Personal Flotation Device
The personal flotation device (PFD) should be comfortable, yet a little snug without restricting movement. PFDs are essential gear for adults and children. Some locations require children under a certain age to wear the PFD in any type of boat, including kayaks.
There are different designs to meet the needs of paddlers. White-water kayakers will use paddles with broad blades to give extra power for quick maneuvering. Long-distance paddlers want blades that are narrow to reduce resistance as the paddle moves through the air between strokes. Paddle length is determined by the type of paddling you do, boat width and your height. The best way to choose a paddle is to talk to an experienced outfitter.
It is important that you dress to get wet. Synthetic materials dry quicker than natural fibers. In cold or cool climates, dress in layers, which trap air and keep you warm. You can remove layers if needed to keep from getting too hot. In warmer climates, a lightweight long-sleeve shirt will protect you from the sun. Splash jackets are not watertight, but are made of waterproof material. They are usually lightweight and can be worn if the temperature drops.
Store the miscellaneous items, like lunch, in a gear bag that can be secured to your kayak. This will keep you from having to recover everything should you capsize or have a wave crash over the kayak.
A spray skirt keeps water out of your kayak. There are two size considerations when buying a spray skirt. The tunnel size, which is the part that goes around you. It will be determined by your waist. The spray skirt should feel tight while letting you breathe. The other size pertains to the cockpit. This is the size of the cockpit opening on your kayak. Take your kayak to an outfitter to find a spray skirt that fits properly.
A length of line as long as your kayak is effective for tying up to an object if taking a break, or if you need to tow the kayak over areas too shallow to paddle.