Best Kayak Accessories – Rack, Seat, PFD, Cart, Trailer & Fishing

If you’ve been kayaking for a while, you likely know the importance of choosing the right gear. Occasional kayakers will probably be able to get by with just the basics, but anyone who paddles on a regular basis will benefit greatly from picking up a few specialized gear.

Top Kayak Gear & Accessory List

ModelRatingCategory
Signstek FF-011 Wireless Fish Finder4.0Fishing
badge-best-seller-miniUniversal Paddle Leash4.3General
Shred Ready Carbon Half Cut Helmet5.0Recreational
Pro-tec Ace Water Helmet4.4Whitewater
Onyx MoveVent Dynamic life vest4.9Safety
Malone Clipper Deluxe Universal Kayak Cart4.5Transportation
Malone Auto Racks MicroSport Trailer4.3Transportation
Malone Downloader Folding J-Style Universal Car Rack4.6Transportation
Warmers Barnacle Half Finger Paddling Glove4.6Comfort
O'Neill Reactor Reef Boot4.5Comfort
Crack of Dawn Spider Seat4.3Comfort
badge-best-seller-miniYakgrips Paddle Grips4.5Comfort
GoPro HERO44.2Recreational
Seattle Sports Kayak Wall Cradles4.4Storage
badge-best-seller-miniSeattle Sports Universal Scupper Plugs3.8General
Scotty Paddle Clip4.4General
Scotty Powerlock Rod Holder4.7Fishing
Minn Kota Endura C2-30 Trolling Motor4.7Fishing
Scotty Kayak Stabilizer System4.7Fishing
Extrasport Osprey Personal Flotation Device4.4Fishing

There are a HUGE array of kayaking accessories and add-ons that can improve your experience in one way or another. There are general items, such as life jackets, paddles, etc. that every kayaker should have, and more specialized items like outriggers, helmets, etc. that are only needed for specific activities.

Whether you’re shopping for holiday gifts, birthday gifts, or treating yourself, we hope you find what you’re looking for here!

In an effort to get you out on the water with the best gear possible, we have put together this gear guide. Below you will find descriptions of some of the more common kayak accessories, as well as links to well-reviewed products.

kayak accessories and gear

The Wilderness Way Paddlesport Shop in Florida

Choosing the right kayak is of course very important, but once you’ve done that, you’re far from done!

Kayak Comfort Accessories

If you’re reading this you surely enjoy kayaking, but wouldn’t you enjoy it more if you had all the gear needed to make your kayak as comfortable as possible? The accessories listed below will help make every cruise you take more comfortable, and will likely inspire you to get out on the water more often!

Paddle Grips

These may or may not be essential, depending on what type of paddle you get. Paddle grips are simply added padding to help you feel more comfortable while gripping your paddle. They are best for long-distance kayaking, but they are helpful all the time. If you notice that your hands are uncomfortable, you develop blisters, and get tired, then you should buy a paid of kayak grips.green yakgrips kayak grips

Remember that even quality paddles still may cause blisters, depending on your hands and paddling style. We suggest trying a longer trip with no grips, then determine for yourself whether you could benefit from additional padding.

We recommend Yakgrips because they are affordable, well made, and easy to use.

Kayak Seats

Depending on your kayak, you may want to purchase some extra padding for your seat. Especially when it comes to sit-on-top kayak models, the built-in seats are often uncomfortable for long-distance trips. Again, this one really depends on the kayak(s) you own and how comfortable you feel they are as-is.

crack of dawn kayak seat

If you’d like some extra padding, there are lots of options. The Kerco Foldable Seat Cushion is a good option because it fits any yak, it’s lightweight and foldable, and it won’t absorb water.

However, for more back support, something comfortable like the Crack of Dawn Spider Kayak Seat is a better choice.

Kayaking Shoes

When kayaking, your feet are going to get wet. That’s just the reality of the situation. Many people choose to just wear old sneakers that they don’t care about, but a better option is to purchase a pair of shoes specifically for water sports. That way you can keep your everyday shoes in good condition. Plus, water shoes made out of neoprene will give you better grip when wet than standard shoes, and won’t get waterlogged.

O'Neill Reactor Reef Boot kayak shoes

For the best kayak shoes made out of neoprene, we recommend the O’Neill Reactor Reef Boot because it’s affordable, durable, and well reviewed (an average 4.5/5 stars with 100+ reviews!)

Gloves

If you’re someone who develops blisters on your hands after paddling, you’re going to want to get either paddle grips or kayaking gloves, or potentially both! Kayak gloves give you added grip and comfort, plus keep you warm!Warmers Barnacle Half Finger kayaking gloves palm

To experience one for yourself, we recommend the Warmers Barnacle Half Finger gloves. They are well made, have great grip, and keep your the tips of your fingers free for added dexterity.

If additional warmth is what you’re after, we recommend a full finger glove like the fleece-lined Glacier Waterproof glove, which in out opinion is the best kayak gloves out there.

Kayak Transportation Accessories

Getting your kayak from point A to point B can be quite an undertaking if you don’t have the right kayak accessories. But with the right tools, it can be simple and quick – which will probably make you want to hit the water more often!

Also, we are aware that Malone is clearly well represented here but its only because they are a top rated manufactures. We don’t work for them, we just like their products.

Roof Rack

Unless you have a truck or a large SUV/van, you are probably going to have to get the best kayak roof rack for your car/vehicle. If you own your own kayak, this is probably the first thing you should buy (okay, maybe buy a paddle first!)Malone Downloader Universal kayak roof rack

There are many different styles of kayak storage racks out there, ranging in price from $20 to several hundred. In our opinion, this is one of those accessories that you really don’t want to cheap out on. A quality rack will keep your kayak AND your car safe from damage and get you where you need to go without issue. We can’t necessarily say the same for cheap racks!

We recommend the Malone Downloader Universal car rack. It is very well reviewed with an average 4.6 out of 5 stars with 125+ reviews.

This universal rack (meaning it will fit most factory and aftermarket crossbars) is padded to protect your kayaks hull, has a built-in boarding ramp for easy loading, and folds down flat when not in use.

Kayak Trailer

If you don’t have crossbars on your vehicle, or you want to carry more than 2 kayaks, a kayak trailer is a good option. Of course you need a hitch setup in order to use one, but they are a convenient way to carry multiple kayaks. Another benefit is that you won’t need to lift kayaks up to your vehicles roof.

Malone Auto Racks MicroSport 4 Kayak Trailer Transport Package

We recommend Malone kayak trailers. For general use the Microsport trailer is a good choice since it can carry up to four kayaks.

There is also a 2 boat SeaWing version, but it’s really not that much cheaper than the 4 boat, so we recommend going with the first one.

Alternatively you can go with the DIY approach and learn how to build kayak trailer, as there are many homemade kits available from similar do it yourself minded fellas, who would rather figure out how to make a kayak trailer than to purchase one.

However, if budget it tights and you don’t want to get a new one, you can always check online for a used trailer. You are better off spending more on other kayak gear that matter if they are actually brand new.

Kayak Cart

Okay, so you’ve got your kayak loaded up on your brand new car rack or trailer and you’ve arrived at your destination. Good to go, right? Err, not so much – unless you’re “made of muscle”, you’re going to have a hard time schlepping your 50+ lb kayak from your car to the water. The solution? Buy a kayak cart!

Malone Clipper Deluxe Universal kayak cart

A kayak cart is a small, highly portable and sometimes collapsible wheelbase that you can put your kayak on for easier ground transport. They are simple devices but they are incredibly useful. Simply load your kayak onto the cart, and pull the kayak along behind you to the water. If you buy a nice one, the wheels will be durable enough to go over just about anything, so you can portage to some very remote spots without issue.

We recommend the Malone Clipper Deluxe Universal kayak cart. While it’s definitely on the upper end of the price range, it is well worth it, in our opinion.

From ultra durable airless tires (meaning they literally can’t go flat) to a versatile padded frame to a universal design that carries both kayaks and canoes (of up to 200lb!), this cart has all the features you could possibly want. It has received an average rating of 4.5/5 stars with 95+ owner reviews.

Kayak Safety Accessories

Kayaking is a ton of fun, but it can get dangerous quick. This is especially true if you do whitewater kayaking and/or kayak by yourself. Below you’ll find some of the best kayak accessories that will help keep you safe out on the water.

Life Jacket (PFD)

We always recommend wearing a life jacket while kayaking, especially in rough waters. You should always keep your life jacket on and NOT in your boat. It is irresponsible of you to think you can put it on last minute if the weather changes. Be safe and wear it at all times.

Onyx MoveVent Dynamic paddle sports life vest

There are tons of PFD in the market so make sure to look for specifically the best life jacket for kayaking. It can be difficult to choose a good one. While universal jackets will keep you afloat in the water, many are too bulky to paddle comfortably. So, we recommend getting one that is specifically designed for paddle sports.

We like the Onyx MoveVent Dynamic life vest. This personal floatation device is designed to make it easy and comfortable to move in a normal fashion.

It’s split 3-panel design allows for optimal movement and comfortable paddling. It has received an average 5.0/5 stars, that’s right, five out of five!

Helmet

As you probably know, your head is kinda important – protect it! A kayaking helmet is only really necessary for whitewater activities, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you do participate in whitewater kayaking, a full face kayak helmet is a MUST. There are tons of rocks in rivers, often very close to the surface, and usually in the most intense rapids (where you’re the most likely to fall out of your kayak!). So make sure to buy the best kayak helmet, be safe, and enjoy a long life of watersports!Pro-Tec Ace Wake Helmet

While any good quality helmet will protect you, we recommend products specifically made for watersports because they use foam padding that won’t absorb water. Even though there are plenty of criticism the Pro-Tec Ace Wake Helmet is a good basic choice for a kayaker.

Shred Ready Standard Half Cut Kayak and Canoe Watersports Helmet

ProTec is one of the more popular names in the helmet industry, however, if you are willing to spend a bit more then consider the Shred Ready water helmet.

Paddle Leash

Don’t get stuck without a paddle! A kayak paddle leash is a simple yet essential accessory. It is best used for recreational kayaking in still waters but not so much in rapid moving water where your leash can get tangled up and someone can get hurt. This is especially true for river kayakers.

A paddle leash does what it sounds like it does – keeps your paddle leashed to your kayak or wrist. It serves two purposes – keeping your paddle from floating away, and allowing you to use both hands without worrying about holding onto your paddle.Emotion Kayaks Universal Paddle Leash

We recommend the Emotion Kayaks Universal Paddle Leash. It is rated 4.3 out of 5 stars with more than 100 reviews.

It’s 2-meters long, durable, and attaches quickly and easily with a velcro and clip system.

Kayak Fishing Accessories

For those anglers who enjoy kayak fishing, there are a lot of specific kayak fishing accessories you should consider only after you decided on the best fishing kayak (the most important decision in my opinion).

Below you’ll find some of the more common/necessary kayak fishing gear that should definitely be on your list!

Portable Fish Finder

signstek portable fish finder

Signstek FF-011

These high-tech gadgets are without a doubt one of the key add-ons an angler should have in their toolbox. Because of the size of the boat it is best to get a small portable fish finder.

We wrote a detailed fishfinder review guide you can read here that breaks down how to choose the best fish finder regardless of boat size, so make sure you check it out.

Fishing Life Vest

We all know the importance of wearing a life vest. For fishing enthusiasts, we recommend getting a vest specifically designed for fishing. Basically, these fishing life jackets just have a ton of pockets to help keep your baits and lures organized and easily accessible.

Extrasport Osprey kayak fishing life jacket

Which is why in our opinion, the Extrasport Osprey life jacket is well worth it.

This doesn’t mean you don’t need a storage box for your lures, its just a bit more convenient to keep a few in your pocket and the rest in the box.

Outriggers & Stabilizers

Kayak fishing is a ton of fun, but as you probably know it can be difficult to cast and/or reel in larger fish while sitting down regardless of how good your spinning reel is. Kayak outriggers allow you to add extra buoyancy and stability to your kayak by attaching extendable pontoons to the sides of your yak. This allows you to stand up in your kayak comfortably and safely.

Scotty kayak stabilizer system

We recommend the Scotty kayak stabilizer system. It’s easy to setup and take apart, it’s very stable, and it’s well reviewed with an average 4.6 out of 5 stars.

You can read more about the importance of outriggers for boat stabilization here.

Kayak Trolling Motor

A trolling motor is a helpful addition to any kayak fishing setup. Unfortunately, since kayaks aren’t really designed to use motors, it can be difficult to mount a trolling motor on your ‘yak. You will likely have to do some research to identify a motor that will mount easily on your specific model of kayak.

Minn Kota Freshwater Transom kayak trolling motor 30-inch

The good news is many manufacturers have realized the demand for these and have started to make trolling motors specific to their yak’s as an additional add-on. So definitely check with your kayak manufacturers and see if they have already one for your unit.

The Minn Kota Freshwater Transom trolling motor is a solid unit.

Again, it can be difficult to mount to kayaks, so purchase from a retailer that accepts returns incase you find yourself getting frustrated fitting the unit to your rig or you realize you need a longer shaft.

This could be one of the most important fishing accessories for kayaks you would purchase, so spend a good amount of time researching it first.

Fishing Rod Holder

Unless you are a psychic angler (I’ve heard of some!) who knows exactly where the sweet spots are at every fishing hole, you’re probably going to be doing some sitting and waiting when it comes to fishing. Instead of holding your pole the whole time, we suggest investing in a fishing rod holder for your kayak (Not the same as a fishing rod clips, mind you).scotty powerlock kayak Fishing Rod Holder

We suggest the unit we use, the Scotty Powerlock Rod Holder. It’s durable, well made, and easily detachable. It has an average rating of 4.7/5 stars from experienced anglers.

Just make sure which ever unit you buy fits well with your rod, as the last thing you want is for a largemouth bass to swim away with your pole!

General Kayak Accessories

Paddle

Unless you enjoy swimming alongside your kayak, you’re going to need a paddle. And not just any would do, mind you, but the best kayak paddle  – as they are NOT all created equal. While most paddles look about the same, there is a HUGE variety of quality choices out there.

Shoreline Marine Kayak Paddle Rounded 96-inches

It’s hard to recommend a single one from so many types, mainly because there are different styles that are best for different people and activities. However, that being said, we suggest you check out the Shoreline Marine Kayak Paddle, hand’s down our favorite basic budget paddle.

Carlisle Magic Plus Paddle Sunrise

Otherwise the one I regularly use, is the Carlisle Magic Plus. It is a bit more expensive as it is made of fiberglass, but its well worth it (Werner Tybee is also a premium choice).

Paddle Clips

It’s no fun to have to hold your paddle all the time, especially if you’re trying to fish, eat, take pictures, etc. Kayak paddle clips give you the convenience of being able to clip your paddle onto the side of your yak and have both hands free. It’s a simple accessory that just about everyone should have!

Scotty kayak paddle clips

We recommend the Scotty paddle clip. It’s one of the most simple yet most efficient clips out there. It’s low profile, durable, and reliable.

Scupper Plugs

Scupper plugs are used to seal scupper holes that are common on sit-on-top kayaks. Scupper holes are designed to help drain water out of your kayak. But, in very choppy water or when your kayak has a heavy load, these holes can actually let more water in than they let out!

If you’ve noticed that there is consistently too much water in your yak, you should start using scupper plugs. You can read the importance about scupper stoppers here.

Seattle Sports Universal Scupper plugs

We recommend Seattle Sports Universal Scupper plugs. They are “one-size-fits all” so you don’t have to find one that is meant specifically for your kayak.

Plus they’re affordable, and quite popular! It does the job and works universally.

Storage Rack

Kayaks take up a ton of space, as I’m sure you know. To save some space in your surely-cramped garage, we recommend getting wall cradles. These are just basic U-shaped kayak storage racks that you can bolt to any wall.Seattle Sports kayak storage wall cradles

We recommend Seattle Sports wall cradles, because they are simple, well made, affordable, and well reviewed with 4.4 out of 5 stars on average.

There are many other types of storage systems but we like to think keeping it simple is a good idea.

Waterproof Camera

If you would like to film your kayaking adventures, getting the best waterproof camera is a good idea. There are a few routes you can take if you want a good waterproof camera. The best option all around is to get a high speed action video camera that can take both video and high-res pictures. If you’re on a limited budget, you can get a cheap waterproof camera so you can still take pictures of your adventures.

GoPro Hero 4 waterproof camera

If you’re willing to drop some decent coin on a camera, there’s no better choice than the GoPro Hero4.

This incredible piece of technology offers a 12 megapixel camera for still shots, and is able to record in up to 4K resolution (a resolution so high most computers/TV’s can’t even display it yet!)

You can mount a GoPro to your helmet/headband, to your kayak, or to your chest, and capture a variety of different angles. And the waterproof and shock resistant case will leave your mind at ease knowing your camera is safe.

If the Hero 4 is too expensive for you, or you just want a basic, no nonsense unit, then first check out these Panasonic waterproof camera reviews. We do recommend the Panasonic Lumix DMC TS25.

This camera is a whopping 16.1 megapixels, and can even take pictures under water! It can also take video but only in 720p. This model is actually the #1 best seller in underwater cameras – and for good reason!

More Kayaking Gear to Come

There are certainly more kayak accessories out there, but this list is a great place to start. The followings brands are also worth looking into for more options for your ‘yak:

  • Hobie
  • Pelican
  • Scotty
  • Jackson
  • Wilderness
  • Ascend
  • Ocean
  • Perception

In time we will add more gear in the future as soon as we get our hands on new ones or forgotten ones.

We hope you now have the resources you need to make educated decisions about the kayak gear you’d like to purchase! As always, be safe and have fun out there!