23 Kayaking Accessories that Will Make Kayaking Even Better
Having a kayak and a paddle makes you feel that you’re ready to hit the water! But are you truly? if you’ve found yourself on this page then you’re probably wondering are there any kayak accessories that are worth considering before hitting the water?
The quick answer to that is yes! There are many accessories you can use to make your kayak way more comfortable, add a little of your own personality, or even just make it more functional for you to transport and paddle. No matter what you’re hoping to add to your kayaking gear beyond the kayak and paddle, there is an accessory sure to make your kayaking more enjoyable!
I’ve rounded up 22 of my favorite kayaking accessories that I think make kayaking easier, more comfortable, and just generally more fun!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and I may receive commission for purchases made through links in these post. All links are to products I highly recommend and have verified.
1. Paddle leash
My first recommendation for any kayaker is to pick up a paddle leash. This recommendation is a mix of a kayaking accessory and a safety item because it’s always a good idea to kayak with your paddle attached to your kayak. Having your paddle connected with a paddle leash ensures that accidentally capsizing or getting hit by a strong wave doesn’t leave you stranded on the water with a rapidly sinking paddle.
With that said, I know very few kayakers who have actually started out with a paddle leash. So, if you’re looking for a functional accessory that could help you out in a pinch, a paddle leash is the way to go!
2. New Seat or Backrest
Is there anything less comfortable that a kayak seat? I mean, they’re built to be waterproof more than they’re build for comfort, but if you’re like me and like to be on the water for a few hours at a time, the standard seat most kayaks comes with don’t cut it on the comfort front.
I want my kayak seat to not make my butt sore and lower back ache no matter how many hours I paddle. And if you’re line with that idea, then you’re going to need a new kayak seat.
Now, there are an unbelievable amount of options to choose from, as the type of seat you’ll want depends on your kayak and your type of kayaking adventures, but some recommended ones include:
3. Cup Holder
Have you ever gotten into your kayak and wondered, where do I put my water bottle? I have, and it’s honestly shocking kayaks don’t have more defined areas for water storage. I don’t know about you, but I’m typically chugging water while out kayaking, especially in summer months, and it’s not easy to find a spot for my water bottle to sit without rolling around or being in danger of falling out.
This cup holder for your kayak is built with a clamp for you to attach it wherever is most useful for you. Plus, it has an adjustable holder, meaning you can cinch it to any size and this feature allows it to securely hold a bottle between 12-24oz. This one is bigger and can hold a 1L Nalgene, but doesn’t have the cinching feature to condense for smaller sizes. But if you only use your Nalgene, then it might be perfect for you.
4. Spray Skirt
Spray skirts are kayak attachments that cover your cockpit and prevent water from getting inside. Now, these are only useful for sit-in kayaks (sit-on-tops don’t have a cockpit), but if you’re a frequent ocean kayaker (or want to be), then a spray skirt is an excellent and maybe even necessary attachment.
If you’re a winter kayaker then a spray-skirt is a must have. But, if you’re a warm weather kayaker who tends to only paddle on gentle waters or on the ocean only in calm weather you may wonder if you really need a spray skirt.
If you’ll be kayaking anywhere with waves, or anywhere with larger boats that can cause waves, a spray skirt can be a very helpful accessory that makes your kayak trip a lot more comfortable and safe. There’s nothing worse than a large wave hitting out of no where filling your kayak with water. It’s not easy to drain your kayak of water while you’re paddling, so a spray skirt can help you from ever getting into that position in the first place.
5. Kayak Cooler
If you are someone who likes to bring the party to the water when you kayak (or you really just like a lot of snacks and drinks for yourself… no judgement here), then a kayak cooler is the perfect kayaking accessory.
These coolers attach to the back of your seat, meaning that no matter what you want to take with you, that you’ll always have easy access. These are great for fishing kayakers who are out for multiple hours each paddle, or just for a fun summer kayaking trip where you’ll be out on the water for a while.
Stay hydrated (or hydrated if you know what I mean), with a kayak cooler!
Kayaking gets hot. Really hot. When you’re out on the open water, and the sun is beating down from you and reflecting off the water you start to feel that sun much more than you would if you were on land.
This is why preventing heat stroke or exhaustion while kayaking is so incredibly important. So, if you’re someone who tends to overheat, you may consider getting a kayaking sunshade to protect you from the sun and make your kayaking trips cooler and safer.
There are really two types of sunshades to consider. The first has metal connectors and is much more sturdy and not nearly as affected by wind. It is a bit heavier though, which can make paddling more difficult. The second uses tie downs instead of metal, which makes it lighter, but also way more susceptible to wind. They are cheaper though, just be sure to not use them on a windy day unless you want your kayak to turn into a sail boat.
One of my favorite kayaking activities, is to actually not kayak at all. I love paddling out to a pretty location and just sitting there. I prop my feet out of the kayak, scoot down in my seat, and just relax in the sun for a while.
The problem with this is that unless I’m anchored, my kayak tends to float towards land. So, one minute I’m soaking in the sun, and the next I’m fighting against brambles and spider webs that I’ve floated into. With a kayak anchor, I don’t have this problem as wherever I set up is where I stay. This makes my relaxation way more relaxing.
8. Paddle Drip Rings
Drip rings are one of those kayaking accessories that are such a small, inexpensive piece of gear that can really improve your kayaking trip. Drip rings attach onto your paddle to prevent water from running down the handle and getting your hands, and your lap wet.
Now, a lot of paddles already come with drip rings with them, but that doesn’t mean they come with good drip rings. On my first paddle I’d find my hands wet no matter what, despite the drip rings. But having drip rings that really work to keep your hands dry can really help with grip, and prevent blisters and other ailments like kayakers thumb. If you want a very inexpensive way to improve your paddling experience, then you’ll want to pick up some paddle drip rings.
9. Kayak Carrying Handle
Carrying kayaks isn’t easy or comfortable. Unless you invest in a kayak roller, you know how hard it can be to carry a kayak from your car to the launch site and back again, especially if you’re kayaking solo. That’s where the kayak carrying handle comes in.
The handle (or handles) are attached to your kayak to give you an actual grip to help you pick up and transport your kayak. No more trying to figure out how to hold the kayak while picking it up, as with these you have specific handles to grab to assist.
The only downside is that these do have to be drilled into your kayak, so they’re a pretty permanent addition. But, since transporting your kayak is something you’ll always have to do may be worth it for you.
10. Dog Traction Pad
Do you like to bring your furry friend kayaking? If so you’ve probably witnessed what I like to affectionally call the kayak dog shuffle. This is the constant slipping and balancing kayaking dogs have to do to stay upright. And while this shuffle can be a little funny to watch, it’s much better for the paddler and the pup for them to have a stable place to stand on the boat.
A kayak dog traction pad is a non-slip pad that is placed inside your kayak so your dog’s paws don’t slip around on the kayak. This allows them to stop the shuffle and balance better, which in turn makes your paddling much easier.
If you are going to be kayaking with a pup, then I highly recommend picking up a dog traction pad to make the trip way more comfortable and safer for everyone.
11. Wind Sail
Kayaking sails are exactly what they sound like. They are a sail that attaches to your kayak to allow you to pick up a little wind while kayaking. While they don’t turn your kayak into a full-blown sail boat, they do give you a little more speed on a windy day and can be a fun little addition to try something new with your kayak.
Many kayaking wind sales are expensive, but high quality. If you aren’t sure if this is something you’ll love but you just want to try it, there are cheaper options to give kayak sailing a go for your first few times before deciding to upgrade to a more expensive option.
Although kayak sailing isn’t super well known, there are people who absolutely love it. So, if you’re looking to mix up your kayaking game, attach a sail and see where the wind takes you!
12. Cockpit Cover
Pulling my kayak out of the garage is always a fun game of figuring out how many spiders or bugs are inside before getting into it. I’ll be honest though, this isn’t a game I really enjoy that much.
Something about the dark, wet insides of a kayak make it an ideal haven for anything creepy crawly. And, I even store my kayak inside! I can only imaging what it’s like for those who store their kayaks outside. You may even find an entire bug hotel in yours!
The only way to prevent those bugs from setting up shop inside a kayak is to cover it with a cockpit cover while storing it. This wraps around the cockpit opening, closing it down for bugs to get inside. These are life savers for me, so I don’t have to play the game of what creature is inside my kayak this time ever again.
13. Mesh Storage Bag
Do you bring a lot of stuff with you when you kayak? I’m a classic over-packer, and that carries with me to packing for a day of kayaking as well. And although I do carry my stuff in dry bags, there are some things I just want easier access to while out on the water.
Enter the mesh storage bags for kayaks. These bags attach onto your kayak to essentially give it a few pockets for storage. Now, these aren’t waterproof pockets, and they also aren’t secure (if you flip, the items in these pockets are sinking to the bottom of the water). But, they do provide you with easy access to anything you want to put in there.
Kayak fisherman like to use these for their fishing gear. I don’t really fish, but I do like to use them to store my snacks so I have easy access to them while paddling (a girl’s gotta eat!). Whatever you may want to store, the mesh storage bags make it easier for you to do just that.
14. Bilge Pump
I hesitated to put a bilge pump in this list because it really isn’t a kayak accessory. A bilge pump is really an essential piece of kayaking safety gear that you really should never kayak without. With that said, I see very few beginner kayaks start out with a bilge pump, so I’ve added it to this list to encourage everyone to get a bilge pump.
Bilge pumps are lightweight pieces of gear that can be used to pump out water in your kayak. Draining water from a kayak after a flip or even during strong waves or wind can be extremely challenging, and a bilge pump makes it so much easier. You can easily pump out a kayak full of water in only a couple of minutes.
Take my advice, and don’t kayak without a bilge pump. Please.
15. Phone Mount
If you’re looking to photograph or video your kayaking adventures, or just to get some cool action shots of you and your friends, then having a phone mount can be helpful. If you’ve ever tried to take a photo while kayaking, it can be a bit challenging. Whether it’s the waves, wind, or water it isn’t easy to steady your phone and get a good shot.
A kayak phone mount will attach to your kayak and hold your phone securely so you can easily capture your trip. If you’re videoing, the waves will still make it rocky, but it’ll be much more stable than if your phone was in your hand.
Now, this isn’t going to be 100% secure. If your kayak flips, your phone will get wet – but sometimes that’s the price we pay for the perfect shot.
16. Stand-up Assist Strap
Getting in an out of a kayak can be a challenge. It’s an incredible balancing act and you’re always wondering should I go feet first, butt first, or just jump (I don’t recommend jumping…).
For those with these troubles, getting a stand-up assist strap can be an excellent functional kayaking accessory. These straps tie onto your kayak and give you a bit of leverage and balance so that you can get on your feet. This can be helpful if you’re kayak fishing, or just trying to get out of your kayak. Either way, anyone who needs or wants to stand up on their kayak should get this strap.
17. Brush Gripper Anchor
If you like to kayak fish, or are kayaking in areas with lots of underwater debris, the regular kayak anchor may not be something you can use. It does make a large splash (scaring away fish) and could get easily tangled up with something on the bottom of the water.
For those scenarios, using a brush gripper in place of a traditional kayak anchor is a better choice. These anchors grip onto brush that’s above the water – whether that’s a low hanging branch, a docking post, or just general shore debris. So, using this means you aren’t scaring away the fish or getting tangled with things underwater. If you’ll be kayaking in areas where the fish are biting or there’s a lot of debris, then a brush gripper is a great kayaking accessory to have.
18. Fishing Rod Holder
If you’ve ever thought about giving kayak fishing a try, picking up a fishing rod holder is essential. I know part of the appeal of fishing is the sitting and waiting for a bite, but there’s not reason you have to hold the rod the entire time you’re out fishing.
Instead, invest in a kayak fishing rod holder so that you don’t have to hold the rod and your hands are freed up to do whatever you want while enjoying the peace and quiet from your kayaking fishing trip.
19. Vinal Stickers
If you’ve ever wanted to personalize your kayak a little, then grab some vinal stickers to stick onto your yak! When choosing stickers for your kayak, you do need to make sure that they are sturdy enough and waterproof enough to be able to handle being on a kayak. Not just any stickers will do.
A common one people like to get are the shark tooth decals. These are made specifically for kayaks, and have decent reviews, so you know they’ll work for you.
If the shark-tooth-decal isn’t quite your vibe, then Etsy has a customizable decal you can create to your liking.
20. Kayak Cover
If you store your kayak outdoors, or plan to transport your kayak on a multi-day trip, then you’re going to want to get a kayak cover. These covers protect your kayak from random debris, but also from the sun, which can damage your kayak if left exposed for too long.
They wrap fully around your kayak and are a great barrier between your yak and the outdoors. Because these covers take the brunt of the exposure, it’s not uncommon for them to fade pretty quickly (especially if you get one that’s a bright or deep color). But, since they take all of the exposure you don’t have to worry about your kayak fading, or warping in the sun.
21. Paddle Grips
The use of paddle grips can be quite controversial in the paddling world. Not everyone likes them or uses them. But I’ve found that whether you find them helpful, depends entirely on who you are and how you like to paddle. It’s true that for some people, paddle grips cause blisters. But for many others, paddle grips save their hands from blisters that would form otherwise.
22. Waterproof Speaker
Now, this kayaking accessory I propose cautiously. Waterproof speakers can be a great kayaking accessory, but only if you’re in the right place. No one (including me), wants you to kayak into a beautiful, serene nature preserve and start blasting Metallica on your waterproof speaker. Read the room (or really, the water).
But, if you’re kayaking where it’s common to hear music on the water, like near a popular crowded beach, or a lake with a lot of boats set up, then having your own waterproof speaker can be a great accessory to add a little bit more fun (or at least more tunes) to your kayaking trip.
23. Adjustable Foot Pegs
Foot placement in a kayak is incredibly important for paddling correctly, and ensuring that you aren’t in pain after a day on the water. Unfortunately, unless you’ve invested in a pricier kayak, you’re likely stuck with whatever foot pegs the kayak came with.
If you’re finding that your kayak’s foot pegs don’t work with your height, or that you’re experiencing leg pain or lower back pain while kayaking, then investing in some adjustable foot pegs may be worth if for you.
When you’re paddling, your knees should be slightly bent and pressed against the side of the kayak (for a sit-in kayak). If they’re not, and you aren’t able to get in the right position due to the foot pegs, then definitely get some new ones you can adjust to your specific needs.
There you have it! 23 kayaking accessories that will make kayaking even better! I hope in this list you’ve found something (or more than one somethings), that you can add to your next kayaking trip. Kayaking should be comfortable, fun, and safe – so get whatever you need to make the most out of your next kayaking adventure.
If you’re looking for other outdoorsy gear suggestions, check out any of the gear or gift guides below!
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