Taking action shots from your kayak can be a lot of fun. In this article, we will show you the best ways to set up a GoPro kayak mount. If you want to catch every stroke, an action camera is a great way to go. Read on to learn more about mounting a GoPro to your kayak.
Action cameras, specifically GoPro’s, are everywhere these days. People use them for all kinds of outdoor activities. The cameras are durable, compact, and very easy to use.
Installing a GoPro Kayak mount is an excellent way to not only take pictures and video of your day on the water but you can also do things like record your stroke and become a more efficient paddler.
How to install a GoPro kayak mount
There are many different ways to set up (install) a camera mount on your kayak. Some methods use existing features on your boat, while others require a little more work. Plus, there are some great alternatives to mounting on your kayak. Let’s get into all of this next.
Suction cup mounts are easy to install and don’t require drilling into your precious kayak. Instead of permanently attaching something to your kayak, making transport and storage difficult, you can remove the suction cup when you are not using it.
You will need a flat, smooth area to place the suction cup mount. Suction cups can be a little tricky because some kayak surfaces are textured, and the cup might not stick. But, depending on the type of kayak you own, a suction cup might be a great way to go.
Wearable mounts are great because this doesn’t require any mounting hardware, and you don’t have to drill holes in your kayak. A chest mount camera is lightweight, adjustable, and can fit various body types. A wearable chest mount can fit over multiple layers of clothing.
These mounts are usually made from padded, breathable materials that will not impede your stroke as you glide across the water. One downside to a chest mount is you have to point your torso in the direction you want to video, which is not necessarily great if you are taking videos on the fly.
A clamp mount is very versatile and is designed to fit a variety of objects. You can attach a clamp mount to the back of your seat and many other spots on your kayak. Clamp mounts give you a lot more opportunities to set up your camera compared to suction cups.
On the positive side, you don’t need to drill holes in your kayak, and you don’t need any mounting hardware. Many clamp mounts attach to anything that is between ¼ inch and two inches in diameter.
One downside of using a clamp mount is the possibility of damaging certain types of kayak surfaces.
Most recreational kayakers don’t wear a helmet when they are on the water. If you plan to take your kayak down some light rapids, a helmet might be in your best interest.
A helmet mount camera can be fantastic, coupled with some downside. Let’s explain. With a camera mounted to your head, you will get an incredible view of everything you see and do. The downside is, if your friends have motion sickness, the videos might make their stomachs turn.
Drill down mount
Drilling holes in your kayak is not for everyone. And you can void the warranty on your boat. But, this is one of the best ways to get what you are looking for from your GoPro kayak mount.
The beauty of a drill-down kayak mount is you don’t have to worry about it falling off, like a suction cup; the mount will stay securely in place. If you don’t have a track or rail on your kayak, drilling is a great option.
One downside is that the mount is permanent and might stick out, be in the way, or break off during transport and/or storage. With this type of mount, you will have to keep an eye on it and be careful.
Another option is to use an adhesive kayak mount if you don’t want to attach a mount permanently. Adhesive mounts are sort of permanent, but not like drilling into your kayak and bolting the mount on.
Adhesive kayak mounts work with a double back adhesive pad. You can often attach the base and use other accessories with it as well. There are flat and curved adhesive mounts available, depending on your setup.
Adhesive mounts are great for inflatable kayaks, which we will touch on in a bit.
Okay, here is one of the alternatives I mentioned earlier. Using a wrist mount doesn’t require installing anything on your boat, which is an excellent option for some people. Wrist mounts are excellent for capturing small bits of video while you are kayaking.
You can mix these shots in with other clips to add some fun variety to your video. See those tremendous facial expressions you had no idea you make!
If you already have a track or rail system installed on your kayak, you are in luck, and some folks add them on after the fact. Tracks are extremely versatile, and you can add a lot of different accessories using the track. If your kayak doesn’t already have a track, it might be possible to add one yourself.
Many fishing kayaks come equipped with different rails, and there are camera mounts available to fit. The benefit of using a track or rail system is that you can move the mount where you want it to be. The camera doesn’t have to be fixed in one location.
You can film different angles, and you can also install the mount, so it is not in the way of your stroke.
How to mount GoPro on an inflatable kayak?
It’s a little different mounting a GoPro on an inflatable kayak vs. a hardshell kayak (more information). You will most likely need to use a base with an adhesive back, add a kayak mount, and then add the camera. Once you have the base installed, you can add various mounting kits to the base.
Mounting a GoPro to an inflatable kayak might require a little more creativity, but at least you don’t need mounting hardware. You will also need to be aware of the mount or base when you fold the inflatable kayak up for storage.
You might also consider a wearable mount, like a chest strap as an alternative.
What to consider when you mount an action camera
Quality of the mount kit
Choosing the right equipment can make all the difference when you buy a kayak mount. A quality mounting kit can keep your expensive action camera above water, not on the bottom of the lake.
You want a mount that will hold your camera nice and secure. This not only keeps your camera above water but also helps you take great footage. You don’t have to worry about the camera constantly tilting or drooping because of a poor quality mount.
Make sure you install the mount in a location on your kayak that will not impede your paddling stroke but will also give you the best angles for footage. You might want to sit in your kayak on dry land and place the mount in different spots until you find a good one.
The last thing you want to do is drill holes in your boat and find out later the mount is in a terrible spot.
Wearable vs. non-wearable
Something to consider is a mount that you can wear versus a mount attached to your kayak. We touched on a few different options earlier, with chest mount, helmet mount, and wrist-mounted action cameras. These options don’t require any modification to your boat.
Wearables come with a disadvantage, too, as we discussed, but they might be useful for specific applications.
A mount that is fixed to your kayak (non-wearable) is very secure, in most cases. If you use a track or rail, you can quickly move the camera where you see fit.
Mounting an action camera to your kayak can be a lot of fun. You can get excellent footage of your day on the water. Here’s a quick recap when setting up your GoPro kayak mount.
- Place the mount, so it is not in the way of your stroke
- Make sure you use proper hardware to securely install the kayak mount
- Consider whether a wearable is a good option for you
There are various ways to mount your camera, so you don’t miss any of the action.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Steve Morrow owns Paddle About, an outdoor recreation and travel blog. Steve loves to travel, kayak, paddle board, camp, hike, and spend time outdoors with his wife and two kids. When he's not exploring the great outdoors, Steve enjoys writing about his adventures and sharing tips for getting the most out of your outdoor experiences. He has a lot of interesting stories to share, and he's always happy to help others get more out of life.