Printable Kayaking Checklist 2021

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Printable Kayaking Checklist 2021

Kayaking requires preparation. We could make it more complicated than that, but it really isn’t.

The most experienced kayakers out there know that it is worth it to carry around a little extra weight if that means being prepared for anything that might happen unexpectedly while they are on the water.

For newer paddlers, you can use this printable kayaking checklist as a guide to help you prepare for your paddle adventures. We have broken it down into categories to help you more easily identify the items that apply to your specific type of paddling.

The one item that you will not find on any of these lists is your kayak, but we are betting you really will not get too far without one. So we hope you find them useful for your preferred type of paddling!

Printable Kayaking Checklist

To make this as useful as possible, we have separated it into categories based on different types of paddling. So, you may see some repeat items because you should be able to scroll down to the specific type of paddling you are interested in and focus on that checklist.

Basic Kayaking Gear Checklist

Here are the basic items you should always have on your kayak regardless of whether you are paddling for an hour or six hours:

  • Personal flotation device (aka PFD, aka life vest)
  • Signal Whistle (attached to PFD)
  • Paddle (plus spare)
  • Kayak Seat(s) (for sit on top models)
  • Reusable Water Bottle (full)
  • Water Shoes (or shoes that you don’t mind getting wet)
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Wide-brimmed hat
  • Windbreaker or Rainproof Jacket
  • Snacks
  • Headlamp (with extra batteries)
  • Waterproof Phone Case (with phone, personal identification, and credit card or cash)
  • Dry bag (with first aid kit, microfiber towel, and extra layers
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Harmony Gear Standard Sit-on-Top Seat, Black
KOOFIN GEAR Performance Fishing Shirt Long Sleeve Sunblock Shirt UPF50 Vented Mesh Sides Loose Fit Blue
Garmin Forerunner 45, 42mm Easy-to-use GPS Running Watch with Coach Free Training Plan Support, Black
Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Roof Prism Binocular, 8 x 42-mm, Black, Model Number: 158042
ABN Universal Kayak Carrier – Trolley for Carrying Kayaks, Canoes, Paddleboards, Float Mats, and Jon Boats
Title
Harmony Gear Standard Sit-on-Top Seat, Black
KOOFIN GEAR Performance Fishing Shirt Long Sleeve Sunblock Shirt UPF50 Vented Mesh Sides Loose Fit Blue
Garmin Forerunner 45, 42mm Easy-to-use GPS Running Watch with Coach Free Training Plan Support, Black
Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Roof Prism Binocular, 8 x 42-mm, Black, Model Number: 158042
ABN Universal Kayak Carrier – Trolley for Carrying Kayaks, Canoes, Paddleboards, Float Mats, and Jon Boats
Star Rating
Prime Status
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Harmony Gear Standard Sit-on-Top Seat, Black
Title
Harmony Gear Standard Sit-on-Top Seat, Black
Star Rating
Prime Status
Details
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KOOFIN GEAR Performance Fishing Shirt Long Sleeve Sunblock Shirt UPF50 Vented Mesh Sides Loose Fit Blue
Title
KOOFIN GEAR Performance Fishing Shirt Long Sleeve Sunblock Shirt UPF50 Vented Mesh Sides Loose Fit Blue
Star Rating
Prime Status
Details
Thumbnail
Garmin Forerunner 45, 42mm Easy-to-use GPS Running Watch with Coach Free Training Plan Support, Black
Title
Garmin Forerunner 45, 42mm Easy-to-use GPS Running Watch with Coach Free Training Plan Support, Black
Star Rating
Prime Status
Details
Thumbnail
Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Roof Prism Binocular, 8 x 42-mm, Black, Model Number: 158042
Title
Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Roof Prism Binocular, 8 x 42-mm, Black, Model Number: 158042
Star Rating
Prime Status
Details
Thumbnail
ABN Universal Kayak Carrier – Trolley for Carrying Kayaks, Canoes, Paddleboards, Float Mats, and Jon Boats
Title
ABN Universal Kayak Carrier – Trolley for Carrying Kayaks, Canoes, Paddleboards, Float Mats, and Jon Boats
Star Rating
Prime Status
Details

Recommended Products & Resources

1. Personal Flotation Device (aka life vest) – A PFD is an essential item for all types of kayaking because it greatly reduces your risk of injury or death if you fall out of your kayak.

Recommended: NRS Vapor Kayak Lifejacket

NRS Vapor Kayak Lifejacket (PFD)-Lime-XS/M

Check Price On Amazon
Useful Resource: Best Life Vests For Kayaking 2021

2. Kayaking Sandals – You never quite know when you will have to exit your kayak onto some unfriendly terrain. In fact, many kayak-related injuries are the result of paddlers exiting kayaks on rocky terrain without proper footwear.

Recommended: Chaco Classic Sport Sandal

Chaco Men's Z2 Classic, BLACK, 9 M US

Check Price On Amazon
Useful Resource: Best Sandals For Kayaking For Men & Women

3. Kayak Seat – Most kayaks will come with a clip-in, fold-up, or molded seat, but you will always have the option of upgrading if you need a more comfortable seating solution.

Recommended: Harmony Gear Sit-on-Top Seat

Harmony Gear Standard Sit-on-Top Seat, Black

Check Price On Amazon
Useful Resource: Best Kayaks Seats For 2021

4. Paddle – It is going to be pretty tough to go anywhere without a quality kayak paddle. The good news is that you don’t have to pay an arm-and-a-leg to get a decent paddle if you are a beginner.

Recommended: Bending Branches Whisper Paddle

BENDING BRANCHES Whisper Aluminum 2Pc 220

Check Price On Amazon
Useful Resource: Best Kayak Paddles Under $150

5. Dry Bag(s) – The more you have, the more you will be able to bring with you. While bigger dry bags are great for camping gear, smaller models are preferred for storing essentials for day paddles.

Recommended: SealLine Baja Dry Bag

SealLine Baja Dry Bag, Olive, 30-Liter

Check Price On Amazon
Useful Resource: What Size Dry Bag To Use For Kayaking?

Sit Inside Kayaking Checklist

The best sit in kayaks require a few additional gear items than you would need to a sit on top kayak. So make sure you pack these items for all your outings:

  • Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
  • Paddle (plus spare)
  • Waterproof First Aid Kit (or kit in dry bag)
  • Dry Bag with Extra Clothing
  • Reusable Water Bottle (full!)
  • Snacks
  • Water Shoes (Chacos, Teva, etc.)
  • Bilge Pump
  • Sponge
  • Spray Skirt
  • Paddle Float
  • Signal Whistle
  • Wide Brimmed Hat
  • Buff or Bandanna
  • Headlamp (with extra batteries)
  • Windbreaker or Rainproof Jacket
  • Waterproof Phone Case (with phone, personal identification, and credit card or cash)

Recommended Products & Resources

1. Spray skirts – A spray skirt is an essential accessory on a kayaking adventure because it keeps you dry when paddling. And that is beside the protection it offers to the cockpit of your kayak by keeping water from the compartment.

Recommended: Seals Tropical Tour Kayak Cockpit Sprayskirt

SEALS Tropical Tour Sprayskirt, 1. Gold Yellow One Size

Check Price On Amazon
Useful Resource: Best Spray Skirts 2021

2. Bilge pump – Unlike sit on top kayaks, sit in kayaks don’t naturally drain water that gets into the cockpit. If it’s just a little water, that’s no problem. If you capsize and have to climb back into your sit inside kayak, you will need a bilge pump.

Recommended: SeaSense Hand Bilge Pump

SeaSense Hand Bilge Pump (18") w Hose (20") (50002320)

Check Price On Amazon
Useful Resource: Best Kayak Bilge Pumps

3. Paddle float – It takes some time to master the art of climbing back into a sit inside kayak if you fall out. Both beginners and experts, however, can utilize a paddle float to make their lives easier when climbing back into a sit inside kayak.

Recommended: NRS Sea Kayak Paddle Float

NRS Sea Kayak Paddle Float Yellow One Size

Check Price On Amazon
Useful Resource: Best Kayak Paddle Floats

4. Water shoes– Because sit inside kayaks are often used in colder weather, it can be better to have full water shoes for this type of paddling.

Recommended: NRS Comm-3 Wetshoe

NRS Comm-3 Wetshoe-Black-010

Check Price On Amazon
Useful Resource: Best Water Shoes For Kayaking For Men & Women

Kayak Clothing Checklist – Warm Weather Paddling

Here are some recommended clothing items to wear/pack for warm weather paddling:

  • Swimwear or Convertible Pants
  • Moisture-Wicking Shirt (non-cotton!)
  • Neoprene Footwear (or water shoes/sandals)
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunglass Retainer (think Chums or Croakies)
  • Bandana or Buff
  • Fleece Upper and Lower Layers (packed in dry bag)
  • Paddling Gloves (optional for warm weather)
  • Spray Jacket and/or Rain Pants and Jacket

Recommended Products & Resources

1. Paddling gloves – While you might not need them for all of your paddles, kayaking gloves can provide much-needed padding and sun protection for your hands.

Recommended: NRS Half-Finger Boater’s Gloves

NRS Men's Half-Finger Boater's Gloves-Poseidon-M

Check Price On Amazon
Useful Resource: Best Kayaking Gloves of 2021

2. Polarized sunglasses – Most people think about the sun’s rays beating down from above when kayaking, but polarized sunglasses will also protect you from the ray’s reflecting off the surface of the water. Plus, they will make it easier for you to spot creatures in the waters below you!

Recommended: Rheos Gear Coopers Polarized Floating Sunglasses

Rheos Coopers Floating Polarized Sunglasses | UV Protection | Floatable Shades | Anti-Glare | Unisex (Gunmetal | Thermal (Red Accent))

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Useful Resource: Best Polarized Sunglasses For Kayaking

3. Moisture-wicking paddle shirt – cotton will quickly get wet and uncomfortable when you are paddling during the summer. Stick to synthetic materials to keep you cooler and make summer paddling more comfortable.

Recommended: Koofin Gear Performance Fishing Shirt

KOOFIN GEAR Performance Fishing Shirt Long Sleeve Sunblock Shirt UPF50 Vented Mesh Sides Loose Fit Blue

Check Price On Amazon
Useful Resource: What To Wear Kayaking In The Summer

Kayak Clothing Checklist – Cold Weather Paddling

If you like to paddle year-round, here are the items to add to your checklist for cold weather paddling:

  • Full Wetsuit (or just wetsuit top for cold water)
  • Full Drysuit (for very cold water)
  • Neoprene Booties
  • Synthetic or Wool Socks (worn under booties)
  • Long Underwear (worn under drysuit)
  • Pogies or Insulated Paddling Gloves
  • Wool or Synthetic Cap or Beanie

Recommended Products & Resources

1. Wetsuit – A wetsuit for kayaking is really best if the water temperature is reasonably expected to be warmer than the air. It is also preferred by some whitewater kayakers that find them less bulky than a drysuit.

Recommended: O’Neill Epic 4/3mm Back Zip Wetsuit

O'Neill Men's Epic 4/3mm Full Wetsuit L Black/Ocean/Brite Blue (4212)

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Useful Resource: Best Wetsuits For Kayaking

2. Drysuit – A drysuit is the best option for extreme cold weather paddling because they are designed to seal your body and keep any water from hitting your core. You can also layer up with your fleece layers underneath it to further boost your insulation.

Recommended: Mookta Drysuit

Dry Suit for Cold Water Kayaking Equipment for Men Diving Suits Kayaking Dry Suits

Check Price On Amazon
Useful Resource: Best Kayak Drysuits

3. Neoprene Booties – Some drysuits come with booties built right into them. If yours doesn’t, however, you will need to grab a thick pair to keep your toes warm when temperatures dip below freezing.

Recommended: NRS ATB Neoprene Kayak Shoes

NRS ATB Wetshoe Grey 13

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Useful Resource: Best Water Shoes For Kayaking For Men & Women

4. Pogies – Pogies differ from kayaking gloves in that they permanently attach to the shaft of your kayak paddle. Many of them also allow you to wear kayaking gloves inside them for double the protection:

Recommended: Wbestexercises Pogies

Wbestexercises Pogies for Kayaking,Neoprene Kayak Pogies Gloves Paddling Gloves for Sea Kayak Canoe Touring Paddle Kayaking Surface Water Rafting

Check Price On Amazon
Useful Resource: Best Cold Weather Kayak Gear List

Overnight Kayaking Checklist

For overnight or multi-day adventures, add these items to the basic checklist from above:

  • Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
  • Paddle
  • Kayak Seat(s) (for sit on top models)
  • Paddling Knife (secured to your PFD)
  • Waterproof Phone Case
  • Additional Waterproof Case or Bag (for maps and charts)
  • Watch
  • Floating Compass
  • Towline
  • Float Bags
  • Paddle Leash (optional)
  • Two-Way Radios (if paddling with a group, distribute one to lead kayak and one to sweep kayak)
  • Emergency Flares and/or Strobes
  • GPS (or map files downloaded to your phone)
  • Portable Power Bank (for keeping phone charged)
  • Weather Radio (plus list of emergency channels)
  • Dry Bags (in varied sizes)
  • Camp Stove
  • Camp Cooking and Eating Utensils
  • Fuel (isobutane or propane, depending on your stove)
  • Backpacking/Camping Food
  • Water
  • Water Filtration System
  • Firestarter in Waterproof Case (if permitted)
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Tent and/or Hammock with Rain Tarp
  • Waterproof Journal (to log daily mileage and trip highlights)
  • Waterproof Camera
  • Chapstick
  • Hand Balm and/or Lotion (for dry, cracked hands)
  • Insect Repellent
  • Credit Card + Small Amount of Cash
  • Permits and Licenses (if applicable)
  • Float Plan Filed With Friend and/or Appropriate Authority

Recommended Products & Resources

1. Watch – Tracking how many miles you are covering in a certain period of time is important when you are on longer kayaking trips. A quick glance at your watch every time you launch and land will make it much easier to do so.

Recommended: Garmin Forerunner 45

Garmin Forerunner 45, 42mm Easy-to-use GPS Running Watch with Coach Free Training Plan Support, Black

Check Price On Amazon
Useful Resource: Best Kayak GPS Watches 2021

2. GPS – We are fortunate to have modern technology to help us navigate uncharted kayaking waters. If you can afford one, mounting a kayak GPS unit to your vessel is a great way to navigate on long-distance paddles.

Recommended: Humminbird Helix 5

Humminbird 410220-1 HELIX 5 CHIRP DI (Down Imaging) GPS G2 Fish Finder

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Useful Resource: Best GPS For Kayaking

3. Two-way radios – Otherwise known as walkie-talkies, these are ideal for overnight paddle trips with larger groups. They will help you communicate as kayaks become spaced out on the water.

Recommended: Midland 50

Midland 50 Channel Waterproof GMRS Two-Way Radio - Long Range Walkie Talkie with 142 Privacy Codes, SOS Siren, and NOAA Weather Alerts and Weather Scan (Black/Silver, Pair Pack)

Check Price On Amazon
Useful Resource: Best Waterproof Walkie-Talkies For Kayaking and Fishing

4. Compass – Sometimes, even the best of modern technology can fail us. In those instances, it is always smart to be prepared to navigate using an old-fashioned map and compass.

Recommended: Eyeskey Tactical Survival Compass

Eyeskey Multifunctional Military Lensatic Tactical Compass | Impact Resistant and Waterproof |Metal Sighting Navigation Compasses for Hiking, Camping, Motoring, Boating, Boy Scout (Green)

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Useful Resource: Best Kayak Compass

5. Flares and/or strobe light – Proper preparation for overnight trips will greatly reduce the risk of an emergency occurring. If one does, however, you will want a way to send up a flare or turn on a beacon light to signal other boaters or authorities to your location.

Recommended: Sirius Signal SOS

Sirius Signal C-1003 SOS LED Flare Electronic Visual Distress Signal Kit with Daytime Distress Flag and Whistle - CG Approved - Legally Never Buy Flares Again

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Useful Resource: Kayak Emergency Kit

Kayaking Sanitation Checklist

Nobody likes a stinky kayaker! So here is a quick checklist of sanitation items you can bring on overnight (or even day) kayaking trips:

  • Toilet Paper
  • Sanitary Wipes (for TP follow-up or ‘backcountry showers’)
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Biodegradable Soap
  • Ziploc Bags for Paper Waste
  • Trowel (for digging catholes)
  • Menstrual and/or Urinary Products
  • Waste Water Bottle (for peeing in sit in kayaks without exiting)

Kayaking Recreational Equipment Checklist

These are items that you do not absolutely have to have on your kayaking trips, but they can make things more fun and exciting:

  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Guidebook and/or Informational Pamphlets
  • Fishing Gear
  • Notebook and Pen or Pencil
  • GoPro

Recommended Products & Resources

1. Binoculars – Spotting birds, mammals, and other animals in the water, on land, and in the sky is one of my favorite things to do while kayaking. Because kayaking allows you to reach areas with less human traffic, it provides excellent chances to come face to face with nature!

Recommended: Bushnell H2O Waterproof Roof Prism Binoculars

Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Roof Prism Binocular, 8 x 42-mm, Black, Model Number: 158042

Check Price On Amazon
Useful Resource: Best Binoculars For Kayaking

Kayak Repair Kit Checklist

In the unlikely event that your kayak suffers damage on your trip, you will want the ability to make repairs. So here’s a quick repair kit checklist for you to work with:

  • Bungee Cords
  • Multi-tool
  • Waterproof Sealant (think Aquaseal)
  • Duct Tape
  • Replacement Rudder Parts
  • Static Deck Line
  • Small Roll Copper Bailing Wire

Whitewater Kayaking Checklist

Whitewater kayaking requires a few different items that you won’t find on most kayaks used for recreational or touring purposes. Add these to your arsenal for running your favorite neighborhood river:

  • Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
  • Helmet
  • Paddle
  • Spray Skirt
  • Paddle Gloves or Pogies
  • Dry Bag with Safety Equipment
  • Dry Bag with Extra Layers
  • Dry Top
  • Drysuit (for cold water)
  • Reusable Water Bottle (full)
  • Snacks
  • Paddle Shoes
  • Throw Bag
  • River Knife

Recommended Products & Resources

1. Helmet – Whitewater kayaking comes with a greater risk of capsizing and knocking against submerged objects than any other type of paddling. Because of that, it would be silly not to wear a kayaking helmet for this type of paddling.

Recommended: Sweet Protection Strutter Helmet

Sweet Protection Strutter Helmet, Dirt Black, Medium/Large, 845091DTBLKML

Check Price On Amazon
Useful Resource: Best Kayak Helmets

Kayaking Safety Equipment Checklist

In case of an emergency, you will want to have these safety items easily accessible somewhere on your kayak:

  • Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
  • Waterproof First Aid Kit (or first aid kit in dry bag)
  • Throw Bag
  • Paddling Knife
  • Paddle Float
  • Float Bags
  • Emergency Flares or Strobes
  • Kayak Light (for night paddles)
  • Towline
  • Emergency Radio (if paddling in areas with spotty cellular service)
  • Helmet (for whitewater paddling or kayak surfing)
  • Bilge Pump and Sponge (for sit inside kayaks)
  • Headlamp or Flashlight (with extra batteries)
  • Map and Compass (or GPS unit)
  • Extra Clothing Layers

Recommended Products & Resources

1. Kayak light – If you are ever paddling at dawn, dusk, or after dark, you will need a light to signal your presence to other boaters. In many places, this is actually a legal obligation as well as a great recommendation for safe kayaking.

Recommended: YakAttack VISIpole II

YakAttack VISIpole II GearTrac Ready Light with Flag (V2FM+FPG)

Check Price On Amazon
Useful Resource: Best Kayak Lights For Night Paddling and Fishing

Kayak Fishing Gear Checklist

For the anglers out there, you probably have a custom fishing set up according to your preferences. For new kayak anglers, here are some items you should include in your setup:

  • Kayak Cart (best for all kayaks over ~50 pounds)
  • Paddle
  • Kayak Seat(s) (for sit on top models)
  • Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
  • Fishing Rod(s)
  • Fishing Reel(s)
  • Tackle Box or Bag
  • Tackle Crate
  • Bait and Tackle (applicable to your area and fish type)
  • Fishing Rod Holder(s)
  • Paddle Leash (optional for kayaks without paddle parks)
  • Paddle Clip (optional for kayaks without paddle parks)
  • Pliers
  • Fishing Grip with Scale
  • Line Snips
  • Hook Remover Tool
  • Fish Bag
  • Fish Finder
  • GPS
  • Long-Sleeved, Moisture-Wicking Shirt
  • Fishing Hat
  • Buff or Bandanna
  • Fishing Gloves
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect Repellent
  • Kayak Light (for night or low-light paddles)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Emergency Signaling Whistle (attached to PFD)
  • Polarized Sunglasses
  • Paddling Knife
  • Chapstick
  • Waterproof Phone Case (with a phone, personal identification, and a credit card or some cash)
  • Reusable Water Bottle (full)
  • Snacks or Lunch
  • Kayak Cooler
  • Trolling Motor (if applicable)
  • Trolling Motor Mount (if applicable)
  • Trolling Motor Battery (if applicable)
  • Pedal-Drive System (if applicable)

Recommended Products & Resources

1. Kayak cart – Because fishing kayaks tend to be quite heavy (especially once they are fully loaded with all of your fishing gear), a kayak cart or set of wheels is the easiest way to get your kayak down to the water safely.

Recommended: ABN Universal Kayak Carrier

ABN Universal Kayak Carrier – Trolley for Carrying Kayaks, Canoes, Paddleboards, Float Mats, and Jon Boats

Check Price On Amazon
Useful Resource: Best Kayak Carts, Wheels, and Trolleys For 2021

2. Tackle box – Where the heck are you going to keep all of your bait and tackle without a proper tackle box? This will make it easier for you to find what you need on a loaded fishing kayak.

Recommended: KastKing Tackle Boxes

KastKing Tackle Boxes, Plastic Storage Organizer Box with Removable Dividers, 3600 Tackle Trays, Parts Box, 10.8x7.25x1.65 Inches (Pack of 4)

Check Price On Amazon
Useful Resource: Best Tackle Boxes For Kayak Fishing

3. Fish finder – This takes some of the guesswork out of finding where the heck fish are when you are out on the water. So you will be able to pinpoint hot spots and maximize your odds of taking a few fish home at the end of the day.

Recommended: Lowrance Hook Reveal 5

Lowrance HOOK Reveal 5x SplitShot - 5-inch Fish Finder with SplitShot Transducer, GPS Plotter

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Useful Resource: Best Fish Finders For Kayak 2021

4. Kayak cooler – Even if you don’t catch a fish that you need to keep on ice until you get home, one of these kayak coolers is a perfect place to store lunch or a six-pack of your preferred cold kayaking beverage.

Recommended: Perception Splash Tankwell Cooler

Perception Splash Tankwell Cooler - for Kayaks

Check Price On Amazon
Useful Resource: Best Kayak Coolers For 2021

5. Trolling motor – Tired of spending all of your energy just to get from the boat ramp to your favorite fishing hole? Then mount a trolling motor on the back of your kayak so you can spend less time paddling and more time fishing.

Recommended: Newport Vessels Kayak Series Motor

Newport Vessels Kayak Series 36lb Thrust Transom Mounted Saltwater Electric Trolling Motor w/ LED Battery Indicator (24" Shaft)

Check Price On Amazon
Useful Resource: Best Kayak Trolling Motors

Kayak Transportation Gear Checklist

The majority of kayaks are actually more susceptible to damage while they are being transported to and from the water. So this checklist will help you make sure you have everything you need to transport a kayak safely.

  • Kayak Rack (or kayak trailer, truck bed extender, or any other type of kayak carrier)
  • Kayak Straps
  • Bow and Stern Lines
  • Red Marking Flag (for signaling other drivers)

Recommended Products & Resources

1. Kayak rack – There are a lot of different options out there for kayak racks depending on the type of vehicle you have. That said, having the right rack will make life so much easier than trying to transport your kayak inside your vehicle.

Recommended: IKURAM Double Kayak J-Style Rack

IKURAM R Kayak/Surf/Ski Roof Carrier Rack of Bilateral Premier J-Style Folding 4-in-1 for Canoe, SUP, Kayaks, Surfboard and Ski Board Rooftop Mount on SUV, Car and Truck

Check Price On Amazon
Useful Resource: Best Kayak Roof Racks – 2021

2. Kayak straps – Once your kayak is loaded onto your roof rack, you will need something to strap it down and secure it up there. We recommend cam-style kayak straps because they are easier to use than ratchet-style straps.

Recommended: NRS 1” Heavy Duty Cam Strap 4 Pack

NRS 15-Foot Heavy Duty Boating Ratchet Tie-Down Straps with 1,500 Pounds of Tensile Strength, Stealth Black, 4 Pack

Check Price On Amazon
Useful Resource: How To Strap A Kayak to A Roof Rack

3. Bow and stern lines – These are essential if you are transporting a longer kayak on a smaller vehicle. They will allow you to secure the bow and stern of your kayak down securely to the front and rear bumpers of your vehicle in addition to using cam-style straps to secure it to your kayak rack.

Recommended: Seamander 1/4″ by 10 Foot Kayak Tie Down Straps

Seamander 1/4" x10ft Kayak Rope Hanger Tie Down Straps Canoe Ratchet Straps with Storage Bag (210 ft Ratchet tie Down Rope+ 210 ft Rope)

Check Price On Amazon
Useful Resource: How To Transport A Kayak On A Small Car

Kayak Pre-Trip Checklist

Even seasoned guides use checklists to make sure they have everything ready for their guests. You can use this checklist to make sure you have everything ready for every one of your kayaking trips:

  • Unload kayak(s) onto beach or boat launch
  • Attach seats (if applicable)
  • Pre-adjust kayak seat for comfort
  • Attach towline (if applicable)
  • Assemble paddle and place in the cockpit
  • Strap spare paddle to the kayak deck
  • Load water and snacks into an accessible hatch or place in cockpit
  • Load dry bag with first aid kit, towel, and waterproof phone case into a bulkhead or open storage compartment
  • Check drain plug for a tight fit (if applicable)
  • Load fishing tackle box, cooler, or tackle crate (if applicable)
  • Load dry bag with extra clothing layers
  • Load kayak safety equipment or strap to deck
  • Put on water shoes, hat, and other kayak-specific clothing
  • Lock vehicle and place keys in a dry bag or zippered pants pocket
  • Put on a personal flotation device and tighten properly
  • Double-check security of all loaded gear, spare paddle, and drain plug
  • Take a deep breath and thank the ocean, lake, or river fairies for a safe paddle

Final Thoughts

As the old saying goes, “It is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.”

This adage certainly rings true for any type of kayaking that you might do. Unfortunately, many kayaking accidents can be directly attributed to a lack of preparation on the part of the paddlers.

We hope that this printable kayaking checklist helps you more adequately prepare for your future kayaking endeavors. Leave a comment below and let us know where you plan to paddle in the coming months or if you have any questions about items we have included in this checklist!

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Printable Kayaking Checklist 2021

Author: Peter SalisburyPete is the Owner of KayakHelp.com. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, he grew up kayaking, fishing, sailing, and partaking in outdoor adventures around the Great Lakes. When he’s not out on the water, you can find him skiing in the mountains, reading his favorite books, and spending time with his family.

Welcome! I’m so glad you are here :-) I’m Pete. I am the owner of KayakHelp.com. I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, I grew up kayaking, fishing, sailing, and partaking in outdoor adventures around the Great Lakes. When I am not out on the water, you can find me skiing in the mountains, reading my favorite books, and spending time with my family.

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