After you’ve gotten all of the essential kayaking gear, you might be wondering what else you could need. The answer is a lot of things! Though none of these accessories are necessary, you might find that a few of them become essential for your own kayaking experience. Some kayak accessories to consider include:
- Kayak carts: Rolling a boat is much easier than carrying it, especially if you don’t have a friend to assist you.
- Dry bags: These are required for on-deck necessities as well as overnight supplies.
- Clip-on deck accessories: Chart holders and compass mounts keep you on track, while cargo nets or extra bungee cords keep essentials close at hand.
- Deck mounts with screws: Mounts that are permanently attached allow you to secure items ranging from fishing rod holders to cell phones.
- Cockpit cover: A cover keeps the rain out of the cockpit before you launch and keeps camp creatures out of the cockpit during storage or overnight trips.
- Scupper plugs: This sit-on-top kayak accessory closes a scupper hole when there is more water coming in than draining out.
If you have a lakeside cabin with a boathouse, then getting your kayak from land to water is pretty straightforward. Most of us, however, must drive to the put-in point, where we frequently discover that the parking lot is a long distance from the water. This can be frustrating, especially when you’re already dealing with the nervousness of getting in your kayak for the first time. To make things easier on yourself, try to arrive at the put-in point a little early so that you have time to walk your kayak down to the water. This will help you get used to the feel of carrying it and will also give you a chance to scope out the best route down to the water’s edge.
When storing gear on your boat, always assume that every nook and cranny could potentially get wet. That means anything that could soak up water needs to go into a dry bag. The key here is to get a wide variety of types and colors of dry bags to help you organize and easily find things.
Keep your gear in smaller dry bags when possible to help with weight distribution on your boat. This will make it easier to adjust and shift your gear around as needed to keep your boat balanced.
Clip-on Deck Accessories
Securing important items on your deck keeps them accessible:
- Deck lines: For safety and quick-stash storage, most kayaks have perimeter static lines and bungee cords. You can also add your own, either by using existing eyelets on your boat or by purchasing eyelets, lines, and bungees.
- Cargo nets can be attached to deck rigging or suction cups.
- Chart holder: This clear, waterproof sleeve typically has cords with clips at each corner, allowing you to mount it directly in front of the cockpit to deck rigging.
- Deck compass: Because deck compasses can be read from the side (behind), they should be mounted directly in front of the cockpit on the deck rigging. Other kayak compasses are screwed to the deck permanently.
Screw-on Deck Accessories
If you want to securely attach accessories to your kayak, hardware-mounted accessories are the way to go. Most of these consist of a base mount that attaches to the kayak deck, with a specialized holder that attaches to the mount. You’ll also need to put electronic gadgets and expensive optical gear into a waterproof case to protect them.
- Phone holder: for easy access to your favorite apps or kayaking-specific apps.
- Camera holder: for a high-quality still camera or an action camera.
- Beverage holder: keeps your favorite beverage within easy reach.
- Fishing rod holder: for a quick reaction when the big one strikes.
You always want to start your paddling day with a boat interior that is dry. Having a cockpit cover for the drive to the put-in will help make sure of that. Make it a habit to put the cover on every time you get in the boat – if you wait until it starts raining, the cockpit can get soaked and then your whole day will be ruined.
Also, keep the cover attached on overnight kayak camping trips and when storing your kayak. You’ll keep both rain and unwanted camp creatures out during the night.
Scupper holes in sit-in kayaks are intended to drain the boat. (There’s no need to bail!) However, there are times when the holes can make things less comfortable. Rough water can create a mini geyser in a scupper hole. A heavily loaded boat may sit so low that a hole allows water to enter. If you have a set of scupper plugs on hand, you can strategically plug any troublesome holes.