So, you are planning to kayak for the first time. What important kayak kit do you need? This beginner’s kayak guide will guide you through ten essential items required by each kayak.
Whether you’re learning to kayak, if you try the sport for the first time with a kayak company, they will give you most of this kit. So do not be afraid to buy your own buoyancy aid, for example, if this is your first kayaking.
10 Gear Essentials for Kayaking
A kayak paddle is different from canoe paddle. The kayak paddle has a blade at both ends. Most kayak paddles are between 210 and 260 cm long.
Beginners in kayaking must note that the larger the person, the longer the paddle. Most beginners learn to use a plastic paddle. If you go on a long kayak adventure, you should take an extra paddle if one of them breaks or gets lost. (See more: How to Choose Kayak Paddles)
2. Buoyancy Aids
One tip we would like to give all beginners in kayaking is to always wear a buoyancy aid.
Buoyancy aids are like life jackets, but provide more movement around the arms and neck, making them much more suitable for kayaking. Even if you are a good swimmer, you never know when you may have problems in the water.
Buoyancy aids will still be provided by kayaking schools, but if you paddle alone, we recommend that you buy your own (Check it on Amazon) or rent it at a nearby water sports center.
3. Wet Shoes
If you paddle only in the lakes, you can probably walk with flip-flops or barefoot, but if you regularly kayak on the rivers, I advise you to buy a pair of water sandals for the summer and boots for the cool seasons. the cool seasons. Water sandals protect your feet from sharp, erratic rocks or rubbish that some people throw into the water, such as fish hooks or broken glass. See more: 9 Tips for Kayaking in the Cold Weather (For Every Season)
Good water sandals will also allow you to walk better in the wet and slippery rocks and will protect you if you have to carry obstacles around the river. My water sandals also serve as light summer sandals for hiking, making it a double task. For the cool seasons, I have a pair of mud boots, they’re rubber boots that come up to the knee.
For kayaking in the summer, you don’t need anything special about clothing, anything you are comfortable in is fine, though I’d advise you to bring a rain gear in case you have a summer pop-up shower. See more: Don’t Worry. You Can Kayak In the Rain!
Rain gear can also help you stay warm when the weather turns cooler than expected. I keep a rain suit in the dry bag with my spare clothing, so I am always with me when I kayak. This way I have a light jacket with me and I don’t have to worry about packing one. Sometimes trips take longer than expected, so it is always wise to wear an extra layer of clothing in case the weather gets colder.
5. Dry bag
The dry bags are designed to keep all the gear you came with dry during your trip.
There are many sizes, different styles, made from different materials, but they all serve the same purpose. Many people start using ziplock bags or resealable plastic containers such as Tupperware to carry items such as a camera, a mobile phone or food. Sometimes they work, sometimes they do not. You will probably have at least a little water in your kayak or by the waves on the lakes or by the rapids on the rivers. It is therefore essential to have a safe place to store the objects that you don’t want to get wet. Even if your kayak has a dry storage area, sealed bags are a good idea, because all dry storage areas kayaks are not as dry as you might think.
I normally use three sealed bags, a large one with that holds my spare clothes and a towel for the event that I roll my kayak. This is extremely important if you plan to kayak during the colder months. Even during the summer months, having a change of clothes with you is a good idea for the unexpected.
A second smaller dry bag contains my survival kit, which I will return later. I have a very small dry bag in which I have my wallet, my car keys, and my cell phone when I kayak. See more: Dry Bag Buyers Guide And My Top Picks.
6. In Case of Emergency
A watertight first aid kit is essential for a kayak trip.
Make sure it contains bandages and dressings for blisters, as water and wounds can eventually start oozing. It may seem obvious but attach your first aid kit (Check on Amazon) to your kayak so that you will not lose it if you capsize.
Many survival tools come with flint, which means that you can always light a fire, even if your matches are wet. In an ideal world, you would also have a spot tracker for your safety because hopefully there is no telephone reception where you go.
7. Water filter or iodine tablets
If you kayak in the fresh water, there will be no shortage of water around you, but you still need a way to make sure it is drinkable. The cooking of the water serves to purify, but it is not practical on the fly. Use iodine tablets or a water filter to support your water collection.
On or around the water you always have to protect your eyes from the sun. You probably already have sunglasses, you don’t need anything special to kayak. I was fortunate to have excellent eyesight and I want to keep it, so I always wear high-quality sunglasses that block UV rays and are polarized.
Polarized sunglasses are ideal for kayaking because they help you see through superficial reflections and avoid underwater obstacles. The sunglasses also protect your eyes against twigs and branches when you kayak on the rivers and sometimes you have to crash against fallen trees. I suggest you use a belt to hold your sunglasses in case you roll.
9. Throw Rope
I think that if you kayak, you must to have a rope that you can throw in an emergency to other people. They sell throw ropes in bags for kayakers, but you don’t need any of these ropes, just to a rope to throw is enough. It must be about 25 feet long and powerful enough that you can protect someone from a large current when needed, or to free a kayak from a blockade. A nylon rope of 3/8 inch should be sufficient in most cases.
Some people tie their rope to the front handle of their kayak, then coil the rest of the rope either under the deck bungee or in their cockpit, I don’t like that idea, and here’s why. I kayak mostly rivers, and I don’t want anything attached to the front of my boat out of reach that can get caught in tree branches or logjams, it’s that simple.
I had a branch find its way through the front handle of my kayak one time while I was working my way through the top of a tree that had fallen in the river, it was a pain working my way out of that one. A rope getting tangled up in the branches would have made it even worse.
10. Bilge Pump or Sponge
The purpose of these items is to get the water out of your boat if you’re not using a spray skirt and get hit by a wave or get water in your kayak for some other reason. I carry a bailing sponge in my survival kit, and if I did more open water kayaking, I would get a bilge pump. I would consider one of the hand-operated bilge pumps to be an essential piece of gear for kayaking the Great Lakes, even if I were wearing a spray skirt. Being able to pump the water out of your kayak out in open water could be a lifesaver. If you aren’t a strong swimmer, you may want a bilge pump with you even on small inland lakes, especially if you kayak alone.
For rivers, a bilge pump isn’t as important, you can normally pull your kayak out of the water and drain any water that is in your kayak out without a pump, but I know a few people who carry them anyway, so it is up to you.
Now that you have the essential gadgets, load your boat, grab your friends and go to the river.
Hope you find this post helpful. If you find anything wrong or outdated, please leave your comment below. I’ll update it as soon as possible. What did we miss? Drop a line in the comments to let us know!
Thanks for reading, Happy kayaking.