Kayaking Equipment List
Are you planning a kayaking getaway? Before you get going, you will want to make sure you have all the necessary equipment. Kayaking can be a thrilling experience, but without the proper equipment, you will most likely find yourself wildly unprepared (and soaked!). But do not worry! Below you will find all the essential equipment you need to make sure your kayaking experience is memorable and safe.
Kayaking is much more than just a kayak and a paddle. Not properly preparing can lead to disaster, especially clothing wise. It's important to dress for the water, not for the weather, as on the rare occasion you fall in, you will want to be wearing the proper clothing. There are different types of kayaking, creating a widespread range of equipment. But no matter what type of kayaking you choose, from recreational to white water, it is pertinent to bring these essentials.
A bilge pump is an important safety item to have with you at all times while kayaking. The pump will help to remove this excess water from the hull of the kayak, mitigating the dangers of a swamped kayak and restoring comfort to your kayaking adventures. These pumps come in multiple varieties and can be handheld or automatic, typically ranging in price from $20 to $300.
While storage is not essential for kayaking, a dry bag is a must have for those who like to over-prepare. A dry bag provides ample storage space for any miscellaneous items you desire to have on your person while kayaking, or for any extra items specific to the kayaking type of choice. Dry bags are waterproof and clasp together to keep your items safe from the water. These bags range in types and styles and typically range in price from $20 to $200.
If kayaking after dusk, it's important to have a headlamp that can be attached to the head of the paddler. The headlamp is a navigation tool that helps the paddler see the water in front of them. It also acts as a signal, letting other boats and sea-goers know that a kayak is present in the nearby waters. Headlamps come in a variety of types and sizes and range in price from about $30 to $150.
While a helmet is not always required, it is important to bring one if you are going white water kayaking or kayaking in any form of narrow, shallow, or rapid waterways. Helmets provide a safety barrier for your head, and can save lives in the event of a collision with the terrain. Helmets come in many different designs, however, the most important aspect of the helmet is its quality and safety rating. Helmets range in price between $50 - $250, but it is recommended that you purchase one on the higher end to best guarantee your safety.
This one may seem like a no brainer, but it is essential to remember to bring your kayak when going kayaking. Depending on what type of kayaking adventure you are participating in, as well as the body of water you are kayaking on, it is important to choose the right kayak. Kayaks range in types, sizes, and shapes; including narrow racing kayaks, tandem kayaks for multiple people, sea kayaks built for the choppy waters, inflatable kayaks, and touring kayaks. Depending on the quality and type of kayak, prices can range from $500 to $3,000. For beginners it is recommended that you use a sit-on-top kayak as they are designed for steering ease and provide extra stability.
Sitting in a kayak is not the most comfortable position. While it is not required, a kayak seat can help add comfort to your kayaking adventures. These seats are also great for providing core and back support, making them highly recommended for elder paddlers and paddlers in need of this extra support. Kayak seats should be compatible with the type of kayak, and typically range in price from $15 to $200.
While kayaking, you are most likely going to get wet. It is important to have specific wet shoes for kayaking that are designed to get wet and protect your feet. Certain kayaking shoes will also provide warmth and insulation similar to that of a wetsuit. Like all shoes, these kayaking wet shoes vary in styles and designs but typically range in price from $20 to $130.
Life Jacket / Buoyancy Aid
No matter the experience of the paddler, some form of a personal flotation device should be worn at all times while kayaking. In the rare event the kayak tips, these flotation devices can save your life. While kayaking, it is recommended that you choose a buoyancy aid over a normal life jacket as these provide a wider range of mobility around the neck and shoulders, better suited for the act of paddling. These buoyancy aids typically range in price from $60 to $200.
Paddles range from recreational paddles to paddles specifically designed for white water kayaking and kayak fishing. It is important to pick a paddle that is compatible with your type of kayak and the type of kayaking in which you are participating. The size of the paddle is dependent on the type of paddle as well as the paddler's height, and in general range from 180cm-240cm. The price of the paddle is dependent on the quality and type and generally ranges from $20 to $500.
In the event of an emergency while kayaking, if you can not get yourself to safety, it is crucial that you have a signalling whistle on hand. Even the most experienced paddlers and swimmers should carry a whistle at all times in the rare event that they find themselves unable to get out of the water/kayak. These whistles come in all varieties but the basic signalling whistle will cost between $5 and $50.
A spray skirt is not required for kayaking but can have many benefits if utilized. A spray skirt is a kayak accessory that surrounds the paddler and the cockpit of the kayak. Its main function is to keep water out of the hull of the kayak. This in turn mitigates the risks of a swamped kayak and also has an added benefit of keeping the lower portion of the paddler's body dry, something that is highly recommended if you value comfort while kayaking. Spray skirts usually range in price from $60 to $150.
Wetsuit / Drysuit
While a wetsuit is only required for cold water temperatures, it should be considered for all kayaking trips. Not only do wetsuits protect against the temperatures of the water, but they also provide mobility and make getting wet more comfortable. A drysuit is meant for warmer water temperatures for the purpose of keeping you dry while kayaking. However, drysuits contain no insulating properties like the wetsuit.