How to Make Kayak More Buoyant

Kayaking is a heavenly experience. Kayakers enjoy an enchanting spell in the wild, unchartered territory. Be it a fishing trip or a month-long expedition, kayakers dream of it every day. In any case, kayakers need to increase their load-carrying capacity. This helps them carry more gear without any risk. To do so, the kayakers need to increase the buoyancy of their kayaks. So you may wonder how to make a kayak more buoyant ?

You can make a kayak more buoyant in several ways. You can improve your technique, and kayaking location or use a well-designed kayak for the purpose. Additionally, you can add various buoyancy devices to your kayak. Devices like float bags, kayak outriggers, pool noodles, etc increase buoyancy. A mix of both will allow you to get optimal results for your kayak.

Buoyancy is critical for any kayak. Every kayaker wishes to increase their kayak’s buoyancy. If you can increase it further, you stand to gain in several ways. This article will show you how to increase your kayak’s buoyancy and achieve more from your boat. Happy reading.

What is buoyancy ?

Buoyancy is the phenomenon through which any solid can stay afloat on a fluid. When anything is submerged in a liquid, it experiences an up-thrust. If the up-thrust is more than the gravitation force pulling it down, the solid tends to float on the liquid. Buoyancy is the key factor responsible for your kayak to stay afloat in the water.

Buoyancy depends on several factors – such as the density of the liquid and the volume of the displaced liquid. It is easier for a solid to float on dense liquids. In other words, it is easier to float in salty water. The more water the solid can displace, the more are its chances of staying afloat. Hence proper kayak design is a key to maximizing buoyancy.

Having understood buoyancy, it is important to know that once a kayak is designed, its buoyancy is fixed. Hence if you need to further increase your kayak’s buoyancy, you can do so by several techniques mentioned later in the article.

Advantages of increasing a kayak’s buoyancy


You may wonder why I should increase my kayak’s buoyancy. What do I gain from it ? Well, there are several advantages of increasing a kayak’s buoyancy. These factors are bound to make you rethink. We list below a few of these advantages.

  • Increased safety: The more buoyant the kayak is, the safer it is for you to paddle around with it. Understandably, you have lesser chances of capsizing in the water. Directly speaking, more buoyant kayaks are safer to use.
  • Increased load-carrying capacity: Increased kayak buoyancy allows you to carry more gear on your kayak. This is helpful when you plan a kayaking expedition. Or if you like angling and have a good catch, increased buoyancy will let you carry your fish safely to the land.
  • Increased kayak stability: Yes, your kayak is more stable if it has more buoyant. People going for kayak-fishing will understand the importance of a stable kayak. Also, lesser buoyant kayaks tend to wobble in turbulent waters. Even in calm waters, the occasional wakes can rock your less buoyant kayak.
  • Keeping water out from the kayak cockpit: If your kayak is less buoyant, it will almost submerge. it will allow water to come inside your cockpit. Your clothes will get wet and make your kayak heavy. This will also degrade kayak navigation.


How to make your kayak more buoyant ?


The preceding section would have encouraged you to increase your kayak’s buoyancy. So the next question is – how to increase your kayak’s buoyancy. There are several methods to increase your boat’s buoyancy. You can broadly divide them into two parts:

  • By using various techniques
  • By using additional devices

We recommend a mix of both for you to maximize your kayak’s buoyancy. Find below our list of recommendations in both these categories.


There are several techniques to increase your kayak’s buoyancy. Some of them are:

  • Proper paddling techniques: Proper kayak operating procedures reduce the downward force. This automatically increases the buoyancy of your boat. With efficient paddling, you can minimize the water entering your kayak.
  • Proper choice of kayaks: kayaks are made for different purposes. They have different types of hulls. A white water river kayak is different from an angling kayak. It is best to choose the right one for your purpose.
  • Proper choice of location: As understood previously, saline water has more buoyant force. Or in other words, kayaks will float better in seas than in freshwater lakes and rivers. Also, your chances of staying afloat automatically increase if the water body is calm. A turbulent river full of rapids is always a challenge for the best of the best.


Additional devices


There are several devices available in the market to increase your kayak’s buoyancy. Some of them are:

  • Kayak float bags: These are inflatable, triangular-shaped bags that increase your kayak’s buoyancy. These devices are easily available at any sports store and can be inflated as per your needs.
  • Kayak buoyancy bags: these are permanently inflated bags that can be kept between your legs or in the rear compartment. These ready-to-use devices allow you to increase your kayak’s buoyancy and ease of navigation.
  • Kayak outriggers: These are external stabilizers attached to both sides of a kayak. It increases a kayak’s buoyancy and stability. Kayak outriggers are popular among DIY kayakers.
  • Pool noodles: This is a low-cost option for increasing your kayak’s buoyancy. These foam-based tubes increase kayak buoyancy and double up as side padding.

To summarize


It is a great idea to increase your kayak’s buoyancy. It allows you to remain safe and increase the kayak’s load-carrying capacity. As a rule of thumb, do not exceed 70% of the maximum weight carrying capacity of your kayak. Even after increasing buoyancy, experiment with increased loads before stepping into deep waters.

We hope that our guide has given you the right set of ideas for maximizing your kayak’s capacity. With trial and error, you can target to get the maximum from your kayak. Have a great time ahead!

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