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Kayak deck rigging can be a versatile accessory for your boat. It can let you store extra gear, secure your paddle or accessories and can even provide a handle that can help you get back into your kayak from the water. But there are different types for different purposes.
You might be wondering what exactly is deck rigging and how do you install it? To give you a better idea of what it is and how you can use it, we’ve put together some information that you may find useful.
What Is A Deck Rigging Kit?
A deck rigging kit can let you install deck rigging to your kayak and usually comes with the hardware that you need to fit it onto your boat. These kits are often designed to be mounted either on the bow or stern of your boat and can usually be used to secure gear or accessories to your kayak.
Video: Kayak Deck Rigging Kit Overview
There are other types of deck rigging that have different uses, such as to operate a rudder or to aid re-entry to your kayak after a capsize. These will often be special use kits that are designed for a particular purpose rather than versatile storage options.
These types of rigging may also be made of other materials, such as rope for strength and support, which can be held taut against the deck.
Some deck rigging kits can also be used on stand up paddle boards and canoes but this will depend on your set-up and whether your vessel can accommodate rigging.
The Different Parts And Where They Fit
Grab loops or grab lines are generally installed around the deck of your kayak. This is so that you can grab a hold of the line easily in a rescue situation or if you need to re-enter your kayak from the water.
These perimeter deck lines are generally designed to be snug against the deck of your boat but not too snug that you can’t get your fingers underneath. These types of lines will usually be static lines, which means they will generally not stretch, unlike bungee which is designed to stretch.
Grab loops can be installed along the entire length of your kayak on both sides, or they can be installed at the front section, mid section or rear section, allowing you to separate the lines for added safety.
Deck loops are generally pad eyes that can let you secure the deck rigging to the deck of your boat. These are usually installed directly onto your deck and provide a fixed point for you to attach your ropes, lines or bungees.
You will often need several deck loops on your deck so that you can loop the lines through the pad eyes to create either a crisscross pattern for storage or a linear design for perimeter lines or grab loops.
Handles are similar to grab lines and perimeter deck lines in that they are usually designed to aid a rescue by providing something to grab hold of. Generally, these handles will be static lines, rather than bungee, so that they can give you more support.
These can be installed around the perimeter of your deck, so that you’re able to grab any part of the lines no matter which point of your boat you’re closest to.
Bungees are considered dynamic lines and can be ideal for a range of deck rigging where you want to be able to secure items to your boat. Because bungees can stretch they can let you store gear underneath and the bungee cords should hold it tightly in place. They are usually positioned across your deck, often, for example, in an X shape.
Bungees can be used for bow and stern deck rigging for added storage. They can also be used for paddle holders either at the bow or the sides of your deck. Additionally, bungees can be used to secure the lids of hatches.
Static Or Dynamic Lines
There are generally two types of deck rigging lines: static and dynamic. The type you choose will depend on what you want your deck rigging to do. If you want to create a handle or grab loop for helping in a rescue, then it can be best to opt for a static line.
A static line will generally not stretch, so when it comes to grabbing the line, it will help you pull your boat closer to you or you closer to your boat as it can remain taut against the deck, unlike a bungee which would generally pull away from the deck when pulled.
Static lines may not be very useful when it comes to storage because they’re unable to stretch so they will probably be either too loose or too tight for different items.
A bungee cord is a dynamic line in that it will stretch when it is pulled. Stretchy rope is probably not what you want when you’re trying to grab hold of it or pull yourself back into your kayak.
However, bungee cord can be more suitable when it comes to storing your gear, as it can stretch to accommodate both larger and smaller items and can snap taut against the deck when it’s not in use.
How To Install Secure Rigging Lines & Kit
Establish Your Deck Rigging Location
Before you install any deck rigging to your kayak it can be important to make sure it will fit in the area where you want it to be. Think about what you are planning to use the rigging for to help you decide on the type of rigging kit you might need.
Even once you’ve established where you want to install your rigging, map out where your deck loops and hooks will go. Once you’ve laid them all out it can also be useful to mark with a pencil or pen where you need to drill.
Video: How To Install A Bungee Deck Rigging Kit
If you’re installing your bungee rigging over your rear tank well, you may find it’s useful to install your loops on the sides of your kayak, next to the tank well, so that the bungees will go over the entire tank well.
In order to make sure your rigging is secure and stays that way while you’re on the water, you’ll probably need to know how to tie a secure stopper knot in the end of your rope or bungee.
One useful knot to use is the figure eight knot, which is similar to an overhand knot but with an extra twist to make a figure eight shape.
You can also use a double overhand knot which is also similar to a regular overhand knot but the process is doubled to create a stronger knot.
These knots can keep your rigging from slipping back through your pad eyes or loops, meaning all your lines can remain taut and in place on your deck.
When you’re installing deck rigging there are a few things you’ll probably need before you can begin, with a drill usually being a useful tool to have. If you have a deck rigging kit, you may have all the hardware you need to install it yourself.
Pad eyes or deck loops can be ideal for looping your rope or bungees through in your desired pattern or around the perimeter. Your yak may come with pade eyes already installed but for customized deck rigging you might want to install additional pad eyes yourself. This will usually involve drilling into your deck and using a waterproof sealant on the newly made holes.
Video: How To Install A Kayak Deck Rigging Kit
If you’re installing bungee rigging for bow or stern storage, J-hooks can be useful as these can let you unhook the bungee so that you can fit your gear underneath before securing the bungee again onto the J-hook. These hooks can also be ideal if you’re installing paddle holders, so that you can easily secure and release the bungee.
Perimeter Deck Lines
Deck line guides can also be useful if you plan to install perimeter deck lines. Slotted round and open round deck line guides can let you slot your rope through one side and out in whatever direction you need. These can also be used with lashing hooks, which can be useful if you need to maintain your line along the edge of your boat.
It may also be possible to upgrade your perimeter deck lines by encasing your lines in a flexible plastic tube. This can give your lines added strength for when you need to grab them and may provide added grip. It could also help to protect your lines from weathering.
Video: The Deck Lines | Upgrading the Rescue Handles
However, you will probably need several plastic tubes for each handle you wish to create, as the exposed rope will still be required in order to fit through your line guides and hooks.
Kayak deck rigging can enhance your boat by providing additional storage, safety features or paddle/accessory holders. There are various types of deck rigging so it can be important to choose the most suitable one for its intended purpose.
Remember, if you’re looking to install perimeter deck lines or a grab handle, you may want to think about choosing static lines. And if you want to add some gear storage it can be a better idea to opt for dynamic lines like bungees.
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