Finally bought a kayak...what else do I need?

So after Delhi g on the kindness of friends (and their schedules), I do ally broke down and bought a kayak. (Happy birthday to me!) I got a PFD and a paddle, but what else should I have? What gear do you have that you’d say can make or break it for a relatively new kayakers?

If it helps, it’s a 10 foot kayak that I’ll use on lakes and somewhat slow moving rivers and streams.

I’d recommend getting a bailer or water pump, a throw line, a whistle, and a paddle float at minimum. Depending on how far away the put in spot is from the car a little two wheel kayak cart can be a godsend. If you don’t have a lot of cash on hand and you are handy you can build one out of pvc piping. There are a lot of how to’s on the internet for a few different designs.

Happy paddling!

Damn autocorrect! That should read: Relying on the kindness of friends.

Many people keep a big sponge in the cockpit to remove small amounts of water. A dry bag or dry box to keep stuff that needs to stay dry, like these from NRS. NRS is a great place to find paddling gear. I’ve used them for years. A first aid kit is always a good idea. Everything in the cockpit should be secured so in the event of a capsize you won’t have to worry about retrieving it. Even in slow moving streams stuff can float away faster than you’d think. Also a cord or band (I like Croakies) to secure your glasses or sunglasses.

And of course… a roll of duct tape!

In my kayak, I keep the following at all times:

A water pump
My paddle
The leash for my paddle

Always wear your PFD.

If you’re doing any whitewater, you’re gonna want a helmet and some sweet goggles.

Nobody recommends a life jacket?

and a life jacket. :smiley:

The o.p. indicates that he already procured one, viz:

The o.p. doesn’t say whether it is a sit-on-top or cockpit style kayak. If the former, he can forget the water pump and sponge, as sit-on-tops are self bailing. Since the o.p. says he’ll be paddling in lakes and slow moving rivers, I would assume that he won’t be far from shore and therefore doesn’t need a lot of protective gear, but a paddling jacket will provide protection from wind and spray, and a wetsuit if you’ll be paddling in cold water. A paddle float (for self-rescue) is necessary if you’ll be paddling alone in a cockpit-style craft, but sit-on-tops (and in calm conditions some wide cockpit craft) should be stable enough to climb aboard. If you are paddling by yourself you should carry a second paddle (paddle leashes are all well and good, but when you split a blade or break a shaft having a second paddle is a life saver). If you are paddling with others you should carry a tow line. Water (bottle securely attached in the cockpit or hydration pack attached to the PFD) is crucial. A compass, waterproof flashlight, and a dry bag with clothes and emergency supplies (food, medkit, matches, cell phone) is also a good idea if you are going on an all day trip, but if you’re just paddling in sight of shore and in clear weather they’re not necessary. If you are on navigable waterways you should also carry a marine radio, but I assume that the o.p. is paddling on isolated lakes and small rivers where this isn’t necessary. Oh, and the basic outdoor protective supplies, e.g. sunglasses (with keepers), sunblock, and hat.


Another thing worth mentioning is a good pair of sport sandals or water shoes or boots. I frequently encounter broken glass, boards with nails and sharp fragments of rusted cans in rivers. Plus if something goes wrong and you have to hike out you will be glad that you have decent footwear. Flip flops are not going to stay on very well in water so if you capsize they will be one more thing to keep track of. They are also not good for climbing up river banks. Sport sandals should stay on while you are trying to swim your boat to shore. Buckles are better than velcro.
The most common injuries I’ve seen in my years of paddling involve falls from walking on slippery rocks. If you are going to be clambering over rocks, keep your paddle with you to use as a walking stick/brace.

I know a lot of people hate them but I love my Vibram Five Fingers for kayaking. They dry quickly, provide protection and add very little bulk to your feet so they fit under the deck nicely.

This is a great thread- I’ve been thinking of getting a small kayak for paddling in the estuary marshes around here.

Consider getting a wet suit.

I really wished I’d had one on when I was a few miles out in Lake Michigan in 50 degree water, clinging to a kayak with just a swimsuit on.

I’ve only gone kayaking a 1/2 dozen times (my parents own a pair, and I go out with them occasionally), but I try to bring an old pair of cycling gloves with me when I go, so my hands don’t get chafed.

Lots of great advice. I’m certainly a newbie to kayaking and can use all the advice I can get.

No white water for me. I’ll stick to tranquil lakes and gentle rivers.

You’ll probably need some sort of carrier that fits on the roof of your car and the necessary tie downs for that.

A spray skirt is very nice to have for all types of paddling.

You will not want goggles. Not even sweet ones.

Ultimately, you need some water to put it in. A considerable amount, I expect.

Damn it! I knew there was something I was forgetting!

Man, it seems like there was a poster here who was a kayaker, but his name escapes me…

Whatever you do, don’t get yourself a portable heater for your kayak.

After all, you can’t have your kayak and heat it too.