Which Kayak Accessories to Choose
Once you’ve decided to take the plunge into the kayak world and you’ve purchased your first kayak, you have opened yourself up to a realm of kayak accessories. From necessary to practical to convenient, there are kayak accessories for all your wants and needs. So, how do you begin to sort it out?
Necessary Kayak Accessories
These kayak accessories are not just a good idea, they are often required for paddling on most waterways.
- Personal Flotation Device
A PFD (aka life jacket) is a must when you are out on the water. Make sure to invest in a properly fitted device that you are going to wear (not just stash in the nearest hatch). There are so many options available today that you are sure to find a comfortable option that just might save your life.
If you’ve invested in a classic, sit-in kayak then it will be vital that you have a source for bailing out the water if things become dicey. A bilge pump is handy but you could also get a sponge or other water eliminating option.
- Scupper plugs
These handy little kayak accessories are necessary when your sit-on-top kayak might start taking on more water than is draining out. It will plug the hole so water won’t keep coming up.
If you are paddling on the Great Lakes, US Coastal Waters, or territorial seas you are required to have signaling devices. And if you aren’t on those waters, they are still a good idea to have on hand! A visual and a sound producing device are both important kayak accessories. During the day a whistle or other sound-producing option can grab people’s attention and solicit help. If you are paddling at night, more steps are necessary. Correct navigational lights should be coupled with red flares or a lantern to ensure that you are seen if help is needed.
- First Aid kit
Never leave shore without it! A good, compact first aid kit can go a long way toward your safety and peace of mind. You can create your own first aid kit or get one ready-made. This is one kayak accessory you don’t want to forget.
Practical Kayak Accessories
Go a step beyond the bare essentials and consider investing in some of these extremely practical (almost to the level of necessary) kayak accessories.
The majority of kayak owners appreciate this sport because it lets them get on the water without owning a lakeside house, dock, or boat. However, it also means the need to transport your kayak to a put-in spot, sometimes with some distance between parking and water. A kayak cart is a great accessory for allowing you to get your kayak to the water. Kayaking opens up so many water options and a cart just adds to those options.
It is probably a good assumption that if it is on your kayak, it is going to get wet. So, if you don’t want your important items sitting in water, you should put them in a dry bag. This kayak accessory comes in a wide variety of sizes and colors to help you get and stay organized. By investing in smaller dry bags (rather than one big one), you are able to sort (electronics, food, clothing) and help to distribute weight to “trim” your boat. Lots of small dry bags are easier to shift around to find the perfect balance.
- Cockpit covers
A properly fitted cockpit cover for your sit-in kayak can be especially helpful on day-long or overnight-long trips where you might be stopping for a time. It will help to keep your interior dry and, attached overnight, will protect against unwanted guests. Just remember to put it on every time you aren’t in the kayak. (If you wait until you need to attach it, you are probably already too late.)
- Kayak anchor
If you are a recreational or fishing kayaker, one accessory that you don’t want to be without is a kayak anchor. This kayak accessory lets you pause to fish or relax at just the right spot. Since kayaks are so good at getting to out-of-the-way and secluded areas, take advantage and stay awhile with a kayak anchor.
- Waterproof patch and seal tape
Expect the unexpected and bring along some patching material. For inflatable and plastic yaks, some seal tape can help you fix a leak well enough to get back to shore where a more permanent solution can be managed. Avoid an emergency situation with this handy kayak accessory.
Convenient/Comfortable Kayak Accessories
- Clip-on or Screw-on deck accessories
Most kayaks have some static lines or bungees available for tying off or securing items to the yak, but you can always get more to clip-on for quick stash storage. You can also clip on charts and compasses to keep you moving in the right direction.
Screw on a plethora of kayak accessories like mounts for your phone, camera, beverage, fish finder, fishing-rods, and more. Keep all your electronics at your finger tips.
Especially if you are a kayak fisher or like long days out on the water, a trolling motor might be a worthwhile kayak accessory investment. Trolling motors can be electric or manual powered but they help to move the kayak with a motor, propellers, and control. They are generally quiet enough that they navigate the waters smoothly without disturbing the fish.
If you’ve spent enough time on the water to know that this sport is for you, it might be time to treat yourself. Upgrading your paddle might not be the first thing that comes to mind but it can make a big difference. A lightweight paddle, like a carbon fiber one, can save you energy and amp up your performance. This kayak accessory might even move to the “necessary” column.
Being comfortable on the water isn’t just about confidence. It is important to be physically comfortable as well. Investing in the correct clothing - to resist water, provide sun protection, allow free range of motion, and look good doing it - can go a long way to making your kayak experience better. No one wants to be wet and miserable so think about accessories like a wet suit or water shoes that will keep you comfortable longer.
Round out your kayaking experience with the kayak accessories that will help you love this adventure.