Kayaking Gear List

No matter how benign or turbulent the conditions, paddlers must always be prepared with the right gear. Based

Practice! Practice!
  • Carrying this gear is not enough!
  • Learn to use your kayak and gear.
  • Learn about the environments in which you want to paddle.
  • Practice using your boat and gear in realistic conditions.
  • Our classes and trips can get you started and keep you sharp.
  • Questions? Were here to help!
  • on the decades of paddling experience our guides possess, Charles River Canoe & Kayak has assembled the recommended kayaking gear list below. We also have a printer-friendly version.

    The list is divided into three sections based upon the exposure of the water on which you'll be paddling and, therefore, the potential for hazardous wind and wave conditions. Make sure you understand the environment in which you are paddling. Learn the skills required to paddle there, and practice them consistently. Our paddling classes and trips will get you started and keep your skills sharp.

    It may not be necessary to keep all these items immediately available. For example, it's fine to keep your splash jacket stowed in a hatch on a flat-calm, sunny day on the Charles. If rain moves in or you capsize and get cold, you'll be glad you brought it. However, there are some items you should never, ever stow in a hatch — including your Personal Flotation Device!

    The Paddling Store at Charles River Canoe & Kayak stocks most of the items on our gear list, and we are happy to help you select the right gear or answer any questions. Just drop in or e-mail us, because we're here to help!

    Every Time You Paddle
    for example, a small lake or flatwater river, like the Charles River Lakes District at our Newton Boathouse

    Personal Flotation Device
    removes large amounts of water
    from the cockpit after a capsize
    Paddle Float
    helps a capsized paddler perform a self-rescue
    Dry Bags
    helps keep clothes, food, and gear dry
    removes small amounts of water from the cockpit
    Wetsuit or Drysuit
    whenever the water is 60F or colder
    Extra Dry, Warm Clothing
    Extra Food & Water
    Hat & Sunglasses
    Splash Jacket
    keeps off rain and spray
    Water Shoes/Sandals
    protects your feet, keeps you warm
    Gloves or Pogies
    warmer gloves/pogies in cold water or weather

    When Paddling Protected Ocean
    for example, Essex Marsh or Hingham Harbor, or a larger lake like Squam in New Hampshire
    everything listed above plus:

    Adequate Kayak Flotation
    two bulkheaded hatches or float bags
    Spray Skirt
    helps keep water out of the cockpit
    First-Aid Kit
    Deck-Mounted Marine Compass
    Nautical Chart & Chart Case
    easily find compass directions from your chart
    Tide Chart
    Spare Paddle
    Waterproof Flashlight/Strobe
    Cell Phone & Waterproof Case
    Paddle Leash
    helps prevent loss of your paddle
    Towing System
    Rescue Stirrup
    helps with assisted rescues

    When Paddling Open Ocean
    for example, trips to the Outer Boston
    Harbor Islands or Thacher Island
    everything listed above plus:

    Repair Kit
    to fix common boat problems
    Signal Flares
    flares, mirror, smoke signals, etc.
    VHF Radio & Waterproof Case
    contact other boaters or the Coast Guard

    ©2017 Charles River Canoe & Kayak
    2401 Commonwealth Avenue; Newton, Massachusetts 02466; (617) 965-5110
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