Motorize Your Kayak: Experience Limitless Exploration

Are you someone who yearns for the tranquility of gliding through the water but may not always have the energy or physical ability to paddle? Or perhaps you’re a fishing enthusiast who loves the experience but isn’t thrilled about the paddling aspect. Well, fret no more! Adding a motor to your kayak can open up a world of possibilities. The best part? It’s easier than you think. In this article, we will delve into the various options available to motorize your kayak, from DIY solutions to professionally designed kits and even kayaks that come straight from the factory with built-in motors.

The World of Possibilities: Motorizing Your Kayak

When it comes to installing a motor on your kayak, the options are endless. Whether you prefer simple do-it-yourself installations or more sophisticated kit solutions, the choices are vast.

Innovative DIY Motor Mounts

Creating your own motor mount can be as simple as attaching a 2×4 to your kayak. However, a few considerations are worth keeping in mind. First and foremost, ensure that the motor is easily accessible so that you can control it comfortably. If your motor lacks a remote control for speed and direction, you’ll want it positioned where you can easily reach it. While placing the motor towards the center of the kayak might seem logical, keep in mind that this could make steering more challenging. When the motor is near the end of the kayak and you turn it, the thrust from the motor helps to steer. On the other hand, if the motor is in the middle, it may create a force that tries to flip the kayak. Check out the video below for a simple yet effective DIY mount suitable for almost any kayak.

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DIY Motor Mount

Even if you own an inflatable kayak, worry not! You can still attach a motor mount to it. Take a look at the example below, showcasing a mount specifically designed for a budget-friendly inflatable kayak.

Inflatable Kayak Motor Mount

Some individuals have taken their creativity to new heights by implementing elaborate modifications to their inflatable kayaks. In the following example, you can see how someone created a complete floorboard for their kayak. It’s incredible what can be achieved with a little ingenuity!

Modified Inflatable Kayak

Kit-Based Motor Mounts

For those who prefer a less hands-on approach or desire a more polished and professional appearance, ready-made kit solutions are available. These kits consist of aluminum or stainless steel bars that not only provide a secure mount but are also durable enough to withstand exposure to the sun and water. Below, you can find examples of motor mounts designed for both rigid and inflatable kayaks.

Rigid Kayak Motor Mount Kit

Inflatable Kayak Motor Mount Kit

Kayaks with Built-In Motors

If you prefer a hassle-free option straight off the shelf, many leading kayak manufacturers, such as Old Town and Hobie, offer motorized kayaks. Even their non-powered models often have motorization options available. Check out one of the most popular motorized kayaks on the market below.

Motorized Kayak

Explore the Motor Options for Your Kayak

With a multitude of motor choices available, it’s important to select one that suits your specific needs. Let’s take a look at the different types of motors commonly used for kayaks.

Electric Trolling Motors

When it comes to electric trolling motors, the Minn Kota brand reigns supreme. With numerous options available, it’s advisable to choose a motor with the shortest shaft possible. A shaft length of 30 inches or less is generally sufficient. Remember, you’ll be mounting your trolling motor much closer to the water compared to a bass boat.

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You don’t need excessive power; a small motor can propel your kayak at speeds equivalent to your own paddling abilities. It’s crucial to avoid overpowering the kayak, as excessive thrust can make it difficult to control and turn.

Typically, trolling motors provide several hours of runtime. The duration depends on the motor and battery combination. Take note of the motor’s current draw and the battery’s capacity to estimate your runtime accurately.

Fin Motors

Initially designed for stand-up paddleboards (SUPs), fin motors offer another intriguing option for motorizing your kayak. These motors attach to the fin of an SUP and can be similarly affixed to a kayak. The video below showcases an inflatable SUP with a mounted fin motor, demonstrating how it can be easily adapted for a kayak. To use a fin motor with an inflatable kayak, you’ll need to add a fin box. An adhesive fin box, like the one provided below, can be conveniently glued onto the bottom of any inflatable kayak.

Fin Motor Example

Adhesive Fin Box

Small Gas Outboards

For those who prefer the power and convenience of a gas engine, small gas outboards are a viable option. Ideal for users who don’t want to rely on electric motors and batteries, these motors typically have a horsepower rating of less than 2 HP. Mounting them is similar to installing a trolling motor, with most models featuring self-contained fuel tanks, eliminating the need to find a spot for a gas tank in your kayak.

Please note that the video below depicts a 5 HP engine mounted onto a kayak. While it may look incredibly fun, attempting such a setup comes with risks. Remember, safety should always be a top priority, and we do not endorse or take responsibility for any reckless endeavors.

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5 HP Engine on a Kayak

How Fast Can a Trolling Motor Push a Kayak?

Don’t expect to be cruising at high speeds or planing across the water with a motorized kayak. Your kayak’s speed will be similar to what you can achieve through paddling, typically around 5 miles per hour. Longer kayaks with greater paddling efficiency will naturally be faster when equipped with a motor.

Keep in mind that kayak hulls aren’t designed for planing. They lack the necessary shape and handling characteristics to plane easily. Unless you opt for a motor with 5 HP or more, achieving planing and surpassing hull speed will be unlikely. Consider researching more about hull speed to gain a deeper understanding of this concept.

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In conclusion, motorizing your kayak expands your horizons and enables you to explore new environments effortlessly. From DIY mounts to specialized kits and purpose-built motorized kayaks, there is an option to suit every enthusiast. Consider your preferences and requirements when selecting the motor that will accompany you on your water-bound adventures. Remember, safety should always be a priority, and adhering to best practices will ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. So why wait? Take the plunge and motorize your kayak today!

For more information on kayaking and outdoor adventures, visit UpStreamPaddle.