Kayak Gear Guide

So you’re about to go kayaking. You’re very excited about it. You should be! But, one minor problem. You have absolutely no idea what you need. Fear not though, we’re about to become your best buddy. We’ve created the ultimate kayak gear list, so you won’t forget a thing. On one condition, you take us with you…


First things first, different types of jackets go with different types of kayaking.

Whitewater jackets

These are designed for use on fast-moving water where you are likely to have a lot of contact with the water. Whitewater jackets are designed to keep you as warm and dry as possible, and have seals around the neck and wrists for optimum protection.

Touring and Recreational jackets

These are designed for calmer inland waters or the sea. Touring jackets, or cags, are constructed from lightweight waterproof materials and have slightly looser seals to allow for ventilation and make it easier to remove. These cags are specially designed to cope well with spray, rain and wind.


Depending on the weather and the level of protection required, different bottoms are worn kayaking.

In summer, lightweight, quick-dry boardshorts are your best bet. Palm's Horizon Canoe and Kayak Shorts are perfect for warmer weather. 

In cooler weather, dry pants or trousers are your best option.  These are flexible and often have latex ankle seals. You can also buy dry trousers with tall neoprene waist tubes. Alternatively, a 3mm long john thermal wetsuit such as the Yak 3mm Kayak Wetsuit will keep you warm and comfortable on the water, and more layers can be added if necessary.

Combination Sets

You can also opt for a cag and trouser combination set. These Palm sets offer waterproof breathability and optimal performance even in the harshest conditions. You can find one to suit any type of paddling, whether you’re a touring addict or whitewater enthusiast.

Buoyancy Aid

Safety is key. For support, stability and protection, a buoyancy aid is absolutely fundamental. Shop buoyancy aids.


Especially important for whitewater kayakers! Open water is very unpredictable, so stay safe with all the right protective gear. Shop helmets for various watersports.


Wet shoes are often made from neoprene with rubber soles for extra grip on slippery surfaces. Trainers are an another option, but tend to get heavy and soggy very quickly. Booties such as the Gul Power boot are super warm and flexible and won’t stretch your budget either.

For supreme protection, the Palm Gradient Trainer is the ultimate in wet traction.


Don’t let chillier conditions stop you from getting out on the kayak. There are plenty of options, depending on how much protection is required. Thermal base layer tops, leggings and suits are super warm and comfortable, you won’t even want to take them off once the session’s over!

Gloves, hoods and hats

Neoprene gloves offer windchill protection, and a variety of hoods and hats are available, whether you need ear coverage in the cold, or simply want to kayak in style!


As with any sport, there are a million and one different accessories you can get to improve performance, safety or just about any problem you may face. Our range of accessories include folding knives, dry bags, throw lines, whistles and pretty much anything in between. If you’ve got an inflatable kayak, we have plenty of pumps, and offer great deals on all of our accessories to ensure you’re getting bang for your buck!


Shop the full Kayak and Canoe range.


Updated on 29th March 2019

Originally published on 12th October 2018 in Kayaking

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