kayak lights guide

Best Kayak Lights For Safe Night Kayaking

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A kayak light quickly becomes an important part of your gear if you love kayaking at night or early in the morning before the sun comes up. The benefits of having a kayak light are obvious as you get illumination on your vessel to see where all your stuff is. Also, kayak lights will ensure your safety when paddling in low-light situations as you’ll be more visible to larger vessels, and should there ever be an emergency, people will be able to locate you easily.

Having a light on your kayak when paddling is already a legal requirement in many countries. So whether you just love being alone on the water at night or early morning or are looking to catch species of fish that are active at night, you are going to need a kayak light.

Choosing a kayak light should be easy, right? One would think it’s as simple as getting any light and mounting it on your vessel. But you see, you have to put some thought into choosing a kayak light since all kayak lights aren’t made equal.

I’ve pitted several kayak lights against each other and have come up with a list of the best kayak lights available on the market. Continue reading to know more about these lights.

The 7 Best Kayak Lights for 2021

YakAttack VISICarbon Pro Kayak Light & FlagOur Top Pick

YakAttack VISICarbon Pro 360 Degree LED MightyMount and Hardware Kayak Fishing Visibility Flag, Orange (CPM+MMH)

$94.95  in stock
9 new from $94.95
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of September 19, 2021 6:54 am

The YakAttack VISICarbon Pro 360 offers you a LED light and a flag on the same product. The LED light is very bright and will provide all the illumination you’ll ever need while on the water. I like that the flagpole of the VISIcarbon Pro 360 can extend to about 48″ which illuminates all your immediate environment. And it can also be collapsed to 14″ when not in use.

Also, this light is ultralightweight and won’t be a burden as you transport your kayak and gear to the shore. Thanks to the SilentSlip foam on the handle of this light, it’s easy to attach into most flush-mount and tubular fishing rod holders. Overall, installing this light is simple, easy, and straightforward

You’ll need AAA batteries to power this light and you get up to 100 hours of illumination on a single set of AAA batteries. Overall, you’ll be able to get over 10,000 hours from this light which is a lot and a clear indication that this light is long-lasting. Combine this with the water-resistant ability of the light and you have a kayak light that will last for years.

 Specifications

  • Size: 48 in / 122 cm (deployed)
  • Mount: track system
  • Power :  3 AA batteries
  • Run time: 100 hours
  • Waterproof:  Yes (1000 ft)

Pros

  • LED light and flag combo.
  • Lightweight and adjustable.
  • Easy to mount.
  • Bright and power efficient.
  • Long lasting.

Cons

  • No major shortcomings.

Other Buying Options:

Railblaza Visibility Kit II – Kayak Light & Flag

RAILBLAZA Kayak Day/Night Visibility Kit

$201.00  in stock
Amazon.com
as of September 19, 2021 6:54 am

Another light-flag combo, the Railblaza is designed using high-quality materials and the latest LED technology. You can remove the orange fluoro flag on the extender pole and put your national flag or any other flag you want. You also have the option of using the Railblaza camera mount which then allows you to use the flag pole as a camera mount.

There are 3 operation modes for the Railblaza light. You have the full brightness navigation mode, low brightness work mode, and light flashing emergency mode. This allows you to choose the operation mode appropriate for a particular situation.

The Railblaza light is also lightweight, waterproof to 1 meter, and floats on water. So you don’t have to worry about the light sinking if it falls into the water. Installing and removing this light from your kayak is simple and straightforward. And storage is easy thanks to the lightweight design.

This light is powered by 3 AA batteries that can provide about 25 hrs on full brightness mode, 160 hours on low brightness work mode, and 200 hours on flashing emergency mode.

 Specifications

  • Mount: track system
  • Power :  3 AA batteries
  • Run time: 25 hours on full brightness
  • Waterproof:  Yes (1 m)

Pros

  • Flag and LED light combo.
  • Three operation modes.
  • Lightweight and waterproof.
  • Easy to mount and remove.
  • Very bright and long-lasting.

Cons

  • No major shortcomings.

Kayalu Kayalite Portable Kayak Light

Kayalu Kayalite Portable Bright White Led Kayak Light

$49.95  in stock
Amazon.com
as of September 19, 2021 6:54 am

This is one of the most popular kayak lights on the market. It is made by the Boston-based kayak lighting company, Kayalu, that has been making quality kayak lights for some time.

As you’d expect, this Kayalu kayak light is lightweight and easy to transport and store. You’ll be using three AA batteries to power this light and unlike most kayak lights on the marker, Kayalu actually included three AA batteries in the package.

This light is very durable thanks to the strong casing and waterproof up to 1000 feet. It is also buoyant so you don’t have to worry about the light sinking if it falls into the water.

Installing this kayak light on your kayak is very easy as you can fasten this light onto the eyelets of your yak and then fasten it with steel clip and nylon coated bungee for security. Perhaps the only drawback is that the height of this light cannot be adjusted.

 Specifications

  • Size: 18 in / 45 cm
  • Mount: track system
  • Power :  3 AA batteries
  • Run time: 100 hours
  • Waterproof:  Yes (1000 ft)

Pros

  • Lightweight and easy to store/transport.
  • Three AA batteries included in the package.
  • Waterproof.
  • Easy to mount.

Cons

  • The height is not adjustable.

Other Buying Options:

Innovative Lighting 560-1110 Portable Kayak Light

Innovative Lighting - 560-1110 Portable LED Bow Light with Suction Cup

$30.98  in stock
24 new from $23.89
Amazon.com
as of September 19, 2021 6:54 am

The Innovative Lighting kayak light is a portable device LED Bow Light designed to be installed on the bow of your kayak. This light is very bright and will illuminate the kayak and its immediate area thereby making it easier for you to navigate in low-light situations.

I really like the molded, one-piece construction of this kayak light. This design reduces the number of parts that can wear or break down over time. There are also shock-proof neoprene accents that even make the lights more rugged and long-lasting. Also, the neoprene accents make this light waterproof.

Four AA batteries are required to power these batteries. Note that batteries are not included in the package. And the manufacturer rates this light to last up to 100,000 hours which is a lot.

 Specifications

  • Size: 12 x 7 in / 30 x 18 cm
  • Mount: Suction cup mount
  • Power :  4 AA batteries
  • Run time: Up to 100 hours
  • Waterproof:  Yes

Pros

  • Easy to mount and remove.
  • Very bright.
  • Waterproof.
  • Very durable and long-lasting.

Cons

  • No major shortcomings.

Other Buying Options:

UST See-Me 1.0 Waterproof Light

UST See-Me 1.0 Waterproof 20 Lumen Steady-On LED Light for Emergency, Camping, Hiking and Outdoor Survival

$11.99
$10.85
 in stock
8 new from $10.85
1 used from $7.99
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of September 19, 2021 6:54 am

The UST kayak light comes highly rated. For one, it is visible for up to 3.4 miles (5.5 km) on a dark, clear night. It’s also very portable and can be easily carried on different vessels, backpacks, PFDs, and more.

The manufacturer claimed that this kayak light is approved by the United States Coast Guard which makes sense given that it meets some Coast Guard requirements for a watercraft lighting (US Coast Guard has a visibility requirement of 1 nautical miles which translates to 1.9 km).

Running on 2 AAA batteries, this light can run for up to 17 hours. It also has a waterproof rating of IPX7 which means it can withstand being immersed in water for 30 minutes at a depth of 1m.

There’s an easy on and off switch. And installing this light on your yak is super easy and straightforward.

 Specifications

  • Size: 7.3 x 1.6 in / 18 x 4 cm
  • Mount: Hook and strap system. Also handheld.
  • Power :  2 AAA batteries
  • Run time: 17 hours
  • Waterproof:  Yes (1 m)

Pros

  • Bright and visible from far away.
  • Portable and can be carried on vessels, PFDs, and so on.
  • Meet US Coast Guard requirements.
  • Waterproof.
  • Easy to mount.
  • Durable.

Cons

  • No major shortcomings.

Attwood Navigation Light Kit

Attwood 14192-7 Water-Resistant Deck Mount LED Navigation Light Kit, Marine Gray Finish

$38.25  in stock
50 new from $36.15
1 used from $32.36
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of September 19, 2021 6:54 am

The Attwood Clamp-On Light is a very portable and functional solution to the problem of low visibility that happens when paddling in the dark. Thanks to the C-clamp mounts that are included in the package, it’s very easy to mount/install this light on both the bow and stern of your yak.

You’ll see a red/green LED bow light as well as a white LED stern light. And you can expect about 150 hours of continuous lighting from three AAA batteries which are not included in the package.

This kayak light is very durable thanks to the shockproof housing and polycarbonate lenses. Overall, the Attwood Clamp-On light is a great kayak light you should take a look at.

 Specifications

  • Mount: track system
  • Power :  3 AAA batteries
  • Run time: 150 hours
  • Waterproof:  Yes (1000 ft)

Pros

  • Lightweight.
  • Easy to install/mount.
  • Bright.
  • Shockproof housing.

Cons

  • No major shortcoming.

Other Buying Options:

Botepon Bow Lights

Botepon Marine Boat Bow Lights, Red and Green Led Navigation Lights, Kayak Accessories, Marine Safety Lights Battery Operated for Boat Pontoon Kayak Yacht Motorboat Vessel Dinghy Catamaran

$10.99  in stock
Amazon.com
as of September 19, 2021 6:54 am

The Botepon light ensures your safety when you are kayaking or boating at night. It features two bright LED lights that can be seen 0.6 miles away. The lights are red and green and they come with a one-touch switch design.

There are three modes of operation which are flash, slow flash, and steady. Thanks to the flexible silicon body and double hook, you can easily attach the Botepon Kayak light to your kayak.

This light is powered by CR2032 batteries which are included in the package. You’ll get about 35 hours when using the light in full brightness mode and longer if you are using other modes. Getting batteries to replace the stock ones is also very easy.

While this kayak light is water-resistant, it’s recommended that you don’t leave it in water for long. Overall, this is a very functional and durable kayak light.

 Specifications

  • Size: 1.6 x 1.8 in
  • Mount: track system
  • Power :  CR2032 batteries
  • Run time: 35 hours on full brightness.
  • Waterproof:  Yes

Pros

  • One touch switch design.
  • Lightweight and flexible.
  • Improves your safety and visibility in low-light situations.
  • Waterproof.
  • Durable.

Cons

  • N/A.

Other Buying Options:

Kayak Lights & Night Kayaking – The Guide 

Now that you know the best kayak lights available on the market, I’ll now be taking you through a buying guide. Here, you’ll learn all you need to know about kayak lights and be able to make informed decisions when buying one.

Why Do You Need Kayak Lights?

There is a need for paddlers to make themselves visible to other paddlers or boaters, especially at night. Paddling before sunrise or after sunset is a common occurrence and there are a number of reasons for this.

Some people love the quiet of the night or early morning while some just love being alone. For others, it’s about fishing as some fish species may be more active at night.

Kayak lights will provide illumination inside and around your vessel making it easier for you to paddle and locate stuff on your yak with ease. You are also visible to other people on the water and should there ever be an emergency, people will find it easier to locate you and bring help.

In many places, having a light on your kayak before sunrise and after subset is a legal requirement. Laws about kayak lights may vary from place to place but one thing common to all is that you need to have a light on your vessel in the dark.

Night Kayaking: Rules and Regulations

In the United States, the US Coast Guard is responsible for providing regulations on federally controlled waters which includes coastal waters and the Great Lakes. Each of the 50 States in the United States has its own Boating Regulatory Agencies and Departments. For example, in Alabama, the Department of Conservation and Natural resources provide and enforce boating regulations.

You’ll have to find out about the local regulations of night kayaking in your state as regulations typically vary from state to state. However, if you are on federally controlled waters, you are required to have a white light on board if you are paddling before sunrise and after sunset.

Something as simple as a flashlight is enough to meet the US Coast Guard regulations but buying kayak lights makes more sense since they are designed specifically for yaks and are brighter and more durable.

Most States adopt the US Coast Guard regulations so you are probably going to be required by law to use lights when paddling at night. Even if your area doesn’t require you to carry lights when paddling at night or early morning, you should always go with a light. It never hurts to make yourself visible to other water users and have illumination to carry out your tasks better.

What is LED?

LED stands for Light-Emitting Diode and is a semiconductor device that produces visible light when an electric current is passed through it. LED lights are all the rage in the lighting industry nowadays due to the several benefits they offer.

For one, they require very low voltage to work and that’s why the LED lights on this list are powered by simple AA batteries. Also, they are very energy efficient, works well in both cold and hot temperature, very durable, safe, produce zero UV emission, have dimming capacity, offers tremendous design flexibility, and much more.

Want to know more about LED lights? A simple Google search would suffice.

What Are The Different Types of Kayak Lights?

Flag and Light Combo Kits

As the name implies, this type of kayak light is made up of a flag and light. They sit higher than your head when placed in your yak and make you more visible.

It’s a great option for people that paddle frequently at night and during the day as the flag will help improve your visibility and consequently, your safety. You can use the flag alone during the day and combine it with light at night or use them together at all times. It’s up to you.

Installing flag and light combo kits is easy as you just have to mount them on existing mounts on your kayak such as a rod holder. Some manufacturers include mounts in the package.

Having an adjustable pole can come in handy as you can always adjust the height of the flag and the light.

Deck Lights

You install this type of kayak lights on the deck (bow or stern) of your yak as their name implies. Some manufacturers may include a suction cup mount in the package to make it easier for you to install them on your vessel.

The main benefit of deck lights is that they can be easily removed and mounted. So if you’ll be removing your light regularly, you should take a look at this yak. Also, the position of the light on the deck can be easily adjusted. Note that not all deck lights come with suction cup mounts in which case you may have to mount the light directly on your yak.

Handheld Lights

This type of light is small, portable, and easy to mount. Usually, they come with a clip you can use to attach them to your vessel. There are even some handheld lights you can attach to your Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs).

The main purpose of handheld lights is to light your part so you can see where you are going. Their lightweight is a big plus as it makes them easy to transport, store, and ensure they don’t get in your way as you paddle.

Waterproof Rating

It only makes sense for kayak lights to have some degree of water resistance, right? Kayak lights manufacturers share the same thought and that’s why quality kayak lights are water-resistant. They are also buoyant to prevent them from sinking should they fall into the water.

The degree of waterproofing of a kayak light is determined by the IP rating which is an international standard that rates the degree of protection provided by mechanical casings and electronic enclosures against water, dust, intrusion, and accidental contact. We are interested in water when it comes to kayak lights.

The second digit of IP number determines its water resistance and is rated from 0 – 8 with the water-resistance increasing as the second digit increases. The first digit is usually about solid particle resistance and is usually denoted as ‘X’ for kayak lights since they are not rated for this.

So you can expect the IP rating of a kayak light to be something like IPX7, IPX6, and so on.

Mounting Options

Suction cup mount: Lightweight, affordable, and easy to set up. However, there is the drawback of them losing their suction over time and not be as secure as they used to be.

Clamp mounts: Very secure and very difficult to knock off. However, their solid construction means they are very heavy. If you don’t mind the extra weight, go for them.

Tension cable: Sole kayak lights come with cables that can be attached to the eyelets of your yak. They have the advantage of being very secure but are also prone to breaking at the same time especially when you collide with an obstacle on the water.

Track Mount: Track mounts can be found on higher-end kayaks and their purpose is for the paddler to attach gear. Some kayak light manufacturers may produce lights that are compatible with these mounts.

Final Thoughts

From all I’ve discussed in this article, you can see how important kayak lights are when paddling in low-light situations. They are simple and inexpensive pieces of gear but they help keep you and other paddlers or water users safe.

Paddle to your heart’s content at night or in the early morning and never forget to take a kayak light with you!

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