Packing for any trip can be time-consuming, or even stressful. When you’re out kayak fishing, it’s not so easy to run back to the house to grab a pair of pliers when you’ve already caught the fish. It’s important to use a kayak fishing gear list to make sure you don’t forget anything. In this guide, we’ll outline everything you need to take kayak fishing, from fishing gear to personal items.

Here At The Adventure Junkies, we strive to make every trip a successful one. Not only do we enjoy researching the best techniques, gear and trips for each outdoor sport, we also enjoy sharing that knowledge with others. From kayaking to rock climbing, and hiking to snowboarding, we’ve got you covered.

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CLICK HERE to Download our FREE Quick Starter Guide to Kayaking.

 

 

 

HOW TO USE THIS PACKING LIST

Before we launch into the actual list, we want to take a quick second to go over the terms we’ll be using in to describe gear. Each term below is followed by a quick description. You’ll see these terms below each item on the packing list.

PURPOSE: What it’s used for and why you might need that piece of gear.

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Starting into a new sport can be expensive, and we understand you won’t want to purchase everything from the get-go. We’ve marked the most important items as essential to help you choose.

PRICE RANGE: How much an item will cost in relation to your budget.

LOOK FOR: We’ll detail the key features to look for when choosing a piece of gear.

LEARN MORE: An article on choosing that piece of gear.

BEST MODELS: An article on the best gear of the year.

 

 

 

1. BASICS

KAYAK

 

 

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AmazonREI

PURPOSE: Flotation, ability to move on water

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $400 – $2000

LOOK FOR: Fishing specific kayaks with rod holders, paddle holders, tackle storage, and cup holders

LEARN MORE: Choosing The Right Fishing Kayak

BEST MODELS: Best Fishing Kayaks >>

 

 

 

KAYAK PADDLE

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AmazonREI

PURPOSE: Paddling, movement on water

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $50 – $200

LOOK FOR: Adjustable feathering, carbon fiber or fiberglass blend

LEARN MORE: How To Choose A Kayak Paddle

BEST MODELS: Best paddles for kayak fishing >>

 

 

 

KAYAK CART

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AmazonREI

PURPOSE: Wheeling your kayak

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: No

PRICE RANGE: $30 – $200

LOOK FOR: A collapsible, folding cart or small cart that will fit in your kayak

LEARN MORE: How To Choose A Kayak Cart

BEST MODELS: Best Kayak Carts >>

 

 

 

PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICE (PFD)

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AmazonREI

PURPOSE: Provides flotation in water

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $20 – $300

LOOK FOR: Sufficient buoyancy, adjustable side and shoulder straps, fishing lure storage, D-rings

LEARN MORE: How To Pick A PFD

BEST MODELS: Best Kayak Fishing PFDs >>

 

 

 

FISHING ROD

 

 

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Amazon

PURPOSE: Catching fish

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $30 – $1000

LOOK FOR: Medium length, multi-use rod like an inshore rod; offshore fishing requires heavier gear

LEARN MORE: Choosing The Right Rod

BEST MODELS: Best Rods For Kayak Fishing >>

 

 

 

FISHING REEL

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Amazon

PURPOSE: Catching fish

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $30 – $1000

LOOK FOR: Spin reel or baitcasting reel

LEARN MORE: Selecting A Fishing Reel

BEST MODELS: Best Fishing Reels >>

 

 

 

STOCKED TACKLE BOX/BAG/WALLET

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Amazon

PURPOSE: Securing and organizing tackle

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $15 – $200

LOOK FOR: Clear plastic case with secure latch, preferably in a compact soft-sided bag

LEARN MORE: 5 Pros’ Tackle Systems

 

 

 

FISHING ROD HOLDER

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Amazon

PURPOSE: Securing your rod to the kayak in order to go hands-free

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $20 – $150

LOOK FOR: An adjustable clamp

LEARN MORE: How To Choose Fishing Rod Holders

BEST MODELS: Best Fishing Rod Holders >>

 

 

 

PADDLE LEASH

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Amazon

PURPOSE: Tethering your paddle to the kayak

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: No

PRICE RANGE: $5 – $30

LOOK FOR: At least 4.0 ft (1.2 m) in length, durable hardware

LEARN MORE: Selecting a Paddle Leash

 

 

 

PADDLE CLIP

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Amazon

PURPOSE: Securing your paddle to your kayak to go hands-free

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $10 – $20

LOOK FOR: Durable material, universal size

LEARN MORE: Choosing a Kayak Paddle Clip


 

 

2. HOOKED

PLIERS

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Amazon

PURPOSE: Removing a fish from a hook, tying lures

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $10 – $65

LOOK FOR: Stainless steel or aluminum build, line cutters, side cutters, long nose, split-ring tool

LEARN MORE: How To Choose Fishing Pliers

 

 

 

FISH GRIP WITH SCALE

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Amazon

PURPOSE: Holding a fish and weighing it

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $10 – $50

LOOK FOR: A secure lip clamp, easy-to-hold handle, scale

LEARN MORE: A Guide To Fish Grippers

 

 

 

HOOK REMOVER TOOL

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Amazon

PURPOSE: Removing a difficult hook lure from a fish’s mouth safely

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $10 – $30

LOOK FOR: Single-hand operation, little/no harm to fish

LEARN MORE: Tool to Be Kind

 

 

 

FISH BAG

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Amazon

PURPOSE: Keeping your catch cool

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: No

PRICE RANGE: $40 – $160

LOOK FOR: Lash-down straps, zipper flap

LEARN MORE: Choosing a Kayak Fish Bag

 

gear for kayak fishing

Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/isomwang

 

 

 

3. ELECTRONICS

GPS

Check out the latest price on: 
AmazonREI

PURPOSE: Tracking location

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: No

PRICE RANGE: $100 – $500

LOOK FOR: Color touch screen, global support

LEARN MORE: How To Choose A  Kayak GPS

BEST MODELS: Best Kayak GPS >>

 

 

 

FISH FINDER

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Amazon

PURPOSE: Scanning for fish below radar

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: No

PRICE RANGE: $40 – $200

LOOK FOR: Portable build, colorful screen or smart phone-enabled

LEARN MORE: How To Choose A Fish Finder

BEST MODELS: Best Kayak Fish Finders >>


 

 

4. SUN PROTECTION

LONGSLEEVE SHIRT

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AmazonREI

PURPOSE: Protecting your torso from sunburn

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: No

PRICE RANGE: $20 – 150

LOOK FOR: Well-ventilated, UPF rated longsleeve shirt

LEARN MORE: How To Choose UPF Clothing

 

 

 

FISHING HAT

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AmazonREI

PURPOSE: Protecting your head and neck from sunburn

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $15 – $100

LOOK FOR: Neck cover, wide brim, UPF rating

 

 

 

 

HEADWEAR

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AmazonREI

PURPOSE: Shielding harsh light reflecting off water

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: No

PRICE RANGE: $20 – $50

LOOK FOR: UPF rating, a color you like

LEARN MORE: How To Wear Headwear

 

 

 

FISHING GLOVES

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Amazon

PURPOSE: Sun protection for your hands

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: No

PRICE RANGE: $20 – $70

LOOK FOR: Fingerless design, UPF rating

LEARN MORE: The Sun Is The Enemy – Protect Yourself

 

 

 

SUNSCREEN

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AmazonREI

PURPOSE: Sun protection

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $5 – $35

LOOK FOR: UPF 50+, Zinc Oxide, waterproof

LEARN MORE: Choosing Sunscreen For Fishing


 

 

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5. SAFETY

COMPASS

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AmazonREI

PURPOSE: Navigation

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes for offshore, no for inshore or freshwater fishing

PRICE RANGE: $5 – $200

LOOK FOR: Magnetic hiking compass, luminescent markings for work in low light, portable build

LEARN MORE: How to Choose the Best Compass

BEST MODELS: Best Compasses >>

 

 

 

FIRST AID KIT

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AmazonREI

PURPOSE: Wound treatment

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $10 – $50

LOOK FOR: Travel size

LEARN MORE: Fishing First Aid

 

 

 

KAYAK LIGHT

Check out the latest price on: 
AmazonREI

PURPOSE: Illumination at night for working at visibility to other vessels

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes, if you will be night-fishing

PRICE RANGE: $10 – $100

LOOK FOR: Secure attachment or suction cup base, LED

LEARN MORE: Choosing a Kayak Light

 

 

 

WHISTLE

Check out the latest price on: 
Amazon

PURPOSE: Calling for help in an emergency

ESSENTIAL ITEM?: Yes

PRICE RANGE: $5 – $50

LOOK FOR: Moisture resistant, loud whistle (over 100 dB)

LEARN MORE: How to Choose The Best Emergency Whistle

 

perfect packing list for kayaking gear

Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/spvvk

 

 

 

6. PERSONAL

It’s important to remember to bring personal items, not only for comfort, but for communication and safety. Below is a list of general items that you probably already own. We recommend securing anything important in a sealed plastic bag or dry bag.

 

  • Cell Phone
  • SPF Lip Balm
  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Knife

 

 

 

7. FOOD AND WATER

Sustenance is another important thing to remember on any fishing trip. There’s a reason most airlines serve small bags of peanuts on even the shortest of flights – it’s because most of us can’t go a couple of hours without getting hangry. Forgetting food and water on a fishing trip can be deadly. Below is a list of items to bring on a day trip (approximately 8 hours). Pack a small cooler bag with an ice pack and store it out of the sun in one of your kayak’s storage areas.

 

  • 2 sandwiches (meat and cheese, vegetable, peanut butter and jelly, etc.)
  • 2 gallons of water
  • Protein bar
  • Mixed nuts
  • Chips (potato or corn)
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