Kayaking Checklist

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This article is part of our series: Intro to Kayaking

An aerial view of two kayakers on a beach preparing to launch their kayaks

For kayaking around on calm, near-shore waters, you don’t need a pile of gear. If you’re paddling to a faraway destination, though, our checklist is a handy way to ensure you don’t forget any essentials. Your preferences, abilities and conditions dictate what you leave off or add to your final list.

Note that this list is for flatwater kayaking—whitewater trips require slightly different gear.

Note that we've already integrated the Ten Essentials into this list. If you're planning on camping overnight, also see our Backpacking Checklist for items you'll need in camp.

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Kayak Gear


Recommended for Short, Recreational Outings


Additional Recommendations for Extended Trips / Overnights




Items below are in-boat wear; adjust according to anticipated air and water temperatures. Read What to Wear Kayaking for an overview.

Note: Dress for the water temp, not the air temp—a capsize (and hypothermia) can happen suddenly; avoid cotton, which will chill you; quick-drying clothing is a must.

Warm weather/water (>60°F)


Additional clothing for cold weather/water (<60°F)



Personal Items




Additions for Extended Trips



Repair Kit Supplies