How to Measure for a Kayak Cockpit Cover

Kayak cockpit covers are beneficial accessories for increasing the lifespan of your boat and keeping the cockpit clean. But how do you measure for a kayak cockpit cover?

Kayak cockpit covers are not universal because of the different kayak sizes and designs on the market. That makes it challenging to buy the right product. But you can accurately measure the cockpit size to buy a fitting cover.

Read to know how to measure your kayak’s cockpit for cover. We will also highlight the benefits of having a cockpit cover and how to choose the best one for your boat.

Common Problems With Kayak Cockpit Covers

Cockpit covers help keep water and critters out of your boat. However, you should know some things about this accessory before buying it. First, what is a cockpit cover?

What is a Kayak Cockpit Cover?

Kayaks have not been Cockpit Cover
Kayaks have not been Cockpit Cover | Credit: araularosa /

As the name suggests, a kayak cockpit cover is a piece of fabric for covering the cockpit area of your boat. Its purpose is to protect the cockpit and furnishings from harsh weather elements.

Most cockpit covers are waterproof or water-repellent. They are often made of nylon and neoprene. Your cockpit cover can come with zippers, UV thread, or other fasteners, depending on the brand you buy.

With a cockpit cover, the driver’s station, onboard electronics, and the entire area are protected from rain, wind, splashing water, and other brutal weather elements.

A cockpit cover is usually fastened on the boat by snaps or bungees. It stays in place until you remove it when you want to use the kayak.

How Many Types of Kayak Cockpit Cover

Kayak cockpit covert comes in all shapes and sizes. They are not categorized, meaning you cannot shop by type. What you will buy depends on the shape and size of your kayak.

Fortunately, some kayak cockpit cover manufacturers make custom-made products. That makes it easy to find what fits your boat. You can also find universal designs that suit most boat types and sizes. But remember that kayak cockpit covers are mainly for suit-in kayaks.

When shopping for a kayak cockpit cover, ensure a snug fit to avoid being blown away by the wind.

The Cockpit Cover prevents kayaks from becoming wet in the cockpit. 
The Cockpit Cover prevents kayaks from becoming wet in the cockpit | Credit: Joesboy /

Benefits of a Kayak Cockpit Cover

Why do you need a kayak cockpit cover? You get the following benefits when you buy and fit it on your boat:

How to Measure for a Kayak Cockpit Cover?

The first step in buying a kayak cockpit cover is knowing the cockpit dimensions or size of your boat. This task is pretty straightforward, but you should be accurate. There is no room for error. Else, you go back to the market when the cover you buy cannot fit.

You should use the right tools and follow an appropriate procedure to accurately measure the kayak cockpit. You take the cockpit dimensions directly on the boat and record your readings.

Alternatively, you can search the internet for specifications of your kayak model’. But again, ensure you get it right. A cover for other models may not fit your kayak!

Measure for a Kayak Cockpit Cover carefully to save you time and money
Measure for a Kayak Cockpit Cover carefully to save you time and money | Credit: Baloncici /

Step 1: Preparing Proper Tools

Fortunately, you don’t need many tools and devices to measure your kayak’s cockpit. The recommended ones include the following:

Step 2: Measuring Length and Width of Your Kayak’s Cockpit

You will use the retractable tape measure to get the length and width of your kayak. But how do you go about it?

Measure the length by designating the centerline of your kayak as the starting point. Start from the outside edge of the cockpit’s rim to the outside edge on the opposite side. Note down the value.

Next, measure the width of your kayak’s cockpit by first identifying the widest point of your boat. It is usually where the seat is placed in most kayaks. Measure from the outside edge of the cockpit rim on one side to the opposite side. Note down the value.

Step 3: Measure The Entire Circumference of Your Kayak’s Cockpit

The last measurement you need is the circumference of your kayak’s cockpit. You will use the soft or flexible tape measure in this step.

Mark the starting point on the cockpit rim and use the soft tape measure to get the dimension of the entire circumference of the cockpit. Note down the measured value.

The kayak cockpit’s length, width, and circumference are the measurements you need to buy a fitting cover. You can submit the measured values to the manufacturer or kayak cockpit cover supplier. Alternatively, use these values to design and make a DIY cover.

How to Choose a Good Kayak Cockpit Cover

Choosing the best kayak cockpit cover can be challenging because of the many brands and models available. Also, the size and shape variations make it a daunting task. However, considering the right factors can help you get what you need. Consider the following:

Ensuring a Snug Fit

Snug-fitting your kayak cockpit cover comes with many benefits. The obvious one is wind cannot blow it away when it tightly fits on your boat. However, there are other reasons to choose it to exist.

A snug-fitting kayak cockpit cover keeps off water, dust, and other particles suspended in the air. Nothing can pass through to mess up your cockpit, ensuring it remains clean when stored for a long time.

Material Durability

Kayaks are using different Cockpit Cover
Kayaks are using different Cockpit Cover | Credit:  Silfox /

The material used to make the kayak cockpit cover determines its lifespan and efficacy in keeping water, dust, and other debris from entering your boat. Most cockpit covers are made from nylon, cloth, and neoprene. These materials have their advantages and disadvantages.

Nylon is a better waterproof material but not as long-lasting as other materials. For durability, choose neoprene. It also effectively protects your cockpit from dust and other airborne debris.

On the other hand, cloth kayak cockpit covers are not as durable and waterproof as nylon and neoprene. But it is the best option if you have a tight budget.

Has Some Sort of Clip or Cord

How you will secure the cockpit cover on your boat is crucial. Some cockpit covers have bungee, while others have a clip or cord. The latter is the best option because they offer a more secure fit and keep elasticity over time. They are also easier to work with those fitted with bungee cords around the rims.

Have a Brand of Manufacture

The quality of kayak cockpit covers varies depending on the brand or manufacturer. The best covers come from reputable manufacturers who put the best expertise and materials in the making process. Where you buy your kayak cockpit cover determines its durability and waterproofing properties.

Consider the following kayak cockpit cover manufacturers when making the final decision: Seals, NRS, and Harmony Gear. They are trusted for the best quality product.

4 Steps to Install a Cockpit Cover for Kayak

After buying the appropriate kayak cockpit cover, the next step is installing it on your boat to serve the purpose. Fortunately, securing the cockpit cover on a kayak is a DIY project that you can complete through the following steps:

  1. Put your kayak on a flat surface and ensure it’s stable. The cockpit should also be facing up.
  2. Stand with one leg on either side of the kayak, putting the cockpit just in front of you. You should be facing the rim of your boat’s cockpit.
  3. Pull the cockpit cover towards you and spread it around the rim, ensuring it stretches over the cockpit circumference.
  4. Use the cords on the cover’s rims to secure it to the boat. Double-check the work, and you are good to go.

6 Best Cockpit Covers for Your Kayak

The market is flooded with kayak cockpit covers. But there are some recommendations to help you make the best buying decision. Consider the following products:

Seals Cockpit Drape

This kayak cockpit cover from Seals is one of the best products. You can use it on Sit-on-Tops, fishing kayaks, and SUP pads.

Seals kayak cockpit cover is made of medium-weight coated nylon packcloth. This material is durable and UV-resistant. It comes with bungee cords for securing it on the boat.

Seals Kayak Cockpit Drape Cover

Harmony Gear Cockpit Cover

This lightweight product can protect your kayak cockpit against rain, dust, and other weather elements. It comes in 16 different sizes for tandem or solo kayaks.

The unique feature of this cockpit cover is its adjustable shock cord rim. That allows you to optimize fit when securing it to your boat. However, it is not recommended for car top transport.

Harmony Gear Cockpit Cover (34/19)

Seals Cockpit Seal

This is another Seals kayak cockpit cover you can consider for its superior UV protection, hull strap security feature, and double-stitched seams. It is made of tear-resistant material for longevity, ensuring a long service life.

This product also comes with an adjustable bungee cord rim attached with rim grip technology, which makes securing it on the boat a breeze.

Seals Cockpit Seal Cover

NRS Super Stretch Neoprene Cockpit Cover

The name of this product says everything about its quality. It is made of long-lasting neoprene skin that resists abrasion, giving it long service life. For securing, NRS Super Stretch Neoprene Kayak Cockpit Cover comes with an adjustable shock cord band for a snug fit.

NRS Super Stretch Neoprene Kayak Cockpit Cover is conveniently designed to make it easy to use and fit on different kayaks.

NRS Super Stretch Neoprene Kayak Cockpit Cover

SEALS Tandem Cockpit Cover Ver

This kayak cockpit cover is made of waterproof nylon material, which keeps rain and other debris from entering your boat. It also features rim-grip technology with adjustable bungee cords for easy fitting.

Other features of this product from seals include a front tether hook and adjustable hull straps.

SEALS Tandem Cockpit Cover Ver. II

Perception TrueFit Kayak Cockpit Cover – for Sit Inside Kayaks

Perception TrueFit Kayak Cockpit Cover can effectively keep water and unwanted critters out of your kayak’s cockpit. It is constructed with a long-lasting urethane-coated nylon oxford.

This product is easy to fit. It features sticky edges that tightly grip the cockpit rim, preventing it from being blown away by the wind. Perception TrueFit Kayak Cockpit Cover is compatible with many kayak designs but should never be used for car top transportation.

Perception TrueFit Kayak Cockpit Cover – for Sit Inside Kayaks


Do-it-yourself kayak cockpit cover?

You can make a DIY kayak cockpit cover instead of buying a readymade from the market. The challenging part of that process is selecting the material and measuring the kayak’s cockpit. Make a DIY cover with local materials.

Do I need a kayak cockpit cover?

Yes. You need a kayak cover to protect your boat from harsh weather conditions such as rain, direct heat from the sun, dust, etc. This accessory is crucial if you want to store your kayak for some time.

How do you measure a kayak spray skirt?

The measurement of a kayak spray skirt is the circumference of the cockpit rim, measured around the outside edge. You can use a fabric measuring tape to take the measurement or check it on the internet for your kayak model.

Summing It Up

You need a kayak cockpit cover to protect your boat from rain, dust, and other airborne debris. Other benefits that come with it include cleanliness, long lifespan, and saving gas mileage when transporting the kayak. However, you should consider factors such as material, securing ability, and brand when shopping for a kayak cockpit cover.

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