Reviewing The 5 Best Kayak Sun Shades For Kayaking In Summer

by Jason | Last Updated:   June 6th, 2022
Reviewing The 5 Best Kayak Sun Shades For Kayaking In Summer
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One of the best times to go kayaking is during the summer, but kayaking in the summer brings a problem… the sun!

And that’s probably why you’re looking for the best kayak sun shades.

The intense heat of the summer months makes you sweat and increases your chances of sunburn or sunstroke. But the harmful UV rays can cause far more damage than that over time. 

It’s thought that 80% of skin cancers are caused by over-exposure to UV radiation. And this is one of the many reasons people are starting to protect themselves from the sun while kayaking.

So, if you’re looking to protect yourself and your family from the sun this summer, why not check out some of the best kayak bimini tops the internet offers.

On top of introducing you to the kayak bimini, I’m also going to be explaining how to choose them and much more.

So, don’t go anywhere:

IN A HURRY? HERE ARE OUR TOP PICKS…

Which Are The Best Kayak Sun Shades?

Hobie Kayak Sun Shades

If you’re looking to add sun protection to your kayak, then the Hobie Kayak Bimini is excellent. It’s made with ripstop nylon, which makes it incredibly strong and prevents tears.

But, the feature that really stands out is the UPF 50+ protection, which means you get real protection from the sun. Many sun shades just provide some shade, but they don’t block the harmful UV rays from hitting you.

They also wanted to make the installation as easy as possible. It uses a no-drill installation so that you can get out on the water quickly. And more importantly, you don’t have to worry about damaging the integrity of your boat.

Overall, I’d highly recommend the Hobie Kayak Sun shade to anyone looking for total protection from the sun. It was also great to see that it offered some water-resistant qualities; the only downside is it’s pretty expensive.

Pros
  • The sun shade is effortless to install, and you can adjust the height of the shade to suit your needs.
  • The UPF 50+ protection was excellent, so you didn’t have to worry about the UV rays damaging your skin.
  • It comes with aircraft aluminum poles, giving the shade excellent durability when the wind is strong.
Cons
  • It’s pretty expensive, and this can make it slightly off-putting.

Lixada Kayak Sun Shade

If you’re looking for an easy-to-set-up sun shade that comes in plenty of colors, you can go wrong with the Lixada. You have a selection of nine colors to choose from, so you’ll have no issues finding the one that suits your kayak.

Another great thing about the kayak sun shade is how easy it was to install. You didn’t have to drill any holes, and it didn’t take that long to set up. That being said, it’s not easy to do while you’re on the water.

You’ll also find that it was designed to be extremely strong. They use durable, water-resistant Oxford cloth and aviation aluminum rods. And this provides excellent protection from the weather when you need it.

Overall it’s a pretty good sun shade made with excellent materials. I also really loved the color options they provided with the product. One of my main issues with the bimini was I couldn’t find anything about UPF protection.

Pros
  • It’s well made and extremely simple to set up, so it shouldn’t take you so long.
  • You have plenty of color options, so you can easily find one that suits your kayak.
  • It holds up well in the wind, so you don’t have to worry about it snapping.
Cons
  • In strong winds, it feels like it will tip the kayak over.
  • It doesn’t have a UPF rating, so it might not protect you from harmful UV rays.

KUUQA Kayak Sun Shade Canopy

If you’re looking for a high-quality sun shade at a reasonable price, you may have found the one for you. It’s made with excellent materials, including Oxford cloth and super robust aviation aluminum.

Everything is super simple to install so you won’t have any issues with that. Not only is it super easy to install, but it also packs down well. This means it won’t take up too much room inside your kayak when you’re not using it.

It’s designed with a single piece of Oxford cloth, and it offers excellent protection from the weather. The only thing that concerns me is it doesn’t state the UPF rating, so I don’t know how effective it is at blocking UV rays.

Overall, the KUUQA kayak sun shade worked exceptionally well at providing shade to the paddler and at a reasonable price. But, I’m unsure how well it works at blocking harmful UV rays from your body.

Pros
  • It packs down very well, so you can store it very quickly and carry it with you without too much issue. 
  • Setting the kayak sun shade up takes minimal effort, so it shouldn’t take you too long.
  • Provides a good amount of shade within the kayak.
Cons
  • It doesn’t state the UPF rating.
  • Felt a little bit flimsy when the wind picked up, so it’s something to look out for.

MOPHOEXII Kayak Sun Shade Canopy

One of the features that stands out with the MOPHOEXII kayak sun shade is how well it packs down. You can easily carry the shade with you when you’re not using it due to its small size and lightweight.

Not only is it easy to transport, but you’ll also have no issues setting it up quickly. And this is thanks to the sun shade using the existing hardware on your kayak to install the shade. That means no drilling holes in your kayak.

Another great thing about the shade is how durable the design is. It uses a ripstop Oxford cloth, so it doesn’t tear easily. They also used a strong aviation aluminum rod to hold it together, so it doesn’t flop around in the wind.

Overall, the kayak shade performed reasonably well at blocking the sunlight and providing you with some well-deserved shade. It was also straightforward to set up and packed down small, so it was easy to carry.

Pros
  • Provide excellent shade in intense sunlight and helps to keep you cool.
  • It took very little time to put together so that you could get straight on the water without much effort.
  • It packs down small, so it doesn’t take up too much home inside your kayak when you’re not using it.
Cons
  • It doesn’t feel solid in the wind, so you need to be careful when the wind picks up.

Cypress Rowe Outfitters Sun Shade Canopy

If you’re looking for a kayaking bimini that provides ultimate protection from the weather, then this is an excellent pick. They used a top tear marine-grade polyester canvas which protects you from the sun and the rain.

The material is also woven from an engineered polyester thread, then polyurethaned, waterproofed, and mildew protected. You have an extremely strong kayak sun shade when you put all of these things together.

They also used 1-inch diameter aluminum tubing with nylon fittings which secured everything in place tightly. And this means you didn’t have to worry about it blowing away in the wind. The downside is all of this made it extremely heavy to carry.

Overall the Cypress Rowe Outfitters kayak sun shade works exceptionally well. Not only is it built to be tough, but it also protects you very well from the elements. The one downside is it’s pretty heavy, so it’s hard to carry.

Pros
  • The material is exceptionally well protected, so you don’t have to worry about getting damaged.
  • The strong aluminum poles are extremely strong, so you don’t have to worry when you’re in strong winds.
  • It’s pretty easy to install and comes with everything you need to get it started.
Cons
  • It’s pretty heavy, making it harder to transport, and it weighs down your kayak.

Our Top Choice 

Okay, I hope one of the five best kayak sun shades I’ve pointed out to you has stood out enough to make your decision.

But…

If you’re still not sure which one you want to go for, I’ll let you know which one I’d choose. And for me, it would have to be the Hobie Bimini sun shade; for me, it’s far superior compared to the others.

It’s incredibly lightweight, which means it’s simple to transport and sets up very quickly. I also loved that it proved UPF 50+ protection. And this means you don’t have to worry about harmful UV rays damaging your skin.

I also really liked that you didn’t have to drill any holes into your kayak, which meant you didn’t have to risk ruining the integrity of the kayak.

The problem is:

You have to spend a lot of money on the shade, so if you haven’t got a big budget, this might not be the option for you.

If you’re looking for another big hitter, the Cypress Rowe Outfitters is also a great option, but it is cumbersome. It also comes at half the cost, so it could be better for people on a budget.

While you’re here, why not check out this article on what to wear kayaking in the summer.

Things To Consider Before Buying The Best Kayak Canopies

Okay, I´ve introduced you to some of the best kayak sun shades on the market; you might be wondering how I chose them.

So, in this section, we are going to be talking about what factors I looked at to make my decision, so let’s take a look:

Compatibility 

Before worrying about the cool features, one of the first things you should look at is whether the bimini is compatible with your kayak.

But don’t worry, there’s some good news:

Most kayak canopies are designed to be used with any width kayak, so you shouldn’t have too many issues.

When you’re shopping around, you need to know the width and length of the kayak canopy and compare it to your kayak. Doing this will give you a good idea of whether the kayak canopy is compatible with your kayak.

Another thing you should pay attention to is how the bimini installs on your kayak. Does it need any special equipment to install it?

But again…

Most of them are designed to fit on all kayaks with ease whether it’s tandem kayaks or inflatable kayaks, but you should still keep it in mind just in case.

Storage

Another thing I like to think about is the storage options. In other words, does it pack down small enough not to cause any issues when you’re not using it?

Some biminis don’t pack down very well, which can make storing them a bit of an issue, especially if you have a small kayak.

Another thing you need to think about is how you should store it. You need to make sure you can prevent mildew or mold from building up.

Material

One of the most important factors to consider is what materials are used to build your kayak sunshade.

There’s nothing worse than buying a new piece of kayaking equipment and then breaking it after one or two paddles.

And the problem is:

Sun canopies are prone to breaking if they are not made with strong materials. In fact, it only takes a small gust of wind to tear them apart.

And this is why it’s so important you get the materials right.

Ideally, you’re looking for ripstop nylon or polyester fabric because they are lightweight and extremely durable.

Another thing you should be looking for is strong poles to hold everything together. I like to use aluminum poles or fiberglass. Again, they are solid and lightweight, making them the perfect material. 

You need to remember that the quality of your sun shade goes hand in hand with the price. So, if you’re going cheap, you’re probably going to regret it further down the line.

Water & Sun Resistance

The reason we get sun shades is to protect us from the elements, so it’s really something you should be thinking about. Ideally, you should be looking for something that offers both sun protection and water resistance.

When it comes to sun protection, I like to look for something that has a UPF rating. A UPF rating shows how much protection the material gives you from harmful UV rays. Ideally, you should be looking for a material that provides a UPF 50+ rating.

On top of the UPF rating, you should also be looking for a material that can protect you from the rain. You never know when a summer shower will come, and having some protection goes a long way.

Ease Of Installation

The final thing I like to look at is how easy the kayak canopy is to install. Let’s face it; we don’t all have the patience to set up hard-to-install products.

Most of the time, biminis are relatively easy to set up, but you should still check them out, just in case.

You’ll find that most of them use tent poles like designs that just slot into your kayak rod holders or gear tracks.

Others might need a more permanent fixture, and this isn’t for everyone, especially if you’re not fond of DIY.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is A Kayak Bimini Top Or Canopy?

It’s a retractable cover that protects the kayaker from the sun and the rain. They use them to provide shade inside the kayak when the weather is too hot to handle. They can be made with various materials and come in many shapes and sizes.

Does Color Matter?

Yes, the color does matter; you need something that will reflect the UV rays instead of absorbing them. Ideally, you should be looking for a white, yellow, or light grey kayak canopy to use in the summer without getting too hot.

Who Are Kayak Canopies For?

Kayak canopies are excellent for fishermen or people that love spending a lot of time on the water during the summer. They block the sun from your eyes and help to keep you cool when the weather is too hot.

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Hey, my name's Jason, and before I was a writer, I worked as an outdoor activity instructor where I took groups kayaking and camping. Now I use my personal experiences to share tips and tricks I've learned over the years. For as long as I can remember, I've been passionate about the outdoors, and now I want to share that passion with my readers.