The best kayak anchor
Kayaks are a fun and easy way to get a great workout while enjoying the beauty of nature and getting a little fresh air. A lot of kayakers like to anchor their kayaks in a quiet spot for fishing, reading, or even just taking it all in. That's where a kayak anchor can come in handy. These anchors are small and lightweight, making them easy to transport and use when enjoying a kayak or traditional canoe.
Our buying guide can help you pick the perfect anchor for your needs. Our top pick, BEST Marine and Outdoors' Folding Grapnel Boat Anchor Kit, gives you the security of knowing you're not going to be drifting off anywhere, unless it's to sleep.
Considerations when choosing kayak anchors
Wing anchors are popular because they hold well in most bottom surfaces, with the exception of rocks. These anchors are shaped like a bulldozer's "digger" and have a wing that curves under the anchor's shaft, digging into the bottom.
Fluke anchors are made from a few parts that all swing on a single hinge. The fluke weighs the anchor down while the shaft is hinged in the middle of the fluke. These anchors only work well on mud and sand bottoms.
Claw anchors are also sometimes referred to as "Bruce" anchors. They're useful for most lake bottoms. This type of anchor has three claws and a long shaft that extends over top of the claws. It sets in easily but doesn't hold much per pound, so you might need a large claw anchor, depending on your situation.
Plow anchors are similar to wing anchors. However, plow anchors are sharper, allowing them to pierce the floor of the lake or pond. The shaft, also called a roll bar, helps to pull the anchor upright when on the bottom. Plow anchors are more effective at holding your kayak in place than most other anchor styles.
Mushroom anchors are most commonly used for anchoring for a long duration. They are, as the name suggests, shaped like a mushroom. As debris accumulates on the bowl-like bottom of the anchor, the holding power of the anchor increases. Mushroom anchors are best used for long periods of static activities.
Grapnel anchors are the most traditional style of kayak anchor. Depending on the model, they have either three or four arms that extend out from the base shaft. These arms are what grip the bottom when dropped in the water. Grapnel anchors fold easily and can be transported without much difficulty. Unfortunately, they can only be effective when they have something under the surface to latch onto.
The weight of a kayak anchor depends on the weight of the vessel as well as its size and shape. Kayaks generally hold to a one-to-four pound ratio when it comes to choosing an anchor. Calm inland water doesn't require the same weight of anchor as you might need in choppy waters.
While stainless steel and galvanized steel are similar, galvanization isn't permanent, whereas stainless steel coating doesn't erode. Stainless and galvanized steel are popular materials for kayak anchors, with stainless being the most durable. Aluminum is popular as well and is the most lightweight of any kayak anchor.
Many kayak anchors now include a buoy that attaches to the top portion of the rope. This allows you to spot your anchor rope at any time when you're out on the water.
A carrying case is a convenient accessory, so you can take your anchor with you wherever you go. Nylon carrying bags are some of the most durable.
Most kayak anchors cost between $20 and $50. For $20, kayak anchors are most often two- to three-pound aluminum anchors. For $30, you can get a sturdier aluminum or galvanized steel model. If you spend $50, you can expect to find a durable stainless steel anchor with a long, durable rope.
Q. Does the law require that I have an anchor in my kayak or canoe?
A. Though most places don't require that your kayak have an anchor, it's always a good idea to keep one on board. To be sure if it's required in your area, contact your local law enforcement department.
Q. Do I need to have two anchors for a two-person kayak?
A. Not necessarily. You only need two anchors if you plan to be in fast-moving water or high winds. An anchor at each end of the vessel ensures that it won't swing around in the wind.
Kayak anchors we recommend
Best of the best: BEST Marine and Outdoors' Folding Grapnel Boat Anchor Kit
Our take: A portable and effective anchor for your kayaking needs.
What we like: Galvanized steel. Long 40-foot line. Nylon storage bag. Prong locking mechanism works well.
What we dislike: Some complained that the casting had imperfections when it arrived.
Best bang for your buck: MarineNow's Portable Folding Anchor Buoy Kit
Our take: Affordable and portable.
What we like: Lightweight and easy to transport. Great for kayaks in slow-moving water. Includes marker buoy and a storage bag.
What we dislike: The 25-foot line is too short for some users.
Our take: A basic "anchor-only" kit that should last a long time.
What we like: Comes in weights from 1.5 pounds to 17.5 pounds. Durable design. Works well with heavy weeds.
What we dislike: Anchor only. Nothing else included in kit.
Adam Reeder is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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