Updated October 2020
You might think of Indoorsy Camper as a strictly hiking and camping blog, but I have some serious opinions on gifts for kayakers. A little known fact about me, I spent a summer leading kayak tours in Salem, MA! I took several kayaking lessons, bought a ridiculous number of Groupons, and next thing you know it the owners of Rock, Paddle, Surf asked me and a friend if we would be interested in helping them lead tours! It was a fantastic summer! I learned A LOT about kayaking, gear, and rescue skills.
Sadly, since moving away from Massachusetts I haven’t had too many chances to get out on the water, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions when it comes to gifts for kayakers. Here are my top 27 Gifts for Kayakers (it was hard to narrow it down that far!).
Big and Small Gifts for Kayakers
All the gifts in this section make great stocking stuffers or small-ish gifts (the kayak cart is a little bulky). I tried my best to hit lots of different price points and give a wide range of kayak gear for newbies and experienced kayakers.
This little guy is pretty clever. It lets you bring your phone on the water, keeps it dry, has an anti-break lanyard and acts as a floatie for your phone. Back when I was kayaking I was always too scared to bring my phone along for the ride. If I had one of these I might have snapped some better pictures.
This case makes a great stocking stuffer or a small gift for a new paddler. It holds your money, ID, credit cards, keys or any other items you need to keep dry when you’re out on the water. I always brought this on my kayaking trips. You always need a place for your car keys and ID, this is the spot to keep them dry. Clip it to your life vest or stow it in your kayak for safekeeping.
This might not seem as sexy as some of the other gifts on this list, but having one kayak handle break is a real drag….literally. Any avid kayaker would love to have a couple of extras on hand just in case. These handles are pretty universal and can thread through most kayak holes.
I have lost more than one pair of sunglasses to the ocean. It stinks. I feel bad that my plastic sunglasses are in there and my eyes can’t really take the blaring sun. BUT no more! These babies float! Meaning if they fly off your face you can paddle over and retrieve them.
Hauling kayaks around is easier with two people, but for times you’re heading out on your own this carrier will get your kayak to the water quick and easy. The wheels are no-flat airless tires so you never have to worry about pumping them up and it easily carries a single or double kayak.
It’s always good to be prepared, especially when you’re out on the water. This little guy is small, lightweight and compact. The bag is made from tough ripstop nylon and it has a HydroLock zip seal to keep your supplies dry.
With a 2 inch HD screen, WIFI remote control, and super 4K recording this little guy packs a punch. You can even add additional accessories to mount it on your kayak or if you’re entering white water your helmet.
This book is on my to purchase list. I have a feeling that once it’s in my possession I will start planning all kinds of trips. Inside you’ll find the world’s top spots for kayaking, rafting, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding.
Gifts to Keep Kayakers Safe
I know what you’re thinking….a “women’s life jacket”? Seriously though this is a GREAT life jacket. It’s women’s because they actually take into account your bust size! No more feeling like you can’t breathe! Trust me it’s a winner. There are removable inserts to adjust for most cup sizes.
I don’t have a dog myself, but if I did I would love to bring him kayaking. This PFD will keep your pup safe. It has a handle to help hoist them in and out of the water, it comes in a range of sizes and has plenty of reflective material to help your pooch stay seen.
Whether you want to admit it or not, there is always a chance that your boat will take on water, even if it’s just accumulated from paddling. This safety kit includes a bilge pump to move water out of your boat quickly, a whistle to signal rescuers, a paddle float, and a boat sponge.
NRS makes a larger version of this throw bag, but I really like this smaller version. It contains a yellow polypropylene floating rope that you can throw out in an emergency. The bag is easy to reload after use, has a mesh panel, and floats.
If you feel like the touring kit listed above is too much, you can purchase the bilge pump with a float on its own. It pumps 8 gallons of water per minute for quick emptying of your boat.
If a bilge pump is still too much a simple sponge can really help get water out of your boat. It’s not going to take out huge amounts, but it will pick up small pools of water and sand.
One thing I was always afraid of happening was losing my paddle. If that’s a fear you grapple with a paddle keeper (or leash) could be the answer. This one is accordion-style, light, nylon, and has a double hook-and-loop attachment.
Kayaking Outfits to Keep You Comfortable and Dry
I have to admit that when I used to kayak all the time I never owned any wet or dry suits. I usually kayaked in shorts and a long sleeve UPF shirt. This was what I had at the time and it worked perfectly fine. If I had continued kayaking on a more regular basis I would have bought something like this (and the pants below). I can’t imagine putting on a wetsuit, but this two-piece option is much more appealing. It comes in size XS-XXL.
Like I said before, having a two-piece option is perfect. It makes getting into the gear easier, going to the bathroom much less of a chore and you can mix and match. These pants are practically yoga pants! They come in size XS-XXL.
These may look a little silly, but one thing to consider is your feet are most likely going to get wet when you kayak. I used to wear KEEN water sandals, but the trouble with those is sand and rocks get in there and it’s pretty uncomfortable. These booties protect your feet from sharp rocks, keep your feet dry and warm.
This jacket is the next level from the HydroSkin separates listed above. You can wear it over clothing or on its own. The neck and wrist closures help keep water out and the fabric is breathable so you won’t get too hot.
Like the jacket above these pants are waterproof yet breathable. The waistband cinches for a customized fit and they can be layered over other clothing.
One thing I learned really quickly about kayaking was to protect my hands from the sun. These gloves are UPF 50+, they dry quickly and the open-finger design keeps your hands a little free-er than traditional gloves.
If all of the gear listed above is a little over the top I can’t recommend a rashguard enough. Between the sun above you and the glare off the water, you will get a sunburn if you’re not careful. A rashguard is a super-easy way to protect your skin from the sun, especially if you’re not great about reapplying sunblock. This one is UPF 50+ and comes in sizes XS-XXL.
Gifts for New and Experienced Paddlers – Paddles and Kayaks
I LOVE this paddle. Back when I lived in MA I helped lead kayak tours around Salem. This paddle is super lightweight and very comfortable….but those two characteristics come at a price. If the carbon fiber paddle is a little too much this Bending Branches Whisper Paddle is pretty good (but heavier).
If you’re looking for a two-piece paddle this one by Werner is pretty great. The two-piece model is easy to store, and the colorful blades are an added bonus.
I’m a little obsessed with this thing. It’s like a giant piece of origami! Imagine a kayak that folds up and can be carried in a bag on your shoulder. It’s amazing! At the very least you should click through to see the other photos….and possibly watch a video.
I have been eyeing this guy for a couple of months now. Packrafts are a great option for those of us living in tight quarters. They’re also great if you have a small car or if you want to hike into your paddling spot. I will warn you that they are not cheap, but this isn’t the pool float you bought at Target. It’s both lightweight and heavy-duty.
Sit-on-top kayaks are very stable and easy to use. This particular model is shorter making it lighter weight. It’s perfect for flatwater rivers, ponds, and coastal waters with light waves.
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