What to Bring on a Kayak Trip

Vern Green


What do I need for the kayak trip?
If you have not asked this question, you should have. Of course, I am here to help you out and give you some pointers as to what you should bring with you on your kayak trip and equally important, what NOT to bring. I have even included some pictures.
For your kayak
  1. Your Kayak – It seems silly to mention, but you need to bring your kayak, also, you need to have your seat and spreaders for your kayak. Check and make sure they are all together. Oh, and don’t forget your paddle either! If you are concerned about keeping all YOUR gear together, then put your name on it!
  2. SUNSCREEN – You have been told!
  3. Whistle – Coast Guard Regulations require you to have a whistle. You must have a whistle with you on your boat or you can get a ticket if law enforcement catches you on the water. There are lots of whistles out there. I have ones like this:

    Signalling Whistle

    And no, being able to whistle, no matter how loudly is not good enough, have a whistle with you, no exceptions
  4. Lifejacket – No exceptions, everyone needs one and needs to wear it. The neoprene ones are comfortable, but not required. Type 3 life jackets are the most comfortable. Make sure they fit! You can test the proper fit of a type 3 life jacket by cinching it up and then having someone lift the life jacket at the shoulders. The jacket should not rise up easily. If, when lifting, the jacket slides off your shoulders, then it is going to do that when you fall in the water and you will sink.

    Here is a nice video on proper fitting life jackets:

    Type 2 jackets like this one are acceptable:

    Type 2 Life Jacket
    but not very comfortable when paddling Type 3 life jackets are acceptable and are more comfortable for long periods on the water.

  5. Throwable Cushion – This is an optional item, but something worth bringing along if you can. It is both a safety device and a comfort device for long periods in your kayak.


    U.S.Coast Guard Approved Type IV Throwable Boat Cushion

  6. Dry Bag – Having a drybag or some other type of water proof bag or container is essential for keeping dry things dry. Dry bags can be expensive, but WalMart has a good price on them. West Marine has them as well.

  7. Footwear – Put something on your feet that you are not afraid to get wet, they will get wet! There are sharp rocks and glass in the river, keep your shoes on when not floating. Oh, just keep them on all the time

  8. Clothing – A rash guard shirt is good, I recommend long sleeves, but short sleeves will work. Shorts are needed. And bring extra clothing with you in your boat, that is a good idea.

  9. Sunscreen – Did I happen to mention you need to bring sunscreen?

  10. Sun glasses – these are highly recommended, if you can, get some straps or something that float so if you fall in the water, you do not lose them.

  11. Wide brim hat – helps keep the sun off of your neck and ears. Make sure you have one.

  12. Water bottle – Everyone going on the trip in 2024 MUST HAVE a LifeStraw water bottle. Start looking now as you can find them on sale at times for as much as 50% off the price. This is a MUST HAVE item. Even if you have one and you have not used it for a while, you need to make sure you test it and try it out as they do not always work. Seriously gang, there really is no alternative to getting this type of water bottle. It works great and allows us to keep moving down the river. We need to drink water and the LifeStraw water bottle works perfectly for what we are doing. 

    Apparently, there is still some question on this as others did not bring what they needed to bring, so I have placed a link here to exactly the type of water bottle we expect you to have.

    Lifestraw Water Bottle
  13. Personal First Aid Kit – You really do need to have one, put it in your dry bag!

  14. Sponge, Bilge Pump – I prefer the one shown below as it can serve two purposes.

    1. It can be used to dip out your kayak when it gets water in it. Which it will. And

    2. It serves as a defensive weapon for when the water battles begin, and they will!

    Water Blaster

  15. Towel – Bring a large beach towel or other material that is large enough to cover your cockpit when sitting in your kayak. It helps keep your body cool and helps keep the sun off your legs. This is optional, but is very nice to have on the trip

  16. Sunscreen – Are you seeing a pattern yet?

  17. Snacks and Lunches – Many will remember the last trip when we had so many going down the river, that we brought lunch for everyone each day. This is not going to happen this year. You will all be required to bring your own lunches and snacks. Make sure you bring a small cooler or something else you can put your lunch in and carry on your kayak. Something like a small lunch box will do.

  18. LIFESTRAW Water Bottle – and I am not even kidding!

  19. Rope – Having some short lengths of rope in your boat is a good thing as well. You might even want to consider tying your dry bag, and anything else that might sink to your boat. Helps keep from losing things in case you capsize your boat!

  20. Sunscreen – and make sure you bring a lot!

  21. Gloves – these are optional, but they are nice to have when paddling

Chilling Towel – I love this thing, it is the greatest to have on the river with you. Dip it in the water, put it around your neck, bliss!

Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad

For the trip itself

1. Sleeping bag – it is hot in the day, cooler at night

2. Pillow

3. Medication – if you need it, bring it, but make sure we adults know about it so we can remind you that you need to take it.

4. Clothes

5. Towels

6. Tent – if you believe in such things

7. Sleeping pad – if you need one

8. Camping chair – the smaller the better, and no, you cannot sit in mine

9. Mess Kit and eating utensils.

10. The ten essentials!

Make sure you put your name on your stuff! All these things will look very much alike and if you do not put your name on your things, they will get mixed in with others. If you get there and you say you cannot find your XXXX the first question I am going to ask you is if you have your name on it.

What not to bring!

Electronics – leave your phone at the camp, do not bring it on your boat. Especially if you like your phone and you think you might want to keep it. It is guaranteed to get wet, it will not work as cell coverage on the river is slim, and you might even lose it to the bottom of the river. If you lose your phone on the bottom of the river, you will be depressed. If you get depressed you will want to eat lots of junk food. If you eat lots of junk food, you end up in the Geezer Patrol. Don’t end up in the geezer patrol, do not bring your electronics

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