How To DIY Canoe Outrigger


Canoeing is among the most popular and fastest-growing water sports today. It gets you enjoying the amazing outdoors, relaxes your mind, and provides a wonderful exercise that tones your back, shoulder, and arm muscles.

But nothing can ruin a canoeing outing more than getting dipped. If you are a serious canoe owner, then you know that rolling is not an option, as you may have other gear in your vessel. That’s where an outrigger comes to save the day. You can get one from your local store or save some bucks by building yours from scratch.

An outrigger will help get your canoe or kayak more stable. DIYing your own will not only help you design a stabilizer that fits your needs the best but also gives you the satisfaction that you have actually done your own work. So here are quick steps on how to DIY canoe outriggers.

You Will Need

  • PVC elbows
  • PVC T-fittings
  • PVC glue
  • PVC end caps
  • 1 ½ inch PVC tube
  • Foam
  • Velcro one-wrap


1. Cut a 7ft piece of the PVC tubing and fix a PVC elbow on each end. Put the PVC glue on each end and spread it evenly around the elbow and the tubing. Ensure that both elbows are facing in the same direction.

2. Cut another piece of the PVC tubing, (about 6 inches) and glue it into the PVC elbow, at the open ends.

3. At the bottom of the PVC piece you have just added, glue the PVC T-fittings such that they are perpendicular to the 7ft tubing.

4. Grab the foam and cut two pieces of it at any size you like. The larger the size of the foam you cut, the sturdier and more stable your outrigger will be. A 1x1x6ft chunk will work fine for most canoes and will provide enough stability for almost all activities.

5. Drill a hole, preferably 1 ½ inch wide through the length of your foam chunk. The hole should be cut such that it enters centered on the 1x1ft side and exits centered on the other 1x1ft side.

6. Drill another 1 ½ inch hole, this time through the middle of the longer side of the foam chuck such that it forms a “T” at the point where it intersects with the first hole.

7. Get the PVC T-fitting and put some glue inside. Then insert it into the second hole that you drilled.

8. Cut a 3ft piece of the PVC tubing and slide it into both sides of the long hole. Put some glue on the outside of the tubing so that it sticks inside the PVC T-fitting.

9. Using Velcro one-wrap, connect the outrigger to the yoke of the canoe.

Why You Need A Canoe Stabilizer


There are three major reasons why you may want to DIY canoe stabilizers or rather obtain some from your local store.

1. You Beef Up Your Safety

Any person who has taken paddling classes knows that getting into a canoe from the water after it’s flipped over is the first thing that one gets acquainted with. It is one of the most important canoeing safety techniques that one needs to perfect to stay out of harm in the marine environment. Sure, wearing the best life jacket for canoeing may keep you safe but also knowing how to right your canoe after a capsize will go a long way in ensuring that you stay alive.

If you are just learning the basics of canoeing or will be having a toddler on board and wish to stay safe on the waters, attaching outriggers will be your best bet. You will be able to focus on steering and paddling your boat without worrying about tipping or getting started with Eskimo rolls.

Also, if you will be adventuring in rough waters or areas with adverse weather conditions, you will need to be more stable as stability can determine how safe you will be on the water. Sure, you may be a pro canoer but sometimes, that extra balance could mean the difference between a miserable trip and an enjoyable one.


Old Town Next Canoe

2. They Are A Utility

Apart from recreational activities, today fishing canoes are being utilized for other things like fishing on rivers or even just lazing and tanning in the sun. And just like any small watercraft, you will be swayed by wind or waves, which could send you into a capsize.

If you take some time and DIY canoe outriggers, you will be surprised at how stable and stationary you will remain while fishing or enjoying the sun. Also, the fact that you will be moving less will prevent the fish from getting scared and lower your chances of returning home with an empty fish cooler.

3. They Provide More Storage

Canoeing is one of the most enjoyable ways to navigate the waters and spend a few days fishing and camping. Unfortunately, these watercraft may not provide as much space as we would like to store all our favorite fishing or camping gear.

So unless you are planning to have your fishing backpack strapped over your shoulders all day, some extra space for gear storage will be really handy. Of course, you won’t be able to maneuver the outrigger canoe as fast as you would a standard one but the additional space provided at the booms where you can strap your bags or hook your camping tent will be quite a bonus.

Globo Surf Overview

Building a basic stabilizer or outrigger for your canoe can really increase your options for usage. It is an inexpensive and easy project and you can get it done in a day.

An outrigger could transform this simple watercraft into something that could serve many other purposes. The above guide on how to DIY canoe stabilizers is all you need to expand your possibilities for usage of this essentially ancient mode of transport.

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