Kayak Equipment List – My Personal Kayaking Checklist

Within this article, I’m going to go through my personal kayak equipment list; which contains all the gear I bring with me on my kayaking adventures. This will be split up general day trips to longer adventures in each section, so if you’ve got a long haul ride coming up, you know about what extra things it is you should be adding to your bag.

Kayak Equipment List – My Personal Kayak Gear

Below is all the kayaking gear that makes up my kayak equipment list. If you keep on reading I show you both lists for when I’m going on short outings and ones where I may be going on a longer trip or to an unfamiliar location.
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Recommend For Short Outings/Familiar Spots

  • Kayak This is an obvious one, but I’d thought it would give me a chance to let you in on what kayak I opt for. – I’m currentley using the Sevylor Ottawa, here is the Sevylor Ottawa Review if you’re interested
  • Paddle Another obvious part of this kayak gear list but another area where I think it’s handy to let you know what I’ve chosen.
  • PFD (Personal Floating Device) DO NOT GO KAYAKING WITHOUT ONE – seriously, they could save your life one day.
  • Bilge Pump Bilge pumps are a lightweight and handy tool to ensure you don’t fill up with water.
  • Backpack (for personal items) this can be used to carry the gear mentioned within this article as well as anything else – spare clothes, drinks, and snacks.
  • Headlamp I ALWAYS bring this out with me even if I’m going out during the day, just in case I may need it.
  • Signaling whistle just as important as your PDF, a signaling whistle is a handy tool that can be used to communicate with a friend if they go too far or if it’s a particularly rainy day.

Additional recommendations – New/Extend Trips/Camping

  • Paddle Float Paddle floats are great for getting you back in the water after a capsize and I always pack one when traveling with more unexperienced kayakers as an extra safety measure.
  • Kayaking Knife Typically your PFD will come with one of these, but if not they’re always handy to have in case of emergency – you’ll be surprised the situations you may get in with a knife will be a godsend.
  • Waterproof Map Case Maps are always handy since we’re in the age of things like google maps, it may seem silly to carry an actual map with you. But I assure you if you get lost without signal, you’ll be thankful you’ve brought one along.
  • Floating Compass Handy to go along with your map. You’ll want one that floats just incase you drop it, since you probably won’t fancy diving in after it.
  • Waterproof Watch You may not be a watch person, I’m certainly not. But carrying a watch around – one that is waterproof mind you – will be a perfect way of helping you make crucial adventurous decisions.
  • Emergency Flares These need to explanation.
  • Two Way Handheld Radio/Walkie Talkie Perfect if you’re with a couple of people, two way radios are great for communication between the lead kayakers and the sweeping kayaker.
  • Float Bags Float bags can be placed in your kayak so that if you unfortunately tip over, your boat is still floating high in water. Making it easier to turn over and locate if it were to sink.

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Kayaking Clothes – For Warm and Cold Temperatures

NOTE: As I’ve mentioned in a previous article, what to wear kayaking, it is important to dress based on the temperature of the water, rather than the air. Since capsizes can happen and there truly is nothing worse than falling into the water without the proper gear – left with an uncomfortable and cold boat ride for the rest of your trip.

Below I have listed the general wear I use when out kayaking with added items further down if it were a particularly cold day or when I suspect temperatures are going to drop.

Kayaking gear in warm weather

  • Drysuit Typically people only like wearing such items when its a lot colder out but I always wear one anyway. Maybe I’m just used to them now but the thin material used makes it so I never feel too hot in them.
  • Waterproof Footwear This is slightly optional because some kayakers I know do go barefoot but I always like to wear footwear when I’m out kayaking. With similar material used in wetsuits and drysuits, they do well to keep your feet fairly warm too.
  • Hat – This is for the purpose of sun-shielding, I typically don’t wear anything special usually just a baseball cap.
  • Kayaking Gloves These are great for adding protection against the elements and will also save your hands from getting blisters from all the constant rowing.
  • Flees Jacket Typically I’ll bring one along with me, whether it’s on my back or just kept safe in my backpack. It’s better to be prepared than to be left out in the cold.

Cold Weather Kayaking Gear

  • Top – Since I already pack a dry suit, I will typically wear an extra shirty underneath as an added layer
  • Waterproof Underwear – Swapping out my usual underwear, I would usually wear waterproof underwear for adding warmth.
  • Wool Socks Wool socks are great for trapping in our, so wearing a pair on a particularly cold day is always beneficial.
  • Wool Hat I’d usually switch out my hat with a woolen one too since its a little cosier than just a typical baseball cap and if it gets wet, they dry fairly quickly. Not to mention the wool traps a lot of the water in which uses it as insulation.

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Personal Items – What I always take

A lot of these are not necessary but are always on hand when I go kayaking. typically I try to keep them on my body for ease of access but I’d usually show the rest in my backpack

  • Sunglasses always have them handy – attach a glasses retrainer if you don’t feel like diving overboard to get them when they inevitably fall into the body of water.
  • Sunscreen – A no brainer. I can’t really give you recommendations on strength since we’re all different skin types but I’d recommend applying before you get onto the water and bringing the bottle along with you in case you want to re-apply later.
  • First-aid Kit – If you could only pick one item from this list to bring, it would no doubt be a first aid kit. You should ALWAYS bring one for obvious reasons, you never know when you’re going to need one.
  • Water Bottle – Staying hydrated is the key to keeping up a great rowing technique.
  • Matches – You never know if you’re going to get stranded and in dier need of fire.
  • Cellphone – I wouldnt bring your personal phone along with you as that is far to expensive to risk, however I would buy a cheap phone to take out with you just incase of emergencies.


Finally, you have a list of my personal Kayak Equipment List. Hopeuflly it at least serves as a way for you to be able to brainstorm ideas for your own personal kayaking kit.

As always,

Thanks for reading.