Kayak Sails – Worth the money?

I’ve been aware of the slowly growing trend of kayak sails for about a year now, but have been hesitant to jump on board for a few reasons.

  1. I carry enough gear as it is…do I really need one more thing.
  2. The wind always seems to be blowing the opposite direction I want to go.
  3. How do you store kayak sails?
  4. How do you set it up while on the water?

After doing my research, I’m convinced that they are a legitimate piece of gear, provided you get the right one. So today, we are going to compare the WindPaddle Scout to the various Johnny-come-lately sails. Spoiler Alert – I’m not a fan of the knockoffs.

Kayak SailsFirst, let’s look at the less expensive of the two options – the BaiFM Downwind Paddle Kayak Wind Sail Kit.

  • I’ve got to address the name – SEVEN WORDS in the name! Why? Because they are trying to leverage the keywords in the name of the industry leader. (WindPaddle). This is something you see with almost all of the knock-offs. I’m not associated with WindPaddle in any way, but I hate a thief. If you are duplicating their design and leveraging their name…Well, what would you call it?
  • Most of these kayak sails are under 25.00. They are definitely more affordable than the WindPaddle sail, which begs the question…Is this one poor quality, or is WindPaddle over priced?
  • The quality on these cheaper sails is not only sub-par but almost lacking entirely. Complaints range from simple things like “no instructions” to more vital issues like the hoop of the sail breaking in low wind. Based on my research, these very low priced kayak sails are cheaply made and easily broken.

Click here to see the specs on the BaiFM sail.

Kayak Sails

Next, let’s look at the WindPaddle Sail.

  • Windpaddle gives you four size options: The Scout Sail, The Adventure Sail, The Cruiser Sail, and SUP Sails. The majority of kayakers on the water won’t need anything larger than the Scout. It’s large enough to catch a sufficient amount of wind but small enough to stow easily.
  • I like the window built into the design, although I think a better option would be to make the entire sail out of the see-through window material.
  • ¬†Set up is relatively easy, provided you are able to reach the connection point on the front half of your kayak. With the use of a D-Ring, you can attach the sail almost anywhere.
  • Stowing the sail is a breeze (pun intended). If you can fold a sunshade for your car, you can fold this.
  • Steering takes a little practice but is relatively easy. You can either use a rudder or your paddle. If you don’t have a rudder, just drop the blade of your paddle into the water. If you want to go right…drop it in on the right.
  • Collapsing the sail is a simple matter of pulling it toward you.
  • It’s designed for use in winds from 4-18 knots, and works best in a steady consistent breeze.

We recently did a day trip down the Brazos. It was only 8 miles, but the water flow was almost non-existent and the temperature was in the 100-degree range. I can assure you that these lightweight pieces of gear would have gotten a lot of use that day.

Want to see the other gear we recommend? Click here.

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2 Responses

  1. Bill Hobson says:

    I assume that you can’t quite tack with these sails like on a sailboat when you have a side breeze that would normally blow you “backwards?” It looks like it would only work with a rear to quartering rearward wind to the direction of travel.

    • RiverRatz says:

      Thats a really good question, and one that I don’t totally understand. LOL
      You can have it off to one side ( center of the sail at 10 oclock position) and still move forward. Other than that, I wish I knew more about sailing and could answer your question.

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