It’s easy to forget your spray skirt, paddle or life jacket, or forget to bring cash for a park pass. Use this kayaking day trip guide to prevent from missing another piece of gear for your next trip.
- Spray skirt
- Paddle leash
- Pump or bailing device
- Dry bag and/or deck bag
- Lifejacket (Get a hi-vis PFD with easy to access pockets for stuff)
- Kayak rescue paddle float (do you have attachments to the boat?)
- Tow rope or throw rope (Can double for drying gear or beer bag rope)
- Rescue stirrup
- Whistle (required in USA by Coast Guard)
- Night paddling gear – Waterproof light, reflector tape, whistle
- Waterproof laser pointer or laser flare
- Hand-held rocket flares in waterproof bag or box (but accessible)
- Bail-out kit – See Doug Alderson’s book the Saavy Paddler for contents.
- Reflector (Cheap plastic reflectors work great, keep in PFD on string)
- Knife (Paddler’s knives are blunt tipped and can attach on PFD or in PFD pocket. If in PFD pocket attach to tether.
- First Aid Kit. Make your own or get a paddler’s first aid kit from NRS.
- Dry suit (are your gaskets intact and zipper running smoothly?)
- Wetsuit (or paddling pants, jacket, Farmer John/Jane)
- Paddling jacket
- Warm hat or skull cap
- Wide brimmed or baseball hat
- Paddling or neoprene gloves
- Booties or paddling shoes
- Sun glasses
- Retention strap
- Sun block
- Energy bar or gels
- Hydration bladder, bottle and electrolytes
- Drinking and/or gear cleaning water
- Cloth or towel for cleaning gear
- Car rack straps and/or tie-downs for stern and bow.
- Red flag for tying on back of boat while driving
- Keep a ‘most forgotten’ items box in your car. Include things like booties, gloves, sunblock, sun glasses retention straps, water.
Phone & Accessories
- Fully charged phone
- Phone charger. Consider both solar and plug-in options if you take a break at a marina.
- Phone waterproof case and tether. Soft or hard cases work fine depending on the brand.
- Map or chart of your destination. Put in large zip-lock or map case.
- Fully charged phone, GPS unit and/or compass or chart tools.
Day Trip Tips
- Is your rack secure to your car? Do a shake test to confirm prior to loading.
- Check the above list to make sure you got everything!
- Gather your gear and do a shake down paddle to make sure you can comfortably fit everything in or on your boat. Then on your trip day you’ll feel more pro about your trip ahead.
- Cable and lock system for securing your kayak and paddle to your car and/or a public location whether it be a dock or rental house/hotel.
Before You Launch
- Leave a Float Plan with a friend. Tell them where you’re going, what your route is, the color/type of your kayak, when you expect to be back. Then upon coming back, confirm that you’re back on land. Friends have set a Float Plan on FB Messenger which we use daily.
- Do you have your parking pass, cash for a parking fee and/or park/rec permit ready to display?
- Car locked? Do you have a good hide-a-way spot for your keys? I don’t bring my keys on the water thus leaving them hidden under my car.
Brands I prefer for my kayaking gear and accessories
Books and Resources
- Doug Alderson’s “Saavy Paddler“
- Captain’s Nautical Supply (Seattle and online), has charts.
- Sea Kayak Safety and Rescue, John Lull.
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