Best Gifts for a Kayaker in Your Life – 12 Great Ideas!!

With the holidays right around the corner, here’s a little help to find the best gifts for a kayaker in your life!

If your friend or loved one is an avid kayaker, chances are very high they have the basics. Kayak, paddle, and life jacket. But, check. Sometimes we kayakers wouldn’t mind an upgrade in our basics. 😉

If you’re the type of friend that will drop $300 on a paddle or $2000 for a kayak, first of all, email me I’d love to be your friend. Secondly, ask us what we’d like and we’ll be more than happy to tell you the best gifts for a kayaker, well, specifically this kayaker. 😉

For the frugal friends such as myself, here’s a list of the 12 best gifts for kayakers! If you have any great ideas, please comment below and let us know. We may just add them to our list!!

1- Dry Bags

I kayak camp, and if there’s one thing I can never have enough of is dry bags. From small, sandwich bag size dry bags to large, garbage bag size ones, I have them all and wouldn’t mind having more. Things happen, bags get torn or ripped. The thinner the material the easier it is to rip.

Waterproof Bags

Don’t know what a dry bag is? Well, the name pretty much says it all. Just a bag that keeps things dry. 🙂 Kayakers and other paddlers often put dry clothes, food, or electronics inside to ensure they stay dry in the event of a capsize or breach.

When I kayak camp, everything goes into dry bags. Everything.

The prices vary widely but expect to spend between $10-$50 depending on the size and material. This is one of the best gifts for a kayaker because we can always use them, seriously, always, like all the time.

2. Bilge Pump

A what?

Before I started kayaking, I had never used or heard of one. I assumed it was to remove water from a boat, and that’s about what it does. Sure on large yachts and cruise ships, it’s an actual motor and pump, but for us measly kayakers, it’s done by hand.

Not only can it be useful while out on the water, but it’s also a great way to empty the boat after cleaning. I don’t fuss around lifting my kayak up and down, just pump it out. Easy peasy.

While not necessary by any means, a kayak bilge pump is a great little gift to get.

3. Kayak Paddle Leash

This small little item has saved my hide on a few occasions. Inexpensive but invaluable if you ever need it.

Just imagine you’re sea kayaking and you paddle out a few miles to check out a reef or do some fishing. You lay your paddle across your lap thinking it will be secure when an unexpected wave knocks it off your lap and it tumbles into the sea.

Not good.

Yes, paddles float, but it’s floating away while you’re struggling to use your arms against the waves.

If only you had a kayak paddle leash. Life would be normal again.

They aren’t expensive at all, ranging from $5-$20. Sometimes you can even find a 2 pack deal. Great if you’re a fisher as well. Just use the leash on your pole as well.

4. Emergency Whistle

This is an often forgotten accessory for kayaking. I would go so far as to say an emergency whistle is a necessity for all paddlers.

I really shouldn’t need to explain this one too much, it’s a whistle. We’ve all used them or heard them used many times in our lives. This is a must-have when you’re kayaking. I’ve heard in Pennsylvania where I live, the park rangers can fine you for not having the proper equipment. Whistle included. Although I’ve never been fined, I have been asked if we all had whistles.

A whistle with a lanyard is best as it can be attached to a life jacket. This way, wherever you and your life jacket go, your whistle joins.

5. GPS Tracker

Waterproof GPS units have really come down in price over the years so picking a decent one up for under $150 is relatively easy.

I have a Garmin eTrex that’s about 10 years old and still works just fine. Sure it doesn’t have the most up to date hardware, but it finds me and guides me.

GPS trackers for kayaking are especially great gifts for kayak fishermen. They can stay focused on following the fish rather than where they parked.

Make sure whatever GPS unit you purchase is 100% waterproof.

6. Stickers, Decals, License Plates

Who doesn’t like to show off their most favorite hobby in the world??

We all like to express ourselves and show off what we enjoy. Kayakers and paddlers are no different. Whether it’s a “Salt Life” sticker or a magnet supporting your local paddling group, we all like to show off a little.

7. Kayak Trolley Cart

One of my favorite gifts to myself. This little cart is worth its weight in gold, especially if kayak camping.

Kayak carts or trolleys allow you to take the majority of the load by having the kayak or canoe strapped down to a base of 2 wheels. Then you just lift the one end and wheel your kayak around.

My Tsunami 16.5 weighs roughly 60 lbs. empty. When I kayak camp I bring all the typical camping supplies and load them into my kayak. Now try carrying that across the parking lot or for a long portage. Not ideal. I just load my cart right onto the top of my kayak and strap it in for quick access.

8. Kayak Cover

You’d think that being waterproof leaving a kayak exposed to the elements would be fine. It’s not. It will cause damage over time.

For this one, you’ll need to know what size kayak your recipient owns to ensure the cover fits properly. An 8-foot cover on a 16-foot kayak just won’t work.

9. GoPro or Similar Style Action Camera

This is quite obviously a bit of a pricier gift and could be used for much, much more than just kayaking so take that into account as well. An action camera is a great way to get some unique and fun perspectives while kayaking. Being able to record and share your experience with friends and family is awesome and I highly recommend it.

This would be one of the best gifts for a kayaker I’d think. LOL.. 🙂

GoPro Mounted on Kayak

10. Should you Look for Something Specific?

If you don’t want the best gifts for a kayaker, but instead the best gifts for your kayaker, you’ll need to get some specifics on their kayak.

There are many accessories that are specific to kayaks such as spray skirts or seat covers. If you’ve overheard they get a sore butt while kayaking and you think a new seat cover would be a great idea, you need to be sure it’ll fit.

Although you can always give a gift receipt. 😉

So if you want to get a little more personal do your research first to determine the size, make, model, etc., whatever info you can get, get. The more you know, the more suitable and customizable your gift can be.

11. Camping Supplies

Since this is a kayak camping site, I absolutely must include camping supplies!

Kayak Camping Packing List - Kitchen - Cooking Kit
Just like in Scouts!

Rather than listing all the different camping supplies that are available, I’ll send you over to our camping checklist page for some ideas.

Remember, the only difference between hiking to camp and kayaking to camp is the mode of travel. The supplies remain the same. You’ll still need the essentials like shelter, food, and water. But a new tent or sleeping bag is just as exciting to a kayaking camper as it is to a hiking camper.

12. Making the Best Gifts for a Kayaker

Sometimes the best gifts for a kayaker are allowing them the time to kayak. Maybe some homemade “coupons” for “ONE FREE AFTERNOON with friends”, or a coupon to use as transportation assistance. “ONE FREE PICKUP at end location”. Just to name a couple of examples.

We all have busy schedules and sometimes we just want to get out on the water and paddle but some responsibilities get in the way. Make a gift to alleviate some of the burdens to let them get out there and paddle the stress away.

In the end, the best gifts for a kayaker are the ones you get them.

Happy Holidays and Happy Paddling!!

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Jamie Wilkinson

I'm a fervent lover of the great outdoors, having spent countless hours soaking in the tranquility and beauty that nature offers. My passion for kayaking and camping has led me to explore numerous waterways and campgrounds, each journey adding to my treasure trove of experiences. Through, I aim to share these adventures and insights with you. My hope is to inspire fellow outdoor enthusiasts and provide valuable guidance, whether you're paddling your first kayak or setting up camp for the hundredth time. Dive into my articles, and let's embark on this outdoor journey together!

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