"Wish I'd gotten it earlier" purchases

I’m totally smitten with a fairly cheap, simple piece of clothing I bought only recently: a neoprene surfing hood*. It covers most of my head and goes down to the shoulders, keeping my scrawny neck warm from cold wind and spray. It’s only 1.5mm thick, yet feels warmer than the 3mm neoprene cap I used to wear (which covers the ears but nothing below them except a chin strap).

A side benefit I hadn’t expected is that I don’t feel the need to pee as soon as when I didn’t wear it. Strange, but much appreciated.

This hood is one of those items that lights up a sort of Aha thought, “Why did it take me so long to try this?”

What are items that fellow Pnet paddlers have had a similar reaction to? Our list might be useful for those new to paddling, especially now that it is the cold season in most of the U.S. I’m restricting the question to only equipment, not intangibles such as paddling lessons or trips. And I bet one of the answers will be “a drysuit.” But it’d be interesting to hear what some of the smaller, less obvious gems people have discovered.

  • The hood is an O’Neill Hyperfreak, for anybody wanting to know.

Decent paddles
Aquasport stingrays over the Carlisle magics which replaced the watchamacallit POS from Dick’s. Wish I had bought them day one.


Bug repellent… all my friends now have them.


Does This Qualify?
Ginger. For seasickness prevention. It works. Thank God. I think I need to re-thank you for that one, too. I think it was you who shared where to find those candied ginger slices.

My new knee
I should have got it 20 years ago

Jack L

Ditto on Thermacell and a Drysuit, Seat
Should have gotten a drysuit long ago, but probably I wouldn’t appreciate it as much if I had one early into my paddling.

Thermacell is great!

Insulated inflating seat pad is also high on my list,

multi functional uses.

also that new knee!

The ThermaCELLl seems just too damn good to be true.

Hopefully, the knee will be, too!

While it probably won’t be that much help on the water, it ought to be a terrific improvement getting in and out, and to and from, the kayaks as I


-Frank in Miami

got the …
new knee about 4 years ago. Now I’m looking for a partial replacement for the other one or a new knee on that side. Just not looking forward to that rehab again if I go the new knee route.

Wish I got into paddling years ago.


Mad Bomber hat

Good comp rifle. Now that I can afford one the eyes make it hard to use.

Custom flintlock. Loads of fun.



– Last Updated: Dec-15-14 1:17 PM EST –

1. I bought a nice ZRE paddle early on, so I cant say I Wish I would have gotten it earlier, but I suggest a composite paddle as early as you can afford one.

2. A nice PFD. I love my NRS Ninja and wear a PFD more because it is comfortable and ergonomic.

3. Kevlar canoes. Under 45lb boats are a thing of joy (my Odyssey). Under 30lb boats are heaven (my J200). ~20lb is like carrying air (my future surfski?). I didnt pay more than $850 for all of my Kevlar UL boats used but in very good condition, so light doesnt have to be expensive if you buy used and wait for a good deal.

2 pieces of gear
A North Water turtle-back bag for the kayk deck and a Kokotat storm cag. I ordered the little turtle back bag for a paddling trip to Sapelo Island, GA, because i hate big deck bags. My paddle scrapes against a deck bag. But i do need some stuff to hand, and those essentials fit in the little bag. I really love it. No scraping.

The storm cag i very rarely use – it’s for emergencies mainly – but it was cold and windy the day we left Sapelo and i wore the storm cag over my drysuit on land till it was time to hop in our boats and go. It was like being in a warm sleeping bag or a warm room inside that cag. I was very grateful for it. I can see it would be very effective too on a shivering wet person. Excellent piece of gear.

7 mm booties
it’s nice to come back from winter surfski paddles and be able to feel your feet when you stand up. Surfers booties work great.

bag water filter
Instead of having to pump it, you just fill it, and hang it from a tree and let it gravity filter.

My first solo canoe

Aha items
For canoeing thwart bag, portable table, headlamps, homemade paddles, and Duluth Packs. For winter trips solar lights around the campsite. A tarp for shade and rain protection over the fire.


Seat pads with side pockets. Makes it easy to keep small items handy and off the bottom of the boat.

Kneeling thwart.

Painter bungees.


Drytop/drysuit. The first time I rolled in cold water and did NOT have cold water pouring down my neck it felt like a miracle.

Same idea as Vic
In my case, it was my first “good” rowboat. From there, I got another, and then started getting solo canoes. Before then, my only solo boat was a little aluminum Jon boat, which seemed great but I had no idea how much more I could be doing.