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Top 10 Must-Have

Accessories That EVERY Kayak Enthusiast NEEDS To Own

Best Options and Reviews

Published March 27, 2020 | Updated April 20, 2022

So, you’ve just bought your first kayak, and now you’re looking for a few must-have accessories to really make the most of it. Well – you’re in luck!

Throughout this article, you’ll find 10 of the most essential pieces of kit that any kayaking enthusiast needs to own. Whether it’s a top-of-the-range roof rack to help transport your new boat, or a simple foot pump to make sure you never fall short, we’ve got you covered.

Ready to take the plunge?

Top 10 Must-Have Accessories That EVERY Kayak Enthusiast NEEDS To Own


Being stuck in the dark, either due to bad weather, fog or lateness, on unpredictable waters can be absolutely terrifying. You won’t be able to see what’s in front of you, meaning that navigating around rocks, trees or other obstructions is near impossible. That’s why you need a headlamp.

A headlamp is on top of the essential kayak accessories list, as it’s one of those things that can prove to be invaluable. Don’t find yourself lost in an unfamiliar location; invest in a headlamp.

Roof Rack

A roof rack is absolutely crucial if you want to transport your kayak from one lake to another! We don’t all have access to trailers, so a good quality roof rack can really expand your horizons.

Let’s say you live in San Diego, but you’re looking for the best kayaking spot in south Florida – sometimes, the only way to transport the boat is with a trusty roof rack!

Our choice for the best roof rack is the CargoLoc 2 piece Aluminium set; it’s reliable, durable, and one of the safest options on the current market. With a carry weight of 150lbs and a low price of $80, there’s no reason not to own one!


A lot of kayakers neglect the need for a good paddle, becoming perfectly complacent with their default option. Did you know that you could be making it harder on yourself by not owning a good paddle?

As you improve, you’ll notice that specially-designed paddles can make kayaking much easier – you can read more on what to look for just here.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for a great, long-lasting paddle to really bring the best out of your sit on top kayak, look no further than the Carlisle Magic Plus!

Foot pump

A foot pump can really save you in a pinch. If you’re on a kayak camping trip, for example, you won’t just need one for your inflatable fishing kayak; you’ll also need to pump up the air bed!

The best foot pump, in our opinion, is the AIRHEAD Foot Pump. It comes with 3 adaptors to fit most kayaks, featuring a collapsible design for easy transportation – even when you’re in the water.

Dry Bag

Dry bags are designed to keep your possessions dry, and are an essential piece of kayak gear to take with you on any journey.

When you’re in the water, it doesn’t take much for your pockets to become drenched, which means that you can say goodbye to your phone, satnav or map… A good dry bag can save you the hassle of losing your possessions to moisture. They don’t take up much space, are designed to be water-resistant in any conditions and don’t cost an arm and a leg!

Trolling Motor

Do you just hate paddling? Don’t you wish that there was an easier way to navigate the lake? Well, with a good trolling motor, you can say goodbye to the paddles and welcome in a new, electrical way of life.

A trolling motor can completely eliminate the need for paddling by turning your kayak into a high-powered speed machine. If you’re looking for a low cost, sturdy and long-lasting motor, we can’t recommend the Newport Vessels NV series enough!

Life Vest

You’re a strong swimmer, that’s great. You’ve had plenty of hours in the water. That’s still no excuse to not own a life jacket.

Every kayaker will experience a time in their life when they need a life jacket: maybe, you’ve capsized in high-pressure, rapid whitewater. You might have become stuck in an undercurrent. There are so many scenarios that can be avoided with a kayak life vest that you’d be silly to not own one.

The ONYX MoveVent Dynamic has been designed with kayakers in mind; with plenty of pockets for essential storage, you’ll never find yourself short again.

Horn or whistle

Horns and whistles can be used to alert other kayakers or canoeists of your location and can be a helpful piece of gear to own in any circumstance.

Sometimes, you’ll be faced with a kayaker who’s moving just a bit too slow; they might be unaware of their surroundings, or could even by riding in a reckless, unprofessional way. Much like a car horn, you can use a signalling whistle or other type of horn to notify any nearby people that you’re within their vicinity.

A horn can also be used to notify rescuers of your location!

Spray Skirt

If you ride a sit-inside kayak, you’ll be well aware of just how annoying splashing water can be. Despite being just big enough to fit your body inside, water will still find its way into the cockpit, drenching you AND your supplies.

The solution: a spray skirt. Despite a simple, fabric design, they can turn your trip around; protecting you from the elements and saving you from a cleaning job further down the line.

First Aid Kit

Even if you’re a careful, mindful person, it’s best practice to always have access to a first aid kit. You never know when you might need one; a low hanging tree branch could cut you, you might end up with a splinter, or you might find another kayaker on the trail in dire need of first aid.

Luckily, first aid kits aren’t too expensive – most of us have one at home already!

Jay Schwartz author of Kayak Guidance

About the Author - Jay Schwartz:

Hey there kayak lovers! I’m Jay Schwartz, the author here at Kayak Guidance! You know water sports – you know me! My life is all about it. Kayaking, Paddleboarding, Fishing, Snorkeling and so much more. I love to share my passion and knowledge with all of you. 

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