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Whether you’re planning a kayak fishing trip or just looking to soak up some nature, you can take your kayaking experience up a notch by personalizing your ride with some sweet accessories.
Now, the question is, how do you attach kayak rail accessories for gear tracks?
Don’t worry if you’re not sure where to start! We’ve put together some helpful information on the types of mounts you might need to make your kayak as comfy and cool as possible.
Gear tracks can be one of the most convenient ways to mount accessories to your kayak.
A great thing about gear tracks is that they can be used to install a variety of different accessories. This versatility means you can attach camera mounts, phone holders, and other accessories that are not related specifically to fishing.
Many fishing kayaks come with gear tracks already installed on the deck. Some recreational kayaks also come with pre-installed gear tracks.
If you already have gear tracks installed, you don’t have to drill into your kayak. Drilling into a kayak can often void the manufacturer’s warranty.
However, if you don’t already have gear tracks, installing your own accessory rails on your kayak will generally require drilling into the hull of your boat.
Another benefit of using gear tracks is that you can easily remove the accessories at the end of your trip. This means you can detach electronics and other valuable accessories before storing your kayak.
This leaves the gear track free to install either the same or completely different accessories the next time you head out on your kayak.
Accessories can be mounted into the groove of the gear track or rail and positioned to face any direction. The T-bolt on the accessory can be turned easily when in position in the groove to tighten it and secure the connection.
Most accessories that are compatible with gear tracks tend to be compatible with most brands of gear tracks or accessory rails. This lets you mix and match the accessories to customize your kayak to your requirements.
Deck mounts are just as they sound. They mount to the top of the deck. Some kayaks will come with deck mounts already installed. Many fishing kayaks come with rod holders that are deck mounted, for example, swivel rod holders.
The mount consists of a base that gets screwed onto the deck of the kayak, usually with four bolts to secure it. Compatible accessories have a spline that slots into the base.
Unlike most gear track accessories, accessories that are designed for deck mounts are usually only compatible with mounts that are the same brand as the accessory. So you usually can’t mix and match the brands.
If your kayak does not already have deck mount bases installed, you will usually be required to drill holes in your kayak to attach the base. The base can then remain on the deck permanently so you can interchange your accessories easily.
Flush mounts are like deck mounts but the base is flush with the deck of the kayak.
This means that when you attach the accessory to the base, it sits within the hull rather than on top of it. This generally offers a stronger connection as there is more of the accessory below deck, offering a lower center of gravity.
Flush mounts will also usually require drilling into the hull to initially install them, unless your kayak already has them pre-installed.
Rod holders can be commonly found as flush-mounted accessories, especially as pre-installed accessories on fishing kayaks.
You might find that some accessories have bases that can be directly mounted to the deck of your kayak, such as fish finders or GoPros.
A benefit of flush mounts is that when you remove the accessory from the base, there is nothing to get in the way of your paddling. This is because the business end of the mount is hidden beneath the deck.
Inflatable kayaks don’t have the same options available to them as hardshell kayaks. You obviously can’t drill into the hull of an inflatable kayak or you would have some problems.
But there are ways to attach accessories to an inflatable kayak. Most mounts for inflatable kayaks will usually need to be glued to the kayak. Once you fix a mounting base to your kayak, you can use it like any other mount and can attach various accessories to suit your activities.
You will also generally find accessories that can be directly mounted to inflatable kayaks, usually with adhesive bases.
Some inflatable fishing kayaks will come with some of these mounts already built into the hull, which could save you time if you simply want to add accessories without first installing a mount.
Suction mounts are another way you can attach accessories to a kayak. These can be useful if you plan to use a kayak that is not yours, such as a rental.
Accessories with suction mounts can mean you leave no trace of your accessory installation once you remove it. They can be easily attached and detached whenever you want, as there is no adhesive involved.
Camera mounts and safety flags can often be found with suction mounts.
As well as being easy to install and remove, another advantage is that you can easily move the position of the accessory while you’re on the water.
A downside of these types of mounts is that they are probably not the strongest out of all the types. The ease with which you can remove a suction cup is its downfall when it comes to remaining fixed in place while holding an accessory.
You generally don’t want to attach any heavy or valuable accessories using a suction mount unless you know the connection is completely secure.
Clamp mounts can be another useful way to attach accessories to a kayak when you don’t want to leave a permanent mark on your boat. Clamp mounts feature bases that are designed to grip to a point on your kayak, usually an edge or the rim of a cockpit.
The clamps on these types of mounts can usually be easily opened when it’s time to release the grip and remove the accessory.
While clamp mounts can be ideal for some kayaks, you might find that they’re not perfect for all kayaks. They tend to work best with sit-inside kayaks that have a decent point for attachment (the cockpit).
Sit-on-top kayaks don’t always have a suitable flat and double-sided edge for the clamp to grab hold of.
Some of the best camera mounts for kayaks have clamp mounts. Depending on the strength and frame of your kayak seat, you may be able to clip a clamp-mounted camera mount to your seat if you don’t have any other suitable surface.