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Best Kayak Accessories – Kayaking Gear For Better Paddling

Mark Armstrong
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Just like Harry had his wand, every kayaker has their special gear.

Prepare to be spellbound as we unveil the best kayak accessories that’ll turn your boat into a magical vessel of fun and supreme function! 

Here’s some of the kayaking gear you won’t want to be without, whether you’re kayak camping, fishing, or simply exploring the great outdoors.

Table of Contents

41 Best Kayak Accessories

1: Personal Flotation Device (PFD)

Stohlquist Women’s Flo Life JacketPin

A PFD (also referred to as a life vest or life jacket) is one of the most important kayaking accessories you can buy. In most places it’s the law that you have one with you on board your kayak. But I recommend that you wear it.

My favorite PFD is the Stohlquist Flo, which ranks as the top recommended women’s PFD and one of the top recommended PFDs overall. It’s fully adjustable, comfortable, and comes in a good range of sizes. 

It’s also designed specifically for kayaking, so the buoyancy foam doesn’t interfere with your kayak seats, even ones with high backs.

Find the right PFD for you, your kids, or your dog in one of our guides

> Full guide to life jackets

2: Kayak Paddle (a Must Have!)

Werner Camano 2 PC Straight PaddlePin

Another essential piece of equipment for kayaking: the paddle. You can’t kayak without one. 

My top pick for this essential kayak accessory is the Werner Camano Straight 2-piece paddle

This paddle is very lightweight, thanks to its carbon and fiberglass construction. It’s also great for a low-angle paddling stroke, helping to minimize fatigue.

The blades are also designed for smooth paddling, with a dihedral asymmetric blade shape.

The blade angles can be feathered to suit different paddling styles. And because it comes in two pieces, it’s easier to store at home (and transport). It could also be used as a spare paddle if you already have a favorite paddle as your main one. 

Find out more about the range of Werner Camano kayak paddles.

> Guide to the best kayak paddles

3: Dry Bags For Kayaking Adventures

Earth Pak Waterproof Dry BagPin

A dry bag is a really useful accessory for every type of kayaking trip. But if you’re heading out on a multi-day trip, dry bags can be essential for keeping the rest of your gear dry.

Dry bags come in a wide range of sizes, so you can find some that will fit inside a storage hatch as well as some that can be secured on your deck or cargo area. 

The dry bags that I really like are the Earth Pak ones. These come in a range of sizes from five to 55 liters, so you should be able to find one in a suitable size for your needs. 

Conveniently, these dry bags also come with a waterproof case for your phone.

> Guide to kayak dry bags 

4: Paddle Leash For Keeping Your Paddle Safe

Proyaker Ocean Tough Kayak Paddle LeashPin

A paddle leash can give you one less thing to worry about when you’re kayaking. Because your paddle floating away is never a good thing. 

These Proyaker Ocean Tough paddle leashes can be great for securing your kayak paddle as well as your fishing rods, as they are designed to have a universal fit with a double-sided velcro strap. This means they fit almost all diameters of kayak paddles.

And the great thing is there are two paddle leashes in the set, so you can secure your rod and kayak paddle at the same time.

There are swivels on both sides of the leash to prevent twists and tangles. There’s a quick-release buckle and the coil features a stainless steel core for durability. The coil can extend up to 6-feet. 

> More paddle leashes

5: Spray Skirt For Sit In Kayaks

Seals Sneak Spray SkirtPin

Sea kayaks and most touring kayaks are designed to accommodate spray skirts. Wearing a spray skirt and securing it to the rim of your cockpit helps to keep water and spray out of your kayak, so the lower half of your body stays dry.

The Seals Sneak is my preferred choice of spray skirt because the deck is designed to prevent pooling on the top. It also has a zipper for access to the cockpit without removing the skirt. 

It has removable elastic shoulder straps and a neoprene waist. Another handy feature is the mesh deck pockets, giving you a little extra storage space in a convenient location.

This spray skirt also comes in different sizes to fit different sizes of cockpits.

> Guide to kayak spray skirts 

6: Rod Holders For Kayak Fishing

Scotty 279-BK Rod HolderPin

Rod holders are key kayak fishing accessories. Most fishing kayaks include rod holders as standard but these may not always be in the best positions or be the right type of holders for your fishing gear.

Adding your own rod holders can be an easy way to customize your kayak or turn a basic kayak into an angler kayak.

This Scotty No.279 rod holder is designed for baitcasting and spinning rods so it’s pretty versatile. It also doesn’t include a mount, giving you more freedom to choose the most suitable mount for your kayak or fishing set up. 

This Scotty rod holder will work with gear tracks as long as you purchase the adapter separately. 

> Guide to kayak rod holders

7: Cooler For Keeping Drinks And Snacks Cool

CreekKooler Floating CoolerPin

If you’re looking for cool kayak accessories for summer paddling, a cooler should definitely be on your list. And there’s nothing cooler than this CreekKooler floating cooler.

This is a 30-quart floating cooler that can be towed by your kayak, giving you additional storage so you don’t have to sacrifice kayak storage space to keep your beverages chilled.

This cooler can hold up to 20-pounds of ice and 30 soda cans. It’s insulated and designed to keep contents cool for up to 48 hours. However, air temperature, water temperature, and how often you open the lid will affect how long your drinks stay cool. 

The kayak-shaped cooler also features four cup holders.

> More kayak coolers

8: Kayak Cart For Hauling Heavy Kayaks

Railblaza C-TugPin

If you have a heavy fishing kayak that’s fully loaded with all your kayak fishing gear, a kayak cart can make your life a lot easier when it comes to hauling the kayak from your car or home to the water.

Kayak carts can give your kayak a set of wheels so you can pull it along right up to the water’s edge in most cases. 

The best kayak cart out there is the Railblaza C-Tug. This has all-terrain puncture-free wheels for rolling over all types of surfaces easily. It also has a 300-pound load capacity, so it can handle even the heaviest of fishing kayaks.

You can also use it to haul a canoe. The hull pads on the platform help to prevent scratches and damage to your boat. And it has stainless steel axles to prevent rust developing, which is useful if you kayak at the beach.

> How to use a kayak cart

9: Kayak Roof Rack For Transportation

Yakima JayLow Kayak RackPin

Unless you have an inflatable kayak or have a waterfront home, you’re probably going to need a roof rack to get your kayak to and from the water.

The best kayak carrier roof rack, in my opinion, is the Yakima JayLow. It has a built-in loading ramp to make it easier to load your kayak from the side without damaging your car or your kayak. 

This durable rack offers rubber padding to protect your hull and it can fold down flat when not in use. This can carry one kayak in the J-cradle position or you can use it to carry two kayaks in a stacker position, giving you added versatility.

> Recommended kayak roof racks

10: Solar Charger For Battery Power

GOODaaa Power BankPin

When you’re heading to the wilderness, the lack of home comforts such as electricity can sometimes be frustrating, especially when you want to keep your phone charged. 

Solar chargers can be ideal for backcountry camping and multi-day kayaking adventures.

A handheld one, like this Goodaa power bank, is great for kayaking as it has a water-resistant exterior and a useful hand crank to top up the power if the sun lets you down and you need a flashlight (which is built-in). You can also charge it up before you leave home, using the included USB input cable.

This is designed to charge cell phones and comes with several cables to charge different brands of phones, including iPhone and Samsung. 

> Solar chargers for trolling motor batteries

11: Kayak Cover To Protect Your Craft

Danuu Ranger Canoe CoverPin

If you plan to store your kayak outside for a prolonged period of time, a kayak cover can help to shield your kayak from harsh weather conditions. The sun, in particular, can be pretty damaging for a kayak. 

A kayak cover can be useful both for outdoor storage and transportation. If you’re heading on a cross-country road trip with your kayak on a trailer, a kayak cover can also help to protect the kayak from the weather. 

The Danuu Deluxe Storage Cover comes in a range of sizes to suit different types and sizes of kayaks. The cover fits over the entire kayak and can be cinched for a more secure fit. 

The cover doesn’t offer a precise fit for every kayak but it can be ideal for storage and traveling.

If you simply want a kayak cover for your cockpit rather than your entire boat, check out our guide to kayak cockpit covers.

12: Kayak Bilge Pump For Easy Bailing

Seattle Sports bilge pumpPin

A bilge pump is one of the best kayak accessories for sit-inside kayaks. Kayak bilge pumps are designed to be compact enough to fit on most sit-inside kayaks. You can usually secure them to the deck using existing bungee rigging. 

A bilge pump helps you remove water from your cockpit, so you can bail out your kayak faster.

This Seattle Sports bilge pump is designed for paddlers. It’s brightly colored so it’s easier to see. It also features a foam collar for buoyancy (helping it to float) and it has a comfortable rubber grip that’s easy to hold and operate with wet hands.

You can attach a hose for added convenience (sold separately) but this is not essential. 

> Guide to kayak bilge pumps

13: Kayak Rack For Home Storage

Suspenz EZ Boat RackPin

When you’re storing your kayak at home, it’s best to keep it off the ground. One of the best kayak accessories to help with this is a wall storage rack. 

This Suspenz EZ Boat Rack is one of the best kayak racks out there in terms of capacity, value for money, and ease of use. This can be used both indoors and outdoors and can hold a single kayak or canoe weighing up to 125 pounds.

The wall rack has padded cradles to protect your boat’s hull from damage. There are also straps with buckle closures so that you can secure your kayak to the rack for added safety. 

This kayak storage rack is designed to hold a kayak on its side for better weight distribution.

> Guide to kayak storage racks

14: Kayak Anchor

Best Marine Kayak AnchorPin

An anchor can be a useful addition to your kayaking gear if you plan to do some kayak fishing or photography. A kayak anchor can let you maintain your position in the water, for example in a moving river, wind, or ocean currents. 

An anchor trolley system can also be a useful accessory for kayak fishing as this can allow you to move your kayak’s position around the anchor, to face a different direction. Anchor trolleys can be used with kayak anchors.

Remember not to use an anchor in strong currents or rough water, as this can be dangerous.

One of the best kayak anchors is the Best Marine one, as it folds up for easy storage, comes with a 40-foot rope, and has a buoy ball to keep the rope afloat for easy retrieval. 

15: GPS Navigation Device

Garmin ETrex 10Pin

A GPS (Global Positioning System) can be really useful for kayaking or camping in backcountry locations. 

A GPS device is designed to work with satellites so it can work even when there is no cell signal on the ground. This can help you to find your way back to your launch or back to your campsite by using waypoints. It can also pinpoint your exact location on a built-in map.

One of the best value GPS devices for kayaking is the Garmin ETrex 10 because of its waterproof casing and great battery life. It also features pre-loaded maps and you can save up to 10,000 waypoints. 

It’s a budget GPS so you can’t download maps for it. But it does use both GPS and GLONASS (Russian satellite system) for accuracy.

> Guide to GPS devices

16: Accessory Mount

YakAttack Mighty Mount XLPin

When you want to install gadgets and accessories to your kayak, you’ll need a mounting place. Some kayaks come with mounts already installed. And some come with gear tracks or accessory rails that let you mount various accessories without drilling into the hull.

The YakAttack Mighty Mount XL is an accessory track that can be mounted to a flat space on your deck. This can let you add other types of mounts and other track-compatible accessories easily, letting you change the position of the accessory or remove it without removing the track.

The Mighty Mount XL is made with marine materials and comes with 10 stainless steel self-threading screws for durability in all water conditions. It’s 6-inches long and 1.75-inches wide and works with many kayak fishing accessories.

> Kayak mounts and rails

17: Seats For Sit On Top Kayaks

Ocean Kayak Comfort Tech Kayak SeatPin

A seat is one of the most important pieces of kayaking gear when it comes to comfort on the water. Most sit-on-top kayaks are designed to accommodate seat upgrades because the original seats can often be easily removed and replaced.

The Ocean Kayak Comfort Tech seat is designed to fit most sit-on-top kayaks and some paddle boards. It offers comfortable padding and has ventilation in the fabric to keep you cool. It also has reflective strips on the material for added visibility. 

This Ocean Kayak seat can be adjusted to tailor the level of back support to suit your paddling style and preferred backrest angle. However, if you plan to fish, you may want a kayak seat that’s more elevated off the deck than this one.  

> Recommended kayak seats

18: Kayak Lights For Safety

Kayalu Kayalite Portable LEDPin

A kayak light is a must if you plan to paddle at night or in low light conditions.

A light can help you to safely paddle through areas where there might be other boaters. 

This Kayalu Kayalite Portable LED light can be an excellent choice for most kayaks, including inflatables. You could even attach it to a paddle board or canoe.

The light attaches to pad eyes or eyelets on the deck of your kayak. It uses a steel clip and bungee cord so you don’t need to drill into your boat. This also means it’s easy to remove when you no longer need it. 

The Kayalite light is bright white and runs off of alkaline batteries. It’s also waterproof.

> More navigation lights for kayaking at night

19: Kayak Rudder Kit For Touring

Wilderness Systems Rudder KitPin

A rudder can help you maintain your direction in moving water and wind, helping to improve tracking. Many touring kayaks and sea kayaks come with pre-installed rudder systems. 

But if you have a recreational kayak, you could still add a rudder kit for better tracking performance as long as your kayak has a suitable mounting point on the back. 

This Wilderness Systems Rudder Kit is designed to fit a variety of Wilderness Systems kayaks but it may also work with other types of kayaks, as it’s billed as a “near-universal rudder kit”. 

The kit comes with foot control pegs as well as all the mounting hardware required for installation. Because it has foot pedals, you’d need to make sure your kayak’s foot wells have sufficient space to mount these tracks.

> Guide to kayak rudder kits

20: First Aid Kit

WELL-STRONG Waterproof First Aid KitPin

Like with any outdoor activity, you should always pack a first aid kit as part of your kayak safety gear. 

I generally recommend carrying a waterproof first aid kit with you, so that the contents don’t get ruined if you take a dive.

This one from Well-Strong is a first aid kit that comes in a dry bag with a roll-top closure. This means the contents can stay dry if you’re paddling in the rain or if you capsize. It can also be easily secured to the deck of your kayak or placed in a hatch like other dry bags. 

This first aid kit comes with all the standard first aid equipment, such as bandages, swabs, and dressings, totalling 116 pieces. 

> Kayaking safety tips

21: Paddling Jacket

NRS Riptide jacket for menPin

Designed to keep you dry on wet and rainy paddling trips, paddling jackets can be essential garments for all types of kayaking. Paddling jackets can be particularly useful for multi-day touring and sea kayaking, where you’re more likely to encounter rainy days or spray.

I like the NRS Riptide jacket because it comes in both men’s and women’s versions. The jacket features three adjustment points on the hood so you can secure it for paddling in windy weather.

The HyproTex fabric with taped seams helps keep water out so you stay dry. It also has punch-through neoprene wrists and a kayak overskirt to attach to your spray skirt. 

Another nice feature is that it has two splashproof pockets for holding lip balm or a whistle.

22: Safety Whistle

Fox 40 Classic Safety WhistlePin

In many locations, paddlers are required to carry a whistle as part of their safety gear. When paddling on coastal waters, a sound producing device, such as a whistle, is required by the US Coast Guard.

The Fox 40 Classic Safety Whistle is ideal for kayaking in all conditions. As well as being heard up to a mile away, one of the best features of this whistle is that the chambers are built to self-clear when under the water.

It also has no moving parts, so there’s nothing to get stuck or worn away. It’s capable of producing up to 115 dB of sound that can be heard above waves and wind. Because it has no moving parts, you can’t overblow it. It also gets louder the harder you blow. 

23: Electric Pump For Inflatable Kayaks

Aquaglide Accelerator HP 12V 22 PumpPin

Inflatable kayaks can be super convenient when it comes to storage and transportation. But they can take a bit of time to inflate and deflate when you’re at the water. 

An electric pump can speed up the process. This Aquaglide Accelerator 12V High Pressure Pump is one I recommend. It’s easy to use and plugs into your car’s accessory outlet for power when you’re at the lake or beach. 

However, a downside of this is that it can’t be plugged directly into a regular power socket at home. It only works with a 12V DC outlet. But it does come with three different connectors so you can inflate various brands of kayaks and SUPs.

24: Kayaking Safety Kit

NRS Basic Touring Safety KitPin

For long trips where you’re paddling in deep water or a long distance from shore, a kayaking safety kit like this NRS Basic Touring Safety Kit can be a good idea to pack into your paddling gear bag.

The kit includes some essential items that you might need in an emergency, including a paddle float to help you get back into your kayak after a capsize. It also features a bilge pump to help bail out your cockpit and a sponge to mop up the remaining water.

It also comes with a loud Fox 40 water whistle so you can alert others.  

25: Kayak Life Jacket For Your Dog

Ruffwear Float CoatPin

Just because your dog might already know how to swim doesn’t mean they don’t need a life jacket. Dogs can get into difficulty just like we can, even if they’re good swimmers. 

I recommend your dog wears a life vest while kayaking, especially if you’re paddling far from shore.

Dog life vests come in a variety of sizes and styles to suit different breeds. The one I recommend is the Ruffwear Float Coat. Ruffwear is known for quality outdoor accessories for dogs and this life jacket is no different. 

This is built for kayaking and features adjustable neck and chest straps, just like a harness. The comfortable foam allows dogs to swim while wearing the float coat. And there’s a handle on the top to help lift your dog back on deck.

> More dog life jackets

26: Wetsuit For Paddling

O'Neill Reactor II 32 Back-Zip Full Wetsuit - Men'sPin

If you plan to paddle in colder water or cool weather, a wetsuit can often be a good idea to keep you warm. The thicker the wetsuit material, the more insulation it will provide.

This O’Neill Reactor II 3/2 wetsuit can be a great choice for men. It can be ideal for all paddle sports, as well as open water swimming and surfing. 

It features a back zipper but it should sit high enough that it doesn’t interfere with your seat. This can be a good choice for paddling in water temperatures as low as 60 degrees. 

Another great feature is the seamless paddle zones. This keeps the seams away from areas where there is likely to be more movement of your arms, so that it reduces chafing.

> The best kayaking wetsuits

27: Waterproof Phone Case

JOTO Waterproof Pouch Cellphone Dry Bag CasePin

Another essential kayaking accessory for most of us, a waterproof case for your phone can help to keep your precious phone safe while you’re on the water.

Most phone cases are transparent and they often allow you to use your device while it’s in the case. This means you can continue to take selfies and shots of your surroundings without the risk of your phone getting wet. 

Some phones are waterproof now and I do know people who submerge their phones in water while swimming but I’m not ready to take the risk.

I recommend a case like this Joto one. It comes with a lanyard so you can keep your phone around your neck or secure it to your deck.   

28: Water Shoes For Grip On Deck

Merrell Men’s All Out Blaze Aero Sport Water ShoePin

Kayaks can definitely be slippery when wet, especially if you don’t have the right shoes on (or if you’re bare foot). That’s where a great pair of water shoes can help. 

Water shoes are designed to provide grip on wet surfaces, like boat decks, submerged rocks, and kayak docks. They can also be useful for paddle boarding if you’d rather not have bare feet. But your feet will still get wet.

These Merrell All Out Blaze shoes for men are the ultimate water shoe for kayaking, fishing, and canoeing. They have excellent drainage, with a breathable mesh upper. And there is a 5-millimeter lug depth on the sole for added traction.

> Best kayak fishing shoes

29: Trolling Motor For Fishing Kayaks

Minn Kota Endura C2 30 Freshwater Transom Mounted Trolling MotorPin

Adding a trolling motor to your kayak can add another string to your bow when it comes to kayak fishing. While you’ll still need a paddle for directional control, a trolling motor can give you hands-free propulsion. So you can focus more of your time on fishing.

Some of the best kayak trolling motors can be installed on most kayaks. However, you should check that your kayak has a suitable mounting point first.

This Minn Kota C2 30 is the best option for freshwater fishing. This is a transom mount motor with a 30-inch shaft and a 6-inch operating handle. It also has decent power (30-pound thrust) and it’s energy efficient so it shouldn’t drain your battery as fast as some others.

> More on trolling motors and batteries

30: Fish Finder For More Successful Fishing Trips

Garmin Striker Vivid 4cvPin

If you want to catch more fish (and see where they’re hiding), a fish finder should definitely be in your kayak fishing gear bag.

A fish finder can be useful whether you know the water or not. It can help you see exactly where the fish are so you can tailor your bait or adjust the depth of your lures. 

One of the best Garmin fish finders for kayak fishing is the Garmin Striker Vivid 4CV. This is an ideal size for most kayaks and has the benefit of both CHIRP and ClearVu sonars, as well as GPS and a 4-inch color screen with vivid scanning color palette technology.

> The best kayak fish finders

31: Paddle Grips For Comfortable Paddling

Yakgrips paddle gripsPin

If you’d prefer not to wear kayak gloves, paddle grips can be a great alternative. Paddle grips can also be used in conjunction with paddling gloves to provide additional protection, so they can be a pretty handy piece of kayaking gear.

These Yakgrips paddle grips are designed to slide over the shaft to provide a comfortable grip around the kayak paddle. They are made from neoprene and they conform to the shape of your hand to prevent blisters. 

The paddle grips are designed for paddles that come in two or more pieces, as they need to slide on. They don’t wrap around, so they won’t work on a one-piece kayak paddle.

> Our favorite paddle grips

32: Drip Rings For Paddles

Seattle Sports SeawallPin

Drip rings are designed to attach to your kayak paddle to prevent water from running down the paddle shaft and dropping in your lap with each stroke. 

If you want a drier ride, adding drip rings such as these Seattle Sports Seawall drip rings could mean you get a little less wet from your paddle shaft. 

However, just because you have drip rings on your kayak paddle doesn’t mean the problem is solved. You will probably still get wet.

A fun feature of these Seattle Sports ones is that they glow in the dark, which can add some extra excitement if you’re paddling at night. They’re made from molded silicone so they can be easily removed and used on another paddle. 

> More on paddle drip rings

33: Waterproof Watch

Garmin Fenix 7 Pro Sapphire SolarPin

Waterproof accessories are a must for kayaking. And a waterproof watch that does it all can let you cut down on the rest of your kayaking gear. 

The Garmin Fenix 7 Pro Sapphire Solar is a smartwatch made for outdoor enthusiasts. It can handle water up to a depth of 100 meters (328 feet) and has built-in GPS so you can find your way back to your launch site or campground. 

This can be a fantastic watch for kayak camping, as you can venture into backcountry zones knowing your watch can be charged by the sun.

It also features health monitoring and has a built-in flashlight.

34: Seat Cushion For Improved Comfort

Yakpads seat cushionPin

Maybe your seat isn’t cutting it in terms of all-day comfort. If you have a sit-inside kayak, it can sometimes be a little tricky to swap out the seat. But there is one kayak accessory that boosts your comfort levels: a kayak seat cushion.

Most seat pads can be used alongside your existing kayak seat, so you don’t need to remove anything in your boat. 

This Yakpads seat cushion features a gel padding for comfort and insulation and a water-friendly neoprene fabric outer.

The low backrest is designed to provide some support without affecting cockpit clearance.

The seat has straps that help to secure the seat pad to your existing seat.

35: Paddling Gloves

WindRider Pro Sailing GlovesPin

Paddling gloves are designed to protect your hands from blisters and calluses caused by paddling over long distances. A pair of kayak gloves can give you a better grip of your paddle compared to wet hands.

Paddling gloves can also help to keep your hands protected from the elements, such as harmful UV rays or extreme cold conditions.

A good pair of kayak gloves are the Windrider Pro Sailing Gloves. These gloves feature a brushed amara leather palm for grip and blister protection. 

They also have breathable mesh fabric on the back to keep your hands ventilated on hot days. The materials are also quick-drying for comfort and allow for movement of fingers.

> Guide to kayaking gloves

36: Helmet For Whitewater Kayaking

NRS Chaos Side Cut HelmetPin

A kayak helmet can be one of the most valuable kayak accessories for whitewater kayakers. A whitewater helmet can help to protect your skull and brain from injury and damage in the event of a dangerous capsize or collision.

Remember to always wear your life jacket as well as a kayak helmet while whitewater kayaking.

Whitewater Kayaker Wearing HelmetPin

One of my top recommended whitewater helmets is the NRS Chaos Side-Cut Helmet. This offers a high degree of protection for your head, with a tough ABS outer shell and a dual-density EVA foam lining for impact resistance. 

It also has ventilation ports, removable ear pads, and an adjustable chin strap for a secure fit.

> Kayaking helmets

37: Throw Bag For Rescues

NRS Compact Rescue Throw BagPin

Whether you’re paddling in a group or on your own, adding a throw bag to your kayak gear can be a wise move. A throw bag is a kit that contains a rescue rope that’s designed for water rescues.

The bag and rope should float. And the bag helps you throw the rope accurately to another person in a rescue situation.

This NRS Compact Rescue Throw Bag is the best one for most kayaking trips. It’s highly visible and easy to open and reload. It’s also a decent size for storing on most kayaks. 

The bag features foam flotation for added buoyancy and a mesh panel for drainage. The 70-foot long rope should be an adequate size for most kayaking rescues.

> Guide to throw bags and rescue kits

38: Tow Line For Towing A Kayak

North Water Sea Tec TowlinePin

A tow line can be a useful accessory to have if you’re paddling in a group. Tow lines usually come in waist packs so that you have immediate access to the tow rope if you need it. 

This North Water Sea Tec Towline is one I would recommend. It’s made in collaboration with Level 5 BCU instructors so is designed for strength and ease of use. 

The waist pouch features a reflective strip and has a wide opening so you can stuff the rope back in easily when it’s no longer needed. The waist belt also benefits from a quick-release cam buckle with a large bead to help you find it quickly.

The tow rope is also highly visible and features an adjustable and removable shock-absorber. 

Find out how to tow a kayak.

39: UV Protectant Spray

303 Aerospace ProtectantPin

We all know how UV rays can damage our outdoor equipment, causing colors to fade and materials to weaken. That’s why it can be a good idea to use a UV protectant product on your kayak to give it an added layer of protection from sun damage. 

A product I recommend is the 303 Aerospace Protectant. This is a spray-on product that’s easy to use and goes on clear, helping to protect your deck and hull from the harmful UV rays from the sun. 

Make sure your kayak is clean before you apply the protectant. I also recommend storing your kayak away from direct sunlight, even with the extra UV coating.

> More UV protection tips for kayaks.

40: Kayak Safety Knife

Gerber CrossRiver Saltwater Fixed Blade KnifePin

Most kayak anglers will usually have a knife with them. But a kayaking knife can be useful for recreational kayaking, touring, and kayak camping. You’ll probably already know that a knife can come in handy on a camping trip. 

This Gerber CrossRiver Saltwater knife can be a useful tool for a kayaking trip. It’s designed to stand up to harsh saltwater conditions, so it can be versatile and durable. It can be used to cut rope in rescue situations and descale fish when it’s time to eat.

It comes with a sheath that can be attached to your PFD.

> More kayaking knives 

41: Kayak Deck Compass

Ritchie Surface Mount CompassPin

When you’re on the water, it’s easy to lose your bearings. But with a compass attached to your deck, at least you’ll be able to keep track of your direction. 

This Ritchie Surface Mount Compass is compact and easy to read. It’s designed to be fixed onto the deck of small boats, so it can be ideal for most kayaks. 

Video: How To Install A Deck Compass

When you’re on the water, it’s easy to lose your bearings. But with a compass at

It has an internal green light so you can read the compass in the dark. It also benefits from having integrated compensators for balance, so that the movement of the water doesn’t affect the readings on the dial. 

> More kayaking compasses

What Accessories Do I Need For My Type Of Kayak?

Recreational Kayak

A recreational kayak is one of the most popular types of kayak, especially for beginners and families. A recreational kayak is designed primarily for flatwater stability and can be either sit-on-top or sit-in.

Useful accessories:

  • Seat or seat cushion
  • Drip rings
  • Cooler
  • Paddle leash
  • Waterproof phone case

Touring Kayak

A touring kayak is a little longer and narrower than a recreational kayak, offering more storage space for longer trips and increased speed for long-distance paddling. 

Useful accessories:

  • Spray skirt
  • Safety whistle
  • Kayak bilge pump
  • Rudder kit
  • GPS device

Whitewater Kayak

Whitewater kayaks are shorter than other kayaks and are designed to handle rapids and rough water. They’re easy to maneuver and have limited storage space.

Useful accessories:

  • Helmet
  • Wetsuit
  • Paddling jacket
  • Throw bag
  • First aid kit

Fishing Kayak

Fishing kayaks are designed specifically for kayak anglers, with a high level of stability and plenty of storage space for kayak fishing gear.

Useful accessories:

  • Rod holders
  • Paddle leash
  • Fish finder
  • GPS device
  • Kayak cart

We actually compiled a dedicated list of the best kayak fishing accessories here.

What Are The Essential Safety Accessories Needed For Kayaking?

There are some kayaking accessories that are considered essential paddling gear for safety and necessity. 

  • Kayak life jacket or PFD
  • Paddle 
  • Whistle
  • Sun protection (for yourself and your boat)
  • Suitable clothing for the conditions
  • Kayak roof rack system
  • Kayak storage rack
  • Dry bags

If you’re paddling at night or in bad weather, you will also need to consider a few additional essentials. 

  • Kayak lights
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Emergency SOS lamp
  • Bug spray 
  • Rain gear
  • Helmet (if you’ll be in rough water)

If you’re kayak camping, you may want to think about the additional accessories you’ll need for an overnight kayak trip, such as a tent and cooking equipment.

> More on tents for kayak camping

How To Attach Or Mount Kayak Accessories

How you mount accessories to your kayak will depend on your kayak and the mounting options you have available. 

Some will require permanent installation, for example, by drilling into the hull. Other accessories may make use of existing mounting points on your deck, such as gear tracks or plates.

Check out some of these different ways to attach accessories on kayaks.

Final Splash: The Kayak Accessory Wrap-Up

Whether it’s kayak trailers and roof racks for transportation or life jackets and throw bags for safety, the right kayak accessories can make your trip easier and safer. 

Some kayak gear is essential, such as a PFD and a paddle. Some will depend on the type of kayak you have and where you plan to paddle. Remember to choose the best kayak gear for your specific kayak and activity. 

What are some of the best kayaking accessories you’ve had? Is there something you can’t be without when you’re on the water? Let us know. And remember to share this with your adventure-seeking buddies.

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4 thoughts on “Best Kayak Accessories – Kayaking Gear For Better Paddling”

  1. hello guru, I wonder if you know of any after market pontoon setups for sale. I have a wilderness tsunami 14. I have been an avid kayaker (camping) since 1977 I hit 70 and the full catastrophe of age has caught up. in the morning if it doesn’t hurt it doesn’t work. a hip replacement and a cancer diagnosis have made most other adventures require a companion. my idea is to put a sail on it as well as the pontoons. I live in the high desert by the three sisters wilderness south of bend, ore. so the options are many. also good friends in Newport, ore. for ocean kayaking. your thoughts are appreciated

  2. I would love to personalize my kayak. Maybe I could go on it at night if I got some flashlights. Who knows, I’d need to find a place to do that at first though.


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