What you will need for Kayaking!

Here we are going to list the most effective equipment and attire you can use for Kayaking at any location and in any environment. 

Firstly… You need a Kayak, great place to begin and apologies for stating the obvious but it’s not as simple as just grabbing the cheapest Kayak you can find and getting your feet wet straight away. There are several things you should understand before you go and find your first Kayak. There are several types of Kayak you can use and each has its own characteristics.

Sit-on-top Kayak

Why don’t we start with the most common Kayak, this is most likely the best option for the beginner, the sit-on-top boasts some of the best characteristics for any Kayak, obviously, you sit on top of it, this makes it easier to balance. Because you are not fixed to the boat in the same way you would be when kneeling, dealing with a capsize situation is less stressful and easier to deal with.

The sit-on-top Kayak is available in three-seat models.

  • Single Seat
  • Double
  • Triple

The Touring Kayak

The Touring Kayak is a great starter kayak that is designed to be used on most waterways, it is designed for long-distance kayaking sacrificing speed for comfort.

There are a few types of Touring Kayaks:

  • Recreational Touring
  • Day Touring Kayaks
  • Open Cockpit kayaks

Inflatable Kayak

This is a great Kayak for anyone thinking of making a start in Kayaking. Easy to use for the beginner although lacking in storage space it makes up for it with value, you can pick up an Inflatable Kayak for as little as £100. This is significantly less than some of its counterparts coming in at a whopping £600.

We have only listed a select few that we feel would be suitable for the beginner, there is a lot of variety of Kayaks and you will have to dig a little deeper to find what you are looking for.

Here are a few of the different types of Kayaks you can find:

  • Slalom Kayak
  • Racing kayak
  • White Water
  • Sea
  • Ocean Racers
  • Surf Kayaks

And the list is endless…


What is it? What is the best paddle to get?

Kayak Paddles come in various shapes and sizes. Choosing the right paddle for you is an important decision and you should certainly spend your time researching before making a purchase.

Kayak Paddles contain 3 parts:

  • The Shaft
  • The Power Face
  • The Back Face

Selecting the Paddle length can be important, generally, the smaller you are the shorter the paddle you would require, this also applies to the blade type, the shorter you are the smaller the blade type should be.

What is the Paddle made out of?

Most commonly the Paddle blade is made from fibreglass or plastic while the shaft is commonly made from aluminium or fibreglass.

Lastly the Paddle Leash…

This is a great piece of equipment that can save you if you manage to drop your paddle, the last thing you want is to be up the creek…

This attaches your paddle to the boat, great for allowing you the freedom of photography or having a voluntary dip in the water. We recommend strongly that you do not skip this investment.

Buoyancy Aid

This is another piece of equipment that you really must not skip, the buoyancy aid is very similar to a life jacket but is not as restrictive in terms of manoeuvrability. You will find that you have the freedom to move your arms and shoulders much more efficiently.

Generally, when you go for lessons or training at a school or centre you will be provided with a buoyancy aid.

You should have your buoyancy aid with you at all times, you will never know when trouble is around the corner but you can be sure with this piece of equipment you will increase your chances of being safe dramatically.


You should always wear your helmet, this one is imperative just like the buoyancy aid. The Helmet protects you from a vast array of dangers. Capsizing without a Helmet could be a disaster, you could hit your head on a rock underwater. You can also find dangers from above without a helmet if you decide to Kayak near cliffs. Your helmet will protect you from yourself, hitting yourself on your head with the paddle will happen with a Helmet you will feel that little less silly.

Wet Shoes

This is not an essential piece of kit, they will make your day far more comfortable, you could wear trainers but you can expect them to get very wet very quickly. Wet Shoes provide comfort, they are lightweight and very waterproof. Wet Shoes are made of a material called Neoprene, they contain a very grippy rubber sole which will also keep you safe when slipping on wet surfaces will be dangerous.

Dry Top/Wetsuit

A dry top is not always essential but can make your day much more comfortable during certain weather conditions. You should always have your dry top with you just in case the weather does change if you are out for long periods. Even on a warm day, you can get cold quickly without a dry top, wind on a warm day might not feel cold but if you throw wet clothing into the equation then you will find it very uncomfortable and borderline dangerous.

In cold conditions, you should opt for a wetsuit, cold water immersion can be deadly and without the right attire, you will struggle no matter what your swimming skill level.

Unfortunately, the price of a wetsuit is not cheap, it will offer you the best protection from all of the elements as a beginner.

  • Protects you from the sun
  • Wind
  • Cold

 We recommend you start with a wetsuit despite the price.


 “Why would you need a knife for Kayaking?” This can protect you from several scenarios, getting caught on branches, getting caught in the rope, clearing rope in dangerous situations, this list can go on and on. One of the key things to remember is your knife should be accessible with one hand.  

Knife emergency example…

There was a man that ducked a low hanging branch and got rope looped around his shoulder and neck while ducking, this could have been very dangerous without a knife. Thankfully he was able to free himself from the tree quickly.

 The term knife is vague and we don’t mean any old knife, Kayaking requires a very specific type of knife.

Kayaking Knives come in a plastic sheath to protect you and anyone around you from injury at all times. Some might say as a beginner you shouldn’t need one if an instructor has one, but we feel beginners should always get into the habit of carrying a knife at all times.

Dry Bag

Your dry bag is another key piece of equipment that you will need, this will keep your personal items dry. What you don’t want when you are out on the kayak is any of your electronic equipment getting wet. People out on the Kayak keep various things in the dry bag, sleeping bags, spare clothes, mobile phone, spare mobile phone chargers. All of these things are key to avoiding dangerous situations.

Head Lamp/Light

Sometimes you might think why would I take a headlamp out in the day, there are several reasons you could be delayed in your journey and leave you out after dusk, making sure you are prepared for all eventualities should be your first thought.

Signalling Whistle

Communication on the water and sometimes it can be difficult to hear other Kayakers, for this reason, you should always carry your signalling whistle. There is a general code for using the signalling whistle.

  • One Blast can be used to ask where are you
  • Two Blasts are used as a callback signal or come here
  • Three Blasts are generally recognised as an international distress signal

Generally, the three blasts of a whistle can be interpreted as a distress signal and should be used if you are in danger and need help.

Kayaking longer distances

When thinking about extended trips outdoors you should plan well and make sure you have all of the right equipment. It can be very easy to get lost when exploring the wilderness and having the right equipment is very important. Here is a list of items you probably should have with you…

  • Towline – You should have a towline, even more so if you are in a group. It can help inexperienced Kayakers out of situations like high winds.
  • Watch – Fairly self-explanatory this one is, waterproof up to 200meters preferably 
  • Compass – If you get lost this is invaluable, make sure it can float
  • GPS – load the data before you go
  • 2 Way Radio – Again helps you if you get into a bad situation.

Final Thoughts

We have covered some of the things you might need when going Kayaking but there are many more items you could take. Please do more research and stay safe.

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We are passionate about the outdoors, kayaking in particular. We have built this website to share all of the tips and tricks that we have learned along the way, we hope you have as much fun as we do.


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