Blog, Buying Guide

A beginner’s guide to kayaking gear

Kayak enthusiasts are well aware that the possibilities are endless when it comes to choosing kayak gear. However, as beginners, it is important to know what type of equipment you need to familiarise yourself with before hopping in the water!


Are you going into flatwater or whitewater? What kind of kayaking experience are you after? It is important to make this distinction as this will affect the type of kayak you are going to go for.


The reality is, a majority of people don’t live right next to an available body of water to go kayaking. Fortunately, we have roof racks ensure safe, easy and stable transportation of your vessel.


This is a toss up between the flexibility of your wallet and a knowledge of the difference between the two suits. Drysuits are generally much more expensive than wetsuits and have better heat management mechanisms. While wetsuits keep you warm in the case of capsizing, they do very little for the people who manage to stay in their boats. There are many other differences between the two so it would help to familiarise yourself with them before deciding on which suit tickles your fancy.


After deciding on your new kayak, take into consideration the equipment you need in order to comply with safety regulations. You’re out there to have a fun time, so better to be safe than sorry.


Helmets are essential, especially in the surf or when exploring rocky areas. Specialised helmets are sold specifically to those who partake in watersports such as kayaking. When kayaking in unprotected waters, it becomes extremely important to keep your head protected.


Don’t confuse a PFD with a lifejacket. There are a few key distinctions which set them apart. PFDs have less buoyancy that lifejackets and are designed to keep a conscious person’s head out of the water. Less bulky and more comfortable, they allow a greater range of mobility than lifejackets and are recommended for use for a person who is already confident in the water.

Approved PFD types 1, 2 or 3 must be worn at all times. Your PFD must also be properly fitted to you, complete with a whistle.


It is a part of safety regulation that when venturing into both protected and unprotected water, you need to carry a waterproof buoyant torch. There are some pretty nifty designs you can get these days where the torch doubles as a knife, can opener, a compass and a whistle. Safe to say these days you can really get your money’s worth.


Bilge pumps are responsible for pumping out excess water from bilges. This keeps excess water out of your kayak and lowers your chance of complications you might face by capsizing.


spray deck is a flexible cover for a canoe most commonly used in a whitewater environment. It is made of a watertight cloth with the primary purpose of preventing water from entering the boat during rough activity.

Yakima can help you choose the right roof rack or water accessories you’ll need before you head out on your next kayak adventure.

Last updated: 30th January 2017

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