10 Must-Have Kayak Accessories for the Avid Kayaker

We all love kayaking and of course, as long as you have a kayak and a paddle you’re ready to hit the water. However, there are some must-have accessories that will keep you safe while you are kayaking. There are also some must-have accessories that will make your time on the water both easier and more enjoyable.


In this article, we will be looking at 10 must-have kayak accessories for the avid kayaker. If you love getting out in the water in your yak, then you’ll love this read!

1. Personal Floatation Device

Of course, a personal floatation jacket whether life vest or buoyancy aid is an absolutely essential piece of equipment for you and your kayak. Before you even think about heading out on the water you should have a personal floatation device to ensure you stay safe. 

A life vest or buoyancy aid may save your life. It also makes life a lot easier if or when you capsize. Without a life jacket, you can get trapped upside down in a sit-in kayak. With a life vest, you have the buoyancy to be able to flip yourself upright again. You never want to capsize and you never plan it. However, it is a possibility and you should prepare yourself for the worst before it happens. 

2. Dry Bags

Dry bags are designed to keep your personal items completely dry while you’re out on the water. They are essential if you plan on heading out touring or kayak camping. High-quality dry bags can also be towed on a trailing line behind your kayak if you have run out of storage space on deck.

If you find yourself camping, touring, or fishing and need plenty of space to store your essentials, dry bags are an essential item. You can store your cooking kit, camping gear, spare clothes, or fishing tackle in dry bags to protect it from the environment around you. Even if you end up capsizing, as long as your dry bag is sealed properly, your kit will be safe and sound.

3. Spray Skirt

A spray skirt is made for sit-in kayaks. It fits around your body and protects your lap from spray, waves, rain, and splashback. It seals you in, so the kayak doesn’t take on water when the going gets tough or the weather takes a turn for the worse. 

You may want to avoid using a spray skirt during the height of summer as they can make the kayak a little stuffy inside. However, for spring, autumn, winter, and when the water’s extremely choppy they are essential. A skirt isn’t going to keep out water if you capsize but it will keep you far more comfortable by keeping rain and splashes out.

4. Kayak Cart

A kayak cart helps you get your kayak and kit down to the water’s edge. If you live close to the water and loading the kayak onto the car seems pointless, a kayak cart allows you pull your yak to the water with ease. They also make life easier if the water is a walk away from the car park when you drive to a location. Rather than taking multiple trips back and forth to the car, the kayak cart allows you to take everything at once without breaking a leg.

They feature two wheels and a strapping mechanism so you can attach it to the bottom of the boat. This allows you to load your kayak up ready for the water and pull it along using the handles or a rope attached to the bow. 

5. Head Lamp

A head lamp is a safety essential to have onboard your kayak. They are great if you are touring or kayak camping for use around your campsites, but they can also save your life. If a passage takes you longer than expected, you get delayed, or stranded on the water after dark, a headtorch will help you light up the route ahead while keeping your hands free.

Head lamps usually come with strobe functions to attract attention if you get into trouble on the water. This makes them extremely useful both day and night as they could be the difference between a disaster and a small mishap.

6. Phone Holder

A phone holder is an excellent addition to your kayak. This one isn’t essential but it’s an extremely useful improvement you can make that will make your life easier for a minimal amount of cash. 

If you use your phone for navigation, contacting your friends and family, taking photos on the water, or as a screen for a fish finder, a phone holder will help you out big time. It allows you to keep your phone secure, visible, and standing by for when you need it. 

7. Rod Holders

Rod holders, again, aren’t exactly essential but they will make your life a whole lot easier and more enjoyable if you often take a rod out on the water with you. They provide you with an out the way storage solution for your rods when not in use as well as a way to trawl hands-free with your kayak.

If you’re bait fishing from your kayak, your rod can be left in a rod holder securely while you wait for a bite. If your trawling, the rod can be secured in the holder so your hands are free to paddle and control the boat. If your tying new rigs or are unhooking a fish they also provide you with a place to put your rod securely without juggling line, rods, fish, and tackle.

8. Kayak Anchor

Kayak anchors allow you to position your kayak in one place or adjust the rate of which you drift. There are a number of reasons why you may want to do this. If you want to eat your lunch while on the water, if your photographing a particularly pretty location, or if your spotting wildlife. However, the main reason you may want a kayak anchor is for fishing.

A kayak anchor provides you with a means of effectively fishing a spot without drifting off of it. Even in stillwater, staying on your spot can be a hassle without an anchor and will see you constantly putting the rod down to adjust your position. An anchor will hold you in place so all you have to worry about is the fishing. 

A drift anchor is almost like a parachute in the water. It’s towed behind the boat to control the speed at which you drift downstream. Drift anchors are primarily designed for fishing to slow your travel down to allow you more time to cast at passing features. However, they can be used for photographers and wildlife watchers as well.

9. Paddle Leash

A paddle leash is another useful item to have on your kayak. Some people love them and some hate them, but one thing’s for sure, they prevent your paddle from drifting downstream if your grip slips!

Paddle leashes are used to keep your paddle attached to you or your kayak, so if you drop it while paddling it can be pulled back on deck. I wouldn’t say that they are essential for all waters but they are certainly useful while out on the coast and navigating particularly choppy waters. If you are worried about losing your grip or you often tackle sections of rapid water or choppy coastlines, a paddle leash will help you out for less than 20 euros.

10. Binoculars

Binoculars aren’t just for the bird watchers out there. Although they are fantastic if you love spotting wildlife on the water, they also allow you to see far down the route ahead. This provides you with the opportunity to spot potential camp locations and figure out your lines way before you reach areas of fast, rapid, or shallow water. 

They are great when you’re out on the river touring, on lakes fishing, and on the coast. Once you have a pair you will wonder how you ever lived without them. They make life easier and more enjoyable on the water. Whether you’re spotting otters and osprey, fish on the surface, or are simply looking for a place to land your kayak, binoculars will make life 10 times easier.

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