltwater Resistance)

Kayak anchors are usually made of stainless steel or galvanized steel. Both types of materials while similar have a key difference and that’s the fact that galvanization isn’t permanent. This means galvanized iron may corrode after some time while stainless steel doesn’t corrode. Stainless steel is also the more durable material out of the two.

Anchor Scope

The scope of an anchor is defined as the ratio of the depth of the water to the amount of rope/line that is paid out from the kayak to the anchor. Now, some people consider 7:1 to be the ideal ratio. This implies that if the water body you are on is 10ft, then you’d need a line of 70 feet.

The truth is that this may be a bit too much for a kayak. However, it’s important that you should sufficient line to allow the anchor to reach the bottom, get on its side, and dig in.

Anchor Weight

The weight of your anchor is another factor you must put into consideration. Kayaks anchor usually come weighing 1.5 lb. or between 3.0 and 3.5 lb. You’ll find a 1.5-lb anchor sufficient if you are paddling on calm water or using a lightweight such as an inflatable kayak.

On the other hand, if you are paddling on rougher water or have more gear with you, then it makes sense to go for 3.0 lbs or more anchors. These anchors will be able to hold your vessel in one place securely. Don’t buy kayak anchors that exceed 3.5 lbs. They are simply too heavy.

Anchor Rope & Accessories 

As I said while discussing the scope of an anchor, it is generally considered that the ideal length of an anchor rope should be about seven times that of the depth of the water you’ll be paddling on. The rationale for this is that the rope must be long enough to reach the bottom so that the anchor can lie on its side and then dig into the bottom.

Manufacturers usually include accessories like a carry bag and buoy in anchor kits. You should always go for anchor kits when buying a kayak anchor as it contains all the accessories you need. It’s common to also see clips or rings in anchor kits and these are what you’ll be using to attach the anchor to your kayak.

If you have to buy a new anchor in the future, there will be no need for you to get accessories if you’ve bought an anchor kit before.

Anchor Trolley

An anchor trolley is a wonderful device that lets you change from the bow anchoring position to the stern (and vice versa) without having to leave your vessel. You get to change anchoring positions while remaining seated in your vessel.

An anchor trolley runs along the length of your yak. Your anchor line will be run through a ring connected to the trolley. This ring is movable and what you’ll actually be using for changing anchoring positions.

Final Thoughts

An anchor is a handy piece of gear to have on your kayak as you get to securely lock your vessel in a spot instead of drifting away from beautiful scenery or fishing hotspot. Photographers and birdwatchers will also find a kayak anchor invaluable as they get to have their vessel in one place to do their stuff.

Invest in a kayak anchor today and enjoy the several benefits it offers!

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