Kayak accessories to make your trip complete and enjoy on the water even more
Kayaking as relaxation, exercising on water, or fishing, every serious kayaker needs the right gear to make the sailing as smooth as possible. Many of the things in this list are made to keep you and your belongings safe and comfortable, but how do you know what you need exactly? Undoubtedly, every kayaking trip is specific to each individual, so which type of gear do you really need?
In order to answer that question, I’ve created a simple guide that will explain how to pick the best gear for your kayak based on your needs, preferences, and possibilities.
How to Choose Your Kayak Accessories – Buying Guide
Kayaking is a popular sport, so it’s only normal that the market is flooded with a plethora of accessories for your kayak. From paddle board kayak seats to bags and kayak plugs to kayak fishing accessories, you truly have it all.
But how do you choose what’s right for you? Surely things like life vests are needed for safety, whereas accessories like rudders are optional. But even the optional items are able to change your kayaking experience giving you a different experience and making it so that you take a new angle on this sport. Some of these kayak accessories will immensely transform your regular kayak into a speed machine that can get you anywhere.
However, before you ready that credit card for some online shopping, there are 4 main factors to think about before you take anything into consideration.
Before you buy anything related to your kayak, its durability is one of the most important things to look at. Just think about it. You are spending a lot of time in water (maybe even saltwater), and that takes its toll on the object. So you have to be sure that the product(s) will stand the test of time.
This is why buying the highest-quality accessories will make sure that it lasts.
Additionally, consider the fact that you will continuously be outdoors with all the elements present. The sun eats away low-quality plastic, the wind, and the rain too, and on top of that, you have the transport of your kayak and your accessories each time you go to the water and back.
You are going to be moving around a lot, mainly from your home to the water. You are also going to be moving across uneven terrain. When you are moving your kayak from your vehicle to the water or lifting it to portage across a dry piece of land, you do not want to have to be careful about what you are doing. You want your kayak accessories to stand up to some knocks here and there.
If you are planning on buying some electronic accessories, look for products that are marine or military-grade. Also, waterproof is great but water-resistant is a must – but we will talk about later on more in-depth too.
Also, the material that this product is made of. For instance, aluminum is pretty strong, and it’s lightweight on top of that. Then, quality PVCs and plastics are fantastic too since they can resist the sun and the water without any problem. Look for materials that are thick enough to take impact while still remaining functional.
You want something which can hold up to impacts, abrasions, and knocks. So, just take the time to find kayak accessories which are built to last, and always remember that a little more money spent when you are buying an accessory means less money spent in the long run.
While the quality and the affordable price are essential too, what’s the use of a product that you cannot fit into your kayak or that’s too small to be of any use.
The size aspect is also vital when it comes to transporting your gear along with the kayak. Basically, you will need to be able to transport your kayak and all the accessories in as few trips as possible. So, the dimensions and the weight play a significant role here too.
You should make sure that the product is compatible with your kayak. And, think about the weight it is going to add to your kayak, and how it is going to change the size and shape of your kayak. You may be able to get your kayak into your car with no problems, but when there is a rod holder attached, can you still do that? Can you still lift the kayak in the same way?
With sizes, it’s especially important to pay attention to online shopping from another country/continent because their metrics may vary, and you could be expecting one thing while the casual size can be way off.
Ease of Use and Installation
Depending on how much you have paid for your kayak, it may or may not come with a variety of accessories already attached to it. Whatever the case may be and you still want to add a few extras, consider the tools and skills that you will need to secure and actually use each product you buy.
Each accessory comes with an installation guide, so for the best experience with it, you should follow the instructions or find a tutorial online that will help you with mounting.
Speaking of the installation, finding the right spot for your product is super important because you don’t want it getting in your way, but you also don’t want it to be far from reach when you need it the most.
For instance, when installing an anchor on your kayak, you should find a spot that’s easy to reach from a sitting position. The same applies to the rod holder. They should be in your way and make it difficult for you to transport your kayak or paddle, but they should be close enough so that you can drop an eye and reach them whenever there’s a catch.
Lastly, remember that if you have no place to install your accessory, then there is no point in buying that product.
Also, I understand that some of the needed gear may be a bit more expensive, especially if you have just bought your kayak, and you need a bunch of new accessories right away, but think of it as a smart, long-term investment that will pay off.
And the reason why I’m saying this is that frequently people are tempted to buy something second-hand so that they save money. This is sometimes a good idea if what you are buying is fully functional, but why I advise against it is because manufacturing techniques are continually improving, and new gear is designed to be used as efficiently as possible and can offer way more than what older products can.
So, basically, there cannot be even a comparison in functionality.
Weather and Water-Resistance
I’ve talked about this a little bit where I mentioned durability, and I believe these two segments are closely related to one another.
Namely, kayaking or paddle boarding or any gear related to water sports should be made resistant to weather and water and should be protected in the best way possible.
For instance, if you use a GPS or a fish-finder, you definitely want to protect them inside a waterproof case. No matter how high-quality they are and they claim to be waterproof, they need a casing if they wish to have it for a long, long time.
There is a significant difference between waterproof and water-resistant. For instance, if your container is water-resistant, and it falls into the water, water will get in and ruin your device. So, you can only guarantee the safety of your belongings if the container is waterproof, too, with watertight seals on the edges.
Also, for those bags or containers that hold your belongings, do not forget to get a leash attached to it so that even if it falls into the water you can pull and retrieve it right back up fast.
And speaking of waterproof things, I wrote a whole piece on what to wear when kayaking. Be sure to check it out so that you equip yourself with the best-suited clothes for the most enjoyable experience on the water.
The best kayak accessories
Now that I have cleared some things around kayaking accessories, here is the following gear you most likely will need on board.
This is a heavy-duty, durable dry bag that will protect all your precious belongings from the water. One of the things I liked the most about this dry bag is its size. You don’t have to have so much storage space onboard or a huge kayak to fit it.
It is 20 liters, and its 100% waterproof, sand-proof, mud-proof, and snowproof.
The best part about it was when I was trying it out in the water and discovered that if you fill it with air partially, it will float on the surface of the water. This way, you won’t lose anything to the bottom of the lake or river, and you can always get to your things quickly.
Another great design is the welded seams. I like how they are much better than the glue seams of other bags I’ve tried before.
I have an entire piece on storing your board written, and depending on the type of kayak you have, you may or may not be able to use the same storage racks for your kayak too.
So, I’ve decided to include on in this list simply because storing their kayak for many people is a headache. This system is very functional yet relatively simple and robust and will keep your kayak safe and sound in the offseason.
It’s strong enough to keep all your accessories, too, with it two heavy-duty nylon straps that wrap around your kayak and lift it off the ground. This way, all you need is a free wall, and you don’t even have to have a particular storage spot somewhere in your house.
It’s a super-lightweight design that has a carrying pouch so that you can store it away when you no longer need it.
When it comes to storage systems, I guarantee you this is the most practical one.
For those fishing in moving waters or in windy days, this folding kayak anchor is a must-have. Whether you are an angler or a river paddler, staying still in one spot despite the current is very easy with this Jet Logic A-2 anchor.
With it, you can keep a steady line in mud, sand, gravel, and rocks no matter what weather conditions you are in at that particular moment.
If you have read any of my other articles on anything related to water sports, you know that I love being practical, and simplicity is my best bud! So, the reason why I love this system is its small weight (about 1.5 kilos) and its padded nylon storage case so you can carry it with you and store it safely anywhere.
It won’t take a large storage space even though it has an impressive 25-foot long marine-grade rope.
Whether you go fishing or kayak recreationally, I present you with this super-functional pump that’s so easy to carry anywhere with you. No matter the weather, you don’t want to get wet and capsize, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
This pump is only 360 grams, which is almost how much my phone weighs, to be honest, so not having one would truly be a miss!
You can have it under your seat or near your feet, and you won’t even know it’s there. Plus its neon yellow color is a potentially life-saving characteristic.
It is designed with an easy-grip molded handle so you can very conveniently pump water out of your boat whenever you need to.
I mean, why shy away from a rough surf or wet weather when you can enjoy any condition while kayaking by carrying this super-functional pump?
To be honest, this is probably the one most crucial piece of equipment for all of you who love solo kayaking out in the open waters.
If your kayak didn’t come with a bungee system, this 10 piece Nylon Bungee system could change that in a heartbeat!
It’s super practical and can install easily by screwing the loops into any kayak—this way, you give it a robust bungee net for secure storage of your kayak gear.
The entire system is made of high-quality stainless steel screws and nuts which work well with the exceptionally-durable nylon loops.
With the convenient kayak fishing accessories, no matter how much gear you want to pack for your kayaking trip, you can take it all with you without worrying about weighing you down or losing anything.
Every pro kayaker you ask will agree that no matter what you do in the water, you will need more than one leash for your kit at one point.
This set comes conveniently with three leashes, which is perfect for fishermen if you ask me.
You can use one leash to attach your paddle while the two others can hold your fishing rods or any additional light gear.
What’s great about this piece of equipment is that is has a fixed elongation, so you don’t have to worry about overstretching it or losing elasticity. Plus, each stretches to up to 50cm, and by combining them together, you get quite a long leash.
The next great thing in kayak accessories is the kayak plugs.
They come in five different rings, and their super-flexible design can fit into any scupper; and the excellent part about them is that they glow in the dark so you can always find your way around even during night paddles.
You get two in a single pack, so you don’t have to worry about losing one.
By law, when you are kayaking, you still need to have a life vest even though you don’t have a motorboat. This is a mandatory piece of equipment that saves lives.
This is why, along with the survival whistle, both are extremely important to have at all times.
This life vest is inflatable and extremely easy to put on. With its ergonomic design, it is lightweight and easy to carry on you at all times without even noticing.
What I love most about this vest is that it does come in 4 different sizes, which means you can indeed find what matches your built and actually feel comfortable in such a practical piece of equipment.
With front and back ventilation, this life vest is incredibly breathable and provides a cushion against bumps and bruises.
When it comes to durability, it has a robust and durable zipper, which is approved by the US Coast Guard as a high-quality feature.
Additionally, you can very quickly inflate or deflate this snorkeling vest in seconds! The secure lock valve is easy to open and close, fast to inflate, and secure while you’re active. Its ergonomic position allows you to adjust buoyancy on the fly. If you want less buoyancy, simply unlock the valve and press down to let the air out. Perfect if you’re going to dive to get a closer look at the marine life. When you are back on the surface, you can inflate the vest in seconds to your desired level.
Garmin, without a doubt, is the leading GPS device manufacturer with hundreds of devices designed and hundreds of thousands sold worldwide.
The eTrex 10 is no exception to the quality that Garmin works with.
It has four different variations, which include a color display and expandable memory, a barometric altimeter, and 3-axis compass, and a geocaching bundle on top of the base model.
All the variations have a 2.2-inch screen in an IPX7 waterproof body, which is a fantastic feature since you’ll be using it in water primarily.
The reason why this device is so practical and straightforward to use is because of the long hours it can operate on. Namely, this Garmin GPS for kayaking runs on just two AA batteries for up to 20 hours.
This means you can stay the whole day in water without needing to carry any batteries extra.
No more getting lost in the water with this super-functional device.
It’s one thing to kayak for an hour or two, and it’s another to traverse through water for 10+ hours.
During your long kayaking trips, you need the first-class comfort so that you can stay focused on your course and paddle without a blink.
This is why I bring you this super comfortable seat cushion that makes your back and behind absolutely cozy. Imagine sitting in your favorite spot on your couch at home, just 10 times better!
As for mounting, you can easily strap it onto your existing kayak chair with its strong tabs.
It is made of non-slip materials, which ensures that it won’t move around while you are paddling or pedaling through the water.
What I love the most when I first tried it was its gel-filled core. This is something similar to those memory foam mattresses, so it will mold around your body shape for increased comfort and stability.
With this cushion, you can increase your endurance in the water by two-fold and can paddle longer than you thought possible!
Transporting your kayak to your desired location on your vehicle has never been more comfortable with the Inno Kayak carrier.
If you already have a rack, this carrier will transform it into the ultimate kayak carrier regardless if your rack is the ordinary circle or square rack.
It is designed with an ultra-durable strapping system, which ensures that your kayak stays on the roof no matter the road you drive on. With its tried and true ratcheting system, this really is one of the safest carrier systems out there.
It also has a unique rubber-coated stainless steel strap so that you can securely fasten the kayak for any potential wind or other rough elements.
It’s important to note that with all its fastening elements, it will not damage your kayak in any way because all straps are padded and soft so that you can easily transport your kayak to your favorite spot.
No matter where you sail or what you do in your kayak, there will come a time where you need the plastic boat repair kit. Basically, everything you need to quickly fix your kayak is included in the box, and it is packed in a convenient set with manuals that guide you through the step by step instructions.
All your dings and dents can be easily and quickly repaired on your kayak or boat, so you don’t have to worry about kayaking alone.
Plus, as all these accessories, this kit is very lightweight and small in size, so you can easily fit it into your day-to-day gear.
Why not show your passion for kayaking with this fun decal sticker?
You can stick it anywhere you like because it can be removed later on without any residue left behind. It is waterproof and can stand the test of time.
Your car, laptop, or bags can carry it to show what your favorite hobby is and to match with other kayak-loving people too. Plus, it can also stand as a reminder for you to go out in the water more often!
Many people come up to me and often ask what the basic set of kayaking gear is that it would make their trips more comfortable and safe.
To be perfectly honest, unless I talk to them in-depth as to what they are doing when out in the water and when they are kayaking, I wouldn’t be able to tell them exactly.
I mean, it all depends on yourself individually. However, if I had to make up a list, then there would be the following gear and kayak accessories:
If your kayak is without pedals, then you will need to buy a paddle so that you can move in the water. If you don’t know how to decide on which paddle to purchase or you simply don’t know how-to, here’s a comprehensive article on all things paddle-related (choosing a kayak paddle article).
The next thing would be a buoyancy aid when in your kayak. Above in the list, you have a PFD or personal flotation device, but no matter which one you go with, you should pick one that’s very comfortable because you will need to wear it all day long. Make sure your PFD is comfortable enough around your shoulders and allows for good movement, but it still feels snugly and tight, and it fits well.
If you are going through whitewater or kayaking in high-traffic water areas, then the additional step towards kayaking safety would be adding a helmet.
Next would be the pump. You are in the water, so it’s only normal that some water can enter your kayak, which is why having a pump to pump it out is very useful. However, check first, because you might already have a kayak that’s designed to let any extra water out. If not, then the lightweight pump from the list above would be your best bet!
If you don’t want to deal with a pump to keep water out of your kayak, then a spray skirt should do the job! You wear the skirt around your middle, and then when you get into your kayak, you attach the outside of the skirt to the kayak. This way, it seals you in the cockpit and stops any water from getting in.
Getting back in your kayak can be a pain sometimes if you fall out. This is when a paddle float comes handy. You can simply slip the float over one end of your paddle and inflate the float. Once the float has been inflated, you place the float in the water and the other end of the paddle on the kayak. You can then use this to hoist yourself back into your kayak. When you are looking at paddle floats, look for one which is easy to inflate and can be used multiple times.
All in all, I believe that covers the needed kayak accessories for your adventure trips anywhere, anytime. Of course, if you have other favorites that you cannot do without, do not hesitate to drop me a suggestion in the comments down below, because any tips and tricks would be much appreciated by my fellow paddlers and me.
In the meantime, I’d love to connect with you on my Facebook and Instagram accounts for more cool tips and recommendations on paddle boards and kayaks.
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