If you are in search of a guide that can be comprehensive and give you all the details you may need to start your duck hunting journey, you are at the right place. In this duck hunting kayak setup guide, you will learn all the basics of how you can manage to make a kayak duck blind for your adventure.
Whatever you will learn in this kayak duck hunting setup guide comes from a duck hunter himself. I will share all the tips, tricks, and ways that I wish I knew sooner. I will go through several designs and setups, their pros and cons, and building tips to help you have a smooth start.
DIY kayak blind for Duck hunting kayak setup
I started duck hunting building by kayak duck blind DIY in 2018. Since then, I have had my fair share of failures and successes on this journey. From sliding frames to flip-downs to open doors, I have tried all kinds of kayak blind DIY.
I have experience with 5 different styles of kayaks, while I have worked on an additional two. If you want to learn from my experience, then stick to the end.
Kayak blind design ideas for duck hunting kayak setups
The design process for a kayak is quite versatile. There are many styles of kayaks and many designs you can adopt. Depending on the purpose you want from your duck hunting kayak blind, you can try various designs.
Whether you want to travel to the weeds and hide there or use the kayak as your hiding spot, based on your demands, you can alter your kayak in various ways. I will discuss some of the designs now, including how to build a duck blind, their setting-up procedure, and the pros and cons. So, you can have the perfect kayak layout blind.
1. PVC Kayak duck blind: A supreme duck hunting kayak setup
This design of the kayak is best for you if you want to keep the originality of your kayak. I would call this a squeaky kayak because when I swung open the doors for access or escape, the PVC joints made a discordant creak. If you’re building a kayak duck blind, I’d recommend utilizing conduit rather than PVC. Nonetheless, the essential notion stays intact.
- Begin by creating two doors that, when tilted upward, meet in the center of the kayak.
- Consider replacing your hinges with bimini fittings for increased longevity. With this configuration, your rifle stays on the outside of the blind while you sit erect within, providing you with maximum concealment.
This design thrives in locations with a lot of vertical cover to blend into. However, it’s worth mentioning that adding doors might sometimes make paddling more difficult (I’ll go into this further later).
You can modify the height of the center point to provide more cover within the blind. However, keep in mind that the larger the doors, the more difficult it might be to paddle and transition in and out of the blind.
Consider adding a built-in stand or a photographic port to your kayak duck blind to take it to the next level. This feature can improve your hunting experience and make recording those great moments easier.
Pros and cons
The Bimini fittings I mentioned above were new to me too, but they work really well when you are working on a DIY kayak duck blind. They are used on boats to lower and raise shade coverings. They are quite an affordable option. Especially if you buy the nylon ones, they are even bulletproof. They are very similar to what is on commercially produced duck hunting kayaks.
2. Camo cover kayak blind
Changing the appearance of your kayak might be as simple as a fresh coat of paint or draping it with camo hessian, or it can become a more involved effort. Consider this option if you’re primarily interested in utilizing your kayak for transportation but wish to conceal its brilliant colors once you get to your destination.
In my early kayak customization attempts, I tried to keep the kayak’s individuality in mind. I made a slip-on camo kayak cover out of 600-denier camouflage Cordura cloth that was affixed to the kayak using bungee cords. Although you may sound like you should not use any kind of stapling or pointy thing to stick your clothes with the kayak, just a reminder to be gentle with your kayak as it has to bear the pressure of water.
I chose 600-denier cloth since it is acceptable for use with a normal sewing machine. It has high strength, is waterproof, comes in a variety of camouflage designs, and is best used to create a kayak camo cover. If you choose a thicker fabric, you may need an industrial-grade sewing machine. Moreover, you will raise the weight of your kayak, which will make its handling difficult. You can consider the option of a Magellan camo kayak cover as well. As for any other additions, I have made none. My prime purpose was to camouflage the kayak, and using a denier cloth did the best job of creating a kayak hunting blind.
Pros and cons of Camo Cover
Pros of Camo Cover
Cons of Camo Cover
Camo kayak cover
The kayak cover I discussed here I made myself. But if you are not keen to do the hard work, you can consider buying. Amazon has many options for kayak covers to choose from. Their elastic setting makes them easy to put on. So, you can check them out.
3. Layout kayak with flip-open doors
My current duck hunting setup in my kayak is a DIY masterpiece that hits the right blend of comfort and concealment. While there are commercial solutions, they frequently provide a one-size-fits-all answer. A DIY duck blind design might be the way to go if you want a customized setup that fits your kayak or if you want to save money for extra decoys.
You’ll need to make some adjustments to your kayak to obtain this arrangement, especially if you have a classic sit-in kayak. This modification is required to obtain a low profile, which is critical for late-season layout hunting when you need to lie flat.
I propose something like the MoMarsh Invisi-Lounge for sitting. It allows you to sit erect at a 90-degree angle early in the season and quickly adapt to lie flat while targeting late-season mallards.
One low-cost option for creating your own DIY duck hunting kayak is to recycle a cheap, secondhand layout blind. You may have to look around to find one, but investing $25 to $40 on a worn-out layout blind would not break the budget. Because you’ll be modifying the blind, a few tears in the fabric won’t be an issue.
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You can also easily convert the seat into a wonderfully comfy arrangement for your kayak. I’ve even slept overnight in the marsh with mine, and afternoon naps during hunts have become a regular luxury!
Consider the width of the doors while making this decision. Wider doors might make climbing in over the edge or paddling with the doors open difficult. However, depending on the depth of your kayak, look for doors that are broad enough to nearly touch when raised in a triangular form (/). When opposed to flat doors, this arrangement allows greater space in the kayak.
One useful technique is to gently offset the door hinges on the interior of the kayak. This enables smaller doors to provide complete coverage while also preventing them from swinging too wide. The door design is critical to your kayak hunting experience, especially if the door is flip-open. Setting them up correctly is critical; otherwise, you’ll struggle during your hunting outings. When fine-tuning your setup, don’t forget to account for the added weight of late-season clothes.
Finally, if you decide to go with this design, consider utilizing foam doors. The flexible-style doors on the Northern Flight Waterfowl Kayak Blind allow you to enter the kayak with the doors closed and then draw them on top of you for greater concealment.
Incorporating a camera port into this arrangement might be a terrific addition for people interested in photography during their duck-hunting expeditions. It will allow you to record those wonderful moments while remaining hidden and comfy in your kayak. My brother, Jack, even adapted a camping sleeping pad for his kayak arrangement, which has worked very well for him.
This DIY duck blind kayak arrangement provides both functionality and comfort, and with a few modifications, it can be transformed into a flexible platform for photographing those great hunting moments. So, take your time perfecting your design and enjoy the quest the most.
Pros and cons of layout kayak with flip-open doors
4. Layout kayak with flip-down doors
During my first foray into kayak hunting, I saw that a change was required for my DIY arrangement of blinds on the water. The idea for this change came to me midway through my first duck shooting season from the kayak. The plan was to build a custom duck blind from the ground up, exclusively for kayak hunting, with no reliance on pre-made alternatives.
Now, if you’re entering the realm of DIY layout blinds for your duck hunting kayak, keep in mind that certain adjustments, such as the removal of the top or seat, are required to fit your custom arrangement seat. This ingenious design includes two square panels that are essential for converting your kayak into a mobile duck blind.
When you’re tucked in the blind, the first panel, right below your chin, acts as your primary concealment. This design is clever since it attaches to panel 2 exactly around your waist. I used PVC that was slightly bigger than the conduit to allow for smooth pivoting and rotation over panel 2.
Panel 2 is designed to swivel and rotate, allowing the doors to fold inward. It is strategically located below your knees. This design outperforms typical flip-open doors, which are frequently drenched. They flop downward, safely staying within the kayak, insulating them from wetness and allowing for smoother paddling.
The versatility of this DIY duck blind design for a kayak is its charm. You may enjoy an upright sitting position by flipping panel 1 onto panel 2 and resting your shotgun over the still-closed panel 2. While this design provides somewhat less covering, it is appropriate for early-season hunts when lighter camouflage is permitted.
However, several limitations of this DIY duck blind design for your kayak must be acknowledged. There’s the issue of restricted room and comfort since the panels within the blind tend to lay on top of you. Furthermore, panel 2 stays flipped down, prohibiting you from storing your shotgun beneath since it may hinder your ability to rise and take a shot.
I’d fold back panel 1 and keep my shotgun outside the blind for early-season trips. However, for late-season DIY layout hunting, I had to carefully put the shotgun over my shoulder, similar to a soldier’s at-ease carry, albeit in a reclining position. This DIY duck blind for kayaking is useful throughout the year.
Pros and cons
5. Layout kayak with sliding doors
Among the many DIY duck blind designs I’ve tried, one has emerged as a particular favorite. However, it has a significant flaw. The lack of stability against the wind becomes apparent when hunting in the late season among flattened vegetation. On windy days, we usually anchor our kayaks with wooden poles or conduit sections at the front and back. However, with its sliding door that opens to the front, this design eliminates that possibility.
This clever duck blind is made by bending a few semi-circular sections of conduit and attaching them to the front and center of your kayak. A parallel PVC pipe is then attached above these half circles. This conduit can easily glide up and down the PVC. Attach another length of conduit to the first, but on the outside of the PVC, to finish the construction. The blind attaches simply to the upper conduit piece.
I previously built a sliding frame blind for a spare Pelican Trailblazer kayak, which had its own set of advantages. Notably, the Cordura fabric covering provides robust shelter, making it perfect for hunting in the rain. Furthermore, the design extends over the edges of the kayak, making it a great choice for places with little natural protection. Because of its rounded top, it fits in with its surroundings when fully rubbed in. However, it is in difficult conditions that this kayak design shows its weaknesses.
As seen by my several kayak blind tests, I have a special preference for the flip-open door type. However, I realize that DIY duck blinds are not one-size-fits-all solutions. I’m glad to present a plethora of suggestions to help you decide what best fits your specific situation.
For those who prefer not to do it themselves, there is a commercially available solution that, while lacking the personalized touch, does the job well.
Pros and cons
Tools required for duck boat blind DIY
It’s critical to have the correct equipment on hand to ensure a smooth and effective DIY kayak duck blind building. While this is not an entire list, it is a useful starting point for your project.
- Conduit bender
Purchasing a conduit bender may appear to be an extra expense, but it is well worth it. This specialized tool can help you save time and produce a more professional-looking end product. A conduit bender has proven to be vital for a variety of duck-hunting tasks throughout the years.
You may come across circumstances when pieces do not fit as planned. A hammer may be a useful tool in such situations for making modifications and assuring a perfect fit.
- Screwdrivers and wrenches
To securely attach nuts and bolts, you’ll need a range of screwdrivers and wrenches. Having a variety of these tools on hand means that you’re ready for a variety of fastening situations.
- Drill bits
Having spare drill bits on hand is a smart idea, especially a 0.25-inch bit or one that matches the size of your bolts. A new drill bit helps speed up the process of drilling holes through metal conduits.
- Power drill
A power drill is required to create the mounting holes required to connect the blind to your kayak. This tool streamlines the procedure and assures a proper fit.
- Cutting tools (hacksaw/reciprocating saw)
You’ll need a means to cut away pieces of the material if you want to adapt your kayak for the duck blind. Using a powered saw, such as a hacksaw, jigsaw, or reciprocating saw, will speed up the process and guarantee that the cuts are clean and exact.
Building a DIY duck hunting blind kayak
While creating a DIY duck blind plan, it is important to be thorough with the plan and have the correct supplies. When I started my first blind, it took me literally around 2 and a half months. But now, I can easily make a blind kayak in just a week. All I need is to have the right supplies. This is possible, not because I have experience. But also because I plan, gather supplies, and then start working on my plan. Here are a few things that you should have before you start working on your duck blind ideas.
Depending on your design, you can use a range of materials, including cordura cloth, chicken wire, snow fence, or mesh netting. The trick is to have a kayak cover that allows you to attach natural flora. I favor Cordura, although some of my fellow aficionados prefer camo netting.
Go through your materials to see if you can discover any useable nuts or bolts. If your supply is getting short and you need to restock, I recommend 14-inch-20 x 1-inch or 14-inch-20 x 2-inch bolts with nuts and washers. To ensure you’re well-prepared for the endeavor, buy a tiny box of each bolt size and one box of nuts.
A few cans of spray paint will be helpful at various stages of this project. Even if you don’t want to paint your kayak, I find that Rust-Oleum’s camo colors work well for camouflaging the conduit blind frame.
These fittings are important since they function as hinges or link the conduit to your kayak. You don’t have to spend money on pricey metal fittings; plastic ones will suffice. If you prefer to use insert fittings, make sure you have sufficient glue on hand; I recommend liquid nails for a strong bond.
Keep a supply of both tiny and big zip ties on hand. During the building process, they are quite adaptable, and the remaining bigger zip ties may be used to conceal the blind.
In my first effort at building a duck hunting kayak, I utilized PVC, which lasted only three weeks into the season. I strongly advise using a half-inch electrical conduit for your kayak blind.
Ultimate duck hunting kayak setup
If you are considering something quick, then here is a video that can explain the setup of the kayak.
To begin the change, we go on a creative adventure in which we create semi-circular or horseshoe-shaped alterations in the conduit and effortlessly attach them to the kayak. Three separate components are commonly used in this novel procedure.
- First, one is strategically positioned towards the stern of the kayak, making what we lovingly refer to as the “rear hood.”
- The second portion is intelligently placed at the bow of the kayak, thereby assisting the elevation of our camouflage material while still providing us plenty of room for our feet.
- Last but not least, we add a third piece, generally in the middle, creating a cockpit-like arrangement.
Once these structural enhancements have been completed, it is time to enter the domain of concealment. Whether you use paint or fabric creativity, the key to achieving the ultimate camouflage is the harmonic merging of raffia and wild plants. As an experienced practitioner, I recommend starting with a light base layer of raffia to disrupt apparent shapes and reduce your reliance on plentiful natural greenery on your field outings.
This in-depth article offers essential insights into putting together a good duck hunting kayak setup. It digs into several kayak blind design options, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages that suit particular hunting tastes and situations. The equipment and materials needed for any DIY project are thoroughly documented, ensuring you’re well prepared. In the end, I just hope that this guide was helpful for you.
Hey there, I’m Aliex Folgueira—a professional paddler hooked on fishing, duck hunting, and navigating the waters via kayak for over 15 incredible years. At bestkayakinfo.com, I share my secrets, sharing personal stories, nifty tips, and top-notch kayak reviews. My goal? To enrich your kayaking journey with insights, tricks, and recommendations from my passion and years of hands-on expertise. Let’s paddle towards better adventures together!