Kayak Essentials You Need to Know

Kayak Essentials You Need to Know

What to Bring on Your Kayak Trip

Having knowledge about kayak essentials will lead you to secure, safe and happy kayaking. For your first kayak trip, you might feel that you need a lot of gear, but this is untrue. Some items are essential and must be gotten immediately while others could wait. Here is a list of kayak essential items every paddler must have:

A. Kayak

There are diverse types of kayaks such as sit-on-top, sit-in, sea kayaks, white water kayaks, recreational, tandem, etc.

For beginners, it is advisable to get a high-quality recreational kayak. A perfect example is that has a built-in storage compartment, fishing rod holders, and an elegant, lightweight design.

B. A Comfortable Seat

This cannot be overemphasized as the wrong seat can cause aches and cramps after kayaking. The seat should be padded to offer comfort as you might be sitting for several hours.

C. Dry Bag

Tipping or capsizing is inevitable, so you should always carry a dry bag on your trips. The bag must be waterproof and be sturdy to carry all your valuables. You can tie it to the kayak or stash it into the storage compartment. Get two-liter bag for this.

D. Paddle

This is as essential as the kayak as you won’t get far without it. It is recommended that you get a high-quality paddle, but if you’re looking for a cheaper one, get Bending Branches’ Whisper 2-Piece Snap Paddles. They are lightweight, fiberglass-reinforced, and rust-resistant.

E. Bilge Pump

One of the kayak essentials that sometimes a sharp turn or rogue wave can bring water into the kayak and although you can use a sponge to remove it, the use of a bilge pump is more effective. This small manually operated pump removes water in the kayak.

A good quality one is Seattle Sports Breakaway Bilge Pump and is easy to clean, portable, and lightweight.

F. Life Jacket

You must find a comfortable vest and of good quality. A good recommendation is the Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports Vest. This life-jacket is designed to taper at the shoulders that permits full motion control during paddling.

G. Water Shoes

Depending on the kayak, you might get wet feet. The best thing is to purchase a shoe that lets the kayaker feet breathe while drying quickly.

A recommended one is Chaco’s Z2 Classic Athletic Sandal. Want one that covers the entire foot? Get Speedo’s Surfwalker 3.0 Water Shoe!

H. First Aid Kit

This is needed if there’s an emergency. You should include a roll of gauze, bandages, methylated spirit, cotton swabs or cotton wool, a pair of scissors, plaster, etc.

I. Water Resistant Sunscreen

Kayaker will definitely be exposed under the heat of the sun. Apply a generous amount of sunscreen to any exposed skin and underneath your nostrils and chin. This is especially important if you’ll be spending several hours on the water and the sun is out.

J. Lightweight Tent and Flashlight

If you’re planning to do a multi-day kayaking journey, you should bring a lightweight tent to help you to avoid any unnecessary event such as cold winds, medium to high speed winds, creeping insects, and wandering animals. Choose a tent that’s portable and folds easily.

A flashlight can help you to see better when setting up the tent, so you know how and where to pitch it.

K. A VHF (Very High Frequency) Radio

In most kayaking places, there is no cellular network, so you will not be able to get in touch with other people. This is where the radio comes in letting you call for help if there’s an emergency.

L. A Physical Map and Compass

As there is no cellular network in some places, the GPS or Maps application won’t function on your phone. You’ll need to be able to interpret a map or properly read a compass, so you don’t get lost or deviate from your course.

M. A Waterproof Watch

This is so that you don’t lose track of time and keep to your ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival). this is a very durable waterproof watch.

N. Polarized Sunglasses

Packing a pair of sunglasses is helpful, but a pair of the polarized sunglasses will help keep the sun’s reflection and glare in the water out of your eyes. This allows you to see both above and below the water’s surface provided the water allows visibility. It is typically used by fishermen.

O. Visor, Water-resistant Camera

If it’s going to be sunny out, take a visor to shade your eyes from the sun if you don’t have polarized sunglasses. If you’re a lover of nature, you can also capture any exquisite sights you see with the water-resistant camera.

P. Small Cooler

A small cooler is used to store any food or drinks you plan on carrying on the water. You should be able to tie it down or stash it if there is a built-in storage compartment.

If you are going to be on the water for longer than 3 hours, you should carry a gallon or two of water or at least 10 to 15 water bottles.

Q. Wet Suit

If you prefer not soaking your clothes or you don’t want to have to change out of your wet everyday clothes, you should purchase a wet suit or dry suit. This is needed if the water or weather is going to be cold.

Dry suits are more expensive to purchase, so you can buy a wet suit which should be paired with kayaking gloves.

R. Emergency Kayak Repair Kit

An emergency kayak repair kit should contain duct tape, a knife, some rope, a pair of pliers, an emergency hatch cover, screwdrivers, stainless steel nuts as well as bolts, hacksaw blade, small adjustable wrench, mono-filament nylon fishing line, alcohol swabs, extra strength glue, needles and safety pins, etc.

You can include a portable air pump if it’s an inflatable kayak.

S. Buoyancy Aid

This is like a life jacket, but it provides more support and movement to the neck and arms. You can also purchase floaters.


Purchasing these items or even renting them, can keep you safe. Paddlers try and get yours now! Don’t forget to keep this in mind to include your kayak essentials.