Protecting your kayak from dust, dirt, and grime while it’s in storage or transit is no easy task. Thankfully, kayak covers are here to save the day.
When you use a kayak cover, you can help shield your boat from the elements when it’s not out on the water. Doing so can keep your kayak in good working condition, and it can even extend the lifetime of your boat.
But while getting a kayak cover for your beloved boat might seem pretty straightforward, there’s actually a bit more to these nifty pieces of gear than meets the eye. So to help you get the perfect model for your needs, we’ve reviewed the best kayak covers available.
Our Top Picks
If you’re in a hurry, here are our top picks. Or continue scrolling to see our full list with in-depth reviews.
- Best Overall: Advanced Elements Kayak Cover
- Best Budget: GYMTOP Kayak Cover
- Best for Sea Touring Kayaks: Salamander Yak Wrap Touring 2 Sea Kayak Storage Bag
- Best Kayak Cover for Transport: Danuu Deluxe Kayak Storage Cover
- Best Cockpit Cover: Seals Kayak Cockpit Seal Cover
- Best Cockpit Cover for Tandem Kayaks: Seals Tandem Kayak Cockpit Cover
- Best Cockpit Drape Cover: Seals Kayak Cockpit Drape Cover
- Best Storage Bag for Inflatable Kayaks: Advanced Elements Inflatable Kayak Pack
Best Overall: Advanced Elements Kayak Cover
Coming in at number one in our review, the Advanced Elements Kayak Cover is a solid all-around choice for keen paddlers.
This cover from Advanced Elements is reasonably priced, and it’s made with a 600 denier polyester fabric that’s crafted specifically with durability in mind. It also features a UV-resistant treatment to help protect both your kayak and your cover from excessive wear and tear in the sun.
Advanced Elements designed its kayak covers in two lengths: medium and large. Both covers can accommodate boats up to 73” wide. However, the medium size is best for kayaks up to 11’ long, and the large size works with kayaks that are no more than 15′ long.
If your boat is a bit shorter than either one of this kayak cover’s maximum sizes, fret not. Advanced Elements engineered its kayak cover with a slick roll and clip closure system that you can easily adjust to the exact specs of your boat.
All things considered, this cover is a reliable choice for kayaks that are usually stored outside. But, while its roll-top closure system is easily adjustable, it can be a bit of a hassle to put on your boat if you’re alone. That said, if you’re on the lookout for a kayak cover that performs well and is a good value for the money, this model from Advanced Elements Is worth considering.
Best Budget: GYMTOP Kayak Cover
Perfect for paddlers on a budget, the GYMTOP Kayak Cover is a no-frills option that can protect a kayak without hurting your wallet in the process.
GYMTOP’s kayak cover is made with a 300 denier oxford taffeta polyester fabric that’s both rip-resistant and waterproof. It’s designed to block upwards of 99% of the sun’s UV rays, too, to help protect your kayak on sunny days.
This cover comes in several sizes that can accommodate boats between 7’10” and 18′ long. Thanks to its built-in elastic drawstring, it’s also super easy to put on and take off. All you have to do is slip this cover over the top of your kayak, tighten up the straps, and you’ll get instant shelter from the elements.
As a bonus, all GYMTOP kayak covers come with their own stuff sacks. That way, you can keep your cover neatly folded and organized when you’re out enjoying yourself on the water.
Do note, however, that the GYMTOP Kayak Covers don’t wrap entirely around the outside of your kayak, so the hull of your boat will be exposed. Additionally, the elastic straps on this cover don’t cinch down tight enough to use while your boat is in transport on a car rack or kayak trailer. But if you need a budget-friendly kayak cover, this model is tough to beat.
Best for Sea Touring Kayaks: Salamander Yak Wrap Touring 2 Sea Kayak Storage Bag
Love sea kayaking, but want to keep your boat in pristine conditions when you’re not out paddling? The Salamander Yak Wrap Touring 2 Sea Kayak Storage Bag might be what you’re looking for.
The folks at Salamander built their aptly named Yak Wrap out of 600 denier polyester-backed cloth for added durability in various weather conditions. It’s designed to fit boats up to 20’6” long, so it’s ideal for nearly any sea kayak on the market.
As far as ease of use goes, Salamander struck a perfect balance between convenience and functionality with their Yak Wrap. This cover features a tapered design with a 64” opening that gradually reduces to a circumference of 32” at the bow. This makes it easier for you to load and unload your kayak at a moment’s notice.
Additionally, the Yak Wrap comes with a set of webbing compression straps and a drawcord lacing system so you can tighten it up to fit skinny sea kayaks. Thanks to these various compression systems, this cover can tighten down enough to give your boat a contoured fit. This makes it reliable enough to use on your boat while driving to and from the put-in.
There aren’t many drawbacks to the Salamander Yak Wrap, but we should note that it’s pricier than some of our other top picks. Since it has a roll-up-style closure system, you’ll likely need a partner to help you put this cover on your kayak, too. Nevertheless, this model is still a superb choice if you need a high-performing cover for your sea kayak.
Best Kayak Cover for Transport: Danuu Deluxe Kayak Storage Cover
The Danuu Deluxe Kayak Storage Cover is a must-have for paddlers who want to keep their boats squeaky clean while driving to and from their paddling adventures.
With Danuu’s Deluxe Kayak Storage Cover, you get a super durable cover that’s made from a UV-resistant and water-repellent polyester fabric with high-tech meshing. In addition, this cover can be put on or taken off any compatible kayak in just a few minutes, thanks to its wrap-around design.
To ensure that this cover stays in place while you transport your boat, it comes with a set of adjustable straps. It also comes with reinforced seams and cross-stitching in all high-wear areas to prevent rips and tears as you travel. Plus, the Danuu Deluxe Kayak Storage Cover comes in multiple sizes, so it can work with a range of different kayaks.
Additionally, Danuu built this cover so that it doesn’t have any metal parts that could possibly rust. It also includes V-shaped loops along the edges, so it’s easier to strap your boat to your kayak trailer or car roof racks. And this cover comes with a built-in storage bag so you can quickly stash it away when it’s not in use.
But some paddlers have found that this cover tends to experience a bit of discoloration after a few years of use. This model also doesn’t fully cover your kayak (it leaves the hull exposed), so it’s not ideal if you want to store your kayak on its side. However, if you’re primarily looking to protect your boat in transport, this cover from Danuu can’t be overlooked.
Best Cockpit Cover: Seals Kayak Cockpit Seal Cover
If a cockpit cover is what you seek for your kayak, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option than the Seals Kayak Cockpit Seal Cover.
One of the most popular cockpit covers on the market, this model features Seal’s proprietary tear-resistant cargo material and double-stitched seams designed to hold up to years of use. This fabric also features a UV treatment to help protect your kayak’s cockpit from the sun’s harmful rays.
The best part? The Seals Kayak Cockpit Seal Cover is designed to be easy to install. It has an adjustable bungee cord that slips easily over the coaming (rim) of your kayak’s cockpit for a secure fit every time.
This model also has a built-in strap that tightens down right over the top of the cover to prevent it from falling off in transit. For even more security on the road, this cover comes with a front strap that you can clip to your kayak’s deck rigging to prevent it from flying away if it does come loose.
As is the case with all Seals products, this cockpit cover comes in 12 different sizes, so you can get the perfect fit on your kayak. The only potential drawback to this cover is that you have to be very accurate in your measurements to ensure that you get precisely the right size for your cockpit. But when quality is a priority, the Seals Kayak Cockpit Seal Cover is a must.
Best Cockpit Cover for Tandem Kayaks: Seals Tandem Kayak Cockpit Cover
The Seals Tandem Kayak Cockpit Cover takes all the superb features of the company’s classic cockpit cover and re-sizes them for use with nearly any sit-in tandem kayak.
Seals built this tandem kayak cockpit cover using a medium-weight packcloth to give it a good mix of durability and stretchiness. It also has a waterproof urethane coating to prevent mud and water from seeping into your kayak during periods of inclement weather.
As far as installation goes, attaching the Seals Tandem Kayak Cockpit Cover to your boat is pretty straightforward. It uses the company’s rim grip technology and integrated bungee cord to securely attach to the coaming of your kayak. This cover also comes in 5 different sizes, so it’s compatible with most tandem kayaks.
Furthermore, this cover features an adjustable hull retention strap that you can tighten down to prevent it from falling off in transport. It also has a bow grab loop with a hook that you can attach to your kayak’s deck rigging so that your cover can’t fly away, even if it does come undone in heavy winds.
There are few downsides to using this cockpit cover. But keep in mind that the large size and stretchy bungee cord can make it a bit tricky to attach to your kayak the first few times you use it. However, with some practice, installing this cockpit cover is usually quick and easy to do.
Best Cockpit Drape Cover: Seals Kayak Cockpit Drape Cover
With the Seals Kayak Cockpit Drape Cover, you get super functional protection for your boat without the need to precisely size up your kayak’s cockpit.
This kayak drape is made with Seals’ proprietary medium-weight packcloth for durability. It’s also nylon-coated to prevent rips and leaks while your kayak’s in storage.
When it comes to installation, few things in the paddling world are as simple and easy to handle as this drape. Seals engineered this model to have several adjustable bungee cords that can wrap around the hull of your kayak. It also includes a tether hook so you can securely attach this drape to your kayak’s deck rigging.
Seals also built this drape with a universal fit construction so that it’s compatible with sit-in kayaks that don’t have a well-defined cockpit coaming. It comes in three different sizes (including one for tandem kayaks), so it’s easy to find a suitable model for your needs.
Do note that this drape can only work with kayaks with cockpits that are no more than 26” wide, so it’s not suitable for very wide kayaks. However, despite this shortcoming, it’s still a fantastic choice for paddlers that want a blend of durability, performance, and versatility in their gear.
Best Storage Bag for Inflatable Kayaks: Advanced Elements Inflatable Kayak Pack
With the Advanced Elements Inflatable Kayak Pack, you get the ideal storage bag for nearly any inflatable kayak.
This storage system from Advanced Elements features an extra-large bag made from rugged 600 denier polyester fabric. It also has a PVC tarpaulin reinforced bottom panel for added durability throughout all of your adventures.
The bag measures 38.5 x 18 x 12 inches, so it’s large enough to accommodate most popular inflatable kayaks. Advanced Elements’ Inflatable Kayak Pack also comes with an oversized central compartment with zippers so you can quickly load or unload your kayak.
It even includes a set of adjustable quick-release backpack straps so you can carry your kayak to and from your launch point with ease. Alternatively, you can use the bag’s included top, and side carry handles to convert the Kayak Pack into a nifty duffle on the fly.
If we had to pick out something that didn’t quite impress about this bag, it would be that it weighs 5 lbs when empty, which isn’t ideal if you need to carry your kayak over a long distance. It also doesn’t come with any external pockets for additional gear storage. But at the end of the day, the Kayak Pack is a well-designed and reliable piece of equipment.
Kayak Cover Buying Guide
Getting the right kayak cover is vital if you want to protect your boat from the elements when it’s in storage or transit. Here are the most important things you ought to consider when shopping for your next kayak cover.
Kayak Cover Type
Before you even start comparing different kayak cover models, you first need to know what kind of cover you’re in the market for.
There are three primary types of kayak covers:
- Full Boat Cover – As their name suggests, full boat covers are designed to cover the entirety of your kayak. These covers are best if you have an expensive boat that you want to protect at all costs or if you want extra protection for a kayak that’s stored outside. The downside is that full boat covers can be a bit of a hassle to put on and take off your kayak.
- Cockpit Cover – Kayak cockpit covers are designed to fit snugly around the cockpit of your kayak. These covers are only compatible with sit-in kayaks that have well-defined cockpits, but they can serve as an excellent alternative to a full boat cover. Cockpit covers are great if you just want to stop rain and gunk from getting into your kayak while it’s in outdoor storage or on the roof of your car. They don’t provide any protection for the rest of your kayak, but they’re easier to put on your kayak than a full boat cover.
- Kayak Drape – Kayak drapes are a cross between a full boat cover and a cockpit cover. Drapes are large pieces of durable fabric that wrap around the center of your kayak to protect your cockpit from dust and debris. They cover a bit more of the deck of your kayak than a cockpit cover, but they don’t provide as much protection as a full boat cover. However, kayak drapes are arguably more versatile than cockpit covers because a single drape can typically fit a range of different-sized kayaks.
As is the case with most things paddling gear-related, there’s no one right answer when it comes to which kind of kayak cover you should get.
If you generally store your kayak outside and you want to give it some extra protection, consider a full boat cover. For keeping your kayak clean while driving to and from the put-in or while it sits in an indoor storage space, a cockpit cover or a drape might be the better choice.
Kayak covers are designed to fit relatively snuggly over your boat. As a result, it’s imperative that you purchase a cover that’s compatible with your kayak.
For full boat covers, consider your kayak’s length and width to ensure that whichever cover you have is large enough to fit over your kayak. When in doubt, it’s better to get a size bigger than you need so that it’s easier to put on and remove your kayak cover.
If you’re getting a cockpit cover or drape for your kayak, it’s critical that you get one that will actually fit over your boat’s cockpit. Not all cockpits are the same size, and getting a cover or drape that’s not designed for your kayak will just lead to headaches and frustration down the line.
However, kayak cockpit sizes aren’t universal, and every manufacturer uses a different sizing system for their cockpit covers. So if you want to buy a cockpit cover, you need to grab a measuring tape and get the exact dimensions of your boat’s cockpit. In particular, you need to know your cockpit’s:
When you measure a kayak cockpit, be sure to take your measurements from the outside of the coaming (edges of the cockpit) at the widest and longest parts of the cockpit. This will give you the most accurate measurements.
Materials & Durability
Anyone that purchases paddling equipment expects that their new piece of gear will last for at least a few seasons. Kayak covers are no exception. Therefore, you need to closely consider the durability of any cover that you buy.
The durability of a kayak cover generally stems from the materials that it’s made from. Covers made from robust fabrics like ripstop polyester or nylon are often your best bet when durability is a concern.
In particular, you’ll want to look for kayak cover fabrics that have a high denier count. Denier, which is normally expressed as a number with a capital D (e.g., 200D), is a measure of the thickness of the threads in a fabric.
Thicker and more durable fabrics have higher denier counts, so they’re better for use in kayak covers. As a general rule, look for covers made with materials that are at least 300D thick whenever possible. You may pay more for these thicker fabrics, but they’re usually worth the investment.
Additionally, if you plan to use your kayak cover for outdoor storage, consider getting a model that has UV-resistant fabrics.
Most fabrics break down relatively easily when routinely exposed to UV light, which isn’t great if you’re expecting years of performance from your kayak cover. Getting a model with UV-treated fabrics can extend the lifetime of your cover. It can also help protect your boat from UV rays, which is vital if you want to enjoy years of fun out on the water.
Ease of Use
At the end of a long day of paddling, the very last thing you want to do is struggle for half an hour to get your kayak cover onto your boat. As a result, you must consider how easy or difficult it will be to put on or take off a kayak cover before you invest.
Unfortunately, there’s no foolproof way to assess how tricky it will be to put on a kayak cover just by researching it online.
But, some important features you can look for include models that are designed to slip over the top of your kayak like a fitted sheet would fit over a mattress. That said, while these models are super convenient, they often aren’t as secure as covers with narrower openings that are designed to roll up over your kayak and completely encapsulate your kayak.
Alternatively, if you want to keep things as easy as possible, consider using a cockpit cover or a drape instead. Both cockpit covers and drapes are substantially easier to put on and take off than their full boat counterparts, even though they don’t offer as much protection for your kayak.
Finally, don’t overlook the importance of getting a kayak cover that packs up nicely when it’s not in use. Hopefully, your kayak will spend more time out on the water than in storage, so you want to be sure that your cover is easy to fold up and tuck away.
In particular, look for kayak covers that come with their own stuff sacks or carry cases. These will make it easier for you to stash your cover in your garage, storage shed, or vehicle when you’re out on the water.
Kayak covers are some of the most underrated pieces of paddling gear. But the right cover can help keep your kayak clean in storage or while you drive to and from your paddling destination.
There are dozens of superb kayak covers on the market, but one model stood out among the pack: the Advanced Elements Kayak Cover.
We particularly liked that the design of the Advanced Elements Kayak Cover means that it’s compatible with most recreational kayaks. It’s also made of durable, UV-resistant materials, and it offers excellent value for your money.
But no one kayak cover will be the right choice for all paddlers. Whether you opt for a cockpit cover, a drape, or a full kayak cover, we hope this article helped you find the best kayak covers for all your boating needs.