A Kite Accessory Roundup

From Corkscrew Stakes to Sky Guys!

Sky Guys?! What the... We'll come to it later. Meanwhile, any kite accessory you are likely to want is probably one of the following:

  • winder/reel
  • wind measurement device
  • flying line
  • anchor point (stake or sand bag)
  • tail
  • line laundry item
Fly Guys are an unusual kite accessory!Sky Guys, Fly Guys

I'll stick to single-line kites for now. Once upon a time it was simple, wasn't it. Buy a kite, and the reel and flying line came with it. End of story. Anything else was up to your own imagination and creativity.

Was the line too short? Well, get some fishing line off that fishing rod over there and try again. Does the kite need to be anchored? Well, just loop the line around a post, or drag that big stone a bit closer and trap the winder behind it.

Hey, I've actually done both those things in the past!

But now...

Where there are people, the merchants follow. With kite flying as popular as ever, and a larger population than ever before on this planet, there is definitely a market for bits and pieces of stuff associated with kite flying. There's a kite accessory for everyone's small needs and wants.

Browsing around the Web, I noticed all the rather predictable types of accessories on offer. You know, stuff like kite line and colorful spools to keep it on. However, a few interesting ones came up...

Even some of the names were rather intriguing, like the ermm Sky Guys already mentioned.

Further down this page are some random comments on the little survey I did.


The BIG MBK E-book Bundle!

On this site, there's more kite-making info than you can poke a stick at :-)

Want to know the most convenient way of using it all?

The Big MBK E-book Bundle is a collection of downloads—printable PDF files which provide step-by-step instructions for many kites large and small.

Every kite in every MBK series.


Kite Accessory Categories

Winders and reels. You do know the difference between them don't you? Winders are flat, with the line going around the two ends and lying flat in between. Many of these have a hand grip for extra convenience. The mass-produced ones are plastic while there are a few nice hand-made polished wooden ones for sale too. Spools on the other hand are simple round hubs with sides to keep the line in place. The most common ones now seem to be made of shiny hard plastic. One online shop called a spool a "winder." Tsk tsk tsk, tut tut tut!

Wind measurement. To keep things simple, you can just stick up a small windsock to get some idea of the wind strength and direction. Flags can also be used for the same purpose. With practice, either of these can give quite good estimates of average wind strength and direction. For example, whether or not the bottom edge of the flag stays straight out, together with how fast it ripples can tell you an approximate wind range. Windsocks would be a little tricky to make at home, but a simple flag would be easy.

The other more precise approach is to buy a portable wind meter. This nifty little electronic kite accessory will give an accurate indication of wind speed and a thousand other things too that you probably don't need.

Knowing wind speed is particularly handy for homemade kites that might not have the huge wind range of shop-bought kites which use space-age materials. On the other hand, why not just take out three kites that cover all wind ranges between them. I sometimes used to do exactly that with my MBK kites!

Flying Line. Ho hum, yes, there's plenty of line available. It's mainly in nylon and Dacron for single-line kites. The usual range for these kite lines is from 20 pounds right up to 250 pounds plus. Why on earth is it always in pounds and not kilos? My guess is that the very well-established US kiting market has something to do with it. Having said that, I did notice that kilograms are often used for kite surfing and sport-kite gear. That isn't so surprising considering how popular those activities are in Europe.

Good old-fashioned cotton line is still available here and there, sold on simple winders ready-to-fly. These would be quite handy for homemade kids' kites.

Anchor points. There are definitely some handy kite accessories here. In particular, what do you do down at the beach when your kite is happily up there at 300 feet and your kid needs a nappy change or something? Or perhaps you would rather watch your kite from the shade, so the Ozone Hole doesn't nuke your bald patch... Down here in South Australia, we were not that far from the dreaded Hole, when it was a thing.

So, you can buy some simple plastic tent pegs, one of which could be used to tether your kite. The older metal ones would be fine too; they just weigh a bit more to carry around. In fact, steel ground stakes are available from kite shops too. Perhaps this kite accessory would be better for really big kites. Thick hollow ground stakes are also available, which I guess hold a bit better without being too heavy to carry around. Finally, another kite accessory is the corkscrew ground stake which is designed to grip the ground better than a simple peg. All these can be used on normal ground or at the beach. You could be in trouble if the ground is extremely dry though as is often the case in South Australia! A hefty hammer and a sharp steel peg would do the trick when the ground is like concrete.

Tails. It's not hard to whip together something colorful that works, for example by cutting up some orange and some green garbage bags. However, for a touch of class. there's some really eye-catching artistic stuff that can be bought. Also, some of the shop-bought tails are designed to be quite efficient at producing the needed drag without being excessively long or heavy.

Line laundry. This type of kite accessory is anything you might decide to attach to the flying line of a kite for extra spectacle. You could try flags, banners, tubes, spinners, inflatable shapes and characters, and so on. If you have ever been to a kite festival you will know what I mean.

OK, I've kept you in suspense long enough about a certain example of this. Sky Guys are inflatable human figures, with faces, that dance and float about while dangling from the flying line of a decent-sized kite. Sometimes they are called Fly Guys. There's a red one in the photo. Not only that, but they can easily be linked together for an even more eye-catching display. That's just one small example of the creativity going on in this area of modern kite flying!

The phrase sky art is sometimes used for these creations, and it's entirely appropriate! There's too much variety to even attempt to mention each individual type of kite accessory for sale.

In Conclusion

There is nothing to conclude; it's just been a bit of a ramble really. Perhaps it's been mildly entertaining for you in spots, perhaps not. Actually, not many people read this far down a Web page, so I believe I'll get away with waffling on a bit here, finishing up my kite-accessory page :-)


As mentioned earlier, there's more kite-making on this site than you can poke a stick at :-)

Want to know the most convenient way of using it all?

The Big MBK E-book Bundle is a collection of downloads—printable PDF files which provide step-by-step instructions for many kites large and small.

Every kite in every MBK series.