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GoPro Kayak Mount

   I was surprised at how much interest people expressed when I talked about making a “plumbing” GoPro mount for my Jackson Villain. Now I can’t claim this idea as my own, Nick Troutman and Stephen Wright invented it. You can see it being used in Nick’s South Branch video. There have been a lot of different approaches to mounting a GoPro like this, from mounting a tripod on the back of a kayak to custom made aluminum mounts (read: expensive). I love this method because it’s cheap and durable.

No mount is going to stay on if you go upside down on the wrong spot!

Tools needed: Drill, drill bit, screwdrivers, glue (or duct tape).

What you need from the bottom up:

     1. The first piece is a toilet flange. You can find it in the plumbing section of any hardware store. Obviously it’s for installing a toilet! Amazingly even the bolt holes line up perfectly with the grab loop bolt inserts on the Jackson Villain. They come in white or black.

2. 5″ (length) of 3″ PVC. The toilet flange has a fitting for a 3″ PVC pipe, which can’t be seen in the photo. This fits into the toilet flange and is what the reducer is attached to. do. Be sure to color coordinate.

3. Reducer Coupling. This will be in the same aisle as the toilet flange. You are looking for 3″ to 2″ reducer. The one pictured is rubber but will most likely be switched to PVC. If you go rubber it’s the single most expensive item.

4. Adapter. These come in two versions, get one male and one female. They are 2" smooth on one end and threaded 2" at the other.

5. Next up is the big piece, and the cheapest. I got 3′ (length) of 2″ PVC pipe. It might be a little tall, but I am going to go with it.

     6. 2″ PVC pipe cap. Another cheap item and self explanatory.

The bottom attachment:

Hardware: 2 bolts the same diameter and thread count as the grab loop bolts, but twice as long. Just take one in and match it at the store. One bolt, nut and washer (x4) thin enough to fit through a GoPro mount for ?. This mount came in my GoPro kit from Teva Mtn Games and looked perfect. I used an extra bolt from a Thule roof rack mounting kit, but it would be easy to find one at the hardware store because you can bring the mount in and check. One washer for the bolt, three to keep the GoPro mount from crushing.

Up top hardware:

   Now for some construction time. I debated just using a GoPro helmet mount pad on top of the PVC cap, but didn’t feel like it would have any real holding power. Time for some power tools! I got out my drill, chose a drill bit the same diameter as my Thule mounting bolt, and put a hole in the center of the PVC cap. I then stacked three washers inside the gap of the GoPro mount, put the bolt through from the top and inside the PVC cap, put the washer and nut on. Seems pretty solid!

Revised: I changed one thing in my setup from the picture.. I noticed a lot of camera sway in Nick’s video, and believe this is due to using a soft rubber Reducing Coupler. I had hoped this would help save the mount if I flipped in the wrong spot, but it has too much give and would most likely break off the toilet flange anyways. So I installed solid PVC 3″ to 2″ Reducing Coupler, which is cheaper too. I had two problems with my mount. One was that it made portaging an absolute nightmare. Taking it off at the base was time intensive. Secondly, the mount didn't fit in the back of my boat. This made it impossible to remove the mount in the mank or anywhere else I didn't want to paddle with it that day. So back to the drawing board.

Here is the 3" pipe and solid reducing coupler.

An addition. One "adapter" and 4" (length)  of 2" pipe cut from my original long piece.

You can see the threads in the adapter.

Now glue the short piece of pipe into the female adapter. Glue the other end of the short piece into the reducer.

Next simply glue the male adapter to the long piece of 2" pipe. Now the mount has two sections and can be taken apart in the field. The bottom of the reducer will be glued into the toilet flange.

   I then trim the long piece of the mount just short enough so I can fit it in the back of my kayak. Now I can unscrew it from the mount and only have about 8" sticking up on the back of the boat, making it easier to portage or paddle the mank while I put the rest of the mount in the stern of my kayak. Easy as that!

The prototype before making it a two piece.

   Last but not least, I tie some parachute cord from the GoPro mount to a rear grab loop, so if the mount breaks off, hopefully it will just drag behind until it can be recovered. Instead of glue I duct tape the bottom (reducer to toilet flange) joint together. When I have had to roll in shallow water, the duct tape gave way and the mount came off, allowing me to roll up. Don't count on this always working through!

   I have to throw a little disclaimer in here too. Realize you are taking off the rear grab (safety) loop of you kayak and potentially compromising your safety in the event of a pin. It will also be harder to help swimmers to shore. Rolling in shallow water will basically require breaking off the mount too. So there are a lot of concerns here, proceed with caution. Enjoy your new (and cheap!) GoPro mount! Check out this Upper Middle Cosumnes video to see it in action.