Equipment and Gear

For your own safety and enjoyment, make sure that you know the different features of the canoe type that you want to try. You will also need to learn the specific skills and get the right pieces of equipment. Equip yourself with the right skills and gear so you can enjoy Kayaking - at sea, in the river, or as a competitive event.

This list while incomplete will help you to enjoy your first few outings until you modify this list based upon your experiences. Knowing what to bring is the first step in canoeing. 

In order to have a safe and enjoyable Canoeing experience, make sure to use the appropriate pieces of gear and equipment. Aside from a canoe, you need a paddle, proper clothing, and other tools and devices which will help make your paddling trip a successful one. In this section, take a closer look at the different pieces of equipment and gear used in Kayaking.

This list will depend upon the weather in which you are paddling. The best rule of thumb is to dress for the temperature of the water not the air. If you are paddling in cold water be sure to add a water proof paddling packet and a wet suit or dry suit as conditions dictate. Hypothermia can and does happen very quickly, especially when dealing with cold water and wind chills. Clothes made of cotton are not recommended as they increase your chances of hypothermia.


Canoes come in different styles and designs, depending on the type of Canoeing do, the area where you will Canoe, and your paddling skills. Each one is made to meet the needs and preferences of any canoe paddler.

Since the Canoe is your primary piece of Canoe Equipment, it is only imperative to know the type that suits you best. There are several methods that can be used to classify Canoes. In this section, let’s narrow down the selection by determining the basic types of Canoes based on the intended use and structure.

All canoes are made from similar materials. Low end canoes are made from aluminum and fiberglass. More expensive and durable Royalex is very tough and great for downriver or extended touring far off the beaten trail. Racing canoes are made from carbon and nomex composites.

  • Read about the types of canoe trips you intend to make. If you live on a river and intend to go paddling downriver you may want a different boat than if you live on a lake and intend to fish regularly.
  • Discuss your needs with local paddlers who use the same waters and the professionals at the sport shop.
  • Tell the salesman about the intended use, places you will go and frequency for each type of water so he can make informed recommendations.
  • If possible go to a test session at the local lake or river where many boats will be available to paddle.
  • Paddle as many different boats as possible until you decide what suits your ability and intended use.
  • Make sure you have a place to store your boat out of the sun, poly boats will harden and crack. A 14 foot boat might be a better choice than a 16 or 18 foot boat based on your storage situation.