Kayaking is one of the most intense extreme sports and it’s well known that kayaking requires quite a lot of essential kit for both safety and enjoyment.
Aside from kayaks, lifejackets, and paddles, however, your kayaking experience can be massively improved by using an array of additional accessories that can add a whole load of utility to your experience.
Kayaking is something that can take place in various conditions and climates, and there are many variables that kayakers need to be prepared for in order to get the best out of their trip and to do so in both safety and relative comfort.
In this guide we’re going to look at some of the very best kayaking accessories available, to ensure you have everything you need out on the water.
We’re going to look at everything from utility to comfort and safety, as well as a few little extras you can bring along to enhance your experience.
We’re also going to include a buyer’s guide below to highlight some of the features to look for in any kayaking accessory, to ensure you get a great product that’s suitable for your needs, regardless of what accessory, in particular, you find yourself in need of.
But without further ado, let’s take a look at the accessories themselves.
OUR TOP PICK
When it comes to kayaking, keeping all your essentials safe from water is just that, essential.
Kayaks can take on water unexpectedly, and protecting important devices and documents is key to ensuring peace of mind and enjoyment on the water.
A quality dry bag provides this peace of mind and this offering from Earth Pak is a great option from a well-regarded and popular brand.
The Earth Pak comes in a range of sizes from 10 to 55 liters in size which gives plenty of options for storing large or smaller items depending on your specific needs.
These dry bags also come with an included IPX8 certified waterproof phone case for additional protection and peace of mind making this a truly excellent investment and excellent value for money.
The bag comes with a shoulder strap and a study fastener and the material of the bag itself is very well made and high quality as well as durable.
Overall this is a fantastic dry bag and an essential accessory for any serious kayaker.
- Excellent waterproofing
- Various sizes
- Various colors
- Included separate waterproof phone case
- Can be expensive compared to other dry bags
For those who don’t know, a spray skirt is a sort of protective cover used to seal the top of a kayak and prevent splashing water from entering the kayak or soaking you and your equipment.
They are very popular and useful especially in white water conditions, and while they require some practice to use as they can keep you trapped in the kayak if you capsize, they are easy to use and remove even in emergency situations and are an excellent choice for staying dry and warm while kayaking.
The Seals Inlander is a good beginner spray skirt with light to moderate protection for kayakers in various conditions.
There is an adjustable waistband for a tight seal around your body which will help keep you dry, and there is also an elasticated rim grip to keep the skirt in place in rough conditions.
The seams are double-stitched and high quality and this product comes in various sizes to suit different types of kayaks.
- Double-stitched seals
- Nylon Coated packcloth
- Adjustable waistband
- May not be used with some types of kayaks
- Few color options
Another slightly different accessory for your next kayaking trip is a versatile and tough kayaking umbrella!
While this is a less common accessory, it can be a really great addition to your kayaking setup, particularly if you know you’re facing some more challenging conditions.
The Sport-Bella comes with some excellent features and can protect you from sunlight as well as rain, protecting you from 99.5 percent of UVA and UVB rays which are the most likely to cause sunburn and other skin issues.
The connector that attaches the umbrella to the kayak is sturdy and works well, and the canvas of the umbrella itself is also rip-resistant and incredibly durable.
It is also incredibly versatile and can be oriented into various positions with a 360-degree swivel and variable hinges that allow you to stay protected at all times.
It's also easy to fold away and store when not needed, but you could always use it as a makeshift sail if conditions are favorable!
While something of an unorthodox choice among serious kayakers, in certain situations this accessory can make a huge difference to the comfort and safety of your next kayaking trip, particularly for recreational kayakers.
- Great Value
- Various Colors
- Various Sizes
- Not suitable for all conditions
When it comes to outdoor navigation, Garmin is an industry leader with a hugely respected pedigree in sports watches and GPS devices.
Among extreme sports aficionados, there are few brands that can compete with Garmins design and expertise, and the eTrex32x is a great example of why this is the case.
Featuring a superb display, excellent active maps, and other features, as well as GPS support designed for challenging environments, the eTrex is an all-around extreme sports GPS, perfect for use in navigating wherever you need to go.
With 8GB of internal memory and an SD card slot, there is plenty of space for extensive use, and it has a battery life of 25 hours in GPS mode with 2 AA batteries making it incredibly long-lasting and efficient.
It's rugged, lightweight, and packed with features and makes a superb accessory for any kayaker wanting to add some exploration to their stops along the way.
- Excellent features
- Long Lasting
- May not work in all conditions and environments
While some accessories come with all the bells and whistles, some are simple, yet no less effective at their intended use.
The Skwoosh Universal Seat Pad is a perfect example of this, and it is a great accessory or gift idea for the avid kayaking enthusiast who needs a little extra comfort for a longer tour or trip.
Featuring a specially designed breathable cushion, and a host of other features such as a grippy bottom pad and a quick release strap, this seat cushion is perfectly designed for kayaking.
Waterproof and low profile, this cushion doesn’t take up much space but adds a lot of comfort and won’t be damaged by water, making it long-lasting even if it gets submerged.
This seat can fit any kayak and is an excellent choice for any type of kayak, providing excellent support regardless of your technique or style.
- Soft and comfortable
- Long Lasting
- Few color options
- Few size options
Best Kayak Accessories Buying Guide
In this buyers guide we’re going to look at some of the key factors to consider when buying an accessory for a kayaker, to ensure that the product you’re looking for is suitable for the particular type of kayaking that’s being done, as well as the suitability of the accessory itself.
If you have other questions feel free to check out the FAQ below this buyers guide!
Durability in kayaking accessories is critical, as kayaking can put a lot of strain on your equipment.
Whether it be water damage or simply the rugged nature of kayaking, if your accessories aren’t well built they are liable to break which can be anything from a minor inconvenience to a serious emergency.
The last thing you want to do is deal with this while trying to enjoy a kayaking trip, so always ensure you get equipment that is up to the task. Look for materials that are tear-resistant, waterproof, and double stitched to avoid issues when you least need them.
Another thing to consider when looking for kayaking equipment is how practical it is.
This will require you to do some research into your trip, the conditions, and your style of kayaking to ensure that you get accessories that are suitable for that specific journey.
It isn’t practical to use a spray skirt on some trips for example, while on others it’s almost essential.
The same can be said for GPS, umbrellas, and other accessories, so always make sure you’re only bringing accessories you actually need to avoid weighing yourself down and overburdening your kayak.
Kayaking accessories should be no bigger than they need to be and should ideally be portable as kayaks have limited storage and space.
Much of this space is required for important safety equipment and other essentials, so it’s important to ensure any accessories you bring don’t detract from your ability to bring key gear.
Equipment should also be light so as not to overburden the kayak and make paddling harder.
Price is a difficult one, as some accessories such as GPS trackers can be very expensive, while others such as dry bags can be incredibly inexpensive.
When it comes to price, try to look for deals and promotions, but don’t go for off-brand gear as this will often be cheap and easily broken which in kayaking can lead to dangerous situations or a lot of discomforts.
The key here is to research well and compare many alternatives to ensure you’re getting the best value possible while still getting an excellent product.
Ease of Use
Whatever accessory you’re using it should be simple and easy to use or relatively easy to learn.
If you don’t understand how to use an accessory, don’t bring it as it’s essentially just weighing you down and contributing nothing to your trip.
Always check your equipment is secure before you set off otherwise you may lose equipment while out on the water and getting it back can sometimes be impossible, so ensure everything is working properly BEFORE you set off to avoid disappointment.
Practice using your equipment on dry land before using it on the water to ensure you understand how it works and can use it effectively when you need to for real.
Best Kayak Accessories - FAQ's
What Kayaking Accessories Do I Need?
This is really a question that can only be answered by yourself, as it depends on a lot of variables from the route you take, to the kayak you’re using as well as your experience level and the conditions on the water.
The accessories you need will vary massively depending on all of these factors and more, meaning the best thing to do is to ensure that you are well prepared and make bespoke preparations according to your own needs.
Certain things such as paddles and life vests are essential, as well as helmets, but other equipment and accessories can make a huge difference and can make your experience much safer and more enjoyable.
Look at some of the options available above for some ideas about how you can improve your trip!
What Are The Most Common Kayaking Accessories?
There are several common choices for kayaking accessories, spray skirts, cushions, and dry bags being chief among them.
As mentioned above there is a lot of variance that makes accessory choice a serious concern that requires research and planning, so some of the more popular options for accessories may not always be necessary for you, depending on your particular kayaking situation.