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11 Best Kayak Anchors: Compare & Save

Getting blown around by the wind or pulled by the current can become maddening when you’re trying to stay in one place while kayaking. While homemade anchors are an option, utilizing a quality kayak anchor that’s designed to effectively hold your boat to the bottom is both far more convenient and superior in function.

There are many different styles of anchors for small watercraft intended for different on the water conditions, and the good news is their size and weight are relatively low considering it doesn’t take much to anchor a kayak. Our top list has tracked down the best options for every type of boater so you can find just the right system for your kayaking setup and style.

Make sure to check out our extra content section below for some guidance on which style anchor is best suited for you.

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How To Select The Right Anchor

Choosing the right anchor for your kayak depends on quite a few factors - so consider all of the below before making a purchase if you want to ensure success at holding your boat in place.

According to West Marine, "The type of bottom - mud, grass, sand or rock - will dictate different choices of anchors, as will the size and windage of the boat, the wind conditions, and the sea state. Some anchoring situations also call for more than one anchor to be used simultaneously."

Here are a few main details to think about while choosing your anchor: 

Weight:  Just like the other variables to consider, the weight of your anchor is dependent on the conditions you expect.

Soft bottoms, low wind conditions, and smaller/lighter kayaks will likely hold just fine on a 3-pound anchor, or maybe even lighter - but I've found that rounding up a bit is the best way to avoid frustration. The difference in holding power between a 3 and a 5-pound anchor is much more significant than the difference in added weight to your boat, so you're better off buying a touch on the heavy side.

Those kayaking in high winds and current, and with longer, heavier boats might be more inclined to purchase a particularly heavy anchor option. Difficult to penetrate bottoms like clay, stone, and grass that don't allow for any anchor penetration also call for a heavier anchor considering the weight is really the only thing holding your vessel. Kayaks above 80 or 90 pounds that are longer than 10 or 11 feet will hold much better on a 7-pound anchor, or even greater, than a 5-pound option when the environmental conditions are high energy and the bottom is difficult to pierce.

 If you have the cargo space and paddling strength for a heavier option and are serious about staying put when you drop anchor, then buy a heavier option - we promise you won't regret it!

Shape/Size: The shape and size of your selected anchor have everything to do with the bottom conditions you expect to encounter. 

You can get away with employing a 3-pound anchor on a fairly large kayak if it's a Danforth style option and you're boating somewhere with a sandy or muddy bottom. The holding power-to-weight ratio is excellent with Danforth, or fluke style anchors, but only if they can penetrate the bottom substrate.

Like we mentioned above, when the bottom conditions are grassy, or are more or less solid rock or clay, you'll have to rely solely on the weight of your anchor rather than its design to hold you in place.

Also keep in mind which anchor designs will fit best within your cargo space and will have the best compatibility with your boating style if the bottom-conditions allow you to make a choice. Folding anchors are much more compact when they're stowed on board than are Danforth, or even mushroom-style anchors, and have less potential to snag your fishing line while actively angling due to their inherent design.

The take away here is this - if the environmental conditions where you paddle are not challenging to anchor on, you can choose an anchor of lower weight, in your preferred style. If the environmental and bottom conditions are difficult to hold an anchor on however, you'll likely have to purchase something a touch heavier that's engineered for compatibility with the bottom substrate you're working with.

Spikes/Stakes Vs. Traditional Anchors

Spikes, stakes, and poles that you drive directly into the bottom to hold your boat in place are an interesting and highly practical alternative to traditional anchors depending on the conditions where you're boating. 

These devices are simply driven into the bottom and then tied off to. Alternatively, if your boat has compatible scupper holes you can drive your spike/stake right through your hull for an even easier and more secure hold that requires no tie-off line or rope at all! 

While this style of kayak anchor is innovative and effective, it has its pros and cons.

The Good:

  • Stakes/spikes are a direct contact point to the bottom, so you won't swing or pivot around your anchor like you will when utilizing a single traditional anchor with a long line. When wind conditions are difficult, staying in one place even with a good anchor hold can be impossible, a stake will keep you exactly where you drive it in. Fishermen seeking to hold their kayak in a precise location without any leeway created by an anchor line will love this style anchor in particular, especially in shallow water, windy conditions where you would otherwise need to be a long ways away from your anchor in order to effectively hold.
  • This unique anchor style does not require an anchor line, so the onboard management can be a lot easier and less cluttered depending on your vessel's ability to store it. Most spikes/stakes can be secured right onto a standard paddle mount due to their thin diameter and are ready at a moment's notice without having to fumble around tangled anchor lines and clunky chains.
  • Utilizing stakes/spikes is far less loud than dropping a heavy anchor and/or anchor chain off the side of your kayak assuming driving it into the bottom does not require any serious force. It's certainly a more stealth approach for anglers who are mindful about not spooking fish when they enter a sensitive fishing spot.
  • The weight of this style of anchor system is next to nonexistent, so minimalist kayakers who prefer not to weigh their vessel down any more than necessary will love the inherently feather-light design of this anchor style. 
  • This style of anchor can also be used to pole your kayak around like a flats boat in order to sight for fish, and more quietly stalk stretches of water without disturbance from your paddle.

The Bad:

  • Stakes/spikes can only anchor in shallow water conditions where they can reach, and be driven into the bottom - so deeper depths will not be practical for this anchor style. 
  • Depending on the length and design of your boat, storing a long, thin pole onboard might be difficult.
  • Not all stakes/spikes float, so utilizing a lanyard is wise

Anchor Chains

If you have a hard time getting you anchor to effectively set on hard bottoms, attaching a 3-6 foot length of chain directly to the anchor before attachment to your anchor line can make a huge difference. Utilizing even a small section of chain can help to keep the weight of the anchor planted on the bottom, rather than experiencing direct tension from the line to the anchor.

Here are a few links to some effective options:

Kayak Anchor Trolleys

Trolleys or pulley systems are a great way to better manage your anchor and anchor line while boating. Kayaks are small, compact vessels with limited space as it is, so minimizing the footprint of your anchor and loose lines on deck can make a big difference when it comes to maintaining onboard organization.

Here are a few of our favorite anchor trolleys and anchor systems: