Lightening Gear Review: Kayalite Stern Light

Tuesday, 16 March 2010
Kayalite Stern LightKayak gear manufacture, Kayalu recently sent me a new stern deck light system that is about to hit the market. The Kayalite Stern Light is a 360 degree white light perched on top of an 18 inch ABS plastic pole. It’s designed to allow other boats to see you while out on the water at night.

Most deck lights on the market attach to the boat with either a giant suction cup or by strapping to the back of the paddler’s lifejacket. Both are good designs but they do have their flaws. The suction cup works great on fibreglass boats but doesn’t stick to plastic models at all due to the rough surface. The lifejacket light works fine but really can only been seen by other boaters if they happen to approach you from behind.

What makes the Kayalite system unique is the method by which it attaches to the kayak. The design uses a bungee and hook system so it will attach to either an eyelet or bungee on the deck of your boat. Once the light is clipped on and the bungee is tightened down, the unit is held snug to the boat. The large base helps to prevent the light tipping over. In fact, other people have reported rolling their boat with the light staying put!

The actual light itself is the Mark III by Tektite; makers of some of the finest diving and nautical lights systems on the market. The Mark III is a single LED bulb powered by 3 AA batteries. It is designed to burn for over 200+ hours and submersible to 1000 feet (300 meters).

Another nice element of the design is the height that the light sits off the deck of your boat. It has a height of approximately 18-20 inches high which greatly helps other large boats actually see you. Its height also doesn’t allow it to be hidden from view by small waves as shorter lights are prone to do but it also isn’t so tall as to shine over your shoulder and kill your night vision.

Kayalite attached to bungee. Kayalite attached to eye clip.

Kayalite stern light base.

  • The attachment system is well designed and secure.
  • It’s submersible and waterproof light so you know it get ruined in the waves.
  • It floats (though it’s all black so you don’t probably see it at night if drop it in the drink anyways).

  • It’s not very compact when not in use. Since the large base isn’t detachable, it would be difficult to pack in a hatch during a trip with a loaded kayak.
One sentence summary: If you are looking for a very well designed and robust paddling light, this is the one for you.

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David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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