25 Amazing Gifts for Kayakers: Ideas for Birthday and Christmas Presents

By James @ Sea Kayak Explorer
Last updated

Are you looking for the perfect gift for a kayaker in your life? Here are our favorite 25 gifts for paddlers of all sorts—from touring sea kayakers to whitewater thrill-seekers. Buy one gift or buy them all, each one of these is sure to bring joy to your paddling friend.

So whether you’re looking to share a fun and affordable gift or go all out on a big purchase, you’ll find something that will make their paddling heart skip a beat. 

Go All Out – High End Gifts for Kayakers

1. Garmin InReach Mini

Garmin 010-01879-00 InReach Mini, Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator, Orange
  • Small, rugged, lightweight satellite communicator enables 2 way text messaging using the 100 percentage global Iridium network...
  • Trigger an interactive SOS to the 24/7 search and rescue monitoring center (satellite subscription required). Display size-0.9 x...
  • Access downloadable maps, U.S. NOAA charts, color aerial imagery and more by using the free Garmin Earthmate app and...

If your paddling buddy likes to travel out of cell phone range, an InReach Mini is just the ticket. Your friend can use this handy gadget to send and receive text messages via a network of satellites, meaning that it will work from nearly anywhere on the planet. It also provides a constant GPS position and can upload its position to a special tracking website and map—so you can track your friend’s adventures. Users can also receive text-based weather forecasts for any location.

The InReach includes a convenient SOS button, which alerts authorities in case of injury or incapacitation. The Mini is waterproof and can be mounted via a simple MOLLE carabiner, which is included, or a special kayak deck mount. 

2. Garmin Instinct Surf Smartwatch

Garmin Instinct Solar Surf, Rugged Outdoor Smartwatch with Solar Charging Capabilities, Tide Data and Dedicated Surfing Activity, Cloudbreak
  • Solar charging capabilities allow you to extend battery life beyond traditional charging
  • Rugged GPS Watch is water-rated to 100 meters and constructed to U.S. military standard 810 for thermal, shock and water...
  • Built-in 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter plus multiple global navigation satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo)...

If you’re constantly worried about the paddler in your life forging their own path, consider getting them a Garmin smartwatch. Not only are these watches enabled with all three global GPS sat-nav constellations, but they also support a wide range of fitness apps. Their ABC sensors (altitude/barometer/compass) give the user position awareness like no other, and they’re suitable for adventures on and off the water.

The Surf Edition adds a tide calendar and other water-friendly tools any paddler will love. The fitness tools work around the clock to improve the user’s overall health monitoring. It pairs with all smartphones and has a large catalog of downloadable apps. 

3. DJI Osmo Action Camera

DJI Osmo Action - 4K Action Cam 12MP Digital Camera with 2 Displays 36ft Underwater Waterproof WiFi HDR Video 145° Angle, Black
  • Dual Screens: Osmo Action’s dual screens allow you to capture it all with the touch of a button. A vivid front screen lets you...
  • The RockSteady technology combines EIS with complex algorithms, delivering stable, shake-free footage no matter how heavy the...
  • Action camera with 1/2.3" CMOS Sensor, 12MP, wide-angle 145° that allows you to shoot 4K HDR videos.

DJI has taken the action/adventure photography world by storm with its lineup of excellent camera drones. Their action camera looks like a GoPro, but DJI packs this little camera with some impressive features. It’s waterproof right out of the box; no accessories are needed. Plus, it fits on any action camera mount.

It has front and back LCD screens for versatility, and the “RockSteady” mode makes even the roughest whitewater passage look silky smooth. Great for use with helmet or shoulder strap mounts or mounted to a paddle mount. 

4. Deeper Chirp Castable Fish Finder for Smartphone

Deeper Chirp Smart Sonar Castable and Portable WiFi Fish Finder for Kayaks and Boats and on Shore Ice Fishing Wireless Fishfinder
  • THE ONLY CASTABLE CHIRP FISH FINDER: The three beam frequencies, crisp clarity and extreme accuracy makes it ideal for quickly...
  • HIGHEST SPECS: Casts out to 330ft with solid connectivity. Accurate scanning in water from 6in to 330ft deep. Precise 0. 4in...
  • FAST CHARGING BATTERY: Charge battery of this kayak fish finder / ice fishing fish finder / bass fishing / fish detector device /...

Know someone who loves to fish from their kayak? Here’s an innovative solution to the kayak fish finder conundrum. Instead of carrying around an enormous fish finder and battery to power it, how about a small rechargeable device that talks to your smartphone?

Best of all, its bobber design floats in the water so that it can be tied off the side or mounted to the side of any boat. In addition, the Deeper Chirp comes with a five-year warranty and features three-beam scanning with a maximum range to depths of up to 330 feet. 

5. Maui Jim Polarized Sunglasses

Maui Jim Men's and Women's Red Sands Polarized Rectangular Sunglasses, Matte Black/Neutral Grey, Large
  • Click the Maui Jim link above to visit our brand store, where you can find our entire catalog of sunglasses
  • All Maui Jim sunglasses feature PolarizedPlus2 lens technology that go beyond shielding your eyes from glare and harmful UV rays...
  • Enjoy ultimate UV protection combined with premuim style, incredible durability, glare-free vision, and color-boosting patented...

A nice set of polarized spectacles is tops on most kayakers’ want lists. These Maui Jims fit the bill nicely—no one makes a better-polarized lens than this Hawaiian-based company. Plus, their excellent warranty and repair service will keep your MJ’s good as new for their entire lifetime. Of course, there are dozens of styles to choose from, but you can’t go wrong with these standard nylon-framed wayfarers. 

6. Yeti Hopper Flip 12 Portable Soft-Sided Cooler

YETI Hopper Flip 12 Portable Cooler, Charcoal
  • The Hopper Flip 12 has ColdCell Insulation, a closed-cell foam that offers superior cold-holding to ordinary soft coolers, with a...
  • Features a 100% leakproof HydroLok Zipper and high-density fabric that withstands punctures and UV rays
  • Its DryHide Shell is waterproof and resistant to punctures, and abrasions so it will hold its own when faced with the hazards of...

The perfect cooler for paddlesports has finally been invented. Not too big and not too small, with soft sides that can be packed neatly into nearly any size vessel. The Yeti Hopper Flip 12 doesn’t come cheap, but high-quality options seldom do. For a soft-sided cooler, the ice retention abilities of the Yeti are nothing short of legendary. The Flip 12 holds up to 12 cans of your favorite beverage or an entire 15-pound bag of ice. The external footprint dimensions are about 12 by 13 inches, perfect for the back well in most kayaks. 

7. Dakine Cyclone Waterproof Backpack

Dakine Cyclone 36L Hydroseal Backpack - Nile Blue
  • Our goal is to make the best and longest lasting gear, while reducing our impact with the fabrics we choose.
  • Built for the roughest conditions
  • Ultimate flexibility, durability, and comfort

Every kayaker needs a good dry bag, but it doesn’t have to be the same ugly roll-top pack. This backpack looks great on the water or walking through town—meaning that it may just become the paddler’s favorite accessory. The large main compartment is protected by a beefy waterproof zipper instead of the standard cumbersome roll-top design.

Its welded construction means no leaks at all. There’s a side mesh pocket for a water bottle, and the front pockets can hold items you need quick access to. The zippers on the front are not completely waterproof, but they’ll protect gear through rain and incidental splashes. 

Middle of the Road Gifts that Every Paddler Will Love

8. Deluxe Padded Kayak Seat

Kayak Seat Deluxe Padded Fishing Boat Seat Deluxe Sit-On-Top Canoe Seat Cushioned - Comfortable Backrest Support Universal Sit with Adjustable Back Strap Detachable Storage Bag
  • ✔️【Quality Materials】: Kayak seat with back support is made of durable EVA Foam interior and high quality polyester...
  • ✔️【Comfortable Design】: Foam filled seat offers unparalleled comfort, and the High Back Design of Contoured padded...
  • ✔️【4-Way Adjustable Reinforce Straps】: This cushioned boat seat with 2 front and 2 rear webbing straps, also Combine with...

There are many designs of kayak seats, but the ones that come with many boats leave a lot to be desired. It’s a significant upgrade for any paddler to find comfort on the water, especially if they plan longer paddles. This padded seat has a high back for better support.

Plus, it has a handy storage pocket on the back. It comes with hardware to mount it to nearly any boat, but before you buy a seat for a friend, make sure that their kayak can fit one. It’s best if you can get the make and model of their boat and check online to ensure that the seat you have in mind is compatible. 

9. Yeti Rambler Insulated Drink Bottle

YETI Rambler 26 oz Bottle, Vacuum Insulated, Stainless Steel with Chug Cap, Black
  • Get To Drinking Faster With The Chug Cap. It Just Takes A Quick Half-Twist Of The Triplehaul Handle To Open And Then You'Re Good...
  • This Double-Wall Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle Has The Power To Keep Your Water Cold (Or Coffee Hot) Until The Last Sip
  • 18/8 Stainless Steel Construction Stands Up To Even The Toughest Of Conditions

Reusable bottles are all the rage. But let’s be honest—a lot of them stink. They’re hard to clean, and the thin-walled metal design allows your drink to get boiling hot in the sun in no time. This Yeti checks all the boxes. The double-walled design actually works and will keep cold drinks icy and hot beverages steamy all day long.

The leak-proof bottle cap top comes completely off for super easy cleaning. It comes in various sizes, but this 26-ounce option is just the right size for a day on the water. Plus, it comes in over 18 different colors, meaning you can find one that perfectly matches their kayak!

10. JBL Clip 3 Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker 

JBL Clip 3, Black - Waterproof, Durable & Portable Bluetooth Speaker - Up to 10 Hours of Play - Includes Noise-Cancelling Speakerphone & Wireless Streaming
  • SOUND TO GO - Never leave awesome sound at home again. This ultra-portable, waterproof Bluetooth speaker is small in size but with...
  • UP TO 10 HOURS OF PLAYTIME - The JBL Clip 3 features a built-in rechargeable Li-ion battery with up to 10 hours of battery life,...
  • NOISE CANCELLING & WIRELESS STREAMING - Wirelessly stream high-quality sound from your smartphone or tablet. Plus, take...

If your friend loves listening to music, treat them to this speaker and combine two hobbies. With this portable waterproof Bluetooth speaker, your friend can relax on the water while listening to their favorite music. The speaker comes in a variety of fun colors and has a carabiner to be attached to a convenient location. So whether your friend loves unwinding with classical music or gets pumped up to the Top 40, they’ll love this speaker!

11. Tozo T10 Wireless Waterproof Bluetooth Earbuds

TOZO T10 Bluetooth 5.3 Wireless Earbuds with Wireless Charging Case IPX8 Waterproof Stereo Headphones in Ear Built in Mic Headset Premium Sound with Deep Bass for Sport Black
  • [ORIGX Acoustic Technology] The professional ORIGX 2.0 technology further optimises the performance of vocals and midrange,...
  • [Bluetooth 5.3] Features with the advanced Bluetooth 5.3 technology, TOZO T10 Earbuds support HSP HFP A2DP AVRCP, which provides...
  • [One Step Ppairing] Simply take 2 headsets out from the charging case, and they will connect each other automatically and then...

These wireless Bluetooth earbuds make listening to the latest podcast or album a breeze. They easily connect to a music device and offer over six hours of playtime. In addition, the earbuds are sweatproof and waterproof, so they are ready for your friend’s next paddling adventure. The charging and storage case is also waterproof.

12. Ruffwear Float Coat Dog Lifejacket 

Ruffwear, Float Coat Dog Life Jacket, Swimming Safety Vest with Handle, Blue Dusk, Medium
  • Improved fit: Our new PVC-free GAIA foam panels are soft, comfortable, and designed to wrap around and move with your dog; Their...
  • Adjustable neck: The telescoping neck closure adjusts to fit a range of dog sizes; Simply adjust it once and secure it permanently...
  • Made for the water: Our water-compatible webbing remains stable when wet, meaning it won’t stretch or loosen in the water; The...

Do you know a paddling pup? If so, they need the Ruffwear Float Coat. Unlike other dog life jackets, this one features an all-around floatation design that looks more comfortable than flimsy webbing straps and provides extra flotation where the dog needs it most—under their chest and belly.

The low-profile, comfortable fit means your dog and move easily around the kayak and run freely on the beach. The coat looks bulky, but it’s not at all hot or restrictive. Plus, the large top handle is easy to grab to help your dog get back in the boat, making paddling safer and more fun for everyone—two legs or four. 

13. Kayalu Kayak Light

Kayalu Kayalite Portable Bright White Led Kayak Light
  • High-performance portable navigation light, for kayak, SOT, SUP, canoe, dinghy, inflatable, scull.
  • Bright White 2-LED with white titanium-infused diffusion lens, 100 hours on 3 AA alkaline batteries (included).
  • Buoyant, deep water submersible (IPX8 rated), waterproof to 1000 feet (300 m).
Reviews: 305

Ruggedly built and completely waterproof, this kayak light is purpose-built for paddle craft. It’s rated to be submerged to an impressive 1,000 feet—so if your submarine needs a new light, this one will do nicely! The light has a two-LED design that runs for more than 100 hours on three AAA batteries. Instead of a flimsy suction cup or sticky tape mount, it uses a tension cable to tether it to the kayak’s deck. It can be mounted on existing bungees or d-rings, or you can purchase the Kayalu stainless eyebolt.

14. Merrell Water Shoes Men’s | Women’s  

Merrell Men's CHOPROCK LTR Sieve Water Shoes, Black, 10.5
  • style: Water
  • outer material: Leather
  • closure type: Speed-Laces

Merrell offers water-ready shoes for both men and women. These shoes are perfect for kayakers who want a solid grip on slippery surfaces as they launch and retrieve their kayaks. Merrell shoes are known for their excellent traction and high quality.

These shoes will help keep your friend steady as they launch and protect their feet as they wade through all types of terrain. These water shoes offer closed toes to prevent injury and feature easy to clean quick-drying uppers. If your friend likes to paddle to shore for a hike, these shoes will transition from a water shoe to a hiking shoe without blinking. 

15. SealLine Seal Pak 

SealLine Seal Pak Waterproof Hip Pack, Heathered Blue, 4 Liter
  • The Seal Pak Hip Pack is a versatile hands-free waterproof pack for fishers, paddlers, and travelers who want protection when...
  • PVC-free waterproof materials and RF welded seams offer strength, durability, and long-lasting waterproof performance
  • The intuitive roll-top closure is easy to use and seals out the elements

This Hip Pack isn’t an old-school waist-mounted bag, but a “hip” hip pack! It is made from PVC-free waterproof materials with a secure roll-top. This comfortable bag is perfect for storing go-to items in a hands-free, safe from the elements bag. The waist belt is wide, comfortable, and removable. 

The size is perfect for essentials, such as a wallet, sunscreen, a d phone. The external zipper can carry small essentials. Your friend will no longer need to risk their valuables to stay in touch with you while they paddle. 

16. Heeta Waterproof Roll-Top Dry Bags

HEETA Waterproof Dry Bag for Women Men, Roll Top Lightweight Dry Storage Bag Backpack with Phone Case for Travel, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Camping and Beach, Transparent Blue 5L
  • Waterproof - Use professional seamless technology. Our dry bag has the overall waterproof capability, making sure to keep your...
  • Durable - Made by 0.02 in (0.6 mm) thick wear-resistant material, suitable for outdoor activities, waterproof bag nicely adapts to...
  • Multifunctional - Adjustable Shoulder Straps & Handle for shoulder carrying and backpack, very convenient for different occasions...

These waterproof dry bags come in five different sizes, from 5L to 40L. They have a shoulder strap and a handle for easy carrying. The bags are transparent so you can see your items, and if you have several bags, you can tell which bag has the item you seek. 

Each of these handy roll-top dry bags comes with a waterproof cell phone case. The cell phone case protects your phone from unwanted water damage while enabling you to use the phone while you kayak. In addition, the cell phone case allows you to text and use your phone’s screen so you can stay in touch with friends while you paddle. 

17. 3.5-Pound Folding Kayak Anchor Kit 

XIALUO Marine Kayak Anchor Kits 3.5 lb Folding Anchor Accessories Complete Grapnel Anchor System with 30 ft Rope for Fishing Kayaks, Canoe, Jet Ski, SUP Paddle Board and Small Boats
  • ✔Marine Grade 316 stainless steel , Anti-rust and anti-corrosion; surface polishing
  • ✔Anchor chain OD is 5/16 inch(8mm), shackle OD is 3/8 inch
  • ✔Breaking Load :6600lbs ; 3/8″ Shackle Breaking Load:7700lbs;

An anchor might not seem necessary on a kayak, but they are a great piece of safety equipment and can be handy in day-to-day situations as well. This 3.5-pound anchor is lightweight, foldable, and easy to store. It fits into a 12-inch by 3-inch bag that will protect your friend’s kayak from being scratched by the anchor. 

If your friend is fishing and wants to stay in one spot, they can just set the anchor, and it’s fish on. Likewise, paddlers looking for a break from paddling upstream can set the anchor and rest without losing ground. 

18. Gerber Suspension NXT — Kayak-Ready Multitool

Gerber Gear Suspension-NXT 15-in-1 Multi-Tool Pocket Knife Set - EDC Gear and Equipment Multi-Tool with Pocket Clip - Stainless Steel
  • 15-IN-1 MULTI-TOOL: Features spring-loaded needle nose pliers, wire stripper, small/medium/large flathead drivers, #2 cross...
  • SURVIVAL GEAR AND EQUIPMENT: Made from stainless steel that will stand the test of time and conveniently travel with you with a...
  • SLIM DESIGN: Easily accessible and fits compactly in a pocket or attached with a pocket clip; Butterfly opening and locking...

A multitool is every human’s best friend, and that’s even more applicable to paddlers away from their home toolboxes. Repair gear, tighten screws, cut fishing lines, and open that refreshing brew at the end of the paddle. This multitool has a pocket clip and lanyard hole so you can keep the tool handy and secure. They’re infinitely useful and a valuable safety tool to boot. Why carry a simple single-purpose kayak knife when you can carry something so much more useful?

Great Gifts for Kayakers Under $25

19. Pelican 1060 Case for Phone and Wallet 

Pelican 1060 Micro Case - for iPhone, GoPro, Camera, and More (Black/Clear)
  • WATER RESISTANT CASE: Water Resistant (IP67), crushproof, and dustproof protection for your iPhone, cell phone, camera, GoPro or...
  • FEATURES: Automatic pressure equalization valve (balances interior pressure to keep water out), rubber liner that delivers o-ring...
  • DIMENSIONS (LxWxD): INTERIOR - 8.25" x 4.25" x 2.25" ; EXTERIOR - 9.88" x 5.59" x 2.63"

Pelican Cases are well-known for their superior waterproof design and all-around toughness. This Micro-case is perfect for a phone or small camera, keys, and wallet. It comes in several different colors to suit your friend’s personality or kayak. These micro cases come with a carabiner and stainless steel hinges. They keep the water out and are easy to open. 

20. Water Buffalo Hydration Backpack 2 Liter 

Water Buffalo Hydration Backpack - Hydration Pack Water Backpack with 2L Hydration Water Bladder - Hydropack Running Backpack 12L - The Essential Water Pack for Hiking, Running, Biking, Ski, and Raves
  • Adventure Awaits You – Go the distance with the help of a Water Buffalo running water backpack. Your water backpack for hiking,...
  • Satisfy Your Thirst – Keep fresh, cool water on deck thanks to your insulated hydration backpack and 2L water bladder. Your...
  • Lightweight and Comfortable – Fit any essential in your backpack water bottle without overloading yourself. Your water bottle...

It’s essential to stay hydrated out on the water, and this hydration backpack fits the bill. This backpack will enable your friend to have easy, instant access to drinking water. The backpack is water-resistant and ultralight, perfect for a paddler. In addition, the insulated pocket keeps water cooler for longer. 

21. Quicksilver Lifeguard Sun Hat

Quiksilver mens Pierside Straw Lifeguard Beach Straw Sun Hat, Natural, Large-X-Large US,Natural/Red
  • CLASSIC STYLING: The Pierside hat is constructed from weaved straw, featuring a wide brim, lined headband and adjustable chin...
  • COMFORTABLE FIT: This Pierside hat features an adjustable draw cord chin strap with a toggle to customize your fit along with a...
  • CARE: The Pierside hat is constructed of 100% rafia straw fiber and should not be submerged in water or kept stored where the...

Sun exposure is no joke, and while paddling, the UV rays come at paddlers from every direction. This broad-brimmed lifeguard hat creates lots of shade without adding heat. It includes a string to secure it when windy, and the rafia straw fibers are naturally waterproof.

This is a great hat for paddling, but it is delicate—the straw is brittle, and the hat cannot be crushed or bent. The advantage is that it provides excellent airflow and won’t make your head hot in direct sunlight as heavy cloth hats do. The drawback is that it takes up a lot of space and is easily damaged.

22. SPF 50 Neck Gaiter 

BASSDASH UPF 50+ UV Sun Protection Neck Gaiter Fishing Mask Hunting Kayaking Hiking Cycling Ski Sports Grey Camo
  • Lightweight and super soft and even suitable for individuals with sensitive skin
  • The breathable fabric can protects your neck, ear and nose from the sun but allows normal breathing
  • Effective against the wind and cold entering through the nose and mouth

This neck gaiter is another excellent item for protecting skin from harmful UV rays. This SPF 50 neck gaiter is lightweight and super soft and gives all-day comfort and protection. The breathable fabric protects your friend from the sun while remaining breathable. They come in over a dozen colors and patterns, so you might need a few! 

23. Paddle and Accessory Leash 

VNVM Kayak Paddle Leash 2 Pack, Paddle Leash Lightweight Coiled Kayak Rod Leashes for SUP Kayaking Canoing Fishing Boating
  • NEVER LOSE YOU PADDLE AGAIN: The kayak paddle leash are made of strong and durable materials. Such materials resist salt water and...
  • ADVENTURE AWAITS: Our professional team has gone through a lot of experimental tests and found, the kayak paddle straps has a...
  • EASY AS 1-2-3: The paddle leash is made of lightweight and soft material, which is not only easy to carry and can be placed in...

Every paddler needs a paddle leash. If your friend has been using a cheap bit of rope to do the job or has been relying on luck to keep their paddle on hand, they will love this fabulous yet affordable upgrade. These convenient leashes are nice in that they can be used to tie pretty much anything to a kayak. 

Your friend can loop this leash around the paddle, and then your friend can clip the carabiner to their life jacket or kayak. You can rest easy knowing your friend won’t be up the creek without a paddle!

24. Quick-Dry Turkish Beach Towels

Istanbul 100% Cotton Quick Dry Sand Free Beach Towels for Adults - Sandproof Turkish Towels for Beach Pool Bath Yoga Blanket (36 x 71) Large Oversized (Blue)
  • MADE IN TURKEY: ISTANBUL Turkish Towel is made of 100% Cotton with unique Herringbone pattern and shining colors in Turkey. The...
  • HIGH QUALITY: Turkish Bath Towels are very absorbent, quick drying, compact and soft. Its prewashed and becomes softer after each...
  • FUNCTION: Turkish Towels are mainly used at Beach, Pool, Bathroom and SPA. Its compact and packable for Travel, Picnic and Yoga...

Kayaking is sometimes a wet business, and all paddlers need to dry off occasionally. Kayakers usually carry standard beach towels in their car or sometimes in their dry bag. But these Turkish towels are far better than standard terry cloth options. They pack smaller, are more absorbent, and will dry out quicker. You can find Turkish towels in a variety of sizes to suit any kayaker. These 36 by 71-inch beach towels come in ten color varieties, plus they’re washer and dryer safe for easy cleaning!

25. Kayaker Decals 

There are 22 fun and funny decals in this sticker collection. Your friend can stick them on your computer, phone, kayak, table, or car; wherever your friend needs a little reminder of the sweet kayaking life. Stickers include fun sayings such as “Keep Calm and Paddle On” and “Kayak Hair Don’t Care.” These stickers are an affordable and fun way to share the kayaking love. 

Final Thoughts

Great gear can turn an average paddling trip into a spectacular one. Treat your friend to a gift that they’ll love, but remember, the best gift you can give is to spend time with your loved ones. So combine your gift with a shared paddling adventure and enjoy the gear, and treasure the memories.