Essential Kayaking Gear

Getting into the sport of kayaking can be a fun filled one and knowing what gear is essential is the key to starting off right. First of all, kayaking can be a costly sport. Many that want to get into it don’t realize just how costly until they begin to price out the gear. Once the gear is purchased however, the fun and excitement felt while paddling down a white river or even on an open calm body of water simply can’t be beat.

While some will argue that certain items are non-essential gear, what is listed will not only make your kayaking experience more fun, but also safer. Essential gear for kayaking includes:

• Kayak: You can’t go kayaking without a kayak. What is important to know is that there are several different types of kayaks you can buy. You can buy a white water kayak, ocean kayak, or a touring kayak. Each kayak is unique and meant for a particular style of kayaking so you should choose your kayak based on what kind of kayaking you plan on enjoying.

• PDF: This stands for Personal Flotation Device. NEVER kayak without a PDF. A PDF is also known as a life preserver and having one on at all times could very well save you if the unthinkable where to happen.

• Paddles: Each kayak uses a specific type of paddle so be sure to ask the store where you are purchasing your kayak from which paddles are appropriate.

• Helmet: This is only required for white water kayaking, but it doesn’t hurt to always wear one.

• Spray Skirt: This helps keep the water out of the kayak. When purchasing one of these, make sure it will fit you and your kayak.

• Gloves: While some may say these are not necessary, those of you that have experienced blisters, scraped knuckles, and cold hands may argue the point.

• Dry suit/Wetsuit: Worn at your discretion but very nice to have in colder waters.

• Booties: These should be comfortable and fit easily into your kayak.

• Rope Bag: This could save your life or that of your friend. Strongly recommended.

• Knife: If you get caught up in some ropes or trapped under water, you will be happy that you have one with you.

• Float bags: These are bags that go to the stern of the kayak and keep it from sinking should you get separated from it.

• Dry bag: Great for stowing gear like cameras and other non-essentials. Keep it inside the kayak with you.

Now that you have all the necessary kayaking gear, you are ready to hit the water and have the thrill of a lifetime. While some of the equipment listed is definitely essential and some is somewhat non-essential, to fully enjoy your kayaking experience it is recommended to get it all. If you are going to skimp on some of the gear, never skimp on safety gear. You can replace a camera, but you can’t replace a life, it simply isn’t worth risking your life to try to save a couple of bucks.

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