Make sure you have everything you need for your next whitewater kayaking trip with this comprehensive checklist. From paddles, to PFDs, to first aid kits and more – our list has everything you need to stay safe.

Kayak Helmet

Kayak Helmets provide protection from head trauma and impact by absorbing shocks and dispersing the energy over a larger area.

They can also help prevent drowning by providing flotation in the event of an unexpected capsize or fall.

Personal Floatation Device

Every whitewater kayaker should know the importance of wearing a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) while on the water. PFDs provide essential buoyancy and warmth to help keep you safe in case of an unexpected capsizing or other emergency situation.

Having a PFD is an important safety precaution that every kayaker should take seriously.

Spray Deck

Spray decks are a crucial piece of gear for any whitewater kayaker. Not only do they provide a watertight seal between the kayaker and the cockpit, they also help to keep the paddler warm and dry.

They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials to suit any kayakers needs.

Whitewater Kayak

Whitewater kayaks are specially designed to provide stability in fast-moving water, allowing you to navigate challenging rapids without fear of capsizing or being thrown downstream by the force of the water.

Kayak Paddle

A kayak paddle is an essential piece of equipment for any whitewater journey, providing the power and control to navigate rapids, eddies, and even shallow sections of rivers.

With the right paddle design, material, size, and shape you can make your kayaking experience more enjoyable and safe.

Dry Bags

Dry bags are designed to keep your valuables and essentials safe and dry, even in the roughest conditions.

They come in a variety of sizes and styles, ensuring that you have the right bag for every outing.

Not only will a dry bag protect your gear from getting wet, but it can also be used to store snacks or other items that you might need while on the water.

Throw Bag

Throw bags can be used to quickly and safely rescue a paddler from the water in the event of an emergency.

Throw bags are also useful for setting up systems to help with difficult portages or other challenging river crossings.

With the right training, a throw bag can be an invaluable tool for any whitewater kayaker.


Sunscreen is an essential part of any whitewater kayaker’s safety kit. Not only does it protect against sunburn and skin damage, but it also helps to reduce the risk of dehydration and heat exhaustion.

By choosing a sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 30 and reapplying regularly, you can ensure that you stay safe and comfortable while enjoying your time kayaking.


The intense glare from the sun on the water’s surface can cause eye fatigue and even long-term damage, making sunglasses a must-have for any serious whitewater kayaker.

Not only do they protect your eyes from the sun, but they also help reduce eyestrain and improve visibility of obstacles in the water.

Rescue Rope

To stay safe, it’s essential that kayakers have the right safety gear – and one of the most important pieces of kit is a rescue rope.

Rescue ropes provide an invaluable lifeline for those who find themselves in trouble on the water and are essential for any serious whitewater kayaker.

Kayak Repair Kits

Kayak Repair kits provide essential items for quick and easy repairs of damaged paddles, boats, or kayak accessories.

Repair kits also offer convenience for those who need to make small fixes on the go and are essential for any whitewater enthusiast.

First Aid Supplies

First aid supplies are essential for any whitewater kayaker, as they serve as an invaluable tool to treat injuries or illnesses on the water.

All whitewater kayakers should bring a well-stocked first aid kit with them on their trips so that they can provide medical care in the event of an emergency.

River Map/GPS Device

River maps and GPS devices are invaluable tools for whitewater kayakers, providing them with an accurate view of river routes, rapids, hazards and more.

Knife and/or Multi-Tool

Having a good knife or multi-tool on hand can make all the difference in an emergency or when you need to make repairs on the fly.

A quality knife or multi-tool can be used to cut rope, repair lines, remove debris from your boat and more.

Waterproof Flashlight

A waterproof flashlight provides a source of light in dark or cloudy conditions.

A waterproof flashlight also helps to illuminate obstacles and hazards in the water, allowing you to make informed decisions when navigating your way through the rapids.

Water Bottle and/or Hydration Pack

While there are many ways to stay hydrated, the best way for kayakers is to bring along a water bottle or hydration pack.

Water bottles provide a convenient and accessible way to consume fluids quickly when on the water, while hydration packs are great for longer trips as they give kayakers more capacity and hands-free access to their drinks.


Compass is an indispensable tool for whitewater kayakers, providing a sense of direction and orientation in an ever-changing environment.

With its ability to accurately measure the direction and distance of a particular route, this simple device can prove to be invaluable for those navigating the rapids.

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