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New Kayak? You Need These Kayak accessories!

New Kayak? You Need These Kayak accessories!

Bought your first hardshell kayak? Or maybe you went with an inflatable kayak. Either way -- congratulations! Kayaking is a great way to get outdoors and enjoy nature. But to make sure you're enjoying your time on the water -- and to ensure you're safe -- you should invest in some often overlooked accessories. Let's review

Recommended Kayak Accessories

 The first recommendation on our list is, in fact, required for transiting most public waterways in the U.S.

Life Jacket

Pictured: Hyperlite Men's Indy Life Jacket / Liquid Force Women's Hinge Class Life Jacket

That's right: Most state laws say that every person onboard any vessel (including kayaks and personal watercraft) in public waters must have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

The leading cause of death among kayakers is drowning from capsizing. don't become a statistic. Always wear a life jacket!

Water Shoes

Pictured: Body Glove Women's Sidewinder Water Shoes

Many first-time kayakers decide to ride barefoot. Or, worse, they'll pop on a pair of regular ole' sandals or sneakers -- then, about 30 minutes into their adventure, they realize what a terrible mistake it is not having the right kayaking footwear:

Chafing, blisters, soggy toes, and general discomfort take hold, ruining what would be a fun day on the local river or lake.

Kayak shoes -- also called water shoes, because they can be used for other watersports, like wakeboarding -- are simply a must-have. They wick water and sweat away, they provide plenty of grip, they protect your feet if you capsize and need to stand in the water, and they're designed to be comfortable when wet.

Kayak Paddle Float

Pictured: Harmony Sleek Dual-Cell Paddle Float

Many kayakers make the mistake of not practicing how to climb back aboard when you inevitably roll over for the first time.

Being stuck overboard, with an upside down kayak, can be dangerous at worst and, at best, it'll end your day of fun as you flutter-kick to shore, pushing your vessel along.

A paddle float makes getting back in your kayak way easier. If you roll and fall out, you can use the float to get back in easily: When you capsize, the float is inflated and stuck on the end of your paddle.


You can then place the handle of your paddle atop the kayak. The float allows you to use your paddle as a large, floating lever, keeping your kayak upright and functioning as a handle that allows you to climb back onboard.

Collapsible Paddle

Pictured: O'Brien Convert 4-Piece Kayak Paddle


Collapsible paddles are a great investment for a few reasons: They tend to be lighter than solid, one-piece paddles, which reduces fatigue over time, and they can be converted for use with standup paddle boards (something many kayakers inevitably take interest in).

But most importantly, a collapsible paddle makes getting in and out of your kayak easier: Rather than deal with a long paddle, you simply break yours down and stow in your kayak, freeing up space and making it easier to work with both hands.

Electric Pump (Inflatable Kayaks)

Pictured: O'Brien Electric 12-Volt Pump

Although you can technically pump up your inflatable kayak with a hand pump, you'll quickly realize how much of a time-consuming pain it really is.

Getting an electric inflation pump is going to save lots of time (and arm strength), letting you get in the water quicker. These pumps can also be used to inflate water tube, standup paddleboards, and other stuff you probably already own, so it's a good investment for any day at the lake, river, or pool.

Roof Rack (Standard Kayaks)

Pictured: Attwood Rooftop Kayak Carrier

Yes, you can get away with just stowing your kayak in your truck bed, of the trunk of your wagon -- but this greatly increases the chances you could damage your kayak's hull.

It's simply a good idea to invest in a proper roof rack. Plus, this frees up space for storing your other gear.

Ready to hit the water for the first time? Haven't got a kayak, yet? Check out our inflatable kayaks! They're rugged, affordable, and easy to transport.