A Life Jacket, Bilge Pump and 4 Other Essentials for Recreational Kayaking

Before you get out on the water, remember to bring this essential gear

Getting out on the water is always exciting and kayaking can be incredibly rewarding, but without the right gear your day can be pretty tough or just plain dangerous. You know you need a kayak and a paddle, but if you’re wondering what else to bring look no further. We’ve compiled a short list of things you won’t want to be on the water without.

Life Jacket
Very likely the single most important piece of gear besides the kayak and paddle, your life vest should accompany you on every trip. A quality PFD (personal flotation device) that fits correctly is key to safety on any body of water.

Bilge Pump
This piece of gear will come in handy when the water starts pooling in the bottom of your kayak. A bilge pump helps remove the water quickly and efficiently.

Dry Bags
Dry bags ensure your gear stays intact on the water. The Amphibian Weather Defense pack is a solid choice that keeps out water even when submerged. It’s also a good idea to bring smaller protective bags for things like your phone.

A Whistle
Even small bodies of water can occasionally see boat traffic and when big boats come through you’ll need a signaling device. Either a whistle or flare is a good thing to have in an emergency or when a large boat gets too close for comfort.

Sun Protection
Though many people think of sunglasses as a fashion statement, they are a key piece of outdoor gear. Helpful for blocking the sun’s rays and the glare off the water, a solid pair of sunglasses is key. Sunscreen and a hat are also highly recommended.

Drinking Water
Though kayaking may just seem like fun, it’s actually a rigorous activity and a killer workout, make sure you bring enough water to stay hydrated. Bring either a water bottle or a water bladder with you to avoid dehydration. You may also want to stash a snack or energy bar in your bag to keep you going throughout the day.


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