Our features and fittings have been custom designed with maximum functionality in mind. We spent months deliberating over angles, curves and materials to achieve the best fitting for its purpose.
8″ Day Hatch
This moulded-in hatch is a treat! We’ve created a moulded-in hatch compartment that is sealed by our custom designed Vagabond 8″ Screw Hatch cover. This easy-access ‘bucket’ is the place to put items you may want to access frequently or those you may want quick access to while you’re out on the water – without the hassle of having to dig out a drybag from the depths of your kayak. Items stashed in this hatch could include your mobile phone, sunblock, medications (asthma pump, diabetic insulin, allergy tablets) and snacks. We still recommend that you put items in a little dry bag, even when using this day hatch.
8″ Screw Hatch
There are two things a person needs from a hatch. One: that it doesn’t leak. Two: that you can open it. To prevent leaks, we’ve placed the EPDM seal in the lid, not the base. We have also given the lid a ‘skirt’ that fits over the base so that water splashing on to the deck will run off, not into, the hatch. The thread of the lid is designed to easily screw into the base and to further ensure that the hatch is watertight. On all our kayaks, the hatches are mounted on specially-designed surfaces that prevent water from pooling around the hatch covers, which helps even more to keep the hatches watertight. If you’ve ever struggled to get a tight hatch open because you can’t get a good grip, you’ll love our custom-designed Vagabond hatch. We’ve included appropriately placed-and-sized deep indentations that hands – men’s hands and smaller-sized women’s hands – can get a good grip on to unscrew a lid tightened by The Hulk. Despite all our efforts to make the hatches as watertight as possible, we recommend that you still put all items in drybags when making use of the hatches. Water has a nasty habit of finding a way through even the best seals, and sand or dirt trapped in the thread or on the seal of the hatch can cause water to seep into the boat.
An Anchor Trolley is fitted to all our Angler kayaks. The purpose of the Anchor Trolley is firstly to provide a secure point for anchors to be attached. On kayaks, anchors should be light and relatively small. Common items used as anchors include a piece of a steel chain and a diving weight. Avoid anchors that can get stuck easily. The second purpose of the Anchor Trolley is to allow you to orientate the anchor in a specific position relative to your kayak. By moving the anchor forwards or backwards with the trolley, you can use the wind or water current to change the angle of your boat. We recommend that you use a carabiner to clip your anchor rope to the trolley ring. You want to be able to let go of the anchor quickly in an emergency situation or if you need to help your buddy get a fish off the hook. Another cool trick is to attach a buoy of some sort (say an empty 2L cold drink bottle) to the anchor rope close to the above-mentioned carabiner. If you need to unclip your anchor for whatever reason, the carabiner will float and you can go back to it later and clip onto the anchor again.
Paddling, even gently, is an activity and maintaining your hydration is important. As mentioned in our safety guidelines, we recommend that you always take a bottle of water with you. All of our sit-on-tops and recreational kayaks have bottle holders. Your bottle rests in a groove and is secured by a bungee cord attachment. Regardless of the season, whether you plan to be out there for an hour or for the day, always take along a water bottle to avoid dehydration.
We added bungee cords to all our sit-on-tops to help you secure items in the Tankwells and also on the front decks. The bungee cords are attached to the boats by hooking the closed loops at the ends of the bungee cords onto Multifits. This results in a secure attachment, while still allowing you to take the bungee cords off the boat easily if you want to attach rope or tie downs to these Multifits.
A set of four Clip Rings are attached to all our sit-on-tops. The Clip Rings are made of die-cast, anodised aluminium alloy. These sturdy Clip Rings are used to attach thigh straps to the sides of the cockpit. The thigh straps, hooked around your knees, provide support to keep you in the boat when paddling through rapids and in ocean surf. We designed our seats and footwells in such a way that a backrest is not actually needed, but if you really want to use one, the two Clip Rings that are fitted on the sides of the seat can also be used to attach a backrest.
Grooves in the tankwell of the Kasai, Tsomo, Tarka, Marimba and their angler versions are shaped and positioned to hold the corners of a crate or cooler box. This makes for a snug and secure position that will prevent your crate from sliding around. Secure the crate using tie downs, straps or bungee cords attached to the many Multifits around the tankwell.
Our deck rails are a major feature on our Mokolo kayak and they are also incorporated into the angling versions of the Kasai, Tarka, Tsomo and Marimba. The deck rail, made of extruded aluminium alloy and anodised for durability, has been designed to fit a wide variety of accessories from all major fishing-accessory manufacturers. Customise your kayak with rod holders, GPS units, fish finders and a host of other accessories by attaching them to the deck rail.
Drain plugs exist to let water out of the hollow hull of a kayak, not in. That’s why we love our drain plug. The grip of the male part has been contoured for a solid grip, even when your fingers are cold and wet. The robust thread has been designed to prevent sand or grit from damaging the thread. A soft sealing silicone o-ring keeps water out. The t-bar at the bottom of the male part keeps the drain plug secure when opened and prevents it from falling into the water. A critical element is where we’ve positioned the drain plug. Most kayaks on the market have the drain plug at the upper tip of the stern, which seems logical, but when you lift up the kayak and roll it deck-down to empty out water, the drain plug gets pushed into the hole or the hole opening is closed by the ground and water cannot run out. On all our kayaks, we’ve created a recess on the side of the stern so that the drain plug can more efficiently empty water from the hull. You’re probably wondering why there is water in the hull in the first place? If you leave the hatch open while you’re messing with your kit and a wave crashes over you, water will get in. Or, if you don’t screw the hatch in properly and you’re in rough water, water can get in. The drain plug makes sure that you can get the water out again, effectively.
Both the Dumbi and Mokolo have a fin box that takes a standard skeg or fin that slots in easily, attaches or detaches with one screw and can be slid forwards or backwards to achieve different performance outcomes.
Footrests are not just a decorative ‘full stop’ on which to place your feet. They provide a surface on which to press your feet against to leverage your paddle stroke so that you can really put your back into it when you paddle with effort. Our footrests run along an aluminium rail with sprung pins to hold them in place. They can be easily adjusted for paddlers of different height. Position the footrests so that your knees are slightly bent. One of the big differentiation factors of our footrests is that the left and right footrests are connected to each other. This creates a much sturdier setup that is simply more fun to use. The surfaces on which you place your feet have been textured to prevent slipping. The overall surface of the footrests is also one of the largest in the industry, making for a comfortable and safe paddling experience. On our kayaks that are fitted with rudders, an additional joint on the footrest enables steering. If all the info above doesn’t convince you, consider this: the footrests have not only been designed for our recreational kayaks, but also for the Usutu, our whitewater sit-on-top. This means that it is designed to be tough, robust and safe. FROM THE DESIGNER I have just received the first production footrests that I designed for our new sit-on-tops. The footrests shown on the Vagabond website were all 3D-printed prototypes, now I have the real deal in my hands. My aim with this footrest system was to create an easily adjustable, very robust system that is also lightweight and cool looking. These are the typical opposing priorities that a designer has to deal with, of course. From a technical point of view, I definitely succeeded with this design. From an aesthetic point of view, you be the judge. The first main component in the system is the set of extruded, anodised aluminium-alloy rails. I designed the rail profile to work with the footrest but to also accommodate many other fittings that can be attached to it. You will see the same rail profile on different places on all our kayaks. Apart from the two long rails on on the sides of the footrest, in which the footrest slides forward and backwards, there is also a short rail that connects the left and right footrest. This adds a lot of stability and strength to the system without really adding weight. The second main component is the set of footrests. These footrests have a fuller profile than most on the market, making them really comfy under your feet on long paddle sessions. The non-slip surfaces have the Vagabond “V” embedded, which I think looks pretty cool. The footrests are injection moulded from tough Nylon 6 with a bit of glass-fill added for stiffness. The next component is the set of sliders. This is really the key component as it connects all the pieces together. This is also injection moulded from Nylon 6. Then there are the spring-loaded, stainless steel pins that lock the footrest in place. The pins slide in stainless steel bushings that are moulded into the sliders. A rope loop is attached to each pin, just long enough that you can grab both with one hand to pull the pins together, leaving your other hand free to move the footrest forward or back. The final little component is the rail end caps. Apart from finishing off the system to look neat, they also protect your legs from getting chowed by the rail ends. All in all, this is a great system that will be used on all our sit-on-top kayaks. It was designed to be robust enough for our whitewater sit-on-top (the Usutu) too, so you can be sure that it will stand up to serious abuse.
Getting in and out of your Vagabond kayak using the Stand-up Platform
This video has been on our to-do list for months. We recently took the featured pre-production Vagabond Tarka to our paddle club to take it for a spin. While there, we saw a chap struggling to get on an off a sit-on-top (of another brand). He almost fell into the water! There-and-then we shot this quick video of Lisa demonstrating how to get in and out using the Stand-up Platform. The Stand-up Platform is a key feature of our recreational sit-on-tops. It gives a flat surface for secure foot placement so that you can get in and out more easily. The superb stability of our boats adds to making it easier to get in and out without assistance.
There are times when you have to carry your kayak for more than a few metres – like from your vehicle to the put-in, a portage or through low-water sections. If you’ve ever carried a kayak (or suitcase) and have had the handle cut into your hands, then you’ll appreciate the time we’ve spent designing this fitting. The handle is injection moulded from glass-filled nylon, making them really tough yet easy on the hands. The underside of the handle has been sculpted with a bulging curve that rests the weight of the kayak at the base of your fingers. Smooth and solid, the handle is wide to offer a comfortable grip and to distribute the weight so that it doesn’t cut into your fingers. The top-side groove reduces weight and it looks super stylish too. There are many handles on our kayaks to give you options when lifting and carrying. Carry it on your own using the handles on one side, get a friend to help you and carry using the front-and-back handles or recruit more people to carry a loaded kayak.
Our knobnuts are used on our sit-in whitewater kayaks, Vubu and Pungwe. The knobnuts are used to adjust the seat and the footrest rails. The five-pointed star shape has an ergonomic design with points and grooves that have been positioned and sized for maximum grip to make adjustments easier, especially if your hands are cold or if you’re wearing gloves.
The best thing about moulded-in footrests? They’re unbreakable. That’s why they’re on our children’s sit-on-top, the Kwando. Four moulded-in footrest positions ensure that children’s feet are supported as they grow. Get your children into paddling from a young age and see them enjoy many years of paddling the Kwando.
Our multi-purpose fitting changes the game when it comes to setting up your Vagabond kayak for your activities. Our Multifit has been designed with one thing in mind: versatility. You can hook rope or bungee cord around it, thread rope through the holes, thread webbing through the slots, and clip small carabiners or snap-hook clips through the holes. The possibilities to attach, fasten or secure your goods to the deck or into the tankwell are endless. Easy.
We’ve paddled dozens of kayaks over the years and those that stand out as our least favourites are those where you constantly clunk your paddle against the deck with each paddle stroke or where you graze your knuckles! We’ve added paddle cutaways to most of our models to benefit from space, width and stability without compromising comfort or the efficiency of a paddle stroke. Of all the innovative features on our kayaks, the paddle cutaways certainly rank as one of the most useful, turning every paddling session into a fun activity instead of a frustrating one.
When you need to use your hands or if you stop paddling to eat, drink or just bob on the water to appreciate the scenery around you, put your paddle aside on our paddle rest. The shaft of your paddle rests in a groove and is secured to the deck by the bungee strap.
Rail End Cap
We’ve added a neat, injection-moulded rail end cap to neatly close off our footrest rails. This tapered cap prevents the rail from digging into the side of your calves by finishing it off beautifully.
The angler versions of the Kasai, Tarka, Tsomo and Marimba come with two flush-mounted rod holders. Mounted onto the kayak deck onto specially-designed raised surfaces, these sturdy rod holders have no weak parts or adjustable pieces that could shift or be broken. Located behind the seat, these rod holders reduce clutter on your deck and they free-up your hands to paddle, de-hook a fish or to eat lunch.
Few things in paddling are worse than getting a ‘numb bum’ from an ill-fitting seat. Our sculpted, moulded-in seat is designed for comfort so that you can spend the whole day paddling. The features that make this seat sensational include its shape, angle and size, all of which combine to create a comfortable seat that accommodates buttocks of all shapes and sizes. Our seat sits higher than the footwell, which adds to your comfort. Shaping under your upper thighs is supportive and rounded. We prefer our kayaks to be paddled without large chunky backrests, as these backrests hinder an efficient paddling style, hence the back side of the seats has been designed to give your lower back good support.
Scupper holes have two functions: they drain the water that splashes onto the deck, and they give structural support to the boat. On most of our rec sit-on-tops, the same sized scupper holes as those that are used to accommodate our Scupper Venturis. The models that require better drainage has more scupper holes. On other sit-on-top models like the Usutu, the scupper holes have been enlarged to facilitate faster drainage when paddling through rapids. The bottoms of the scupper holes, which tend to be high-wear areas, are located on top of grooves that run along the length of the boats. These grooves prevent impact and abrasion at the bottom of the scupper holes, while also assisting with tracking. The same grooves also house the Scupper Venturis.
Our kayaks are designed in such a way that the seats and footwells are above the water line, unless they are loaded close to the maximum carrying capacity, in which case a little bit of water may pool at the feet. Water that splashes onto the boat can just run straight through the scupper holes. For this reason, we did not put scupper plugs on our boats. Instead, we designed Scupper Venturis. This venturi system works with forward motion to ‘suck’ water under the hull to drain the deck. This has two purposes. First, if you paddle through waves and a lot of water is dumped into the cockpit, the low pressure that is formed behind the venturi will suck water out faster than it would drain purely by gravity. And second, when you paddle forward with most sit-on-tops, even on flat water, water tends to splash through the scupper holes from the bottom, which can be quite unpleasant. Our Scupper Venturis prevent this ‘back-splash’. This results in a much smoother ride. The Scupper Venturi consists of two parts, one top and one bottom, that are fixed together with a screw from the top. By tightening the screw, the two parts are wedged into the scupper hole. The advantage of this system is that no holes are drilled into the hull of the boat to install the venturis. If one breaks, it won’t damage your kayak in any way, and it is super easy to replace, if needed.
Sidewall Drainage Holes
The Sidewall Drainage Holes are a unique Vagabond design. They are used in the Dumbi surfkayak to drain water from the deck in an instant, which is essential when punching through waves. These large drainage holes are put through the sidewall, as normal scupper holes that go through the hull would negatively affect the surfing performance of the Dumbi hull.
We’ve all watched (and laughed at) friends, children, paddlers and our mothers getting into and out of kayaks. It is an inelegant and undignified process at the best of times. Not being able to get out unassisted can also be a barrier that restricts and prevents would-be paddlers from taking up and enjoying the sport of paddling. Our kayaks feature a stand-up platform that makes it easier to get up from the seat. The bottom of the platform is flat so that you can place your feet securely on the broad surface. Our moulded seat is raised so that your legs have sufficient leverage to get you into standing position. And, as our sit-on-tops are beautifully stable, you can actually stand up before stepping onto land – gracefully. Although we’ve designed this stand-up platform so that Mom can enjoy paddling without worrying about how she is going to get off the water, you’ll appreciate it too. In our most stable models, you can stand on these platforms to cast a fishing line from.
Securely stow your gear for day trips, overnight adventures and multi-day expeditions in our spacious tankwells. We’ve smoothed the base of these storage areas so that dogs and children will find this ‘1/2-seat’ area comfortable too. Our multifit accessories are spaced at intervals around the tankwells to give you options; secure gear using bungee cord, tie-downs or rope.
Our whitewater kayaks – Vubu, Pungwe and Usutu – boast these beautiful die-forged, anodised aluminium alloy handles. Both the handle design and the materials have been chosen to minimise weight and maximise comfort – for those times when you may need to carry or portage your kayak.