Christmas Wish List

I am currently coming up with a Christmas Wish list for my family to buy me this year, so I need some help. I am new to kayaking, so I have a Potomac Catalyst 100 which is very basic. I want some advice on some accessories/outfitting ideas to go with my needs. I don’t want to have someone buy me kayak stuff just to buy it. We mostly do mild river paddling from 12-22 miles at a time with overnight camping. I like to fish out of it but mostly I’m about the leisure and scenery. I would like to upgrade my seat but that is seeming to be more difficult with a sit in then I had originally thought. Any suggestions for a newbie?

I can think of all kinds of spiffy gear to go with your kayak. Is there a budget or is it “Aim High!”?

A 20oz. $490 Werner Ovation paddle comes to mind for really nice leisurely paddling, but back to that budget thing.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

I figure I can give them a range of items, but I don’t want to over do it. I would think under $200 would be an appropriate budget.

x mas

– Last Updated: Nov-25-13 2:42 PM EST –

You don't say where you live, so we don't know if you're paddling year round or seasonally? We also don't know what you already have? If you're in a seasonal location, I'd suggest things that expand your time on the water.

Not much you can do to upgrade that particular boat, but you can make your outings more comforable with some paddle specific clothing. My guess is that an $800 drysuit is out of the question, but you can pick up a drytop and pants for $300. If you layer with some capilene or warm base layer then you can extend your season(s). Splash jackets are much less expensive, but I find them to be colder and you have to layer more.

You didn't indicate if you have a spray skirt, but depending where you look, you can find deals under $150. Neoprene booties or some paddle specific footwear helps getting in and out of your boat and scrambling along the shore, plus it keeps the toes warm. NRS has a bunch of selections for under $100. I wear NRS hydroskin socks under my booties for extra warmth, those are in the $30 range.

A solid paddle specific PFD will set you back $75-$150. Kokatat, NRS, Stolquist, I hope you're not using the orange, traditional horse collars?

Someone suggesed at $400 Werner paddle, but unless you're thinking about doing some serious boat upgrades, you'd be fine with somehthing from Bending Branches or Aquabound in the $150 range or under. Please don't just ask for the first 240 cm paddle offered at the big box stores. #1 that is too long for that boat and #2 you can find something better/lighter without too much lookng.

Along with your PFD, you can get a bilge pump and float bag for under $75. Provided you learn how to use them, they will go a long way towards your on-water safety. I'd suggest some float bags since your boat doesn't have bulkheads, but not sure where they'd go? If you do go over the pump and paddle float won't help much if there isn't some sort of flotation to support your boat. Stashing one of those super loud whistles is also a piece of equipment every paddler should own and are only a couple of bucks.

Even though your boat has hatches, I'd still suggest getting some small dry bags and packing your small items and or lunch in the bags. Sea to Summit offers lots of sizes and it's easy to get a collection for under $75.

Not a huge fan of deck bags, but this is another storage option if you're looking to stow things on your bow deck. $50 range if you look around, maybe slightly more.

Outdoor Research has some nice gortex sombreo's or look for some hats that keep the sun off your face, ears and neck. I think these are in the $50 range.

If you're not a he-man/woman a kayak cart can get you from car to launch easily. There are lots of makes and models.

There are some waterproof weather radios on the market, having one on board may help forcast if you're having lunch and the skies start looking dark.

No sure how much true camping you're doing out of that boat, but if you're really hardcore paddle-camping there is another long list we can provide.

Just a few suggestions.

Looking about…
… the Showroom here’s what I’d suggest as my initial $480 Werner Paddle option is off the table (I guess the carbon/kevlar sea kayak would be a reach for the relatives as well)

Aquapac phone and/or Camera cases - $30-$50

Lifeproof iphone case $80

Northwater or Sea to Summit Deck Bag $60-$90

Sea to Summit Big River or Clear Stopper Dry Bags $13-$60

Leatherman Multi Tool $50-$105

Boker Rescom folding rescue hook knife $45

Kokatat NeoCore LS Tops -$95

Kokatat WoolCore Base Layers - $85

Glacier Gloves - $45

Sealskins Waterblocker Socks - $45

Celestron Waterproof Monocular - $50

PFDs by Astral Designs - previously mentioned.

Stohlquist Splashdown Sea Tour Paddle Jackets $139 ($70 on sale)

Gift Certificate - $ Any

Pool Time - If it’s cold where you are some pool time to keep the rust off.

Most of the other gear I’m looking at here is +$200 more oriented of touring/sea kayaking.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

what’s your camping gear like?
New tent? Tarp? Cookwear? Stove?

Water filter

Headlight (comes in handy when paddling, just get a water-resistant)



throw bag (handy for many reasons)

mesh gear bags - stuff doesn’t get musty as fast

dry bags - skinny to fit thru narrow hatches

I’ll second the aquabound paddle
If your using something from the big box store you will be amazed at the difference a $150 paddle makes.

Dry bags in the 20-30 L range, those ones at Walmart are too small for anything

Cockpit cover, solid or mesh

A bottle of 303

A splash deck, kind of a half skirt which helps keep water out of your lap and the sun off your legs and some extra space to keep items handy but isn’t airtight/watertight which gets uncomfortable when it warms up.

Don’t get a PFD without trying it on.

Stylish hats are always appreciated

Any of the T-shirts from the Pnet store leave your coworkers envious

For the homemade fans, coupons for shuttle service.

I’ll add another.
Maybe it’s my age, but a light weight folding camp chair is a nice thing to have. Probably $30 - $50 range.


This is great!
Thanks for the suggestions. I am in Pennsylvania and not sure I am ready for any winter paddling, so mostly spring, summer, fall.

I have some dry bags, but that is about all. I am truly starting out fresh. My kids are getting kayaks for Christmas too so it also gives me ideas for them too.

Since you are in my state (PA) you definitely need a copy of “Paddling Pennsylvania” if you don’t already have one. Excellent guidebook to many of the waterways and lakes in the state with put-in locations, hazard listings and recommended gauge readings. We keep notes about our trips in our copy every time we paddle one of the listed locations.

If we’re talking new paddle
Take a look at the Carlisle Expedition. This is an all glass paddle that for the money, you just aren’t likely to find anything better.

A inexpensive GPS
Like the Garmin Etrex.

They are a great tool for on the water.

Gives you your distance traveled, speed you are going, average speed and lots more.

jack L

bilge pump
An inexpensive safety device that your kids will have a blast squirting each other with.

Definitely going to get a copy.

Fishing Accessories
Simple is a Yackclip to secure your paddle/pole.

Pole holders - flush mount or clip on

Portable Fish Finder

Thanks to all for the suggestions. I got some ideas for myself! SantaBob is going to be good to his kayak for all the fun miles it provides!

Multiple pairs are nice so some can dry out completely

before they get used again on another trip.

I’m a fan of NRS gear