Scupper plugs might not be the most exciting part of kayaking but, like most things that plug a hole in the bottom of your kayak, they are fairly vital. Similar to every other part of your kayak, scupper plugs will need to be maintained and occasionally replaced. To help out, we’ve put together this guide detailing what your scupper plugs do and which ones are the best on the market.

Best Kayak Scupper Plugs

Scupper Plugs: What Are They?

Scupper plugs are generally little rubber bungs that are designed to plug the “scupper holes” in the bottom of sit-on kayaks. All kayaks are prone to end up with water in their internal spaces. It can come from waves splashing over the side, rain, or even backsplash from your own paddle. Scupper holes are a convenient way of draining that water out of your kayak before the weight of it makes you more likely to capsize. Scupper plugs are designed to fit certain widths of scupper hole, so before purchasing replacement ones you should make sure you know which size your kayak needs.

Why Are They Important?

Scupper plugs are important because they stop water from moving back up through the scupper holes. If the water you are paddling in is particularly choppy, or if your kayak is weighed down enough, then water can start to come up through the supper holes and into the kayak. The purpose of your scupper plugs is to prevent this. The downside to scupper plugs is that they are small and easy to lose, and they also wear down over time and will eventually need to be replaced.

Is Water in My Kayak Normal?

Understandably, paddlers can become a little unnerved when water starts to come into their boat. (We’ve all seen the film Titanic!) But the truth is that water getting into your kayak in small amounts is entirely normal. If water starts coming into the kayak in large amounts then that is exactly what your scupper holes are for. Aside from scupper holes, there are other options for bailing out your kayak. A bilge pump is a compact and easy way to conveniently remove excess water from your boat.

How to Use Your Scupper Holes

Using your scupper holes to drain excess water out of your kayak is a quite simple procedure. Maneuver yourself into a position where you can safely put down your paddle, remove the scupper plugs, and allow the water to drain out. If water starts to backfill into your kayak then you will need to use an alternate method of drainage, such a bilge pump or bailing sponge. Check out this video for more information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBX0L0hOlZM  

Scupper Plugs: Which Ones Are Best?

Harmony Gear Scupper Hole Plugs

The Harmony Gear Scupper Plug is designed for use with all the Wilderness Systems Tarpon kayak models and all the Ride kayak models made after 2007. It also fits any kayak with scupper holes that are 1 inch wide to 1⅜ of an inch wide. Made of hard-wearing rubber, these plugs are abrasion resistant. Their only downside is that the color, uniform gray, makes them a little difficult to see and therefore easier to lose.

Ocean Kayak Scupper Stoppers

Produced in a high-viz bright orange, the Ocean Kayak Scupper Stoppers are made of a soft material that makes them comfortable even when installed under your seat. Their multi-ribbed design makes them a tighter fit and they come with an easy removal nylon tab on top. Designed for use with all Ocean Kayak models, the scupper stoppers are color-coded by size, making it obvious which scupper holes they go back into when you’ve finished draining.

Best Universal Kayak Scupper Plug Kit

The Best Universal Kayak Scupper Plug Kit is designed to be used with Hobie, Ocean Kayak, Native, Old Town, and all other major brands of kayaks. Their cone-like shape allows them to fit into scupper holes ranging from a fit of ¾ of an inch to 1½ inch. The Best Universal Kayak Scupper Plug Kit is ideal if you have lost your scupper plugs but have no real idea what size the scupper holes are, as they are a universal fit. The downside of this is that they won’t make as effective a seal as kayak specific scupper plugs.

Small, but Vital

Scupper plugs are one part of a kayak that you generally don’t notice until they are gone. At which point your kayak may start filling up with water. The good news is they are easy to replace, just make sure you’ve got your measurements right and plugging your leaks won’t be a problem!

About The Author

John is a professional copywriter, fencer, and paddlesports fanatic based in the UK. When he’s not out on the water, he can usually be found convincing new people to try kayaking, pretending to be Zorro or climbing what passes for mountains in England.