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Kayaking is by no means a lazy sport you can just jump into. You need to be prepared, which often means: preparing beforehand is crucial to a successful fishing trip.
You may have your bags and safety gear all prepped up, but you can’t forget your kayak paddle leash. A paddle leash can essentially keep your paddle from getting lost while kayaking.
Losing your paddle can be a struggle especially on strong rapids. So we’ve collected our top 5 choices for the best kayak paddle leash as well as some thoughts on each one.
Today. we’ll be reviewing the 5 best kayak paddle leashes on the market and we’ll also cover:
Get ready to be more confident over the rapids now.
Raise your paddles.
And let’s dive in.
Quick List Of The Top Kayak Paddle Leash
#1. Perception Paddle & Rod Leash for Kayaks – Best Kayak Bungee Leash
A kayak leash with a bright color designed to keep your paddle from floating away is the Perception Paddle and Rod Leash from Perception Kayak Store.
Perception Kayak Store has catered to many kayakers for around 40 years now, making some of the best kayak paddle equipment out there.
So it’s safe to say they know what separates good kayak leashes from bad kayak leashes.
The Perception Paddle Leash securely keeps your paddle in place with its high durability bungee cord.
This bungee cord is wrapped with a bright green tubular webbing, which helps you spot it in the water so that it doesn’t get in the way of your paddling.
Similar to other paddle leashes, you can attach the speed hook found on the clip end of the paddle leash on the D-ring of your life jacket or the pad-eye on your kayak.
The adjustable velcro end of the paddle leash will keep your paddle in place regardless of how big it is.
Either way, the leash keeps you or another paddler from going without a paddle.
The Perception paddle leashes have a bit more length compared to other kayak leashes, coming in at 45 inches when unstretched.
This is a great feature to have as you won’t feel like you’re stretching your paddle leash while paddling, reducing any resistance from your movements.
It’s no lie that the pedigree of a brand like Perception, a store that has been selling for over 4 decades now, adds a lot to the price tag.
With the Perception kayak paddle leash, you’re also buying into their brand guarantee which ensures that they manufacture quality products for as long as they have.
It ultimately falls on you to decide if you’re willing to pay that premium for the brand’s quality.
- From a heritage kayak paddle leash brand
- The bright color helps visibility
- Durable & long bungee cord
- Plastic hardware might break quickly
#2. Firiner Paddle Leash Set – Best Budget
Now some brands do carry general lifestyle product items, which include outdoor gear as well.
This is certainly the case for the brand Firiner, which has a kayak paddle leash of its own and please those on a budget.
This easy-to-use kayak paddle leash uses a 6mm elastic rubber covered with a water-resistant nylon fabric in the color blue.
The rubber core has been pre-stretched to ensure it won’t lose elasticity for a long time.
Each anchor point uses the internal 6mm elastic rubber as a hook point.
If you want to attach it to your paddles…
…the paddle leashes come with velcro tape which you can separately secure to the paddle regardless of its size.
The other end will be attached to yourself or your kayak via a stainless still carabiner, which keeps your paddle from floating away from you or the boat.
Just make sure you don’t lose either the carabiner or the velcro tape as these can be easily misplaced due to them being relatively small.
The Firiner Paddle Leash set comes in a long 44 inches unstretched and a 59 inches stretched length, which is more than enough for most kayaking needs.
However, you need to be careful about accidentally tangling your kayak paddle leash while you paddle. This is crucial to remember if you have multiple paddlers on one kayak.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t built of good quality as Firiner designed this kayak paddle leash to be as multi-purpose as possible, able to attach to fishing rods or other kayak items.
Just temper your expectation in regards to the appropriate price point.
The Seattle Sports Multileash is a durable leash from the Seattle Sports Store, a multi-sport outdoor fear manufacturer.
Its bright green leash is probably what caught your eye first, but once you’re out on the river you’re going to be grateful that you can easily spot the paddle leash amongst the water and the rocks.
The Seattle Sports Multi-leash is designed to be used for kayak paddles as well as other kayak items like a fishing rod and gear packs.
The leash itself is constructed from a high-grade bungee cord which is then wrapped in the signature high-visibility green tubular nylon cover.
The combination of both materials can lend a lot to how long this paddle leash can last.
One end has a snap hook for attaching to your life jacket D-rings, kayak pad-eye, or another secure point, while the other end has the velcro strap with a quick-release buckle to attach the leashes to the paddle (or other kayak fishing gear you might be carrying around, like fishing rods).
The Seattle Sports Multi-Leash comes in at 32 inches unstretched, which you can stretch to as long as 48 inches.
The Seattle Sports Multi-Leash is a good choice for those in the market looking for sturdy kayak paddle leashes.
This Boncas paddle leash is admittedly a bit more bare-bones in comparison to the other leashes we have on this list, but their gel-grip feature gives it a spot on the best kayak paddle leashes list still.
The Boncas Paddle and Rod kayak paddle leash is meant to be as general as possible in regards to how you can use it.
Whether you’re out to fish, sunbathe, or just paddle around, the Boncas paddle leash can accommodate you in different situations and conditions.
The Boncas Paddle and Rod kayak paddle leash use a black elasticized woven nylon to act as its main leash body while its two loops are treated with an internal gel-grip.
This gel-grip keeps the anchor points from sliding around too much, a common problem among the type of paddle leash which uses loops to attach itself to paddles.
Simply tie the loop around each of your paddles (or fishing rods) and you can expect a secure unmoving fit.
Part of what makes this particularly great is how portable & convenient it is compared to other kayak leashes.
As this uses a simple elasticized woven nylon, you can simply wrap it up to a fraction of its total length.
Each paddle leash comes with its own carabiner so that you can easily anchor it to your kayak without having to tie the loop all over again.
The Boncas paddle leash comes at a modest 20 inches unstretched and can go as far as 38 inches stretched.
This is more than enough for a leash to go without creating too much resistance for the kayaker or having it tangled while paddling.
While we recommend the Firiner paddle leash if budget is a concern, you can also opt for this Boncas paddle least as it can give a pretty decent anti-slip grip on your items.
While it may not be the best kayak paddle leash on the market, this one is certainly good enough to do its job well of keeping your paddles near the boat at all times.
Proyaker is a brand out of Miami, Florida that specializes in equipping kayak anglers with the tools they need for a good kayak fishing trip.
Their paddle leash opts for a different approach to most, using a stainless steel cord instead of the usual bungee for its main paddle leash body.
The Proyaker Ocean Tough kayak paddle leash does change a few things when it comes to how it’s constructed.
First off, it ditches the bungee cord for a stainless steel coil leash which is covered with a blue poly-vinyl cover.
Note that the blue color may blend with the water while you’re paddling, but the length of the cord itself should keep it from getting in the way.
…the velcro strap which attaches to the paddle one end (or, say, your kayak fishing rod) is fully adjustable and comes with a quick-release buckle so you can easily detach your kayak paddle leash from the gear proper.
Lastly, the Proyaker anchor points can use either speed hooks or the stainless steel coil itself to attach to your life vest or kayak.
This gives you options on where you want the tension of your anchor point to be as the adjustable loops can be anchored in a variety of ways.
Each endpoint also has a swivel point that keeps your cord tangle-free.
The Proyaker Ocean tough Kayak paddle leash comes in a short 6-inch length when fully extended. This ensures your paddle stays in place while you’re paddling.
Though this may add to some resistance when you paddle, especially if you’re a beginner and haven’t learned the proper paddle technique.
Proyaker has made a really good kayak paddle leash for an admittedly good price point.
For the quality of the materials as well as the overall design, the Proyaker Ocean Tough kayak leash might be one of the best kayak paddle leashes available in the market today.
What to Look for in a Leash
The best kayak paddle leash is going to be the one that you feel comfortable with.
That being said…
…you’ll do well with a model that’s roughly six feet when extended but four feet when coiled. This gives a good reach without bogging you down while you’re boating.
Kayak paddle leashes used to be heavy, bulky, and often got in the way of kayaking. Not today! Now, they’re light and maneuverable, so you can use them easily and not feel weighed down.
A straight cable kayak paddle leash is elastic nylon. Think of something like a bungee cord that will spring your paddle back to you if it gets dropped.
The best part about these kinds of leashes is that you can adjust their length to make them perfect for your reach.
If you’re going to be sharing your leash with someone else (perhaps someone whose reach is shorter or longer than your own), an adjustable version may be for the best. This way, it suits everyone’s needs.
Bungee leashes are just what they sound like: they’re bungee material that’s wrapped in nylon.
They’re light, and they stretch as far as you need them to. They’re incredibly maneuverable, but they don’t recoil to you, which means they can catch on things or drag down in the water.
But be careful with bungees.
That lack of recoil can be a killer, especially if the leash is on the longer side.
If you want something sturdy, it’s a good idea to look at coiled leashes. They’re made out of stainless steel and typically have some sort of covering.
Unlike the bungee model…
…these will recoil fast, which means they won’t weigh you down as you kayak. However, they aren’t as stretchy as the straight cable, seeing as they’re made with stainless steel (which has absolutely no give itself).
How Do I Attach A Leash?
Each kayak paddle leash is going to attach differently.
However, one side usually clips or loops onto the kayak.
I prefer clipping or looping it to the kayak itself, rather than my vest, just in case I flip when I’m out enjoying the water. It’s just easier to swim and maneuver without navigating with a paddle attached to my wrist.
Once one side is attached to the kayak…
…it’s time to attach the other end of the leash to the paddle itself. Some paddle leashes have a loop that you can put on your paddle by taking it apart and sliding it on before putting it back together.
Other leashes use velcro to wrap securely around the paddle. Like I said: it’s incredibly easy to put the leash on. Now let’s talk about why I think every kayaker needs one.
Safety Tips While Kayaking
Kayaking, especially whitewater kayaking (a more extreme version of kayaking) carries with it its own dangers that could fill more than a page of a safety handbook.
This part goes beyond just looking at the best kayak paddle leash and focuses on each choice you need to make to avoid any accidents in the water.
Data shows that many accidents that occur during kayaking come from ill preparation and misinformed fact taken as truth.
At most, this can lead to serious injuries or even death.
Whether it’s kayak fishing or just a leisurely trip, you should always remind yourself of all the safety content people need to be aware of on a boat beyond just using a paddle leash.
Always Brush Up on Training
Remember basic first aid training especially in different water conditions. This includes proper paddling and swimming techniques, as well as different emergency boat situations.
Have the Proper Equipment
There are different categories of safety equipment, but it’s always recommended to have a helmet and a life vest at all times.
Ensure that your paddles are properly maintained and you have more than one ration of food and water.
Even if you just plan to fish, this can be the difference between a small mishap and a serious accident.
Check Water Conditions and Route
Always, always, pay attention to weather forecasts and current shore/river conditions.
You can opt to talk to the local ranger if you’re not familiar with doing so, but this step is absolutely key to determining if it is even safe to kayak in the first place.
And it doesn’t end there.
Be aware, or be with someone who is aware, of the terrain and the location, as it’s important to have alternate routes just in case the water becomes too difficult to manage.
Can You Use Kayak Paddle Leash DIY?
Sure you can, I am a lazy guy and it’s ship but yes, for example, have a quick look below to have some ideas for a DIY kayak paddle leash, just by using para chord.
We hoped you enjoyed this quick look into our 5 different picks for the best kayak paddle leash. By the way, it’s a MUST HAVE.
For a fool-proof choice…
…the Perception paddle and rod leash is our review’s top-notcher and the most popular choice for professional kayakers out there.
ut if you’re short on the budget, the Firiner kayak paddle leash got you with all its unique features in a budget-friendly price tag!
Remember, the choice ultimately rests on you and your needs.
We just gave you a menu of leashes to choose from as well as some data on how they perform, so get out the gate and see which kayak leash is the most suitable for you.
Take your pick and get what works for you today!