What to Bring Kayaking

July 9, 2021

What to Bring Kayaking

By Jessica Marie

If the warm weather is drawing you towards water expeditions, you aren’t alone. We have been going out boating and kayaking and are looking forward to many more trips this summer. But if you are new to kayaking, or a multi-day trip, here is a list of what to bring kayaking.

The Basics

Obviously, you will need a kayak (or canoe), a paddle, and a life-vest or other personal flotation device (PFD). You will need one PFD for each person on the boat. The best type of kayak depends on the location of your trip. Lakes and calm rivers use a different kayak than white water or even ocean kayaks. Be sure to select and use the correct kayak for the conditions you will be going in to.


This will depend on the conditions as well. Dress for the best but prepare for the worst. It may be in the forecast to be a nice warm day, but make sure you have warm, water repellant layers with you that are easily accessible should things change. You can wear a swim suit, t-shirt and shorts, or wet suits or dry suits depending on the weather.

Don’t forget about the temperature of the water! It may be 80 degrees outside, but the water could be a chilling 40-50 degrees! Should you get splashed or fall in you will want to be dressed to handle those temperatures. If the water will be very cold, wear a wet-suit no matter how warm the air is to help stave off hypothermia should you fall in. If the water is warm or close to air temperature you can opt for less warm clothing.


We suggest water shoes over flip flops or no shoes. Flip flops can flip their way off your feet should you fall in or encounter a muddy bank. They also don’t offer much protection from rocks, sticks, and other sharp objects that may be in the water or on the banks. Water shoes are made to stay on your feet and will offer more protection for your feet.

Sun Protection

Make sure you don’t burn. Sun screen or light long-sleeves and a hat can really save you from the sun. Even if you plan to dunk in the water occasionally to cool off, the sun will still be beating down on you.

Dry Bag

Make sure you have one water-proof bag with you to keep dry items dry. Your cell phone, map, GPS, a towel, extra clothes, etc. Should the boat flip, a strong wave crash in, or a rain storm pelt your boat, at least these items will stay dry. If you get/have a bag that doesn’t float, add an air balloon, foam, or other object that is very buoyant to keep that dry bag of necessities floating so you can easily retrieve it if it escapes the boat.

Water & Snacks

Make sure you pack enough water, food, and snacks for your trip. Paddling can be hard work and can drain your energy. Make sure to stay hydrated and eat enough food so you don’t get heat exhaustion.

Rope Bag

Bring a rope bag, which is exactly what it sounds like. A rope in a bag, that can be tossed to people in the water to reel them into shore or back to their boat.

The Trip

For a multi-day kayaking trip, check out this article for what to bring. You will want a lightweight and easy to set-up tent, a warm and lightweight sleeping bag, and the ten essentials.


These are the bare basics for what to bring on a kayaking trip. There is much more that can, and should, be brought. Be sure to compile a list of items to bring with you that you can check off once it is packed in the car. Be sure to bring the 10 essentials, they are essential for all outdoor expeditions, not just hiking. Have fun and happy kayaking!


Find the perfect expedition grade tents for your upcoming adventures