Home Kayaks Kayaking What to Bring: The Complete Checklist

Kayaking What to Bring: The Complete Checklist

kayaking what to bring

There’s nothing better than spending a whole day out on the water. Just you and your kayak.

If you aren’t experienced, you can forget something that can not only ruin your day but could cost you your life.

When kayaking, you ALWAYS need to be prepared. So, today I’ll show you what to bring kayaking.

What Kind of Kayaking are you Planing?

The supplies you need will vary not only on the style of kayak you have but, also, on the type of kayaking you plan on doing. For instance, if you plan on attacking Rapids, you’ll need to bring a helmet. For the sake of simplicity, though, I’ll show you the essentials you need for basic kayaking.

Kayaking: What to Bring Checklist

Safety Equipment

Safety needs to be, first and foremost, your priority. You never know what can go wrong while you’re out in the elements, so, prepare for the worst.

  • A personal flotation device (PFD) that fits
  • An Extra PFD
  • First aid kit
  • Paddle float personal flotation device
  • Bilge pump
  • Spray skirt - if your kayak is a sit in
  • Safety whistle and
  • Spare paddle - in case your paddle float fails
  • Sunscreen
  • Water and plenty of it! You need at least 20 oz for every hour you plan to be out.

Kayak Gear

The equipment you take with you needs to serve a purpose. You have very little room to work with on your kayak, so only take the amenities.

  • Dry bags - to keep food and clothes safe
  • Kayak Compass
  • Spare deck bungee cords
  • Weather/VHF radio
  • Signaling devices (whistle, mirror, flares)
  • Towline
  • Paddle leash
  • Float tubes
  • Kayak Anchor
  • Dry Towels
  • Change of clothing
  • Heat-reflecting blanket
  • Repair kit
  • Knife
  • Waterproof cell phone case
  • Flashlight
  • Insect repellent
  • Lighter

Food and Water

You need to make sure to bring plenty of food and water. You’ll be sweating a lot if you’re kayaking in the summer, so keep that in mind. You can keep your water and some fruits and veggies cold in a kayak cooler. Most of these coolers are small enough to fit right behind your kayak seat.

Your food should be stored in a dry bag. I always prefer to bring two: one for my food and the other for my clothes. Also, make sure to bring the right kind of food. You want something that will help you replace the salt you lose from your sweat and release the energy you burn paddling.

  • Energy bars
  • fruits and veggies
  • Water - I’m putting it on the list again to emphasize how much water you need to bring.

Extra Gear You Should Consider Bringing

Once you have everything you need for a successful kayaking trip, you can start to grab things that would just be fun to have. These should only be brought if you still have room left in your kayak after everything from above.

  • Waterproof radio
  • Sleeping back incase you get stuck out in nature
  • Jackets and rainproof clothing
  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Toilet paper
  • Tide tables and charts
  • Money
  • Kayak Sail
  • Nose plugs or clips

Enjoy Your Trip!

This may seem like a lot of gear, but it’s not in the grand scheme of things. Just don’t over think it. Write everything down and check it off as you load it. But as long as you don’t forget any of the essentials, you’ll be all set to have an awesome kayaking trip!

What do you never go kayaking without? Let me know in the comments section below!


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