Choosing and purchasing a kayak flag was a pretty simple decision, I thought. “What is there to need to know about an orange flag?” Grab yourself a flag. Attach it to the kayak, and off you go! Or so I thought!
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Buy once, cry once”? Great! That fits me here!
A flag was the one item I should have thought through instead of impulse purchasing. The flag I bought was a simple, inexpensive hi-viz orange flag, which cost $30.00 and served the purpose it was purchased for – so other boaters would see me during the day. But I quickly learned I needed to have a light for running before the sun rose and after it set.
I then began looking closely at lights for my kayak, which are required by the United States Coast Guard for being on the water after dark. And not wanting to carry more stuff on the kayak than I needed to, a lighted kayak flag seemed to fit the bill. I’d kill two birds with one stone and not have a running light mounted in the way or rolling around my feet in the kayak.
Here are the three choices of kayak flags I was looking at, and the reasons why I chose the one I did. One of these should work very well for you taking into consideration the type of fishing and where you plan on fishing.
Three Hi-Viz Orange Kayak Flags to Fit Your Budget
- My personal choice – Visibility Kit by Railblaza (Click to check the current price on Amazon) – Railblaza is a top company in the kayak industry with many innovative kayak accessories to choose from, and celebrating its 10th year in business. Their lighted kayak flag is the one I ended up choosing for a variety of reasons listed further down below. My Railblaza flag has withstood a number of trips and repeated smacks, and still performs flawlessly.
- Better – YakAttack VISIpole II GearTrac Ready Light with Flag (Click to check the current price on Amazon) – Let me begin by saying you simply cannot say anything bad about YakAttack and their product line. A quality company with quality products, and this is a solid lighted flag used by many. Even though I like their actual flag pennant more than Railblaza’s, I still went with the Railblaza’s Visibility Kit. Give this YakAttack flag a hard look!
- Budget – Lixada 120cm/ 4ft Kayak Safety Flag (Click to check the current price on Amazon) – Seriously, for around $20.00, you’re not going to find a budget-minded lighted flag for less than this! A collapsible aluminum pole, track-mounting, easy mounting, and all the hardware to completely install the flag included.
Why I Went with Railblaza’s Visibility Kit
- 360 degree visible light meets USCG requirements
- Two options for level of brightness and a flashing mode
- 3 AAA batteries are easy to carry
- Runs 25 hrs on high, 160 hrs on half, and 200 hrs on flashing mode
- Waterproof to one meter
- A three-section pole for height adjustments
- Also includes the Starport base mount
The 360 degrees light is standard for lighted flags, but this is a large, highly visible light compared to other flags I’ve looked at. Even though they’re all pretty close, the Railblaza light, with its other options, still looks better to me. Also, there is a high and low setting with a flashing mode. Very similar to the Princeton headlamps I use as well. I like the flashing feature.
The long life of the 3 AAA batteries is nice too. At half power, 160 hours will give you a long time to fish and remain visible at night. Even when operating the light on its high mode, it will last 25 hours. The flashing mode at 200 hours is phenomenal!
Two features of the Railblaza Visibility Kit I enjoy are the three sectional pole system and the Starport base.
The three sectional pole system allows you to have your light and flag one meter high, or you can choose to lower it if you like. A couple of reasons to drop it somewhat is to allow you additional casting room when needed, or to paddle below low bridges, etc.
The Starport is a base mounting system that is a quick-release locking system. There are no screws, mounting bolts, etc. to contend with when you want to place your flag up or take it down. A quick slide of a latch and you’re in, and your flag is out.
It is a proprietary system, and I do use some of Railblaza’s other accessories now. My fish finder is mounted upon a Starport base, as are my rod holders. When needed, or able to, I often drop my flag on the rear and mount their camera boom into the Starport for the flag.
A quick and easy way to get amazingly steady shots with an action camera with their Railblaza Camera Boom (Give it a look on Amazon).
I highly recommend the Railbalza Visibility Kit, and you won’t be disappointed. It’s the one I use, and it has been bombproof so far. Regardless of which flag you choose, remember to be safe and have a great time on the water!