Gift Ideas for the Kayaker in Your Life – 2021 Edition

We stand behind the recommendations we’ve already made around Kayaking Gear and our Kayak Camping and Glamping set ups. This year, tackling WA360 led us to more gear testing than we normally do in such a short time. If you’re stumped for what to get the kayaker in your life this Christmas, we can help. Check out our previous posts as well as our new recommendations below to see all of our recommended gifts for kayakers. We know that outdoor gear can be pricy (and some items on this list are high-end). However, we do have some  affordable items on the list – many under $20 and one is less than $1!

Gifts for Kayakers to Stay Warm

We wrote about it in our glamping set-up, and this was the year to get our own Thermarest Vela™ Double 20F/-6C Quilt. We accidentally ordered the warmer version, and I no longer bring my sleeping bag. If you’re a cold sleeper, I highly recommend this quilt.

On our Bowtie on Bainbridge weekend, we got pretty chilly when the wind picked up at camp. So we decided it was time to get some packable down jackets to add to our kit. We’re very happy with the Big Agnes Luna and Shovelhead options we got. They each pack into one of their own pockets and then slide easily into a 10L dry bag (with plenty of spare room).

Gifts for Kayakers to Get Dry

We stocked up on Pack Towels this year, also. We bought a variety of sizes, and ended up using some of them to wrap our hard-edged cooking equipment, so we had quite a few towels with us. Which was good when we had to dry the inside of our tent after setting it up in a downpour. The Luxe towel is my favorite to dry off after a day of paddling. I also like to keep a personal pack towel handy for drying my hands or wiping my sunglasses or phone screen as needed.

Gifts for Staying Comfy & Bright

While we don’t sit on the Seattle Sports Paddler Pad Seat Cushion, it does add some comfort for long paddling days. We pop one of these in the bottom of our cockpit to provide a little cushion for our heels or calves. I adjust mine throughout the day as needed. We don’t recommend putting much in your cockpit, but these add a lot of comfort without risk of entrapment.

We’ve used Luci Lights for our stern lights for years. This year, we upgraded to the Luci Base Light for its larger power pack. We prefer the matte finish, to preserve our paddling partners’ night vision whenever possible.

Gifts for the Camp Cook

Depending on how fast you want to move, your camp kitchen set-up will vary. These are the items that we really liked for our small-but-mighty camp set-up. All of this (plus several pack towels, and more) fit in our 20L bulkhead tapered dry bag in the far tail of our kayak, so it stayed tucked away during the day, but was easy to pull together at night.

Our other camp kitchen recommendations this year are Small (10L) or Mini (9L) Classic Ice Mule Coolers. Depending on how much you need to keep cool, and for how long, both sizes are great. Since they use air as part of their insulation, you can inflate or deflate based on available space in your hatch.

Gifts to Pack it all Away


Our bedding tends to be on the fluffy side – two down blankets, a down quilt, and a down coupler. While they all compress pretty easily, they also expand pretty easily. Our solution is to double-pack them in a SealLine Blocker™ Compression Dry Sack, secure them with these 14″ Velcro Yoga Mat Straps that we found at Barefoot Yoga Co. and pop them into a Blocker™ PurgeAir™ Dry Sack. The straps help keep everything compressed and the process of double-bagging just helps my sanity, since this is some of the most important equipment to keep dry.


This was also our year to invest in more IKEA shopping bags. Lots of paddlers swear by them, but we hadn’t really gotten into them before. What I love about them is that we can prep all of our gear in the living room the night before we paddle. Then the day-of, we just pop the bags into the car. From there, it’s easy to transport everything to the beach. We have a very simple one-bag-per-hatch system, which helps our tired brains for early morning launches. I’m sure everyone is familiar with the traditional shopping bags, but here’s the system that works for us – each of us has:

Once we’ve packed each bag into its hatch, we fold it up and stick it in the hatch so it’s ready to pack everything back into when we land.


One other packing tool we got this year that we just love is the Sea to Summit Ultra Sil Day Pack. We thought this would help us when we needed to restock groceries for our WA360 adventure. We didn’t end up making a grocery stop, but this has been a go-to daypack anyway ever since. It’s our favorite lightweight pack for when we don’t need full backpacking gear, but want to carry more than we can fit in our pockets. It’s far more comfortable than you’d think, especially since it folds down into a bag that fits in my pocket.

Our Biggest Recommendation

Of course, we think the best gift you can give is the gift of a kayak. Whether your special kayaker wants an in-stock kayak or a custom kayak of their own, we can help.

And if a full kayak isn’t in the cards for this year, you can find just the right upcycled kayak ornament on our Etsy shop.

Seafoam Kayak ornaments make great gifts for Kayakers Plaid Kayak ornaments make great gifts for Kayakers
Kayak ornaments make great gifts for Kayakers Kayak ornaments make great gifts for Kayakers

Shop Local

As always, we recommend you shop with your local, independently owned kayaking supply shop. In the Puget Sound area, check out one of the great outfitters below.


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