If you’re out looking at kayaks for sale at your local outdoor store, it’s quite possible that you’re not getting the full picture of what you need to safely use your new boat. Most novice paddlers think all you need is the kayak and a paddle to move it.
However, if you plan on using your kayak for more than just some leisure paddling within a mile or two, you will need additional items to ensure your comfort and safety.
Unless you’re talking to an experienced paddler, chances are you won’t learn of these items until much later. Finding out that you need to purchase additional accessories to fully complete your kayak rig will be frustrating unless you’re wealthy and money is no object.
Understanding all of the items you need upfront though will help you budget the funds you will need to make kayaking into a fun hobby.
We invite you to continue reading for a list of 6 accessories you will need to have before you set out in your new kayak.
- Paddle – This is the most obvious accessory you will need. Without a paddle, your kayak will be absolutely useless. It’s important to note that not all paddles are the same. What may work on a river will not work too well on an open bay, and vice versa. Kayak paddles come in a variety of sizes too – which one you choose will depend on if you’re a big or small person and how big your boat is. If you purchase a paddle that’s too long for example, you will find your shoulders and arms will get tired much quicker. If it’s too short, you will have to lean to get the paddle in the water and run the risk of tipping over. Also, experts strongly recommended you have a leash in the event you are separated from your paddle. Some leashes will attach to your person while others will attach to your boat.
- Vest or Personal Flotation Device – In many areas of the U.S., having a Coast Guard approved vest or PFD on board is required. However, a vest is only useful if you wear it, so be sure you find one that comfortably fits you. It’s important to note that your proper vest size isn’t determined by your weight but rather your chest size. Your vest should fit in a way that allows you still move easily but snug enough that it won’t come off should you turn over or find yourself in a bad situation. If you take a bump in the noggin for example, a PFD will literally be a life saver, so don’t go cheap on this vital accessory.
- Spray Skirt – This is a vital accessory for keeping water out of your boat, which is especially important if you’ll be paddling on open or rough waters. This skirt fits around you, the paddler, and the cockpit where you sit. Even if you’re only kayaking in calm waters, a spray skirt is a handy accessory to have since it provides extra warmth on cold days and keeps any drip from your paddle off of your clothes.
- Blige pump and/or sponge – If you don’t have a spray skirt or somehow get water in your boat (i.e. …from a large wave), a bilge pump will come in really handy for removing the water. If you’re on calm waters, a good sponge should be sufficient. However, on rougher waters, you should strongly consider a manual hand pump to get any water out of your boat. Unless your boat has sealed compartments where water can’t get into, the kayak will eventually have too much water in it and overturn.
- Carrying racks for your vehicle – Unless you’re able to store your boat near the water or have an inflatable, folding or some other modular kayak, you will need to consider how you will transport your boat when you want to use it. This can be as simple as specially designed foam blocks you place between your boat and the top of your car, or as complex as a specially designed rack system from Thule, Yakima or some other manufacturer. Many vehicles already have roof racks, or you can consider something that’s custom-made.
- Cover for your kayak’s cockpit – When storing your boat, you will want to have some sort of cover for the cockpit, or the area where you sit. This is the one place where dirt, rodents, snakes and insects can get into your boat. While not a necessity to use your kayak safely, a cover helps keep your boat clean and minimizes maintenance time. Theoretically, you can cover the cockpit with just about anything, but a custom fit cover will provide the best seal.
This list of course only covers items for the kayak itself, and doesn’t include clothing, sunscreen, food, water, a flashlight, compass and pocket knife among other things. Again, unless you’ll only be using your kayak in a small pond within a mile from the launch site, many of these accessories are not as important.
However, if you plan on using your boat for a little more than just leisure paddling, you will need to factor these items in when reviewing kayaks for sale.
Eddy-Gear is a premier manufacturer of durable and versatile kayaks for fishing or general cruising. To see our current inventory of kayaks for sale under $1000 or to learn more, we invite you to visit http://www.eddy-gear.com/ or contact us today.