As a kayak lover, it sure is a shame when you go to pull out your kayak for the first time of the year, and you find the winter left some damage behind. Heck, this can even happen if you leave your kayak uncovered and outside during the non-winter seasons.

Considering how expensive kayaks can be, it’s a good idea to protect that investment by ensuring that your kayak or kayaks are properly protected. One of the best ways to do that is with a kayak cover.

It’s a pretty simple concept really but in spite of that, there certainly are options on the market that are superior to the rest. In specific, we want to talk about five of those bad boys. Let’s get to it.

1. Wilderness Systems Kayak Cover

Even though this is one of the pricier options out there, we assure you that your money will be well-spent here. As kayak covers are designed to protect your kayaks, it means that they’re going to withstand the brunt of the abuse. So, it’s nice when they can take it and continue to perform.

Let’s just say that this cover can do just that as it’s designed with 601-denier, marine-grade polyester. It’s going to withstand water, tears, and over 500 hours of UV exposure. It’s heavy-duty material, basically, and you can tell right away that this is ready to take some abuse.

Past the tough nature of the material, this cover’s also well-designed in other areas. One, in specific, is the heavy-duty bungee system. Stretching the cover over your kayak is made easy with this system, and the included straps help to secure it.

What’s also nice is the adjustable and contoured mid-deck design. Certain accessories, such as stadium-style seats, can remain installed with the cover on due to this. Also, this is optimized to fit kayaks anywhere from 9.5 to 11 feet in length, up to 32 inches in width, and up to 18 inches in height.

2. Seals Kayak Cockpit Cover

Okay, so this is a little different than the top choice. While it’s a kayak cover, it’s actually only designed for the cockpit. In other words, it won’t cover the entirety of your kayak. Specifically, this is able to fit cockpits up to 26 inches in width.

When talking about its design, it all starts with the quality. Being both UV-resistant and durable overall, the medium-weight, coated nylon cover is thick enough to be well-made, but thin enough not to be impossible to handle. It’s a really good happy medium, basically, and it’s not going to crack or split very easily.

As for the design itself, once you get it secured, it won’t go anywhere. However, getting the bungees around the circumference of the boat to actually hold the cover in place can be a little tricky. The bungee cords are adjustable, though, and that helps.

Do be careful, however, as you can overtighten the straps to the point where they’ll snap right off. There are many bungee cords to keep this in place, so you have to trust them to do their jobs.

3. i Cover Kayak Cover

No, Apple didn’t design this cover. We simply say that due to the “i.” Anyway, back to business, this is a fairly unique kayak cover. The intelligence of the design is something that we really love, and there’s really only one issue that we will address in a second.

What makes this cover so good is the heavy-duty fabric coupled with the reinforced stitching and zippered design. It almost feels like a sleeping bag for your kayak. The 300-denier marine-grade, waterproof fabric has been PU coated for enhanced protection. Additionally, as alluded to, all the seams have been sewn with reinforced stitches.

Another neat design feature is the strap handles that have been sewn into each end. Transporting your kayak in this cover is made much easier because of that. Oh, and as for that zipper, it’s roughly halfway long and you can literally just slide your kayak right inside of this cover.

One problem that this cover seems to have, however, is it tends to fade quicker than it should. It may not look the prettiest over time, but it’s still going to perform its main duty of protecting your kayak extremely well. It also comes with a storage bag when you need to store the cover.

4. Vulkin Kayak Cover

Besides some minor blemishes to the overall design, we really like this kayak cover. Let’s start with the good, though, as the good massively outweighs the little that’s “bad.” This cover completely encases the top of your kayak and does so with some high-quality material.

The cover itself is secured in place with the two-inch industrial-strength buckle system. What’s even more interesting is the fact that the system is designed with a fully adjustable shoulder strap (with a pad). Of course, you can also remove the strap if you don’t want to use it.

There are two size options available but, in general, this is advertised to be suitable for kayaks from 7 to 12 feet in length. The oar loops are actually universally designed to be one-size-fits-most.

Now, as for the minor blemishes, there are just a few. The drawstring could secure a bit tighter to obtain a little better seal, and the silver lining on the inside will probably get on your kayak (meaning you’ll need to wash it afterward). Minorly annoying but not too big of a deal.

5. Explore Land Kayak Cockpit Cover

This is another cockpit cover, and it just so happens to be a best seller on Amazon, which is always a good sign. Here’s what we know, when it comes to protecting your cockpit, this sucker does a fantastic job.

Being designed of 600-denier marine-grade waterproof fabric, it’s built to last for years. Though critters can still possibly get inside if they’re persistent enough, it does a fabulous job of keeping debris and water out of your kayak’s cockpit.

The bungee system works pretty well too, with the only complaint being you might need additional bungees to make the fit even tighter. The hooks that attach to the deck lines to prevent the cover from sliding do go on very easily, as well. Oh, and the bungee cords are adjustable too.

In addition to there being a few sizes, you can also buy this kayak cover in a pack of two. If you have more than one kayak that needs a cockpit cover, this can be a really nice option for you.

Frequently asked questions

Do kayaks need to be covered?

If you want to ensure that your kayak lasts as long as it can and doesn’t get damaged from the elements such as the winter or the sun, you’re going to want to keep it covered. However, if you’re already storing your kayak in a garage, you may not deem it necessary to then also invest in a kayak cover.

Quite frankly, if you need to store your kayak outside then that’s when you really are going to want to cover it to protect it from the sun, insects, and the elements, in general.

How do you clean kayak covers?

Considering that a kayak cover is going to take the abuse of the elements, you’re going to most likely need to wash and care for it from time to time. Regarding washing it, unless the specific manufacturer states otherwise, it’s probably best to avoid machine washing.

If the cover has a water repellent coating, this can reduce the life of it. Simply washing the cover with soap and water (with a soft sponge) should do the trick. Afterward, you can apply water repellency products to boost performance.

How do you clean mold off of a kayak cover?

Here’s the good news, preventing mold from growing on your cover isn’t too complicated. Mold can’t grow without moisture, so it’s important to not store the cover when it’s wet. Now, if mold does eventually find its way on your cover, you need to take action.

While you can make a homemade solution of water, bleach, and mild soap, you can also buy dedicated cleaners and detergents that are designed to tackle mold. The homemade solution is a cup of bleach, ¼-cup mild soap, and a gallon of water. You can take whatever ratio of that solution you want, and you need to allow the solution to soak on the mold spot for several minutes.

Why do you need a cockpit cover?

Well, if you have a sit-on-top kayak, you’re probably not going to have a cockpit that you’ll need to cover. As you’d think, this type of cover is only designed to protect the cockpit of your kayak, and it won’t cover the entire boat.

If you just wanted to cover the cockpit for a little bit instead of covering the entire kayak, a cover of this nature could be beneficial. Yet, if you simply want a kayak cover to cover the whole thing, there probably isn’t a reason for you to purchase a cockpit cover.