8 Must-Have Items of Kayaking Equipment

Do you have the proper kayaking equipment for the next outing?

Kayaking Equipment

Here are eight tips to help prepare the kayaking gear list:

1 – Pack dry bags

Kayaks aren’t built to be waterproof and dry bags are a must-have piece of kayaking equipment to keep gear dry. A small to mid-size dry bag is spacious enough to accept the essentials like lunch, spare clothing, phone, etc. while making sure the paddling machine stays stable.

2 – Use a spray skirt

A spray skirt is a practical addition for any kayaks using in waters that aren’t warm or calm. Spray skirts are designed to fit the cockpit area and prevent water from entering the kayak. A kayak left to fill with water will soon start to destabilize, ruin the lunch, and soak the clothes. Plus, the extra protection from waves or rainfall will keep the kayaker warm and helps to prolong the paddling season.

3 – Put safety first

A personal floatation device (PFD) is a must-have piece of equipment to stay safe even when paddling on a small pond. Every kayak should wear a buoyancy aid to comply with the United States Coast Guard. A PFD is great for not only keeping the head above water but also makes rescues, rolling, and bracing easier. Plus, a PFD with attached whistle is great to help attract attention in times of distress.

Also, for the longer paddling sessions that extend to the open waters, a VHF radio or similar portable communication device is useful for summing rescue services, obtaining weather reports, or communicating with other boats.

4 – Carry a bilge pump

A bilge pump is a must-have piece of kit to help remove water from the kayak and prevent the possibility of capsizing. A preferred bilge pump for a kayak is the manual or hand-pump type. A manual pump is placed inside the cockpit area to help suck out the water.

5 – Rely on navigational tools

The preferred navigation tools will depend on the type of trip and planned route. A nautical chart or topographic map and compass is practical for kayaking inland rivers and lakes, while area guides and saltwater charts are helpful on coastal trips.

For the most efficient course plotting, a navigation aid such as a GPS device is the preferred piece of equipment. GPS units are essential when exploring remote regions or navigating areas with no clear landmarks. Plus, use a waterproof dry case or similar to keep the GPS unit dry and in full working order.

6 – Spare paddle or paddle leash

A spare paddle can make a must-have piece of kayaking equipment when paddling in water greater than gentle rivers or small lakes. The preferred spare paddle comes in 2-pieces for ease in storing in the kayak. Plus, a paddle leash is a useful piece of equipment to avoid losing a paddle.

7 – Emergency repair kit

A kayaking day-trip can benefit from a well-prepared emergency/repair kit that can be a life saver in many situations. An emergency kit can include:

  • Duct tape
  • Emergency blanket
  • Energy bars
  • Fire starter
  • Hand trowel
  • Lighter
  • Needle and thread
  • Small medical kit
  • Spare batteries
  • Swiss Army knife
  • Water purification tablets

8 – Fuel up with snacks and water

Kayaks can have a lot of storage space so there shouldn’t be any concern about being able to carry enough water. A preferred amount is in the region of 2-5 liters per day of kayaking. Also, drink regularly to avoid getting dehydrated.