With the best kayak and paddle in tow, you think you’re ready to conquer the water. But before you launch the trip like a hopeful sailor, you should know that there are some kayak accessories you need to improve your tracking and safety. Some of these are optional but many are staples to every kayaker who is serious about getting more speed and stability.
The accessories for your boat aren’t really expensive and massive. Some are simple ten-dollar purchases that will help in keeping you afloat. Check the personal picks I have for you.
1. Anchor Set
- 3 1/3 pound 4 fluke folding anchor will hold in mud, sand, gravel and rock
- Designed for boats, sailboats, personal watercraft, inflatable boats, canoes, and...
- Fits under most boat seats, in PWC storage compartments, or in PWC storage canisters
- 25 foot long marine grade rope
If you’re diving or fishing, it’s necessary that you can plant your boat right on the spot where you plan to stay. This could be a challenge even on calm waters if you don’t have an anchor set to use. Standing up or moving around the kayak would cause the boat to drift away.
If you’re looking for one, I suggest that you check the Airhead Folding Anchor System that includes a 3 and 1/3 pounds of weight that can firmly hold in gravel, mud, rock, and sand. This is small enough to fit on small storage hatches or carved wells on kayaks and it can reach up to 25 feet through its marine-grade rope.
On the set, you can find the marker buoy, anchor, snap hook, and the rope. This is a long-lasting anchor that you can simply attach to the side of your kayak.
2. Bilge pump
- Ergonomic - comfortable, easy-grip rubber overmolded handle makes pumping easy and...
- Visible - high visibility neon yellow Stock for fast acquisition and safety
- Floating - foam collar adds buoyancy in the event the pump goes overboard
- Manual pump - sucks water with a pull and disperses it with a push -- capable of...
Have you capsized and find it hard to go back to paddling because of a water-filled kayak? It could have been easier if you have a bilge pump in place. An electric bilge pump is placed right on the bilge to automatically pump out water once it enters the cockpit. But for many kayaks, installing an electric type wouldn’t be possible. This is where a manual bilge pump becomes one of the kayak accessories you need.
Basically, it has a tube inside that you would need to pull and push with your hand to suck the water out of the boat. This is a small accessory but very important to keep you afloat.
I would suggest that you get the Seattle Sports Bilge Pump that only weighs 12 ounces and already equipped with a rubber handle for easy, manual use. This is made exactly for kayaks and there’s no need to use a hose.
3. Spray Skirt
- Skirt Material: nylon packcloth
- Waistband Closure: drawcord
- Recommended Use: flatwater paddling, ocean paddling
For those using a sit-inside kayak, the biggest pet peeve is getting splashed with water right on that tiny hole that’s just enough to fit your belly. So what’s the solution? Get a trusty spray skirt. This accessory is a simple cloth that you should wear near your waist and flattened on the rim of the sit-inside boat. Such addition will prevent water from directly wetting the cockpit that could be storing some of your stuff.
You can get the Seals Inlander Spray Skirt if you want to ward off rain and splashes from over paddling or passing vessels. It’s a black-colored one with a stretchable waistband and nylon material. Remember that this isn’t a full rollout skirt and it would only work on light splashes and not during Eskimo rolls.
Overall, this is a handsome spray skirt included in the kayak accessories you need to keep dry even if you’re dodging the waves.
4. Foot Pump
- Durable air pump
- Collapses to fit under kayak decks or boat seats
- 3 Adapters to fit most valves
- 54 in. long hose
It’s normal to get tired in the middle of pumping an inflatable kayak and you may need reinforcement in the inflating. Foot pumps are necessary for almost any inflatable boats or towable and the key here is finding one that gives convenience both in the storage and function. Remember that foot pumps vary in strength of air pressure and your kayak might need a specific one.
For general use, you can check out the AIRHEAD Bellow Foot Pump that can work on a 2-psi pressure and bears a 54-inch hose. You can use this tool for deflating and inflating your boat in a speed of 0.5 liters per stroke.
The good thing about this pump is it has the one-way valve that will stop the pumped air from escaping the material. It’s also quick to use and pretty quiet while pumping.
5. Paddling Gloves
- UNISEX FINGER LESS UV kayak GLOVES TESTED and VERIFIED by global scientific testing...
- BLOCKS SUNBURN DAMAGE and helps protect hands from sunspots, skin toughening and...
- MACHINE WASHABLE so after strenuous activity like cycle rides, rowing, fly fishing,...
- Quick drying breathable SPANDEX (same as DuPont's Lycra) and AMARA faux leather grip...
One thing that kayakers underestimate is the difficulty of using a paddle. Sure, you have a lightweight oar but when it comes to long trips, you might want to consider getting paddling gloves. This isn’t the usual gloves as most pairs for kayaking are made of special materials that will reduce friction and exposure to UV rays of the sun.
If you’re looking for kayak accessories you need, The Fishing Tree Fingerless Gloves would the top choice. It’s a unisex pair that is tested and proven to protect against harmful rays with its 50+ UPF and SPF sunscreen protection. Once worn, these gloves would stay in place even if you wet it or you paddle too hard.
Using a pair of gloves like this would reduce lesions and wounds from continuous paddling. It’s quick drying in case you don’t want a soaked hand to finish your trip.
6. Life Vest
- Mesh in lower back fits high back seats
- Shoulder adjustments with neoprene comfort pads
- SOLAS grade reflective material for visibility
- Expandable zippered pockets with mesh drainage
Safety should always be a priority when kayaking. When you capsize, one thing that you should have worn is a flotation device. A life vest is necessary to make self-rescue easier. But this isn’t your usual orange life vest you’ll wear when visiting a beach. There are vests specially made for kayakers with added pockets to store small items and a more durable build to last continuous soaking and intense heat from the sun.
One of these vests is the Onyx Movement Sports Life Vest. This is engineered with bubble foams inside and numerous zippered pockets that are expandable to carry more items. There’s even an attached whistle on it for added safety. This is USCG Class III approved flotation device that is used for quick rescue but not for extreme sports like water skiing or professional kayaking. If you’re into recreational paddling, this one would be one of the kayak accessories you need.
- Whistle on Floating Lanyard
- red & black color
- Audible signal device is required on boats and personal watercraft in most states
- High pitch pealess whistle
You might find it surprising but the law requires a paddler to carry on his trip devices that can be used to call for help. This includes a whistle that will send an audible signal to nearby vessels during the need for rescue. Most of these whistles used for paddling can be clipped or hooked to the life vest or rim of the boat.
I suggest that you get one from Kwik Tek as theirs are floating on water in case you dropped it or your kayak capsized. This is a high-decibel whistle with a concentrated sound and it can keep working even when wet.
Aside from clipping it on your vest, you can also wear it using its six-inch lanyard. It’s loud enough to wake up dozens of campers on a campsite just to give you an idea.
8. Bilge Sponge
- Absorbs up to a liter of water
- Mildew resistant and machine washable
- Tie-in tether to keep it within reach
- Ideal for all types of kayaking
Using a bilge pump is a lifesaver as it will let you remove large amounts of water from the cockpit. But after the few inches of water is removed, there would still be wetness inside that you have to remove using a rug or a sponge. A bilge sponge is one of the kayak accessories you need as it can hold up a large amount of water in just one use.
The common choice among the paddlers is the Harmony Sponge due to its yellow color that’s easy to locate inside the kayak. It can hold up to one liter of water and it can catch sand from the rims of the storage hatch.
This is mildew-resistant and you can toss it in the washing machine for cleaning. Just secure it on the boat using its tie-up tether lace.
9. Trolling Motor
- 36lb Thrust - The easy to operate, quiet and cool 36lb NV Series allows you to fish...
- 30-inch Composite Fiberglass Shaft - High-strength, fully adjustable shaft allows for...
- 8 Speeds and 6-Inch Telescoping Handle (5 forward, 3 reverse) - Ergonomic extendable...
- 5-Point LED Battery Meter - Super bright battery indicator provides immediate charge...
If you want to level up your tracking speed, a trolling motor is an option. However, not all kayaks are made to suit trolling motor additions. Anyway, a trolling device is composed of a heavy-duty shaft and motor that will make your kayak electrically powered. This will consist of putting a battery on the stern and mounting the shaft on the side of the boat. When installed properly, you can finally say goodbye to paddling and your kayak is now motorized.
One good option, which depends on the kayak size, is the Newport Vessels Fiberglass Transom Electric Trolling Motor. This is 36 pounds heavy but complete with a telescoping handle and LED battery meter. You can also tweak the speed in eight different settings. The shaft is highly adjustable and you can mount it even inflatable vessels.
These are just some of the kayak accessories you need in order to level up your paddling experience. You can buy all of these one by one until you complete a set. Remember that the accessories you’re getting should fit on the activities you’re planning to do. What do you think? Share your opinion with us in the comment section!