Best Kayak Bimini Top and Sun Shades

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Sometimes it is too hot to go for a paddle at the local lake or river. Plus, sun exposure is harmful in the long run. Thankfully, we can use a kayak sunshade to solve both problems. There are a wide variety of models in the market. But not all of them are suitable for any kayak. That’s why you need to take some time to do proper research. 

Here is where we come to the rescue. We’ve taken a lot of time to review, test, and ask around for 10 of the best sun shades for kayaks. But if you are in a hurry, then we suggest getting the Hobie Sun Shade. True, it is expensive and fits Hobie kayaks better. But if your craft is compatible, then it is the best one you can get. It is light and comes with UPF 50+ UV protection. On top of that, it is rigid, waterproof, and easy to install. In short, the best canopy you can get. 

However, if it is way out of your budget, then the Lixada bimini top is the best choice you can get. And, for those who have 10 feet plus kayak, the Adventure Canopies Kayak Sun Shade is the most suitable choice.

Now, if you have the time, then stick with us a little longer to review the rest of the candidates.

Hobie Kayak Sun Shade

Features: 

  • Weight (Pounds): 2.6
  • Coverage (sq ft): 7.5
  • Ripstop nylon
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum frame
  • Sun and waterproof

If you want a premium-grade sunshade for your kayak, then this product from Hobie is the one for you. But beware. It also has a hefty price tag. 

The thing that we loved the most about this Hobie Bimini was the UPF 50+ protection. It will keep the harmful UV rays at bay even on the sunniest day. This way, you can make the most out of your fishing trip. 

The ripstop nylon shields you from water as well. Plus, the rigid, aircraft-grade aluminum frame remains stable no matter the conditions. 

The Hobie kayak sun shade is easy to install. You don’t need to practice holes. You only need to fasten the hooks, and that’s all.  

Once you finish your adventure, you can fold it and store it in the included heavy-duty bag. 

Pros: 

  • Sun and waterproof
  • Rigid and stable
  • Easy installation
  • Light
  • Adjustable 

Cons: 

  • It fits Hobie kayaks better
  • Price tag

Lixada Kayak Sun Shade

Features: 

  • Weight (Pounds): 1.8
  • Coverage (sq ft): 8
  • Oxford cloth
  • Aviation aluminum frame
  • Waterproof

Another option for budget lovers. The Lixada kayak canopy is available in 13 different colors. This way, you can choose it to match that of your kayak! But the best thing is that it retails around 70 bucks! 

First, the Oxford cloth is thick, strong, and waterproof. Although it doesn’t have a sunscreen coating, it blocks the sun effectively. It also shows a decent abrasion resistance. Sadly, it is not adjustable.

You can use the Lixada kayak sun shade under the rain or wind, thanks to the rigid aviation aluminum frame. The structure sits 110 cm above the deck, giving you more space for your head. 

Setting the canopy is a straightforward process. The best thing is that you don’t need to puncture the hole to accommodate the poles as they are compatible with most kayaks. 

Like the other two, the Lixada kayak sun shade comes with a compact bag to stash the canopy while not in use. 

Pros: 

  • Waterproof
  • Suitable for mildly windy conditions 
  • Suitable for tall paddlers 

Cons: 

  • Delicate shock cords 
  • It is not adjustable 

Adventure Canopies Kayak Sun Shade

Features: 

  • Weight (Pounds): 3
  • Coverage (sq ft): 10
  • 600 denier polyester 
  • Fiberglass frame
  • UPF 50+ sun protection

Suitable for kayaks over 10 feet, the Adventure Canopies kayak sun shade offers enough protection for everyday use. Plus, the rigid fiberglass structure copes well with rain. So, no worries on this end. 

There are two versions available: The Barracuda for sit-inside kayaks and the Tarpon for sit-on-top crafts. Both feature the same build and perks.

Let’s start with the canopy. The 600 denier polyester offers UPF 50+ sun protection and mild water resistance. Plus, it grants 10 sq ft of shade, more than any other bimini on this list. 

Sadly, setting the Adventure Canopies kayak sun shade requires eight screws, which means that you must drill the deck. On the bright side, this reduces the chances of deploying the canopy wrong. 

The weight is another drawback. With 3 pounds, it is the heaviest bimini we’ve seen thus far. Plus, although it is easy to deploy, it takes some time to disassemble and stash it inside the slim bag. 

Pros: 

  • Huge coverage
  • Sturdy, thick canopy
  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • Sit-on-top and sit-inside models

Cons: 

  • Weight
  • It is hard to dismantle 
  • Requires eight screws 

MOOCY Sun Shade Canopy for Kayak

Features: 

  • Weight (Pounds): 1.06
  • Coverage (sq ft): 8
  • Canvas
  • Aluminum frame
  • Sunproof

Are you looking for something affordable? Well, then you come to the right place! The MOOCY sun shade is a budget option for those looking to keep prices down. Naturally, you have to settle for less in terms of quality.

The sun shade has a canvas built. The sunscreen coating gives some degree of protection against the sun. But it is nothing like the Hobie bimini we’ve reviewed before. But keep in mind that you will be getting this one for a quarter of the Hobie’s price. 

The aluminum poles are like the ones you find on any camping tent. They get the job done. However, the structure is not rigid enough to be used during rain or heavy wind. In fact, MOOCY recommends their kayak sun shade for calm to light winds. 

The MOOCY kayak sun shade offers 8 sq ft of coverage, which is enough for the average user. Still, keep in mind that you can adjust the canvas. In other words, if the rays are coming from one side, you have to move the entire craft. 

On the bright side, the sun shade is compatible with a wide range of kayaks.

Pros: 

  • It is compatible with many kayaks 
  • Easy to install
  • Sunproof
  • Budget-friendly

Cons: 

  • You can’t use it if it is too windy outside
  • It is not waterproof
  • You can’t adjust the canvas 

Cypress Rowe Outfitters 2′ by 5′ Kayak Canopy

Features: 

  • Weight (Pounds): 2
  • Coverage (sq ft): 10
  • Polyester canopy 
  • Aluminum frame
  • Waterproof

If you want something stylish that performs well, this kayak sun shade is for you. It has a polyester canvas canopy with polyurethane and waterproof coating that grants off-the-charts abrasion and water resistance, respectively. 

Allegedly, Cypress Rowe Outfitters ensure that the canopy is built to last at least 20 years. However, we can’t support that declaration. What we can say is that the fabric is thick, scratch-resistant, waterproof, and offers enough shade to cover 10 sq feet. 

Our main complaint is that the canopy is only 39 inches tall. Your head will likely rub against the fabric, especially if you are tall. Another thing is that you need to practice some holes to fix the aluminum tubing in place. 

Pros: 

  • Large coverage
  • Easy to install
  • Waterproof 
  • It copes with strong winds with easy

Cons: 

  • Require holes to install
  • There is not enough space for your head

Menolana One Person Sun Shade for Kayak

Features: 

  • Weight (Pounds): 1.3
  • Coverage (sq ft): 9
  • Polyester canopy 
  • Aluminum frame

You only have 60 bucks to spare? Then you should check the Menolana kayak sun shade. The polyester cloth offers 9 sq feet of coverage. The fabric looks and feels delicate. So, keep it clear from sharp objects.

The canopy is not adjustable and sits low. As a result, you won’t have too much room for your head. Avoid this sun shade if you are taller than the average. 

The aluminum poles are only 3.3 inches in diameter. So, keep your expectations low in terms of rigidity. It won’t hold heavy rain or strong winds. Still, it is more than enough for your regular fishing trip at the local lake. 

The Menolana sun shade only requires two holes for deployment. The flush-mounted rod holders will get the job done, provided your craft has them. 

Pros: 

  • Compatible with most kayaks with at least two rod holders 
  • Light
  • Easy to deploy

Cons: 

  • Thin fabric
  • Poor stability 

KUUQA Kayak Sun Shade

Features: 

  • Weight (Pounds): 1.4
  • Coverage (sq ft): 8
  • Oxford fabric
  • Aluminum frame
  • Mild water and sun resistance 

The KUUQA looks quite like the previous sun shade. However, it is slightly cheaper, making it a suitable choice for those looking for a kayak bimini under 50 bucks.

The Oxford cloth offers 8 sq ft of shade. The fabric has some degree of water protection. However, it won’t handle heavy rain. The same goes with sun protection. 

Naturally, you apply an aftermarket DWR coating or sunscreen. But it only helps as much. The canopy is just too thin to offer enough protection. Sadly, the aluminum poles don’t grant much rigidity as well. Therefore, the KUUQA is not the best choice for windy conditions. On the bright side, setting the sun shade is quite straightforward. It only requires two flush-mounted rod holders. So, compatibility won’t be an issue. 

Pros: 

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to install
  • Compatible with most kayaks
  • Mild water resistance 

Cons: 

  • Thin fabric doesn’t offer enough protection against the elements 
  • Flimsy structure

BRIS Portable Bimini Top Cover for Kayak

Features: 

  • Weight (Pounds): 8
  • Coverage (sq ft): 13
  • 600 denier polyester canopy with PU coating
  • Aluminum frame
  • Waterproof

Do you have an inflatable kayak? If so, then this canopy by Bris Store is the answer to your prayers. It only requires two stickable nylon joints. Plus, four tie-down rings. 

Unlike most kayak sun shades, the 1” aluminum poles on this bad body lack shock cords. You simply latch each piece together, and you are good to go. 

The 600 denier polyester canopy has a polyurethane coating that protects you from water. The thick fabric is incredibly resistant to abrasion and offers a whopping 13 sq ft of shade, more than any other bimini we’ve seen thus far. Plus, it sits 45 inches about the deck, making it suitable for tall paddlers. 

But there is a catch. It is only suitable for kayaks that are a minimum of 30 inches wide. It is also heavy, and deploying it takes due time. So, it might not be the best choice for those going solo. 

Pros: 

  • Large shade area
  • Sun and waterproof 
  • Compatible with inflatable kayaks 
  • Suitable tall paddlers 

Cons: 

  • Heavy
  • Difficult to set up
  • Only suitable for wide kayaks 

Sport-Brella Versa-Brella SPF 50+ Adjustable Umbrella

Features: 

  • Weight (Pounds): 1.9
  • Coverage (sq ft): 11.7
  • Polyester fabric
  • UPF 50+
  • Aluminum frame
  • Fully adjustable 

Although it is not strictly a sun shade, it surely works like one. The Sport-Brella umbrella comes with a clamp that attaches to both tubular and squared surfaces. Thus, you can fix it on your kayak seat, provided the seat has a frame. Alternatively, you can attach it to an accessory frame. So, it is not suitable for all kayaks.

The good news is that it is the most affordable kayak sun shade in today’s piece. You can enjoy all its features for less than 20 bucks. For instance, it offers 11.7 sq ft of shade and UPF 50+ UVA and UVB protection. You can fully adjust the umbrella, allowing you to place it at the right angle to block the sun effectively. 

The fabric blocks rain easily, and the structure is rigid enough to handle rough winds. In short, the Sport-Bella offers superb value for your money. Compatibility and delicate clamps are our only complaints. Try your best not to screw the umbrella too tight or you can damage the knob, rendering the sun shade useless. 

Pros: 

  • Great value for your money
  • Fully adjustable 
  • Quick set up 
  • UPF 50+

Cons: 

  • It is not compatible with all kayaks 
  • Delicate clamp knob

Pake Kayak Sun Shade Canopy

Features: 

  • Weight (Pounds): 1.4
  • Coverage (sq ft): 8
  • Polyester fabric
  • Aluminum frame

Our last option for today. It comprises a black, tear-proof Oxford sun shade. It shows some water resistance, as long as you don’t touch the fabric, of course. But the flimsy aluminum frame doesn’t look capable of handling heavy rain or winds. 

On the bright side, the aviation aluminum frame is light and easy to deploy. Just make sure that each section is tightly fixed before fixing the canopy. Keep an eye on the seams as well, as they are prone to tear, especially under stress.

Another point of concern is that the canopy is never fully extended. So, you won’t enjoy the 8 sq ft of coverage that allegedly the Pake kayak sun shade offers.

Pros: 

  • It offers some protection against the rain
  • It is compatible with most kayaks 
  • It comes with a bag 

Cons: 

  • Flimsy frame
  • The fabric is prone to tear

How to Choose a Kayak Sun Shade

Although they are simple pieces of gear, choosing a sun shade takes some thought. For instance, not all kayaks are compatible with any bimini top. The frame is important as well. Do you want something light and easy to deploy? Or do you favor rigidity the most? 

At last, the canopy is arguably the key ingredient in the mixture. It is the one shielding you from the sun and bad weather. A thick cover offers more protection against sun rays and water. But it also increases both price and weight. Do you see? There is a lot to think about before making any decision. Here you will find everything you need to know about kayak sun shades. This way, you can make an educated decision and pick the model that best suits your needs.

Sun Shade Canopy

Any sun shade comprises two parts: The canopy, which is the fabric that provides cover, and the frame.  Here we will talk about the first. 

Most sun shades use polyester, canvas, or nylon as fabric for the canopy. Let’s talk about each one.

Polyester

The main advantage of polyester over nylon is that it shows an incredible resistance to UV abrasion. Thus, it is a wiser choice for something whose main job is to deflect UV rays. However, polyester has other advantages, such as mild water resistance, being lightweight, and being breathable. In addition, it is highly resistant to chemicals and doesn’t need as much care as canvas or nylon.

On the downside, it is not as strong as nylon or canvas. So, you need to treat it with care when deploying it. 

Nylon

Like polyester, nylon is a synthetic fabric. It shows more water resistance than polyester at the expense of less resistance to UV abrasion. It is stronger than polyester as well. But less than canvas. 

Nylon also delivers some of the same advantages as polyester. 

Canvas

People often say that canvas is waterproof. But it isn’t unless it gets woven with synthetic fabrics or coated with a DWR product. The thing is that canvas is inherently thicker than the other two fabrics. As a result, it takes a great deal of water to soak the canopy. 

Canvas is also stronger than nylon and polyester. Plus, it offers enough shade even on hotter days. However, it doesn’t handle abrasion as well. UV rays deteriorate the fabric, causing it to become brittle. 

Another problem with canvas is its weight. No one wants a heavy canopy. 

So, which are the best fabrics for sun shades? Polyester and nylon are the best ones. Both are light, show some water resistance, dry quickly, and are resistant to UV abrasion. All the desirable features you need in a kayak bimini top. 

Compatibility

Compatibility is another issue you must address. Not all sun shades will fit any kayaks. Some require two holes to work. Plus, a tie-down point for the hook. Flush-mounted rod holders serve as holes. However, you will need to pierce the deck if you don’t own a fishing kayak. In short, most bimini tops require three binding points. 

Nevertheless, some models require up to six binding points. For example, Adventure Canopies sun shade requires four nylon joints. Likewise, the BRISS bimini top for kayaks needs six tie-down points to keep the structure upright. Needless to say, more points mean more compatibility issues. On the bright side, it also means that the bimini is more rigid and able to withstand heavy hinds. 

Most bimini tops come with their own mounting hardware. Some use screws, while others use glue. The latter is more suitable for inflatable kayaks and people that want to avoid practicing holes in their crafts. Plus, you won’t leave any holes behind if you ever wish to remove the joints for good. 

But, how do I know if my kayak is compatible with a certain sun shade? First, you must check the width of the bimini and check whether it fits your craft or not. Then, you should check how long the canopy is to determine if it offers enough coverage for your deck. Typically most brands often show dimension requirements. This way, you can quickly check if your craft and the sun shade are compatible. 

You need to check if your craft has enough tie-down points to accommodate the bimini top as well. You can use stainless steel rings and handles to fasten hooks.  

Canopy Coverage

Now that we are talking about dimensions, we should take some time to discuss canopy coverage. Brands typically show how many sq ft of coverage the bimini top offers. Note that this isn’t an equal shade area, as it depends on the angle between the kayak and the sun. 

Naturally, a larger canopy offers more coverage area, thus, more protection against the elements. However, it also increases price and weight. In addition, it also requires more space. So, while having a big sun shade might be desirable, your kayak might not be compatible dimension-wise.

Sun Shade Frame

While the canopy itself is the one handling sun and water, the frame is responsible for keeping the fabric extended. Ideally, it must be strong enough to support the weight and withstand wind.

Most brands use aluminum, stainless steel, or fiberglass as materials. The first two are stronger and heavier than fiberglass. On the other hand, fiberglass is more flexible and typically cheaper. Still, we recommend going for aluminum or stainless steel.

Shock Cords or Twist-Lock Frame

Frames with shock cords are the easiest to deploy. They work like tent poles, which is a mechanism that we are all familiar with. Plus, you can replace the cord at any time if it snaps or deteriorates. 

Some brands used twist-lock mechanisms. While it makes the structure more rigid, it also takes more time to deploy. Plus, you won’t be able to repair it as easily. 

In general, we like shock cord frames better. You can deploy and dismantle them in no time. Plus, you can repair them easily, even in the wild. 

Mind the Gap

Most people often overlook the distance between the deck and the canopy, and they shouldn’t. Your head will constantly rub against the canopy if you do otherwise. So, pay close attention to how many inches of free space you have between the seat and the canopy. This distance should be greater than your upper body. 

This becomes more important if you are fishing because you require more space to maneuver the rod. Still, your movement will be restricted to some degree even if you get the tallest bimini. 

Best Kayak Sun Shade: Hobie Bimini Top

After a lot of reading, testing, and asking around, we found out that the Hobie bimini top is the best sun shade that you can get for any kayak. It shows an insane resistance to abrasion, off-the-charts wind resistance, and is easy to install. It is also rain and sunproof, making it the best canopy to shield you from the elements. 

It might be among the most expensive options as well. But in the end, it will pay itself in due time, given the durability of both the canopy and the frame. 

The Hobie bimini top is very slim and packs small, making it one of the most compact sun shades on this list. On top of that, you don’t need to drill any holes to fasten the bimini to your craft. So, there is no chance of damaging the deck.

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Hi! I’m Steven!

I am an avid life long fisherman, having caught over 25,000 fish over the years. My life-long passion for fishing began when my father taught me how to fish at the age of ten. I started luremefish.com to share my extensive knowledge of all things fishing.

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