Beginners Guide to Essential Kayaking Equipment

Have you ever thought about kayaking? It’s quite clear that this thought might have crossed your mind. That’s where the interest of learning about kayaking comes in. On a normal day, it always seems enjoyable paddling a kayak when the weather is great. But as a beginner, you need to be aware of the equipment necessary for such an activity.

Kayaking involves paddling in lakes, rivers, waterfalls and the sea. It also provides great fun due to the different styles of paddling. You can do the styles in different water bodies. Being a sporting activity, it brings lots of attention. That is why there are thousands of fans for this sport.

Beginners Guide to Essential Kayaking Equipment


Basically, as a beginner who is interested in kayaking, you have at least an idea of the basic items for kayaking. Some of the items are also used while canoeing. This why you should create a differentiation between the two. The difference between the two is in terms of the equipment, design, and techniques. To create a definitive description look at the paddles used for kayaking and canoeing.


You might be tempted to consider all kayaks are of the same build and design. But actually, there are different types of kayaks out there. Starting from slalom boats, sea kayaks and sit-on-top kayaks. Choosing the right kayak as a beginner can be tricky but the recommended one is the recreational boat.

The main reason for settling for this kayak is its useful features. Having this kayak suits you as a beginner in terms of climbing in and out easily due to its large cockpit. Features a comfortable back support and a foot pedal to assist the paddle to steer in case of choppy conditions. The foot pedal acts as a rudder at the back to help in such situations.


As we have discussed above on the difference between canoeing and kayaking. Their paddles are completely different from each other. It is important that you understand the disparity between the paddles. For the kayak, the paddle has a blade on both ends set at 90 degrees to one another while canoe paddle has only one blade and shorter. Most of the kayak paddles measure a length of between 210cm and 260 cm.

To the beginners, it is essential to choose the right kayak paddle that suits your height, the width of your boat and paddling style. Don’t take a paddle that is taller than you or too much shorter. To make it easier to learn kayaking, try first with plastic paddles. Also, take a spare paddle in case the one you have gets lost or breaks when on a long kayaking adventure.

Having the correct choice of the paddle makes it easier to swing back and forth and also enjoy your outings. Once you have reached the professional status go for high-end carbon fiber paddle.

Buoyancy aids 

A buoyancy aid is mandatory to you as a beginner. The aid acts as a life jacket while allowing easier movement around your arms and necks. Being a strong swimmer doesn’t give you the right assurance since things might turn out to be difficult while in water. That’s why it’s crucial to have this aid when your kayak capsizes.

Bilge pump

Once water gets into your kayak through splashes, boat waves or after capsizing, you need to get this water out because the water will shift chaotically and become annoying to you especially if the water hits the back of your legs. To avoid the discomfort you need a bilge pump to get such water out.


Generally, a helmet is worn by both beginners and professionals in order to provide protection to your head. Your head will not easily be bashed by rocks or by the paddle when you wear the helmet. It is not a must for sea kayakers to wear helmets but most kayakers wear a helmet while paddling.

Paddle float 

A paddle float is an inflatable bag that is useful when it comes to rescuing yourself when you fall off out of a kayak and you need to get back. In order to get back in, inflate the paddle float on one paddle and then use the paddle to help you get in. For you to easily get back in choose a paddle float with a dual chamber and the one that easily fits on your paddle.

Dry bag

Dry bags help to keep your kit dry. It may be your electronics such as mobile phone or spare clothing. These bags will keep your items dry since they are totally watertight. The small lightweight bags will come with an addition of a roll tip and clip. It is recommended that you carry two bags one for clothing and the other one for mobile phone, wallet and other things.

Wetsuit or a dry suit

Choosing what to wear will entirely depend on the weather. On a hot sunny day, a t-shirt and short will be appropriate if only you are paddling on flat water. Dry top and kayaking cagoule is what most kayakers wear since you will end up getting wet from water splashing. A wetsuit is appropriate when there is a chilly weather. You may wear a dry suit which is completely airtight on top of your clothes but it tends to be expensive that’s why beginners opt for the wetsuit.

Rescue sling

After failing a multiple of time to get back on your kayak you need assistance. The rescue sling is the one that will help you out. Just wrap the sling around the cockpit coaming, step on the sling and you will be able to get back on your kayak. You can use it to rescue someone else or use it hand in hand with the paddle float.


These are some of the crucial essentials that you need as a beginner before heading out to kayaking. Master the rescue items since those items are very important in case of an emergency. To get hold of this essential equipment take a lesson and learn more about them and also about kayaking in general. Ensure that you have the basic equipment for this sport and take care of yourself while paddling. I hope by reading this article your experience on kayaking will be enhanced.

Scroll to Top