A big part of enjoying the outdoors is preparation, which helps ensure not only an enjoyable experience, but a safe one, as well. We are only human, however, and being so are prone to forger or overlook things on occasion, which isn’t good to do when it comes to the outdoors. Over the years, I’ve not only developed my own checklists for major trips, but I’ve added to them as gear takes on new importance. One activity I enjoy is kayaking, and today I’ve offered up my own personal gear checklist for day trips with a kayak for you to consider the next time you hit the water.


One paddle per person, plus a spare, if there’s room

Personal floatation device (one per paddler, and extra if there’s room)

Spray skirt

Dry bags for gear organization

Spare bungee cords

Weather radio

Signaling devices, such as a whistle, mirror, or flares

Towline/floating throw line

Paddle leash

Paddle float

Float tubes

Sea anchor

Bailer or bilge pump

Maps and charts in waterproof case


Matches/lighter/fire starter in waterproof container

Knife or multi-tool

Two-way radios

Cell phone in waterproof bag

Headlamp or flashlight (with extra batteries)

First-aid kit



Water Bottles (filled)

Water treatment method (just in case)

Energy food (bars, gels, trail mix)

Rainproof jacket

Sun-shielding hat

Bug repellent


Of course, you can add items as your own personal experiences and interests see fit, but the gear listed above is the list I turn to before each dedicated kayak day trip. It wasn’t as long when I first started out, but over the years I’ve found that I’ve needed new items and didn’t need others, so I’ve edited it numerous times. The list has helped to make sure I don’t forget the important things when I’m on the water, and I know it can help you, too.