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Kayaking Gear List

The Paddling Gear You Need to Have & the Paddling Gear You Should Have

The following gear lists itemize the equipment you need to carry with you whenever you paddle and other items you should consider carrying depending on the route you have planned and the time you will be out.  For more detailed information on the basic gear you are required to carry see our blog post: Safety Guidelines for Paddling Around Victoria and Vancouver Island

The Basic Kayak Gear You Need To Have With You

    • Kayak
    • Paddle
    • Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
    • Spray Deck
    • Pump or Bailer
    • Throw Line
    • Whistle
    • Water
The Bare Essentials

The Bare Essentials

Other Essential Kayak Gear You Should Have

Emergency Signalling Devices

(You don’t need all of these but choose the ones that are most appropriate to your needs)

      • Flares
      • Signal Mirror
      • VHF Radio
      • PLB
      • Satellite Messenger
      • Cell Phone in waterproof case

For more information on emergency signalling devices see our post,  on Flares and our post on  Emergency Communication Electronics.

Other Gear

      • Spare Paddle
      • Paddle Float
      • Rescue Stirrup
      • Chart/Map in Waterproof Case
      • Deck Compass
      • Repair Kit
      • Towline
      • Sponge
      • First Aid Kit
      • Knife/Multi-tool
      • Water Proof Matches/Firestarter/Lighter
      • Emergency Blanket
      • Sunglasses with retainer
      • Eyeglass retainer
      • Sunscreen
      • UV Lip Balm
      • Flashlight
      • Watch
      • Dry Bags
      • Hydration – Water Bottle/Hydration Pack

Ditch Kit – It is a good idea to have a water proof bag designated for carrying additional safety gear that is not being carried on your PFD including:

      • Compact First Aid Kit/personal meds
      • Small Heat Packs
      • Firestarter – windproof lighter, matches, firestarter
      • Energy Bars
      • Emergency Blanket
      • Additonal flares – Smoke and Parachute
      • Signal Mirror
      • Duct Tape
      • Multi Tool
      • Cell Phone
      • Wallet
      • Keys
      • Additional Clothing – Sweater, extra top/bottom, toque, gloves

Other Useful Gear

      • GPS
      • Binoculars
      • Camera and Accessories
      • Anometer/barometer
      • Kayak Cart
      • Fishing Gear/License
      • Handheld Compass


Everyone has there own idea of what constitutes good clothing to wear while paddling and there are many options.  The following is a list of the options available to you.  Remember, paddling is a water sport so you may get wet.  It is important to wear synthetic or wool clothing that will dry quickly and keep you warm even when wet. Also, remember that the waters around Vancouver Island are very cold and you should dress for the water conditions you will be paddling in.  See our post – Safety Guidelines for Paddling Around Victoria and Vancouver Island for more information.

Well dressed Kayaker

On-the-Water Footwear

      • Sandals
      • Rubber Boots
      • Water shoes
      • Neoprene Booties

For more information on footwear, check out our post:  Choosing the Right Footwear

On-Land Footwear

      • Hiking shoes/boots
      • Tennis Shoes
      • Sandals

Clothing – Synthetic or Wool

      • Undershorts
      • Socks
      • Long Sleeve Shirt (sun protection)
      • Short Sleeve Shirt
      • Quick Drying Pants or Shorts or Convertables
      • Wicking Type Top and/or Bottoms
      • Fleece Sweater


      • Paddling Jacket
      • Dry Top
      • Dry Suit
      • Paddling Pants/Bibs
      • Paddling Shorts
      • Farmer John/Jane Wetsuit

Hand Protection

      • Neoprene Gloves
      • Fingerless Gloves
      • Pogies

Head Gear

      • Ball Cap/Visor for sun protection
      • Sun Hat
      • Rain Hat
      • Toque

Happy Paddling!

Bruce Holland – You can also catch me at or

kayaking gear

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About Ocean River

Located in Victoria, British Columbia on beautiful Vancouver Island, Ocean River is one of the premier speciality kayak and adventure companies in North America. Brian Henry, the founder & current owner, has been running Ocean River since 1981, and Ocean River continues to be recognised as one of the most significant outdoor/paddlesports instructional & tours provider in North America.

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