Essential Gear List for Kayaking Safety

Kayaking is one of the many adventures in life that you can have without having to spend a lot of money. If you have your kayak and the paddles ready, you can just go out in the lake, river or the ocean and start kayaking, right? – Wrong!

Safety comes first, and there are certain items that you need to have with you before you even think of going into waters that, in case of a capsize, can become a real threat to your safety, regardless of how good a swimmer you are.

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In this guide, we are going to tell you about the essential gear list for kayaking safety that you need to carry along with you in that boat.

Things You Should Have for Kayaking

Let us now have an overview of all the basic safety equipment for kayaking.

Communication Radio Set – walkie talkie

If you are planning to go on a kayaking adventure with another person, it is advised to carry a walkie talkie 2-way radio set along with you. In case of any unforeseen circumstances, you will be able to maintain communication with the other person.

These days you can find some decent walkie talkie radio sets that are waterproof and have sufficient range, battery time and portability. Here are some of the top-rated waterproof walkie talkies radio sets that you can choose from before going kayaking with your partner.

Life Jacket

Be it kayaking, boating or any other activity that requires you to go into open waters, life jacket is one of the most important safety equipment that you need to wear regardless of every other factor.

As a regular paddler, you might at times think that it is just a lake or shallow waters and you probably don’t need to wear one. Well, accidents or mishaps can happen to anyone at any time. Whether you are going kayaking alone or with a partner, never go out into those waters without a life vest on. It can very well be the difference between life and death.

Flashlight or a Flare

Although it is not recommended to go kayaking during night, there are people who still like to add a bit more adventure by going out paddling when it’s dark. Or even if you leave during daytime, there is a possibility that due to a capsizing or some other incident, your return gets delayed.

During such mishaps, a flashlight or those old-school flares can come in quite handy to make signals to nearby rescue boats or coastal service personnel.


This might sound odd, keeping in mind the modern-day technology that we have available at our disposal these days. However, a whistle can play a big part in making yourself recognizable amidst dark skies if your kayak is capsized.

Regular whistles might not be too effective in such cases, but there are certain emergency whistles that are made for this purpose and can be heard from great distances.

Spray Skirts

Spray skirt can be an effective item to have before going on kayaking. These are neoprene or nylon waterproof skirts that are specifically designed to keep the water out of your kayak, particularly in rough waters.

If you are not using one, your kayak might get filled up with water if there is a capsizing accident or if the currents are too strong. On flat waters, you probably might not need one.

First Aid Kit

Just like for any other adventure trip, a basic first aid kit is something that you should not overlook, regardless of you being a pro kayaker or not.

A basic first aid kit for kayaking may include bandages, disinfectants, anti-septic liquids, rubber gloves, etc.

Float Bags

Float bags can be a good addition to your kayaking safety equipment, considering that you don’t have one of those sit-on-top kayaks. For other kayak types, these triangular inflatable bags are inserted in the empty space behind your back.

The open space is filled with air and in case of any capsizing incident, these bags ensure that you stay afloat.

Bilge Pump

This is a small, portable pump that allows you to pump water out of your kayak in case you are paddling in rough waters and strong currents.

If the water manages to find its way into your boat, it can be really difficult to still keep paddling even after having tried to get water out using other ways. In such situations, a bilge pump can do the job for you within a few minutes.

GPS Device

Gone are the days when sailors would use compasses for navigation purposes. Today, those compasses have been replaced with GPS devices. These small, waterproof and portable devices are considered to be one of the most important kayaking equipment, especially if you are planning for a long route.

Remember, after a few hours on water, the position and surroundings start to look similar and you might feel that you are not moving at all. But if you bring a reliable GPS device with you, it will save you from getting lost.

Food Supplies

If you are planning to go on a rather longer kayaking trip, it would be a good idea to keep some food supplies instead of going with nothing at all. A couple of water bottles will also help in order to keep you hydrated, should your kayak capsize and you have to spend some time in open waters before being rescued.

Final Thoughts on Our Kayaking Safety Gear Guide

Kayaking can be super fun, no doubts about that. However, the fun can get ruined in a blink of an eye, and might even threaten your safety if you are not well-equipped with your kayaking gear and safety items.

You can always add or subtract a few items from the aforementioned list depending on your requirements, however, it is always advised to carefully plan your kayaking tour and take all the necessary supplies and equipment for safety purposes.

Enjoy your Kayaking!