So, to paddle- kayak or canoe – you gotta have some pretty essential equipment. The following items are must -haves but will also give you an idea of what else you might want to take with you. Keep in mind, of course, that equipment for a day trip might be very different from an overnight trip, but the following list should be on both. Enjoy!

  • Boat: whether it is a canoe, kayak, or Huck Finn-style raft, it’s pretty nice to have one of these guys when paddling on a river. Most areas have an outfitter of some sort if you don’t have a boat already. I recently purchased my canoe on Craigslist. It’s not the best, but it works. I bought it for $150 if that gives you an idea.
  • Paddles + one spare paddles: try to get the correct sized paddle for your purpose. Usually you want your canoe paddle to come up to your chin. The spare paddle is needed in case of another paddle breaking or being lost.
  • Endlines or Painters: These are straps or rope installed on the ends of the boat for anchoring to a dock or shore or to other boats. We usually put a Painter on the bow end of the boat.
  • Water: and water bottle. Absolutely essential. Although you may be surrounded by water, it’s often not safe to drink. I always to a bottle and our group always take a 5 gallon jug of water (iced down in the Texas summer). Stay hydrated!
  • Personal Floatation Device – PFD: Although in most states, if you are over the age of 12, you don’t have to wear your PFD, everyone must have one with them in the boat. We wear them the whole time when we put on trips with students. They are also fun to use when swimming or floating around in the water. It’s the law too.
  • Throw lines or Throw bag: This is a must for every group and often for every boat. It is used to throw to someone that needs help – either they are in the middle of ta rapid or need help pulling something out of the water.
  • Other nice accessories that we always have with us on either a day or overnight trip:
  1. dry bag for anything that we need to take with us but that has to stay dry (think phones, maps, etc.)
  2. hats / sunglasses / sunblock
  3. food
  4. coolers and tubs for food