Kayaking

The 5 Best Kayak Covers – [2020 Reviews]

Loving your kayak involves taking advantage of the best weather and enjoying the water and sun.

Unfortunately it is not always possible to pick up your paddle year-round and our boats must be tucked away carefully until the rivers and lakes call to us again.

Whether stored inside or outside our kayaks are exposed to the elements: dust, sunlight, moisture, mold, and critters.

A cover on a properly stored kayak ensures that your kayak will be ready for next season’s adventures and many years to come.

Keep in mind there are a few types of kayak covers and it is important to buy the correct one for your vessel and how you plan to use it.

Best Kayak Covers

 Wilderness Systems KayakHobie Pro Angler 14 CoverKohree Kayak Cover
editors choice
Wilderness Systems Kayak CoverHobie Pro Kayak Cover
Size:5 Sizes, up to 11 ftFits up to 14 ft2 Sizes, up to 13 ft
Style:“Shower cap” style
“Shower cap” style"Bag" style
Material/Color:601 denier marine-grade polyesterDouble layered & double stitched polyesterSilver coated oxford polyester
Closure:Bungee hem closure & hull straps
2 Wrap-around straps, 2 Cross strapsElastic drawstring & 2 buckle straps

Our reviews of the top rated kayak covers with our comparison table and buyers guide will help you choose the right one for you.

Quick Answer: The 5 Best Rated Kayak Storage Bags

  1. Wilderness Systems Kayak Cover
  2. Hobie Pr 14 Kayak Cover
  3. Kohree Kayak Cover
  4. Advanced Elements Kayak Cover
  5. iiSport Kayak Storage Cover

For more of my top kayak gear recommendations, have a look through these popular Outside Pursuits guide links: Fishing Kayaks, Kayak Paddles, Kayak Carts.


Kayak Cover Reviews

Wilderness Systems Kayak Cover

Wilderness Systems Kayak Cover at a Glance:

  • Size: 5 Sizes, Fits kayaks up to 11’x 32’’x 18”
  • Cover Type: “Shower cap” style
  • Material/Color: 601 Denier marine-grade polyester
  • Closure: Bungeed hem closure and hull straps

The Wilderness Systems universally fitting durable cover suits sit-on-top style kayaks. It is a solid investment for anyone storing their kayak outside or taking it on the road with them.

The cover comes in 5 sizes (x-small, small, medium, large and x-large) to fit a wide range of sit-on-top kayaks.

The tough water-resistant black polyester cover is tested to withstand heavy UV exposure while looking sleek and stylish.

The more durable material is a good option if you store your kayak outside, especially if you are worried about sun exposure.

In addition to the bungee hem along the bottom of the boat, the cover comes with two hull straps in order to secure excess material for transporting your kayak.

The “shower cap” style allows it to be easily taken on and off and the boat for use.


Hobie Pro Kayak Cover

Hobie Pro Angler 14 Cover at a Glance:

  • Size: One Size, Fits up to 14’x 38’’x 20’’
  • Cover Type: “Shower cap” style
  • Material/Color: Light Gray double layered and double stitched polyester
  • Closure: 2 wrap-around straps, 2 Cross straps and adjustable pull string closure

Designed to fit the Hobie Pro Angler 14 specifically, this high-quality cover is a great fit for storage and transportation as it tackles two needs in one.

The cover is adjustable and can fit similar sized boats as well so if you fall in love with it but do not have a Pro Angler you are in luck!

If you own a Hobie Pro Angler 14, then this cover will fit your kayak like a glove even with the seat in place.

If you own a boat with similar specifications, then the adjustable pull strings and straps will form to fit.

More importantly, the cover is designed for a snug fit if stored upside down and right side up so it is suitable for a variety of storage situations and is easy to take on and off by yourself.

One of the unique features of this cover is that it comes with a storage bag that also doubles as the red safety flag required for transportation.

If you keep your kayak covered while trailering, it will protect it from all of the gravel and dirt kicked up on the road.


Kohree Kayak Cover at a Glance:

  • Size: Two Sizes, fits kayaks up to 13’ in length
  • Cover Type: “Bag style”
  • Material/Color: Silver Colored Polyester
  • Closure: Elastic Drawstring closure and 2 buckle straps

The Kohree cover is a one-stop versatile cover suited for inside and outside storage and well as short-distance travel.

With two sizing options the cover should fit most kayaks on the market and the extra buckle straps will help to ensure a tight fit.

Looking to extend the same level of protection to a paddleboard or canoe you have on hand?

The Kohree cover can keep other vessels safe from the elements and non-descript silver-colored polyester helps reflect sunlight while protecting from dirt and dust.

An affordable pick, the Kohree would be a great addition to an outdoor storage setup, or a solid dust cover in an indoor setup.

The cover can help protect against elements on the road over short distances, although additional tie-down straps are recommended.


Advanced Elements at a Glance:

  • Size: 2 Sizes fits kayaks up to 15’ in length
  • Cover Type: “Shower cap” style
  • Material: 600 Denier polyester
  • Closure: Roll and clip closure

Our only “bag” pick the Advanced Elements cover is an excellent choice if you have had a problem with unwanted critter guests in the past as it covers the whole kayak with a roll and clip closure.

The tough Advanced Elements cover offers protection around the whole of your kayak, unlike the other “shower cap” type covers.

The cover features a roll and clip closure, just like a big dry bag. The roll and clip closure allows you to adjust for the length of your kayak specifically.

It would work well for upside-down storage or stand and lean storage. Since the cover does not feature extra straps to secure excess fabric it is not the first choice for trailering.

It does, however, have extra room if you are low on space and need to store the paddles in with it.


iiSport Kayak Cover at a Glance:

  • Size: 3 Sizes fits kayaks up to 15’ in length
  • Cover Type: “Shower cap” style
  • Material: Polyester in 5 different colors
  • Closure: Drawstring closure

Want your kayak cover to reflect your colorful personality and protect your boat? Then the iiSport, with its universal fit and cover is a great choice for you.

iiSport kayak covers are at home in your basement, garage, or covered outdoor storage space. The covers are affordable and adjustable via a drawstring around the bottom of the boat.

It would make a great basic dust cover in a climate-controlled setting, or another line of defense in an outdoor storage situation.

The variety of colors (dark blue, light blue, ocean camo, sand digital, and silver) let your kayak stand out even when it is covered.

If you have a collection of water-loving vessels or several kayakers at home, the different colors can help distinguish who’s boat is who’s without needing to go to the trouble of uncovering the lot.


Kayak Cover Comparison Table

Kayak Covers Cover SizeStyleMaterialClosureRating
Wilderness Systems Kayak5 Sizes, up to 11 ft“Shower cap” style601 Denier marine-grade polyesterBungeed hem closure, hull straps5.0 / 5.0
Hobie Pro Angler 14 CoverFits up to 14 ft“Shower cap” styleSilver coated oxford polyester 2 wrap-around straps, 2 Cross straps4.3 / 5.0
Kohree Kayak Cover2 Sizes, up to 13 ft"Bag" style600 Denier polyesterElastic Drawstring closure, 2 buckle straps4.4 / 5.0
Advanced Elements2 Sizes, up to 15’ “Shower cap” styleGrey NylonRoll and clip closure3.9 / 5.0
iiSport Kayak Cover3 Sizes, up to 15’“Shower cap” stylePolyester in 5 different colorsDrawstring closure4.3 / 5.0

How to Choose the Best Kayak Cover for You – Buyers Guide

best kayak storage bag
Kohree Kayak Cover Canoe Storage Dust Cover

No one wants to start their paddling season by cleaning out a cache of nuts or birdseed brought in by an unwelcome animal tenant.

Your kayak is usually a hefty investment in your outdoor gear and protecting it in the off-season can add years to your time together, as well as help its resale value.

A cover can be a positive addition to your storage strategy, or transportation rig. Let’s learn about how to choose a cover for your kayak before we take a look at some potential options.

Types of Kayak Covers

First off, kayak covers are different from cock-pit covers.

A cock-pit cover will only protect the opening into the boat, where a cover is like a jacket or a sock that protects the whole vessel.

A cock-pit cover might keep moisture and critters out of the boat, but it does not do much to protect from dust and UV damage.

In order to find the right fit, you need to take into account the different cover styles, your storage or transportation situation, and most importantly your boat itself.

Covers Protect Your Kayak

It is important to know what you’re protecting your boat from when buying your kayak cover.

Kayak bodies are usually made from fiberglass or  heavy-duty plastic materials like polyethylene and outfitted with a variety of soft parts like seats and decklines.

Although most of the materials are durable and long-lasting, they are susceptible to environmental damage over time.

Light

One type of critical environmental factor your boat encounters is UV light. Just like UV light damages our skin, it will take a toll on your boat as well.

Light from the sun will weaken plastic over time, giving it a chalky appearance, dulling the color and becoming brittle and prone to crack.

A chemical “sunscreen” coating is a great way to protect your kayak on the water, but it only goes so far during long-term exposure.

For those storing kayaks outdoors or near windows, a kayak cover creates a barrier between the light and your boat.

Mold and Mildew

Has your boat ever had a funky smell that you just are not able to shake? Mold or mildew might be to blame, so go ahead give your friend trying natural deodorant a break.

Mold, and surface fungi known as mildew, thrive in moist conditions like damp basements and trapped rainwater. Dirt, dust, and salt contribute to a mold friendly environment.

The smell is not the only problem as both types of fungus are hazardous to your health by causing and exacerbating respiratory issues.

A solid once over with a household cleaner will usually take care of mildew, however mold is pervasive and harder to remove.

No one wants to waste fleeting springtime light cleaning instead of out on the water.

Animal Damage

Aside from leaving a nest-mess to clean out critters like mice, squirrels, and other rodents chew and damage the soft components on your vessel.

Major damage is usually noticeable, but the more pernicious minor damage can lead to problems down the road or on the water.

A chewed grab handle, deckline, rudderline or seat become unreliable and potentially dangerous and there is the added expense and labor to replace them.

Transportation

If your kayak is also your travel buddy, covering it while cruising down the highway keeps you, your boat, and bystanders safe.

A mounted kayak with an uncovered cock-pit will welcome wind that  quickly turns your boat into a dangerous projectile.

It is also necessary, most likely legally necessary, to affix a red caution flag to the end of your kayak to alert other motorists to its presence.

Not every road we travel on is paved, and flying grit and pebbles will cause cosmetic damage overtime.

The cover will also continue to protect your vessel from the elements while you kick back at a hotel, campground or Walmart parking lot on your way to your destination.

Sizing Your Kayak Cover

Imagine you decide to invest in a cover to protect your much-loved kayak. The package finally arrives at your door, you open the packaging and start to cover your boat.

When you try to cover your boat with its snazzy new jacket, no matter what way you cinch the strap it does not fit. Frustration.

If you start by knowing your kayak, its style, and size, you can avoid annoying why-won’t-it-fit problems down the road.

Although many covers come in different sizes or are adjustable, only a properly fitting cover does the job well.

A tight, snuggly fitting cover keeps water from pooling on the fabric leaking water into your boat.

If you plan to transport your kayak covered on a trailer over long distances, an ill-fitting cover can cause major problems.

An open cock-pit or loose material catches in the wind and destabilizes your rigging system which endangers you and those around you.

While a cock-pit cover alone can solve this problem, they are also more likely to become loose and lost if not well attached.

An aerodynamic traveling system will also increase gas mileage and decrease noise.

Some covers you can adapt for travel by adding extra straps and tie-downs for travel across short distances.

However, long-distance or more frequent travel requires a cover crafted specifically with transportation in mind. Start by familiarizing yourself with the dimensions of your kayak.

Grab a tape measure and measure the length of the vessel from stern to bow, as well as the depth of the boat.

Or, if you do not trust your own measuring skills find the specifications of your model inyour manual or on the manufacturer’s website.

Keep in mind your kayak’s seat situation when measuring as well.

Write the dimensions on a sticky note or save them onto your phone in order to have them ready to compare with cover specifications.

Storage Considerations

Consider your kayak’s storage location and what hazards it entails. Even indoor spaces, like basements or garages, are not immune to dust, light, mildew, and critters.

Covers are one more line of defense against elements that damage kayaks.

UV light, even sunlight streaming in through a window, will break down plastics and reinforced fabric over time.

In a well-controlled  indoor storage situation, a lighter weight cover serves as a dust cover and insurance against your colorful boat fading over time.

A kayak stored out of doors will need a heavier duty cover than one stored inside, especially if the storage area is not well protected from the elements.

Rigging a tarp to stand against wind and rain outside is vastly improved with the addition of a kayak cover.

Some styles of covers do not work well with kayaks stored upside down, so know exactly how your boat is stored.

A nondescript cover on a kayak stored outside might deter potential thieves as well.

Kayak Cover Types

Most kayak covers are made from UV-resistant polyester that comes in a variety of weights and colors.

There are two main styles of covers: the bag style and the “shower cap” style.

Bag Style Kayak Covers

These are like sleeping bag or a sock for the boat. It covers the whole vessel and closes with either clips (like a dry bag), drawstrings, or zippers.

The bag style covers work well for up-side-down storage rigs or if you are having major problems with critters taking up winter residence in your boat.

They protect the whole of the boat, although you do sacrifice some ease of use with this style as you might need your best kayaking bud to help you take it on and off your boat.

“Shower Cap” styles

This type  fit over the boat like a shower cap or fitted sheet, usually leaving the bottom of the hull exposed.

They close at the bottom with elastic, drawstrings and sometimes clips and straps. The addition of adjustable straps help fit the cover tightly around the boat.

This is important particularly if the cover is being used as a travel cover as well. A travel cover on a kayak needs to be aerodynamic and tight to the boat.

Some covers are specifically designed for travel, and cinch down tightly around the boat.

As an added bonus, some even come with caution flags to attach to the end of your boat.

Other covers can be modified with extra straps and tie-downs to achieve aerodynamic perfection, however that is one more system that needs to be checked and double-checked before take-off.

A simple, cheap, no-frills “shower cap” works well well for stationary storage at home, but loose and unsecured cover is a wild and dangerous element on the road.

FAQs About Kayak Covers & Storage Bags

Q: Where should I store my kayak?

A: In your perfect outdoor-loving living situation you would have a large indoor climate-controlled storage space with ample room to fit all the gear you need in your life.

That dream, however, remains a dream for many. Even a less-than-ideal outdoor storage space can be rigged to keep your boat safe and snug until its next adventure.

If you have the square footage, indoor spots like basements, garages and storage sheds keep your kayak out of the elements and safe.

It is important to keep your kayak away from anything like a heater as the changes in temperature can warp your boat and could potentially be a fire hazard.

If you do not have space indoors, any covered or well-protected outside space like under a porch, carport or alongside a building will do.

If you have the initiative you can even create a custom-built structure to house your kayak and other over-sized pieces of gear.

Q: How do you store a kayak or canoe outside?

A: In any kayak storage situation, it is important to reduce pressure on the hull and keep it protected from environmental elements.

A protected kayak resting on the ground all off-season will warp and damage the hull over time as it fills with all sorts of nasty junk.

If you have the space to store it vertically, simply tip the boat on a standing end, cock-pit facing out.

You will need to secure the base with a stand or an adequate substitute.

If you need to store it horizontally, several manufacturers have kayak-specific racks that you mount to a wall which will keep your hull safe and your kayak protected.

You might find a rack specifically designed for the make and model of your boat.

Stuck with a kayak but no covered outdoor space? A tarp rigged like an a-frame tent against the shady side of a building can protect it from wind, salt, rain.

Any kayak stored outdoors should be properly secured against theft by locking it to a support pole, a fence or something similar with a cable lock.

Q: Is it ok to leave your kayak outside in the winter?

A: Yes, if stored properly your precious kayak should be safe through a long winter. Remember to consider what elements your location brings to the party.

Spend some time outside in and take note of what the weather does, where the wind blows, where the sun shines, ect.

You would not want to store your kayak in the fall where a big snow drift forms in the winter.

Extreme cold temperatures, wind, and salt will damage your kayak over time so if you live in an extreme place.

If that sounds like you, consider calling up a generous friend/neighbor or pay for a marina to store it.

Q: Can you use kayak covers to store other things?

 A: Yes! A few of the covers on our list, like the Hobie Pro Angler 14, are very specific to covering kayaks.

However, others like the iiSport and Kohree covers are less-specific and adjustable enough to cover paddleboards and canoes.

Just like choosing a kayak cover through, make sure you know the dimensions of what you intend to cover.

Q: How should I store a kayak cover?

A: No matter which cover you choose to buy, it will not do a great job keeping your kayak free from mildew, dirt, and critters if it is balled up in a damp corner somewhere when not in use.

When your cover is not in use keep it clean, dry and folded in a bag or tote.

Taking time to fold the cover will help you assess any damage that happens to it and you can fix small issues before they become large ones.

Q: When should I replace a kayak cover?

A: Your kayak cover protects your kayak by taking on those elements itself. So, the cover suffers from UV light, dirt, and animal damage for the sake of protecting your kayak.

Seriously inspect your cover at the start and end of every season. UV damage will break down the polyester over time, and bumps and scrapes can cause rips and tears.

Some of our cover picks rely on elastic to cover the boats which can wear out and relax over time.

A brittle, holey cover stretched out cover should be replaced with a new one. The more you invest in a cover, the less often you’ll need to purchase a new one.

Final Thoughts

Owning your own kayak is a wonderful feeling and it opens the door for hours of outdoor water recreation.

Protecting your investment with a well-fitting kayak cover ensures that taking your kayak in and out of storage, or on and off a trailer is as hassle-free as it can be.

With a kayak cover, you can put to rest worries of your boat’s color fading, having to send eviction orders to a family of mice or breathing in harmful mold and mildew.

Remember to keep in mind the size of your kayak and what elements interact with your boat in storage or on your trailer when choosing a kayak cover.

Here’s to many more years of kayaking to come!

Features
Quality
Value

The Wilderness Systems is our Editor's Choice for the best kayak cover with its features, quality and value.

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Devan Lynn McNabb

Devan McNabb is a Michigan-based historian, public educator, and outdoor enthusiast who finds time to write when she can. In the past she has had the privilege of being an outdoor educator for children and young adults. When she’s not working at the state park or in public schools, Devan enjoys hiking, camping, rock climbing, traveling and of course playing video games.

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