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Are you a kayaking fanatic who’s been eyeing those impressive sail attachments out on the water with envy? If you’re looking to break into the sailing game, you’re probably wondering which one is best for you. And there are so many to choose from. But they won’t all function the same in all conditions.
When choosing a kayak sail, you need to be sure to get one that’s built for your purposes and appropriate for your skill level. But you also want to invest in the option that’s going to last.
Best Kayak Sails Reviewed
We looked into the best kayak sails reviewed to help you pick the perfect brand to add more fun and safety to your kayaking adventures:
1.Sea Eagle QuikSail
The Sea Eagle QuickSail is a universal kayak sail that can be used on all of the SeaEagle vessels and most other brands of kayaks, though with a few key considerations when it comes to installation. The V-shaped downwind spinnaker is ideal for catching speed on the open water and traversing long distances. While it’s better suited for larger boats, it can be modified and used with just about any sized vessel. Made with sturdy materials on both the sail and the frame, it is built to last for years to come.
The Sea Eagle QuickSail uses a 14 square foot NeilPryde sail. NeilPryde is a legacy brand of windsurfing equipment that’s been around and perfecting their designs since the 1970s. They use laminated sailcloth in all of their products, which is the sturdiest of sailcloth materials and what sailors have been using for years. It’s denser and made to stand up to high wind speeds without risk of rupturing. It tends to be a heavier material making it more difficult to haul and store, but this kayak sail weighs altogether 2 pounds, so it’s both lightweight and incredibly durable. It does come with a nylon carrying bag as well.
It’s a self-standing rig, and it extends up to 81 inches, nearly 7 feet tall. With this installed on your boat, you can reach speeds up to 7 knots, which is a little over 8 miles per hour. Since it’s a V-shaped sail, it’s meant specifically for downwind use and is always at a running point of sail. You’re meant to use your paddle as a rudder should you need to change directions. It also has a clear window at the base for uninhibited visibility. Because it’s widest at the top, it’s not ideal for situations where you’ll be floating under low hanging branches. Sea Eagle is a well known brand producing one of the best inflatable kayaks on the market since several years.
Though limited in functionality due its shape, the Sea Eagle QuickSail kayak sail is a top notch accessory for your boating adventures. Great for speed and lengthy trips, it uses a sturdy laminated sailcloth and aluminum frame to stand up to intense winds, rolls, and consistent use. If you’ve got a boat that has the midship hooks for attaching kayak sails, deploying this should be no sweat. However, double check before ordering that you’ve got the proper installation equipment or can easily modify your craft to accommodate this kayak sail first.
|NeilPryde laminated sailcloth|
|Reaches speeds up to 7 knots|
|Extends to 81 inches|
|V-shaped design for downwind use|
|Durable and built to last|
|Carrying bag included|
|Requires craft with D-rings to install|
The Hobie Mirage kayak sail is designed specifically for use with Hobie vessels, in particular the brand’s Mirage line. It can be used with other lines from Hobie, though it is not for use with any of the company’s inflatable yaks. The L-shape design is at its best when paired with the Mirage, due its pedal drive fins which provide lateral balance and resistance, so you won’t topple in high speed winds.
The design employs a boomless mast, meaning it doesn’t have a horizontal pole that extends adjacent to the bottom of main pole, which is used for steering. Instead, this uses handheld lines for steering and control. One benefit of not using a boom is that it makes storing much easier. All you have to do is roll the sailcloth, clip it to the mast, and stow it in the storage bag that it comes with.
Because it’s freestanding, you can use it in any wind conditions. And paired with the pedals on the Hobie Mirage, you won’t be beholden to winds to get around. In proper wind conditions, this kayak sail can help you reach speeds up to 45 knots (more than 51 miles per hour!). We do want to reiterate that this equipment is not suitable for beginners. And if you’re not using it on the Mirage or with the aid of outriggers for balance, you’re liable to tip in high winds.
The Hobie Mirage kayak sail is a high-end product perfect for seasoned sailors. The freestanding design and L-shape (sans boom) makes it great for just about any journey. You can’t attach it to any craft besides a Hobie, and not any of their inflatable models either. However, if you’ve got a Hobie, especially the Hobie Mirage, this kayak sail kit is perfect for you.
|Easy to install on Hobie vessels|
|Freestanding for versatile use|
|Can reach up to 45 knots|
|Pairs well with Mirage pedal system|
|Can only be used with Hobie kayaks|
|Not suitable for beginners|
3.ADVANCED ELEMENTS RapidUp
The ADVANCED ELEMENTS RapidUp kayak sail is a circle shaped, universal kit that’s ideal for beginners and best for downwind rides on a river. It’s easy to use, high-quality, and truly compatible with most vessels. Beginners and casual kayakers can operate this add-on with ease to get an extra speed boost on their trips. Designed for downwind travels only, it doesn’t use a complex steering system, and it doesn’t have a bulky mast to deal with either.
That being said, for folks who are new to sailing and want to start getting a feel for it, this is the perfect model to start with. You’ll use your paddle as a rudder to steer if needed, but overall, it’s meant to just add velocity to your trips without requiring much work from you. It’s also easy to take down when the wind dies down or you want to go slower, and it lays flat on your shell deck after unclipping from the midship section. And made with a ripstop nylon sailcloth, it’s highly durable.
The fact that it’s incredibly easy to use and widely compatible is key. The straps for attachment are adjustable and customizable so you can fit it on pretty much any vessel, regardless of shape or size, and both hard shell and inflatable. It’s also got clear windows on the front and sides, so you don’t have to worry about blind spots, which can be an issue with some circle shaped kayak sails. Portability won’t be a problem either, as it has no mast and weighs less than a pound. You can easily fold it up and stow it in the included storage bag for effortless travel.
The RapidUp is a perfect kayak sail for beginners or for casual use. No prior sailing experience is required to get the full benefit of this accessory. It’s lightweight, easy to use, and totally customizable for any vessel. But just because it seems like a simplistic and minimal design on first inspection doesn’t mean it’s not a high-quality, performance enhancing product. The premium material in the sailcloth and adjustable attachments set this apart from more basic circle shaped kayak sail models. It’s a cut above for sure.
|Ripstop nylon sailcloth|
|Easy to use|
|Works on almost any craft|
|Great for beginners|
|Quick to deploy and lays flat on deck when not in use|
|Conforms to shape of kayak|
|Folds for discreet storage and portability|
|Only for downwind use|
The Dilwe foldable kayak sail is another great option for beginners. It’s a circle shaped kayak sail meant exclusively for downwind use. The adjustable straps are compatible with all kayaks as well. And it’s quite affordable, so you won’t have to break the bank to get started on your kayak sail adventures. When it comes to reliability and long lasting use, it’s a really exceptional value overall.
While it means sacrificing on speed, the high-quality of the Dilwe model makes it incredibly sturdy. Don’t worry about rips, tears, or damage. The PVC material of the sailcloth is made to withstand intense, fast winds as well as significant wear and tear from storage and travel. Additionally, the material nonabsorbent, so it won’ be weighed down or lose its form from water. It has a large window for visibility, and it’s equipped with UV protection as well.
The design is built for ease of use. Simply clip it to your craft and go. When you want to idle or winds have died down and rendered it unnecessary, unclip it to lay it flat over the deck of your boat. It’s easy to fold and store, and it comes with a storage bag. The company also offers a money-back guarantee, though we don’t foresee you being unhappy with this product for any reason.
The Dilwe kayak sail is a lot of bang your buck, and you really can’t go wrong scooping up one of these. While it won’t send you soaring across the water, it’ll truly enhance any casual voyages and provide some relief from constant paddling. And if you’re hoping to take your kayaking to the next level with advanced sails, this is a perfect starting point to learn.
|Nonabsorbent PVC sailcloth|
|Easy to deploy, lays flat when not in use|
|Large central window|
|Heavy, doesn’t go super fast|
Another circle shaped downwind kayak sail that’s perfect for newbies and casual sailors, the VGEBY foldable kayak sail is lightweight, universally compatible with all vessels, and generally pretty easy to use. Newbies or anyone who isn’t sold on the idea of using a kayak sail would benefit from this product, as it doesn’t require a significant investment like other models might.
Aside from being flimsy and easy to break, it does hit on a few other important marks. For starters, it uses a PVC material for the sailcloth, and this keeps it from getting heavy or bloated from water. You want to be sure you get a kayak sail with a nonabsorbent sailcloth, and this one delivers on that front. It also uses sturdy metal carabiners for attaching to your boat, so you don’t have to worry about it coming lose and creating a nuisance mid-voyage.
Since it is so lightweight, it won’t topple your boat or send it off balance. That’s one reason it’s great for beginners and novice sailors. Most pros would recommend starting off with this particular style of kayak sail (downwind only, without a mast) before graduating to the styles that require a bit more finesse or even more advanced vessels. And another perk to being so light is that it’s a big boon for speed.
The VGEBY kayak sail gets points for being budget-friendly and lightweight. The sailcloth material won’t absorb water and it won’t weigh down your yak. However, this product loses points when it comes to durability. It’s fragile and known to lose its shape or be ruined by fast winds. When you can get better quality versions without spending any more, it seems a bit illogical to take a risk on a product that’s known to fall apart well before it should.
|PVC sailcloth won’t absorb water|
|Flimsy and gets bent or ripped easily|
For the budget-conscious consumer, you won’t find anything better than the Dyna Living kayak sail. It’s not going to hurt your wallet to order one of these. However, it may not do much to help your sailing endeavors either. It’s affordable, sure. But high quality? Not so much. Performance enhancing? Doesn’t seem like it. To be fair, it’s low risk and good for folks who haven’t ever used a kayak sail before. And the good news is if you buy this for your very first kayak sail, it’s only uphill from here.
The importance of the material in a sailcloth can’t be understated. And while we understand the impulse to go with the more affordable option, especially if you’ve never used a kayak sail before, we really suggest steering clear of any sailcloth that employs a fabric in the polyester family. However, it isn’t totally useless. In mild wind conditions, it’ll give you a nice boost downwind. It’s got a deployed diameter of a little over 42 inches, so it’s on the smaller side and won’t pull above average vessels very efficiently.
When it comes to ease of use, this category of kayak sails always wins. Since they are universally compatible with any kind of kayak-related watercraft, they’re designed to be easy to attach. Straps wrap around the underside, while others hook onto the top of the boat. When you’re heading back upwind or you want to idle a bit, you can simply unhook the top straps and let it lie flat on top of the boat. The Dyna Living kayak sail doesn’t come with instructions, so if you’ve never used one of these before you might have some trouble. Just something to keep in mind.
The jury is still out on whether this particular kayak sail is even worth your time and money. For some, it was an easy to use add-on that gave them just the extra speed boost they were looking for. However, many others didn’t even make it onto the water with theirs. Poor manufacturing and low quality materials are liable to break, and certainly don’t have a long lifetime. There are other models in this budget range that are more likely to come through on performance than the Dyna Living model.
The Olilio downwind kayak sail does all the things you expect from a product this budget-friendly. And while it’s not a high-end, premium product for advanced sportsmen, it is a reliable, sturdy option for an unbeatable value. It’s meant for downwind use only, of course, and it’s got a smaller diameter, so it won’t approach more than 10 or 15 knots. But it’s easy to use, durable, and perfect for beginners.
That being said, it does have some advantages that rank it ahead of other comparable options. For starters, it offers UV protection to mitigate sun damage while you’re out on the water. The material is an ultra-lightweight PVC that tends to be pretty durable and long lasting. Since it requires heavy winds to work well, it’s critical that the material be able to withstand the effects of intense wind speeds. And the sailcloth on the Olilio kayak sail definitely will.
It’s also compatible with most vessels, though better suited for smaller ones due its size. You’ll want to be mindful of the wire frame when folding it for storage, but it’s sturdier than some of its similar competitors. It’s got a large, clear window so you can see ahead of you, and the straps and clips are adjustable and easy to use for controlling your movement. Steering is best done with the aid of a paddle.
Olilio has designed a pretty good kayak sail for beginners and casual users. It’s very affordable, which makes it a great entry-level product for sportsmen looking to dip their toes into sailing. And it’s generally easy to attach and deploy. Sturdy materials and portability are just some of the perks of this kayak sail, though it won’t work efficiently without strong winds. We’d recommend it for newbies and folks who are trying to be mindful of their budget but still want to find a product that’ll last longer than a few uses.
|Easy to attach and deploy|
|Needs heavy winds|
Buyer’s Guide: How To Choose The Best Kayak Sail
Adding a kayak sail to your hull can greatly enhance your experience on the water. But it isn’t as simple as just picking one that you like and hooking it onto your vessel. Kayak sails come in a few different styles and designs, each intended for unique and specific purposes. Different designs also demand different skill levels. And if that isn’t already complicated enough, the material of kayak sails is widely varying, and can ultimately make or break your kayaking experience. So it’s crucial that you understand the nuances of these products before you take the plunge.
To make it easier for you, we’ve put together this comprehensive buyer’s guide that will outline all of the important factors you need to consider before purchasing a kayak sail. From the perfect shape to the best material, we’ve got you covered. Just be sure to consult this handy checklist when you’re shopping for a new accessory for your water sport adventures.
Kayak Sail Designs
Not all kayak sails are created equal. And not everyone is capable of jumping into action with just any type of sail. There are three main kayak sail designs, and each one functions completely different. Which one is right for you will depend on how and where you want to use it, the type of craft you’ll use it with, and, most importantly, your level of experience.
This style of kayak sail is good for beginners and intermediate sportsmen. It typically attaches to the bow of the yak, and requires a bit more skill to install. These come in a V-shape that’s widest at the top and looks similar to a bell shape when it gets filled with air. The direction of a downwind spinnaker is fixed, so you can only use it when going, as the name suggests, downwind. It’s useless otherwise.
This style of kayak sail is pretty ubiquitous since they’re very easy to use and perfect for beginners. Like the spinnaker style, these can only be used downwind. They affix to the bow with straps and bungees, and they’re suitable for just about any type of vessel. However, they do have limitations. These aren’t going to afford you as much speed as other designs, and they’re ideal for smaller crafts. But they do have the advantage of portability, as they collapse and stow conveniently.
This style of kayak sail, also called free-standing, require the most finesse and skill. They’re not recommended for beginners, as they closely resemble the function of sails on real sailboats. There’s a lot more technical knowledge needed to operate one of these. And they’re much more difficult to install. They’ve got a mast, and occasionally a boom (the horizontal pole adjacent to the main mast), and they use a lever system to steer and control. But they are the most versatile and can be used in any wind conditions, affording you the ability to change the direction of the sail and steer with precision. They can be bulky and heavy, so they’re best for big, sturdy boats that aren’t likely to topple from imbalance.
The material of the sailcloth is critical, not only when it comes to durability but also functionality. A premium material will strike the perfect balance between being lightweight (to promote speed) and thick (so it can withstand heavy wind speeds). There are also other benefits that your sailcloth material can provide, like UV protection and minimal absorbency to keep it from being weighted down by water.
Older styles of sails often employ laminated cloth, which is incredibly durable and can withstand intense wind conditions without rupturing. Kayak sails that use this material in the sailcloth are likely to be costlier than those using plastic or other materials, however, they will absolutely be the most durable. The biggest drawback to laminated cloth, however, is that it’s quite a bit heavier and so it can inhibit speed.
Far more common, plastic is lightweight and god for promoting speed. It’s also quite a bit more affordable than limited cloth. But there are different types of plastic that are better than others. PVC, for example, is a great option as it won’t absorb water droplets and become weighted down. Polyesters, on the other hand, are not built to withstand much at all. So while they’re lightweight, you won’t benefit from speed because they’re quick to rupture in moderate to severe winds.
Your circular kayak sails are going to use a super lightweight plastic tubing in the batten that frames them. These are built to conform to the shape of your hull and also easily fold down for convenient storage. They can be poorly made and easily broken, however. And if they become misshapen, they won’t function properly.
Spinnakers and L-shaped sails have thick, sturdy frames, most often made from aluminum or carbon fiber, and the circular models use a malleable plastic frame that can fold and collapse for maximum portability.
Carbon Fiber & Aluminum
Again, striking the harmony of lightweight and durable is key. When you’re not using them, you’ll want to be able to easily haul and store them, so be cautious of overly heavy frames. But if they seem flimsy and easily bent or broken, you’re not going to get much use out of them anyway. Both aluminum and carbon fiber materials are ideal for frames on spinnakers and free-standing kayak sails.
While it might be tempting to skimp out on investing in a quality kayak sail, you’ll almost always get what you pay for. And if you’re not a seasoned pro with lots of experience gliding over the water aided by fancy kayak sails, don’t splurge on the advanced L-shaped models. Whatever kayak sail you decide on, you want to be sure it’s made with high-quality materials and that its design is best suited for your purposes and skill level. This buyer’s guide will be highly beneficial to you when you’re scrolling through your option, so that hopefully you can avoid wasting your money and your time on the wrong products.