Having just recently finished a Skin-On-Frame Greenland kayak, I’ve been paddling it as much as possible, and it generally sits on top of my car when not in use. The other day a thunderstorm blew through and filled my boat up with water, so I decided that I better go get a cockpit cover. At the local outfitter, I discovered that they wanted $40 for a cover that probably wouldn’t fit my boat very well anyway, so I left and drove to a fabric store determined to make my own. I spent less than $5.00 there, and now after a couple hours of sewing and design I have a waterproof nylon cockpit cover that looks just as good as anything that I could have purchased. If you follow these 10 simple steps, you can easily make one too.
- Â½ yard of 430 Denier Packcloth $5.11/yard
- 1 Mitten Hook $0.15
- 6 feet Shock Cord $0.20/foot
Step One: Trace your cockpit shape on paper to make a pattern.
Step Two: Pin or tape the pattern you created in Step One to the fabric that you will be making the cover out of. Note: In the sample picture I sewed some scraps together to make my cover have a black stripe down the middle.
Step Three: Extend the pattern onto the cover fabric by three inches. I use white chalk, because it comes off easily and really calls attention to the line when you are sewing.
Step Four: Make a second line 1 inch back from the line you drew in Step Three. This will be two inches away from the paper pattern. This is where you will fold the fabric to form a sleeve for the shock cord to run through.
Step Five: Cut the fabric to the outside seam that you drew in Step Three.
Step Six: Make a buttonhole on the back of the skirt where the shock cord will leave the sleeve. This is easy to do. Just sew two bar tacks parallel to each other about Â¼”” away from each other. Then sew two more bar tacks at 90 degrees to the first two that you sewed. These will close off the buttonhole and make a box of stitches. Cut into the fabric a slit that runs inside of these stitches.
Seven: Fold the seam that you made in Step Four and stitch it with a double stitch. This forms a sleeve for the shock cord.
Step Eight: Run shock cord through the sleeve that you sewed in Step Seven, and then test fit the cover on your kayak.
Step Nine: Seam Seal any stitches that run across the fabric. The sleeve doesn’t need to be sealed, because it will be under the cockpit coaming and that coaming won’t let the stitches leak. On the example in the pictures, I had to seam seal the seams between the black and grey fabrics.
Step Ten: Put the cover on you kayak and feel safe knowing that water will no longer accumulate in your cockpit during a Thunderstorm.
After finishing this project, my kayak now stays dry in the rain, and the only time it fills up with water is when I’m practicing wet reentry, or reentry and rolls.
Jason Bowling made this one: