What do you take on board?

OK - this is our third season kayaking. We are happy with our kayaks and we are loving it. My wife (of 44 years) and I are recreational kayakers. No white water, no big seas. Rivers, lakes, streams and we are fair weather only.

I asked my dealer (who has been fantastic with us on advice etc.), what other stuff do we need to take on board.

Legally, where we kayak if we are wearing our PFDs (which we always do) the only other legal requirement is a waterproof flashlight if we kayak after dark.

We take water, some dry cloths, small GPS, iPhone and a good sponge, I always wear my Spyderco Salt. We have a rope on both bows. And food of course.

He says a spare paddle. He did not mention anything else. I have ordered one of those paddle floats in case I have to get back in.

Question - what do you think we really should be taking with us? Thanks!

(remember, fair weather, recreational)

A signaling device is required. nm

Yes, we always have one on each of our PDFs, so I forgot to mention it. But you are %100 correct.

After 2 years
if you haven’t missed having it you may not need it for a few hours on the water.

Your list should be based on weather conditions, type of water, length of trip number & experience of group and what they have, etc. To cover any/all circumstance the list is endless. Oh yea, a whistle is good / required.

Getting picky…
Rope is rope until it’s cut off the spool Then it turns into a line, ie: bow line, tow line or just spare line… :wink:

On sailboats it turns into many other things depending where the line is attached.

Float bags and practice

– Last Updated: May-15-16 9:49 AM EST –

The 120 does not have any flotation in the bow if I am seeing this right. Get float bags up there - the paddle float is not going to be helpful for re-entry if the boat is so heavy with water that you can't flip it upright. And practice with those things too, as well as seeing what you can do with an assisted rescue, before you need it. Very few people can actually do a paddle float re-entry successfully if their first time is in a real situation.

With two paddlers an assisted rescue is usually faster and easier, but with the huge cockpits in the Loon 120's it may not work. The paddler that did not capsize has to be able to lean over and stabilize the swimmer's boat without getting swamped themselves. That is where the smaller cockpits and skirts help, they keep water out of the rescuer's cockpit while they lean over the swimmer's boat to help them back in. But it is always worth a try, just near shore so if it is not going to work you can haul the boat up and dump it.

I generally recommend a weather radio or VHF with weather alert, just in case a surprise storm comes up. But you may be able to find an app for that on the Iphone that can be heard thru a waterproof case.

Rope on a boat :slight_smile:

– Last Updated: May-15-16 10:14 AM EST –

OK - was trying to be minimalist. Sorry.

We have rope on our 34 sailboat. We have a bolt rope on the main sail, we have a bell rope on the bell. We don't have any foot rope as ours is sloop rigged, not a square rigger, and if we had a tiller, we would also have a tiller rope.

Rik SN

Thanks Celia
I checked with Old Town about the bow float and they said “optional”, but the 120 and 126 have positive flotation.

I really wondered about the paddle float (but I asked my dealer to order me one, so I will purchase it)

Big cockpits - yes!

And practice - as soon as the water gets warm enough where we are - yes again.

Still debating a pump.


No bilge pump?
Quicker than a sponge.

safety gear

Saftey Gear in Canada
As a kayaker with a kayak less than 6 metres, in Canada, if I am wearing my PFD with my “sound making device - whistle” attached to it, which I always do, the only additional legal requirement is a waterproof flashlight if kayaking after dark.

Same applies to a paddle boards, water cycles, sit on or sit in kayacks, wind surfer, canoes, rowboats, …


More on flotation and pumps
I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some foam in front of the 120, and that would strictly speaking help it float.

But the bow float bags are about displacing water so you would not be trying to lift several gallons of it. And your rear area is not guaranteeed to be dry either - per Old Town it is water resistent not waterproof. So if you were upside down for a bit that end could also take on water.

You would want to reduce the volume of water that you would have to get out of the boat, only a float bag will do that.

As to pumps, yes absolutely. But for how big those cockpits are, I would suggest this one rather than hand pumps. Your arms would fall off with hand pumps if you really got filled up.


A bailer is also required
and a buoyant heaving line no less than 15 meters in length.

A spare paddle is a good idea but the Government in all its bureaucratic wisdom does not require that.

and ample floatation so that the boat if upset floats level rather than needled at one end.

Don’t mess with the requirement. I solo and I think th heaving line is ridiculous on my Canadian trips but you dont want to be cited and in popular areas the Marine Patrol is epidemic.

Not much
I guess I’m a real minimalist, because all I carry along on my sea kayaks on a warm sunny day is my small kit with my phone, wallet, water, a granola bar and a few other odds and ends in the rear compartment, nothing in the day compartment and a roll of tp, my spray skirt and a length of light rope in the bow compartment. On the deck I have my chamois and that’s it. Oh yeah, I always wear my pfd.

In no way is this meant to be exemplary–it’s just me.

buoyant heaving line … Transport Canad

– Last Updated: May-15-16 11:51 AM EST –

The buoyant heaving line makes much more sense for ww kayaks. But for my sea kayak I carry a tow rope of appropriate length and am prepared to argue that it is the equivalent of the buoyant heaving line.

The note attached to the requirement for the bilge pump or bailer is:
"Note 3 – Bailer and Manual Bilge Pump
A bailer or manual bilge pump is not required for a boat that cannot hold enough water to make it capsize or a boat that has watertight compartments that are sealed and not readily accessible."
That would seem to exempt my kayak with its 3 watertight compartments, but it is prone to capsize even then if the cockpit fills with water. So I carry a bilge pump.

I keep a small pack…
with such items as bug spray, fire starter, cord, small first aid kit, compass, gloves, “energy” drink powder, disposable rain poncho, Cliff bar, cheap multi tool, and a small roll of duct tape.

Over the years I’ve reached into it for everything but the duct tape and the first aid kit.

But that’s just the Boy Scout still living in me!

Of course in the heat of the deep south, a hat and water are always present.


no kidding
No brainer if you have to choose between the heaving line and a spare paddle.

I am with tjamly
However, I have used both my duct tape and first aid kit. I also carry spare batteries for my GPS and a bug head net. I do lots of sea kayaking and canoeing.

I also have an inexpensive pelican 100 rec kayak. I found I could shake a lot of water out of it and finish the rest with a bailer. Then go to the back of the kayak and climb on like a surf board and drop into the seat. I did add 10 pool noodles for added floatation. They are connected in 2 groups of 5 and run the entire inside perimeter of the kayak in 2 rows. Float bags are better as they displace much more water as well as provided added floatation, but do not fit the front of this boat.

about the same here
I have two bags: one for day trips and one for longer trips. The day trip bag resides in the longer trip bag until I need it.

The 10 Essentials
In addition to kayak-related gear, think like a hiker, and take the 10 essentials:

Updated Ten Essential “Systems”

Navigation (map and compass)

Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen)

Insulation (extra clothing)

Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)

First-aid supplies

Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles)

Repair kit and tools

Nutrition (extra food)

Hydration (extra water)

Emergency shelter

Classic Ten Essentials



Sunglasses and sunscreen

Extra clothing


First-aid supplies




Extra food