Guide To Valley Hatch Cover Replacement Options

There are several Valley Canoe Products hatch replacement options to replace original Valley brand Rubber Hatch Covers.

Valley Canoe Products original hatch covers are imported from Nottingham England. They are found on a wide range of kayak brands. VCP hatch covers may or may not have the Valley name or logo on them. Many have a kayak manufacture logo on them, such as Necky. These imported VCP covers are known to be rot prone, lasting about 2-8 years. Valley hatch covers are deep and seal excellently. They are also buoyant. Valley hatch covers have an external groove for a compression strap (or bungee cord) that is no longer in fashion. Use links below to the two most common original VCP hatch sizes:
8 Inch Valley Canoe Products Round Hatch
17.25 x 10 In. Valley Canoe Products Oval Hatch

Use links below to these SAME common VCP hatch sizes, also made in Nottingham England, but with the Necky logo on them:
Valley 8 inch Day Hatch Cover (with Necky Logo)
Valley Oval Hatch Cover (with Necky Logo)

FYI: If your Valley kayak is very old you might want to continue to use original VCP rubber hatch covers for the best results. Some paddlers with 1980’s version Valley kayaks, such as the original Nordkapp have had issues with Sea-Lect fits. See note below about the compression strap.

SEA-LECT DESIGNS has solved the problem of the rotting Valley Hatch Covers. Sea-Lect covers are made from a rot proof rubber material that floats. All the Sea-Lect VCP style covers are made to fit the Valley rims with a water proof seal. Sea-Lect has made hatch covers named; Classic, Performance and Recreational.

The Performance versions are made of a hard material in the center, soft rubber on the edges, and are slightly deeper than the Recreational versions. They seal just like the original imported VCP hatch covers. Most sea kayakers prefer these Performance version hatch covers. This is your best bet for quality, performance and durability. Use links below to the two most common VCP hatch sizes in "Performance" versions:
Sea-Lect 8 in. Hatch, Performance (VCP round)
Sea-Lect 17.25 x 10 in. Hatch, Performance (VCP oval)

See the Review of the Sea-Lect "Performance" Version Hatch Covers

Recreational versions are made of all soft rubber. Seal-lect is phasing out the Recreational versions in all but the smallest sizes. Recreational version hatch covers seal like the VCP original covers but are not as deep as the imported Valley Hatch covers. The part that seals the water out is molded in the same way as the original imported covers. The Recreational covers are reported to be easy to put on and take off. Recreational covers are sold at a lower cost. Serious sea kayakers prefer the Performance version covers and are likely to reject the Recreational versions. 

Sea-Lect has discontinued the Classic version hatch covers, their first generation of Sea-Lect hatch covers. They were later used only for very hot climates because they are made of much harder rubber that soften and perform well in a hot climate, but be too stiff for a very cold climate. Other than the density of the rubber and other subtle differences, they are identical to the Performance versions.

The Sea-Lect options have been tried and tested for over a decade now with no reports of rotting.

KAJAK SPORT has also made copies of the popular VCP sizes. They are made to fit the Valley Canoe Products rims exactly. They come in the original rubber style, all soft rubber. This option is the best for those kayaks that are 100% perfectly sealed. Kajak Sport original rubber style can flex when the air inside the kayak expands or contracts with changes in temperature (such as landing on a hot sand beach from cold water). Kajak Sport hatch covers do not float. While these are very elastic and fit well the rubber is very grippy and may need some 303 as a lubricant for some. Kajak Sport hatch covers are as deep as original VCP hatch covers.
Kajak Sport Round Hatch Cover 19.5cm (VCP)
Kajak Sport Oval Hatch Cover 41x22cm (VCP oval)

The depth of the hatch cover has no bearing the on the seal. The seal is at the top most part of the hatch lip. The rim has a ridge molded on the outside edge, also at the top of the lip. This corresponds with a groove molded inside of the hatch cover at the deepest part. All VCP style hatch covers, imported or US made, are molded precisely so the groove and ridge engage to create a waterproof seal. The depth of the cover does not matter, kind of like the difference between ankle socks and knee socks, both cover the feet. The issue here is that Sea-Lect Recreational covers do not come all the way down to the deck. This can be an advantage for some kayaks that have tight fitting space there. I know that some people consider the hatch cover coming all the way down the deck and a secondary seal. This is debatable, but if you like that concept the original VCP covers will do that very well.

There are other very rare VCP sizes. One of the round size is equal to the Kajak Sport 24cm (aka 10 inch) hatch. There is an Oval that is nearly round, but not quite. These are rather rare and found on a handful of Valley and North Shore brand kayaks. See them at the links below for a few options:
Valley Large Round 10 In. Hatch Cover (for Composite Hull)
Valley Large Round 10.5 In. Hatch Cover (for Plastic Hull)
14.25 x 12.5 Inch Valley Club Oval Hatch Cover

Covers made by Valley and Sea-Lect, are made of floating rubber. Covers made by Kajak Sport do not float. The deck molding (like a moat around a castle) around some hatch openings may not allow for the slightly wider foot print of the Kajak Sport options. Some of these Valley sizes are made by Sea-Lect as Hatch Kits with matching rims. We also stock Valley Canoe Products rims as Replacement Parts.

If you still use a steel Compression Strap, or bungee tether in the external groove on your original imported VCP hatch covers you can skip it. If you plan to continue to use a compression strap replace the cover with the original imported VCP hatch cover. The Kajak Sport brand will not accept the VCP compression strap, but will accept a bungee. The Sea-Lect covers will not support this steel compression strap, but they all come with external and internal tie-off tabs that you can use secure with any type of cordage, such as Parachute Cord (sold by the foot). Use links below to related parts:
Valley Hatch Compression Strap (Salvage Part)
Hatch Bungee, See Also: Bungee Cord, 1/4 in., (sold by the foot)

Pro level sea kayakers, instructors or guides often carry Emergency Neoprene Hatch Covers. The two options below are fits for the common VCP sizes:
8 in. Round Emergency Neoprene Hatch Cover
Oval Emergency Neoprene Hatch Cover (VCP)

Use this link to see all Valley Canoe Products hatch replacement options.

Use this link for more more information: Part I - Replacement of Rubber Hatch Covers

Copyright 2020 TopKayaker GeoOdyssey Publications, Tom Holtey

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