Weighing the Options: How to Build Your Perfect Kayak Anchor System

Weighing the Options: How to Build Your Perfect Kayak Anchor System

Kayaking has to be one of the most peaceful activities ever. That said, there is always going to be one thing weighing you down. And no, it's not the stress of choosing the right kind of kayak or deciding if you need a trolling motor.

It's the weight of choosing the perfect kayak anchor system! Let me tell you, after years spent paddling Florida's spring system, I know that a good anchor is as essential as a nice and comfy seat.

You see, when you visit a spring, it's hard to ignore the crystal clear waters. You just have to dive right in. That said, most springs are in highly-protected areas and you simply aren't allowed to bring your kayak on land.

In addition, you need an anchor and line to keep your kayak stationary, whether fishing in deep waters or floating above uneasy underwater terrain, so that your kayak (and your ride home) doesn't drift away.

Reasons You Need a Kayak Anchor System

If you're not the dip-in-the-spring type, though, there are still a whole host of reasons why you might need a kayak anchor system that includes an anchor, chain and line to keep put.
  • Maybe you simply like to relax and don't want to wake up at sea
  • You're an avid hiker and want to be able to keep your kayak in water without worry

It's more than just an anchor, too, but more on that later. Overall, building your very own DIY kayak anchor system is a great way to ensure that your kayak suits your needs (and helps keep you safe, along with accessories like a life jacket).

Whether you want something simple, precise or just plain user-friendly, it helps to build your own so you know exactly what you're getting and how to use it.

Building the Perfect Kayak Anchor System

We can't talk about kayak anchor systems without diving a bit deeper (literally and figuratively) into the types of anchors and accessories out there and which one works best.

Kayak Anchors

Basically, there are three types of kayak anchors to consider:
  • Grapnel Anchor: The most traditional design, a grapnel has a basic shaft with tines that latch onto the ground to keep steady and in place. It's a fairly fool-proof option and these typically make the best kayak anchors.
  • Mushroom Anchor: On the smaller side and more compact for smaller vessels, the mushroom anchor is a better option for those who don't want to lug around huge anchors. But it's better to use this in calmer conditions, as it's less able to set on a fast-moving floor.
  • Sand Anchor: Basically a bag of sand, the sand anchor is perfect for anchoring your kayak in shallow waters or if you want to keep your kayak just offshore while you hike or take a picnic lunch.

As you might be able to tell, each kayak anchor comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. With this in mind, the grapnel anchor is typically the most versatile and can hold up in various wind and water conditions.

Kayak Anchor Kits

It's important to keep in mind that many anchors will also come with kits, which typically include: 
  • Convenient storage bag
  • Rope (30-60" is ideal)
  • Noticeable buoy
  • Hook to snap in place
     Anchor Buoy

Check Price on Amazon - With a splash of bright blue and orange, the Better Boat anchor buoy is easy to see with the water gets rough. Choose from a 9" buoy (that can lift up to 20 lbs.) or a 15" buoy (that can lift up to 60 lbs). An inflation pump is included. It makes raising and lowering your anchor a breeze and works well with Better Boat anchor kits

Anchor Mounts and Anchor Trolley Accessories

Building the perfect kayak anchor system is way more than just choosing an anchor. First, there's a kayak anchor mount, which makes your anchor easily accessible to throw off the side of your kayak. It can also be fitted with a lock so that it stays in place when needed.

Additionally, a trolley system makes an excellent addition for those who prefer to keep their kayak still for long periods of time. This is a long line that runs along the ride of your kayak and allows you to change the placement of your anchor with ease (or with a stakeout pole).

This is a great option specifically for fishing enthusiasts. Ultimately, and especially on a kayak where you're limited on space, it helps to have an ergonomic setup.

The proper mount, lock or trolley system ensures you're not left fumbling around for your anchor (or throwing it back wet and covered in algae next to your phone).

Weighing the Options: How to Build Your Perfect Kayak Anchor System

The Best Anchors for Kayak Anchor Systems

So, how can you start building your own kayak anchor system? The answer is simple: get yourself an anchor!

Once you have the right anchor, you can easily start pulling together the mount and trolley system to help place it on your kayak effectively.

Gradient Fitness Marine Anchor

Check price on Amazon

Gradient Fitness Marine Anchor, 3.5 lb Folding Anchor, Grapnel Anchor Kit for Kayaks, Canoes, (SUP) Paddle Boards, (Green, 3.5 lbs)




I'm a big fan of this model because of its versatility. Grapnel hooks are my personal favorite, but the additional storage bag makes this anchor super easy to transport and to use at the drop of a hat.

The bright white buoy also helps with identifying it in the water. Overall, this is an ideal model for kayakers.

  • Weight: 3.5 lbs
  • Size: 12"x 3"
  • Features: Rust resistant
  • Includes: Storage bag, buoy and 25 ft rope

Airhead Complete Anchor System

Check price on Amazon

Airhead Complete Grapnel Anchor System , Black , 3.5 LBS, 25' ROPE, A-2




Another great option that encompasses the whole nine yards of a grapnel anchor. Complete with a bag, buoy and 25 feet of rope, this model is even great for muddy surfaces and staying put in the ocean when you're on your kayak. This is a version built for robust conditions and it works great!
  • Weight: 3.2 lbs
  • Size: 12" x 3"
  • Features: Stainless steel snap hook
  • Includes: Storage bag, buoy and 25 ft rope

Crown Sporting Goods Galvanized Folding Grapnel Anchor

Check price on Amazon

Crown Sporting Goods Galvanized Folding Grapnel Boat Anchors - Choose The Best Weight for Your Watercraft, Up to 17.5 lbs (1.5)




While this anchor lacks any additional features, this folding grapnel anchor is ideal for more adventurous paddlers. One of the sturdiest models I've ever come across and made of galvanized steel, it's one of the best when it comes to measuring up in extreme conditions.
  • Weight: 1.5 - 5.5 lbs
  • Size: Sizes vary
  • Features: Galvanized steel
  • Includes: N/A

Extreme Max BoatTector Grapnel Anchor Kit

Check price on Amazon

Extreme Max 3006.6548 BoatTector Complete Grapnel Anchor Kit for Small Boats, Kayaks, PWC, Jet Ski, Paddle Boards, etc. -3.5 lbs




This is another fantastic option for those who don't know where to start. Included in one entire package is an anchor suitable for just about any condition, along with a storage bag, buoy and 25-foot rope. And I'm a big fan of the red color to help it stand out when submerged.
  • Weight: 3.5 lbs
  • Size: 13" x 6"
  • Features: Marine-grade buoy
  • Includes: Storage bag, buoy and 25 ft rope

Extreme Max BoatTector Mushroom Anchor Kit

Check price on Amazon

Extreme Max 3006.6714 BoatTector Complete Mushroom Anchor Kit with Rope and Marker Buoy - 8 lbs. , Black





The biggest problem with mushroom anchors is that so many of them lack kits. For a product that's relatively the same across the board, it helps to have a model that comes with the necessary rope and buoy. That's what sets this model apart.

While the durable vinyl coating ensures that it's made to last, mushroom anchors are still best saved for gentle waters so use these anchors responsibly.

  • Weight: 8 lbs
  • Size: 8" x 8"
  • Features: Durable vinyl coating
  • Includes: Anchor line and buoy

Airhead PWC Sand Anchor

Check price on Amazon

Airhead PWC | Shallow Water Sand Anchor






Like mushroom anchors, this is a bit of an out-of-the-box solution for those who simply want to anchor their kayak close to shore. This bag can be filled with sand or rocks (up to 35 pounds) to help keep your boat steady.

Not suitable for deeper waters, this is, however, a great option for taking a break in shallow waters. It's also virtually weightless when empty, so it's perfect to carry around.

  • Weight: up to 35 lbs
  • Size: 6" x 4"
  • Features: Tri-laminate bag
  • Includes: Rope and snap hook

The Best Mounts and Trolleys for Kayak Anchor Systems

Now that you have a better idea of the kayak anchors available, here are some of the accessories that I trust to help make your experience even better.

If you go through the trouble of choosing an anchor, you also need to ensure you have a kayak anchor system that works.

Anchor Wizard Kayak Anchoring System

Check price on Amazon

Anchor Wizard Original Kayak Anchor Crank Only (KY-410CO)






This Anchor Wizard is a simple device to run your line through and help keep your kayak sturdy. Personally, I love it as an option for fishing because it brings your anchor back up (or down) with minimal disturbance to the water below.

Yak-Gear Anchor Trolley Kit

Check price on Amazon

YakGear Deluxe Anchor Trolley Kit





As I mentioned before, a trolley system is a line that runs from the front to the back of your kayak. It's an easy way to not only secure your anchor but to ensure it's in exactly the right location.

For the more price-conscious kayaker, this is a great option that can easily be installed on your kayak and used whenever needed.

Scotty Anchor Lock

Check price on Amazon

Scotty 620767 276 Anchor Lock w/ #241 Side Deck Mount, BLACK, Small





Another great option for fishing, or just in general, this anchor lock is an easy way to ensure your anchor is always where you need it, whenever you need it.

Easily mount it onto your kayak somewhere that's easily accessible, allowing you to make changes with just one hand (especially handy when you have your rod in the other).

Shoreline Marine Anchor Locking Control

Check price on Amazon

6" Zinc Plated Anchor Locking Control






Looking for the no-frills option? If you want something simple that can complement an anchor with ease, this model is a great choice.

It can only handle up to 20 pounds, so you'll want to avoid using a sand anchor, but it would work perfectly with a grapnel or mushroom anchor in calmer waters.

Use a Kayak Anchor System

I can't tell you how many times my anchor has saved me out on the water. Saved me from drifting away, or from calling my friend from the side of the road for a ride home because my kayak floated downstream.

These anchors and accessories are a great place to start when it comes time to build your very own kayak anchor system. Peace of mind is important on your kayak, but so is a smooth ride. Make both happen with a kayak anchor system that works for you!