River Kayaking Gear Favorites

Small But Handy Gear for River Kayaking Trips

Whether you’re meandering through Missouri’s scenic waterways or running more challenging rapids, having the right gear can make or break your river kayaking experience. Here are a few small but helpful gear favorites that we highly recommend you use to plan trips, or take with you on rivers.

  • Paddler’s Guide to Missouri: This book is your ultimate companion for navigating Missouri’s rivers. With detailed maps showing mile-by-mile features, launch points, and safety tips, it’s like having a seasoned guide by your side. Available online at the link, or at some local Missouri Conservation Department offices, REI in Overland Park, and other Missouri outdoor retailers and outfitters.


  • River App: Use this phone app to monitor river gauges in real-time, ensuring you’re informed about water levels and flow rates before you set off and also during your trip if you have cell phone signal.


  • Folding Seat Pad: This backpacking seat cushion adds a lot of comfort without being bulky on your seat. At lunchtime, use it on a sandbar or gravel bar for a comfy seat. At your backpacking tent, use it by the door to cushion knees when crawling in or out.


  • Mini Expanding Deck Bag: This great deck bag attaches easily and quickly to deck lines, and keeps your water bottle and essentials within reach without the bulk of other deck bags. The mesh side panels stretch to hold snacks, sunscreen and lip balm, etc.


  • Splash Deck: Block the sun on your legs and splashes coming from the front. This excellent splash deck provides shade on hot days, and keeps you drier on cool days of spring and fall.
  • Contact Tow Line: This tow line can be extremely helpful in towing a kayak to a riverbank, or on a lake. Attend our River Safety & Rescue class or our Rescues & Towing events to learn how to safely and effectively use this line.


  • 2L Key and Wallet Bag: Secure your keys, wallet, ID and small valuables in a separate and very recognizable waterproof bag or box with carabiner to attach it if needed. It’s a simple solution to avoid ending your adventure with a locked car dilemma.


  • Emergency Rain Poncho: Compact and lightweight, this combination rain poncho plus emergency blanket can be a game-changer in keeping you warm during unexpected chilly weather or in emergencies. It can also be used as a warming tent if someone capsizes.


  • Kayak Repair Kit Patch or Tape: Be prepared for the unexpected – we’ve repaired kayaks and paddleboards on several trips, far from access points. A repair kit can help you address minor damages on the spot, avoiding any interruptions in your adventure.


  • Foam Blocks: Keep this foam block carrier kit in your car to easily expand transport options for group shuttling.


  • Weather Radio: This waterproof portable weather radio enables you to check weather forecasts when conditions change on a river or paddling expedition.


Remember, the right preparation not only enhances your journey but ensures you can tackle any challenges with confidence. Happy paddling!

For more tips on gear for paddling, join us at upcoming events in the Kansas City area (Missouri and Kansas). We love to talk about paddling gear, paddling spots, paddling bucket lists, and … just about everything paddling!


Join Paddle KC to receive invitations to all Kansas City area paddling events for recreational paddlers, whitewater paddlers and sea kayakers.

Our wide variety of Paddle KC paddling club events include all sorts of fun and learning opportunities for all experience levels.


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