Guest Post – About the Author:
Cheri Benson is a kayaking enthusiast, watercolor artist, avid gardener, and Val’s mother-extraordinaire! She retired from Bonneville Power Administration several years ago to pursue her outdoor passions. She is happiest when she is paddling in the stunning lakes and rivers around the Pacific Northwest, painting in her art studio, or hanging out with her favorite daughter. Preferably with a glass of Pinot Noir in hand of course…
There is nothing better then being on the water, especially in the Pacific Northwest! There are endless lakes and rivers, astonishing scenery, and you can paddle all year round if you have the right equipment. Every month of the year offers a new experience.
If you know someone who loves to kayak, undoubtedly they can always use new gear. And you don’t have to break the bank to buy them a useful gift that they’ll love – there are plenty of great gifts you can get them for under $30.
Here is my list of 12 awesome gifts for the avid kayaker in your life!
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The Best Gifts for Kayakers
This portable cushion by Cascade Creek fits any kayak seat and makes for a very comfortable ride on the water. It only weighs a pound and has a gel-filled padding with permanent memory and no pressure points. It’s made of neoprene and has a non-skid base to keep it in position. It’s super comfortable and is especially ideal for people who have a hard time sitting for more than three hours. Plus it’s totally reasonably priced!
Even if you have years of experience doing self rescue, a paddle float is absolutely invaluable. Especially when you are wearing all your gear! This particular paddle float has a mesh screen which allows water to easily pass through. It has dual air compartments to give you more flexibility in the amount of inflation. Plus it stows compactly, is lightweight, and provides a lot of flotation. It always gets me back in my kayak!
Even if you don’t live in an area where it rains a lot, this waterproof hat by Outdoor Research also provides protection from the sun. It’s 100% nylon and has a foam stiff brim that keeps its shape no matter how much abuse it takes. It’s constructed from Gore-Tex fabric, making it both windproof and waterproof. It’s my hat of choice because it is longer in the back so it protects my neck from the sun, has a strap, and comes in a variety of colors. It’s the only hat you’ll need for the great outdoors!
Staying hydrated is the number one priority when you are out all day in a kayak. I stopped carrying water bottles a long time ago because I got tired of them rolling around in my kayak. This camelback-style hydration backpack is lightweight, carries 2 liters of water, is waterproof, and has adjustable chest and shoulder straps. There are three compartments so it has enough room to hold the water bladder, a towel, wallet and keys. It’s super easy to wear and very comfortable.
Everyone has a different solution for how they keep their hands warm when paddling in cold weather. And there are literally hundreds of gloves to choose from. I have my favorite pair, but my go-to hand warmer is the NRS Mamba Pogie because I like to have direct contact with my paddle. This thermal pad connects right to the paddle and has plenty of room for your hands, even if you are wearing gloves. These are made of neoprene and provide excellent insulation while keeping your hands dry. One-size-fits-all makes it an easy purchase for anyone!
Some of my favorite kayaking experiences have been at night when it’s essential to carry a light. The Kayalite Kayak Light from Kayalu is a white LED that’s buoyant and submersible up to 1,000 feet. It has a steel clip and a nylon-coated tension cable so it will connect to the bow of the kayak. This particular brand will last up to 100 hours on 3 AA batteries, so make you add some batteries to this awesome kayaking gift!
#7. Kayak Knife
A knife is indispensable to an avid kayaker because it can help them escape from a scary situation. It will also help in slicing their cheese for lunch. The Neko Knife from NRS comes in a friction release sheath that attaches to a life jacket. The blade includes a serrated section for quickly cutting rope and webbing, plus a razor-sharp smooth section for finer cutting. This useful knife even can even open a bottle of beer!
#8. Neoprene Socks
There is nothing worse than freezing cold feet when you are on the water. I’ve tried various wool socks, and have found that nothing works better for kayaking than neoprene socks. These socks by NeoSport are a great base layer for any kayaker that’s going to be out in the cold. They provide a nice tight fit and are super comfortable. I like to wear them under my wool socks for extra warmth, so wool socks make a great gift as well!
A kayaker can never have too many dry bags! They are waterproof so they will keep all of your gear, food, and personal belongings from getting soaked. This dry bag by Earth-Pak doubles as a backpack and has a sternum strap for added stability. It comes in a variety of colors and sizes so you can customize the gift depending on your friend’s kayaking needs. Just toss your gear inside, roll it down, and you’re good to go on your next adventure!
#10. Rescue Throw Bag
Every serious kayaker should have a rescue bag on the water. You never know when you may have to save someone from being swept away by the current so you should always be prepared. This inexpensive bag comes with 50 feet of 550 lb test/15m x 8mm 250 kg test bright yellow polypropylene rope that floats on the water surface for high visibility. The drawstring and cord lock top closure self-draining bag keeps the rope tangle free, and mold and mildew resistant. It’s the essential safety equipment for every water sport enthusiast!
#11. Paddle Leash
The North Water paddle leash is a handy tool that keeps your paddle from accidentally floating away if you drop it. I can’t tell you how many times I have dropped my paddle while trying to take that perfect picture! This one extends from 18” to 66” and most kayakers will need to use all of it. The best part of this leash is the stainless steel swivel on both ends that eliminates twisting. Your kayaker friend will thank you for such a useful gift!
#12. Kayak Compass
This holiday season, my Christmas wish list includes a kayak compass (hint hint). The 70p Dash Mount Kayak Compass by Brunton is the gold standard for kayaking. The floating disc compass is designed to be mounted on a kayak and the direct-reading configuration always shows you the direction of motion. And 5° graduation marks make the 70P well-suited for basic navigation and heading corrections. It may be on the expensive side, but it is the best on the market and has a lifetime warranty!
Have we missed any gifts that avid kayakers would love? Comment below so we can add them to the list!
Planning a kayak trip in the Pacific Northwest? Check out some of our favorite books!
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