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.
|Signstek FF-011 Wireless Fish Finder||4.0||Fishing|
|Universal Paddle Leash||4.3||General|
|Shred Ready Carbon Half Cut Helmet||5.0||Recreational|
|Pro-tec Ace Water Helmet||4.4||Whitewater|
|Onyx MoveVent Dynamic life vest||4.9||Safety|
|Malone Clipper Deluxe Universal Kayak Cart||4.5||Transportation|
|Malone Auto Racks MicroSport Trailer||4.3||Transportation|
|Malone Downloader Folding J-Style Universal Car Rack||4.6||Transportation|
|Warmers Barnacle Half Finger Paddling Glove||4.6||Comfort|
|O'Neill Reactor Reef Boot||4.5||Comfort|
|Crack of Dawn Spider Seat||4.3||Comfort|
|Yakgrips Paddle Grips||4.5||Comfort|
|Seattle Sports Kayak Wall Cradles||4.4||Storage|
|Seattle Sports Universal Scupper Plugs||3.8||General|
|Scotty Paddle Clip||4.4||General|
|Scotty Powerlock Rod Holder||4.7||Fishing|
|Minn Kota Endura C2-30 Trolling Motor||4.7||Fishing|
|Scotty Kayak Stabilizer System||4.7||Fishing|
|Extrasport Osprey Personal Flotation Device||4.4||Fishing|
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.
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.
Choosing the right kayak is of course very important, but once you’ve done that, you’re far from done!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Even if 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 accessory you should buy (okay, maybe buy a paddle first!)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
It’s 2-meters long, durable, and attaches quickly and easily with a velcro and clip system.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can read more about the importance of outriggers for boat stabilization here.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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!
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.
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.
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!
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 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.
Plus they’re affordable, and quite popular! It does the job and works universally.
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.
There are many other types of storage systems but we like to think keeping it simple is a good idea.
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.
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!
There are certainly more kayak accessories out there (our most recent upgrade is a sail kit), but this list is a great place to start. The followings brands are also worth looking into for more options for your ‘yak:
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!