If you’ve ever capsized a canoe, you’ll know just how much of a pain it can be. Not only are you and your belongings soaked to the bone – re-entry into the canoe can be quite tricky. One way to prevent this from happening is by installing a good set of canoe stabilizers or outriggers.
Stabilizers and outriggers transform your canoe into a highly stable platform for fishing, maneuvering, and general cruising. This means you’ll be able to stand up and move around in your canoe without the risk of capsizing. They’re also great for adding stability when using a trolling motor.
If you’re trying to land a larger fish, being able to move around freely can be a huge advantage. If the wind and waves pick up, your craft will remain relatively stable – while a typical canoe can get pretty squirrely.
I’ll break down some of the best canoe outriggers and stabilizers on the market, and how to pick the right one for your craft.
Quick Answer: 5 Best Canoe Outriggers and Stabilizers
- Best Overall: Spring Creek Hydrodynamic Canoe Stabilizer
- Runner Up: Brocraft Canoe Outriggers Stabilizer System
- Best Inflatable Outrigger: Scotty #302 Kayak Stabilizer System
- Budget Pick: Meter Star 2Pcs Inflatable Outrigger
- Also Consider: Brocraft Kayak Outriggers/Stabilizers System
Best Overall: Spring Creek Hydrodynamic Canoe Stabilizer
Durable, lightweight, and specifically engineered with canoe owners in mind, this rock-solid canoe stabilizer is the perfect choice for adding stability and safety to your boat. It can be positioned anywhere on your canoe, and doesn’t require special hardware or alterations to your craft.
The durable polyethylene float stabilizers feature a hydrodynamic design that minimizes drag and moves through the water with ease. Each float weighs 5 lbs, but provides 27 lbs of added buoyancy.
Mounting the stabilizer to your canoe is simple and straightforward – simply attach the clamps to the inside lip of the gunwales. If your canoe has an external gunwale lip, you’ll want to go up one size when ordering.
Available in four different lengths (30″, 36″, 40″ and 45″), you can easily find the right size for your craft. The crossbar is extendible by 20” in each direction, so you can adjust it to mount on any part of your canoe. If you’re between sizes and unsure about which size to go for, sizing up will give you more room to maneuver your paddle between the float and gunnel.
- Durable, lightweight, and easy to mount/dismount
- Hydrodynamic polyethylene float stabilizers minimized drag
- Extendable by 20” in each direction
- Available in four different sizes: 30″, 36″, 40″ and 45”
- Universal receiver sizing
Runner Up: Brocraft Canoe Outriggers Stabilizer System
When it comes to canoe stabilization systems, you’ll have a hard time topping the functionality and performance of this outrigger. It features 32” long aluminum outrigger arms that easily pivot up and down and can be removed completely when not in use.
All mounting hardware comes included, with marine grade aluminium clamps that can be configured in either a vertical or horizontal position. The mounts are also easy to mount/dismount by turning the large knobs, so you can swap them between different canoes, kayaks, and other craft with ease.
The outriggers are made from aluminum wrapped in durable molded PVC – and more than durable enough to withstand hard use around rocks, vegetation, and gravel. Brocraft backs up these outriggers with a 2-year manufacturer warranty – but if you manage to break these tough outriggers, I’d be shocked.
- Rock-solid 32” long aluminium outrigger arms
- All mounting hardware comes included
- Can be mounted vertically or horizontally
- Durable molded PVC outrigger floats
Best Inflatable Outrigger: Scotty #302 Kayak Stabilizer System
Inflatable outriggers are a great option when you want an effective stabilizer system without the added bulk. It includes everything you need to mount the unit to a canoe or kayak, including two inflatable pontoons, two 28” anodized aluminium arms, four Scotty #241L side/deck mounts, and two Scotty #280 Baitcaster rod holders. This offers you a variety of mounting options, and two excellent rod holders that can work as outrigger mounts or as regular rod holders.
Inflating the pontoons can be done by mouth, with an air compressor, or with a foot pump (not included). The pontoon material is tough and rigid, being made from the same material as white-water rafts. It’s durable enough to use around sharp rocks and branches without worrying about punctures.
The bladders add over 30 lbs. of extra buoyancy, providing a high level of stability on the water. It will create some drag in the water, so don’t expect to win any boat races with it attached. Also keep in mind the pontoons will take on some air when in the sun, so take care not to overinflate.
- Includes everything you need to mount to canoes, kayaks, and other craft
- Rock-solid pontoon construction is durable enough to use around rocks and branches
- Bladders add over 30 lbs. of extra buoyancy
- Includes 2 x Scotty No. 280 Baitcaster rod holders
Budget Pick: Meter Star 2Pcs Inflatable Outrigger
If you want an effective inflatable outrigger without breaking the bank, this well-priced stabilizer will work nicely. It’s essentially just two inflatable bladders without the stabilizers or mounts, so you’ll need to purchase these separately.
The inflatable material is tough and durable, with a protective outer nylon layer that protects against punctures. Four repair patches come included with purchase, so you can repair them fairly easily should a puncture occur.
If you don’t already have a mounting system set up, the Lixada Kayak Outrigger Sidekick Arms are strong, durable, and features stainless steel mounting hardware. Mounting to a canoe may also require a conduit clamp to keep the mount arm from rotating.
- Inflatable material is tough and durable
- Protective nylon outer layer protects against punctures
- Four repair patches come included
- Mounting hardware not included
Also Consider: Brocraft Kayak Outriggers/Stabilizers System
Although it’s not specifically designed for use with a canoe, if you don’t mind drilling into the gunnels, it will work just as well as other stabilizer systems. 32-inch long swivelling aluminium outrigger arms attach to the mounting hardware, and can easily be raised or lowered as needed.
Tough molded PVC floats are more than durable enough to use in rough and rugged conditions, while all mounting hardware comes included. The entire outrigger system can be mounted anywhere on your craft, and requires drilling four holes to screw the hardware into the gunnels.
There is also a version for mounting to a track system, which is compatible with Scotty, BroCraft, YakAttack, and most other track systems.
All in all, if you want a well-made stabilizer system for your canoe or kayak, this rock-solid model makes a great choice.
- Solid 32” aluminium swivelling arms
- Mounting hardware comes included
- Tough molded PVC floats
- Track mount version also available
How to pick the right canoe outrigger or stabilizer
Finding the right outrigger or stabilizer system for your canoe can get a little tricky. You’ll want to be aware of a few key features when picking one out.
There are a number of different mounting options when it comes to canoe stabilizers and outriggers.
Some come with adjustable clamp-on mounts which allow you to adjust the outrigger position easily. Others are more permanent style mounts – that require drilling directly into the gunnels. These are fine if you don’t mind drilling into your craft, if not you’ll want to look into a different mounting solution.
There are also single piece mounts that span the width of your canoe. These are the most solid mount type, but can be bulkier and take up more space that other types.
Another common question is “where should I mount my outrigger or stabilizer?”
There are two main options when it comes to mounting locations. You can mount the outrigger directly behind your seating position, or towards the canoe’s bow.
Mounting behind your canoe seat will make it easier to paddle, and will make it easy to stand up and move around in the canoe. It will be harder to adjust as you paddle though. Mounting towards the bow can get in the way of your paddling or fishing, but will be easier to adjust on the fly.
Canoe outriggers and stabilizers also differ in terms of deployment. Some can only be mounted in a fixed position, while others have the option of pivoting up out of the water. Pivoting style mounts provide added versatility, and can be helpful when navigating in tight areas like banks, docks, and thick vegetation.
Inflatable vs. Solid Outriggers
Whether or not to go with an inflatable or solid canoe outrigger comes down to a few different factors.
As you might expect, inflatables are lighter and easier to transport than their solid bodied counterparts. Most are fast and easy to inflate – so you can get them set up fairly quickly. Of course, as with any inflatable, there’s a risk of puncturing the material. If you go this route you’ll want to stick to well-known brands that manufacture high-quality products.
Solid-bodied outriggers can be constructed from a variety of different materials, but high-density polyethylene and molded PVC are some of the most popular. These outriggers are made to withstand serious wear and tear – and can be used in rough conditions without worry. Naturally, they’re heavier and bulkier than inflatables.
When to use a canoe outrigger
While you probably don’t need canoe outriggers at all times, there are several scenarios where they can be worth their weight in gold.
If you’re fishing, and want the ability to stand up and move around your craft freely, you’ll need a good outrigger. This is especially true when you’re using a trolling motor, as they can get you moving pretty fast through the water.
If you’re recording footage while canoeing, an outrigger can make your footage steadier and clearer. If you’re new to canoeing, or your canoeing with young kids or pets, then an outrigger will provide a smooth stable platform that everyone will feel comfortable in.