How to Repair a Rubber Kayak Hatch Cover

How to Repair a Rubber Kayak Hatch Cover
When rubber kayak hatch covers split or crack, they must be replaced---there is no way to permanently repair a rubber hatch cover. But when out on an expedition, getting a replacement hatch cover may be impossible, so knowing how to perform a temporary repair to your rubber hatch cover can save the trip. Be prepared for this by making a repair kit beforehand, and after the trip, install a replacement rubber hatch ordered from the kayak's manufacturer.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Before Your Trip: Prepare Your Repair Kit

Things You’ll Need:
  • Denso tape
  • Plastic bag
Step 1
Cut three or four strips of Denso tape.
Step 2
Place the strips of Denso tape onto a plastic grocery bag. Fold the grocery bag so a layer of plastic separates each strip of Denso.
Step 3
Place the grocery bag inside a freezer bag to prevent the tape's adhesive from sticking to everything else in your kayak.

During Your Adventure: Repair the Hatch Cover

Step 1
Repair the rubber kayak hatch cover by peeling a layer of Denso tape out of the repair kit and placing it over the split or cracked hatch cover. Apply pressure on both sides of the hatch cover as you apply the tape. Squeeze any air bubbles from the tape as you apply it.
Step 2
Place a second layer of Denso tape on the inside of the hatch cover to sandwich the split.
Step 3
Cover the exposed surfaces of tape with plastic. Because the tape is so sticky, it will collect debris, and anything that touches it becomes sticky. Covering the exposed surfaces will prevent the adhesive from spreading to gear you want clean.

Tips & Warnings

Sea kayaking guide and author Gordon Brown describes Denso tape as great for temporary repairs---its green adhesive sticks to everything even when wet.
Denso tape may be hard to find; check your local plumber supply store.
Reed makes waterproof emergency hatch covers for field repairs. These are an excellent replacement for Denso hatch cover repairs.
A repaired hatch cover may implode in heavy water conditions like surf; back up your repair by filling hatches with air bags, like paddle floats.

Article Written By Bryan Hansel

Bryan Hansel is a freelance photographer and kayaking guide who began writing in 1993. His outdoors articles appear on various websites. Hansel holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and religion from the University of Iowa.

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