The best gifts for kayakers and canoeists to get them water-ready, no matter where they’re paddling next.
If you have someone in your life who loves to kayak or canoe, then picking out a gift for them might seem easy.
You can just get them something related to canoes or kayaks, right?! But wait…what exactly is that?
An avid kayaker will most likely have all the essential kayaking gear already. Same with canoeists.
So, what do you get for the person who already has everything? Thinking of great gift ideas for kayakers and canoeists requires thinking outside of the box.
Things that make excellent gifts for canoeists and kayakers might help make their water adventures easier, or maybe allow them to upgrade their experience on the water.
Even novelty kayaking gifts can help show your paddling loved ones that you see and support their passion.
Using some creative thinking, I’ve gathered together this list of the best gifts for kayakers and canoeists.
From practical to flashy to just plain fun, there’s sure to be something on this list to delight the canoe or kayak-enthusiast in your life.
Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.
Best Budget Gifts for Kayakers and Canoeists
We’ve all heard the phrase, “it’s the thought that counts.” How much you spend on a gift doesn’t correspond to how much you care.
So, if you want to give a thoughtful gift that won’t bankrupt you, read on for some budget kayak and canoe gift ideas.
Yakgrips Paddle Grips
A kayaking paddle can get sweaty or blister-inducing if you hold onto it for too long. Paddle grips can help improve a kayaker’s performance while adding comfort.
These YakGrips Paddle Grips are a practical essential that your loved one is sure to appreciate. They’re adjustable, washable, and come in nine bright colors.
And best of all: they’re a gift that’s thoughtful and valuable that won’t break the bank.
Neoprene Kayak Pogies Gloves
Paddle grips are helpful, but paddle gloves take things to the next level.
These Neoprene Kayak Pogies Gloves slip over the hands and attach around the paddle with velcro, making it easier to grip.
These mitts are water-resistant and durable. The neoprene material is 4mm thick to provide comfortable padding and to help keep hands dry when things get splashy.
These kayak gloves are another affordable and practical gift that can help upgrade the kayaking or canoeing experience and make life a little easier for your water-enthusiast friend.
Pelican 1060 Micro Case
Phones and water don’t mix, but these days, our phones come with us everywhere–even onto a lake or river. Luckily, a Pelican 1060 Micro Case will protect a phone from splashes, spritzes, and splatters.
Pelican cases are entirely watertight, but they’re also crushproof and protect phones from dust and debris.
This waterproof phone case comes in eleven different colors to choose from–including clear, so your loved one can see if they’ve gotten any messages without having to open the case.
It also includes a carabiner, so it’ll always be close at hand and out of harm’s way.
This reasonably-priced gift could come in super handy for the water sports lover in your life.
Universal Phone Lanyard Holder and Ring Grip
If the thought of sealing their phone into a locked box makes your kayaker friend shudder, then a Universal Phone Lanyard Holder is an excellent alternative to the Pelican box.
This silicone phone lanyard holder keeps your giftee’s phone safely secured around their neck.
There’s no chance of dropping the phone overboard, which offers some level of protection, while still leaving the phone accessible for taking pictures and answering messages.
And a rotating finger ring on the back makes a good place for someone to grip the phone securely. That’s a lot of added convenience at a shockingly low price.
Best Gear Gifts for Kayakers and Canoeists
While it’s likely that any kayak or canoe enthusiast will already own a good amount of gear, there are still some gear items that make great gifts.
Wilderness Systems Kayak Krate
A good-quality kayak crate is a handy piece of gear that your loved one may not already have.
The Wilderness Systems Kayak Krate has a 29-liter capacity to fit tackle boxes and other equipment.
This heavy-duty polyethylene crate also comes equipped with rod holders on the sides, so it’s perfect for any fishing enthusiast. And it features secondary lid storage for smaller items to make them easily accessible.
The Wilderness Systems Kayak Krate is fully waterproof, so it can function as a dry-safe as well as a storage area, making it an awesome gift for your kayaking friend.
NRS Sea Kayak Paddle Float
A paddle float is a piece of gear that allows for a self-rescue in the case of capsizing.
It’s an inflatable bladder that goes over the end of the paddle and acts as a floatation device if disaster strikes.
This can be convenient and helpful in a calm lake or river and life-saving when kayaking on the open ocean.
The NRS Sea Kayak Paddle Float is one of the best paddle floats on the market. It uses durable nylon and operates exactly as it should.
Nothing says “I care about you” like a piece of crucial safety gear!
MPOWERD Luci Outdoor 2.0 Inflatable Solar Lantern
A solar lantern is a must-have accessory for anyone who loves outdoor adventures.
A lantern comes in handy for kayaking and canoeing if you’re paddling at dusk or even in cloudy conditions.
Alternatively, one could charge the lantern during a day out on the water and come back to the campsite at night with light to last all evening.
The Mpowered Luci Outdoor Solar Lantern is inflatable and features ten LED lights that can put out a blinding 75 lumens of light.
It needs just seven hours of sunlight to operate for a total of 24 hours. And best of all for the water sports enthusiast: it’s waterproof as well.
Werner Skagit FG 2-Piece Paddle
While it’s likely that if someone loves kayaking, they’ll probably already own a paddle, a brand-new, high-quality one might still be a welcome gift.
The Werner Skagit Paddle has a carbon and fiberglass handle that’s smooth and comfortable to hold.
It weighs just 34 ounces, so it’s super lightweight and helps prevent fatigue on long kayaking adventures. The unique asymmetrical blade design also helps pull the paddle smoothly through the water.
This paddle makes for a significant upgrade to an existing gear set and it’s the perfect gift for anyone looking to up their kayaking game.
CamelBak Powderhound 12 Hydration Pack
Staying hydrated is as crucial on a canoe or kayaking trip as it is in everyday life.
The CamelBak Powderhound 12 Hydration Pack is a great gift idea because it makes it easy to stay hydrated without lugging around heavy water bottles.
This backpack comes with a three-liter water bladder reservoir in addition to 12 liters of storage space for other gear, which is enough room for essential personal belongings.
The water stays insulated from the reservoir through the drinking tube so it remains at the right temperature all day.
Additionally, this Camelbak pack has an ergonomic fit and straps so that it can sit comfortably on a kayaker’s back all day long.
Looking for more outdoorsy backpacks? Read our guide to the best hiking backpacks for women.
Celestron Nature 10 x 25 Monocular
The Celestron Nature Monocular makes an excellent choice if you’re searching for kayaking gifts for dads or other adventuresome family members.
This monocular telescope is only six ounces, so it’s super light and doesn’t take up too much space–unlike a traditional set of binoculars. A person can view wildlife and still have a free hand to hold onto a paddle.
It’s also waterproof and fog-proof, so it’ll perform well on a canoe or kayak trip, and it has a 10x zoom lens for clear viewing.
NRS Riptide Splash Paddling Jacket
If you’re stumped looking for gift ideas for the avid kayaker or canoeist in your life, a paddling jacket is an essential piece of gear for anyone who’s into watersports.
Unlike a life jacket, a paddling jacket is a lightweight and waterproof windbreaker that keeps kayakers dry as they paddle.
The NRS Riptide Splash Jacket delivers superior protection in a lightweight and breathable package.
The 40-denier breathable nylon has a unique “HyproTex” waterproofing that makes it washable while also offering good ventilation.
This jacket has a storm hood, a vented neck, and a splash skirt for extra protection from the elements. This means that it’s suitable for cold weather but also won’t make your kayaking loved one too hot and sweaty.
Finally, the neon blue and green that this jacket comes in are bright and beautiful colors, but they serve a purpose too by adding enhanced reflective visibility.
Best Unique Gifts for Kayakers and Canoeists
Perhaps you’re looking for a fun gift that your loved one wouldn’t have thought to buy on their own. We’ve got you covered with a bunch of out-of-the-box ideas.
People’s Choice Beef Jerky Box
On outdoor expeditions, snacks that are nutritious, protein-packed, and shelf-stable can help keep canoeists and kayakers energized for longer.
Beef jerky is the original snack for adventure; indigenous tribes have eaten it for centuries. Beef Jerky is tasty, practical, and fancy at the same time.
This People’s Choice Jerky Box makes an excellent gift for canoeists and kayakers. It includes an assortment of small-batch, handmade jerky that’s sure to keep the paddler in your life fed and happy while out on the water.
High Protein Fitness Snack Box
If your kayaking or canoeing friend is a vegetarian or just not a fan of jerky, there’s still a delicious, protein-filled gift box option for them.
This fun variety pack includes a wide range of flavors and textures that will keep your loved one snacking all day long.
This High Protein Fitness Snack Box comes bursting with protein-centric, gourmet, and healthy snacks, such as pistachios, chia squeeze packs, and Beanfield’s Vegan Cracklings.
The boxes come with decorative grass filling, so they feel like festive gift baskets. They’re the perfect gift for the hungry health-nuts in your life.
Kayak French Loop Earrings
The problem with many funny kayak gifts is that they serve no real purpose after the initial laugh. That’s not the case with these Kayak French Loop Earrings.
They’re a gift that will give your friend a good chuckle when they unwrap it, but they’ll be able to wear them over and over, bringing their passion for kayaking into their everyday style.
These surprisingly affordable earrings are made of surgical steel and manufactured in the USA.
They won’t cause skin irritation for people with nickel allergies, and they won’t tarnish, rust, or corrode. Your loved one can even wear them while kayaking!
REI Gift Card
Do you feel a little out of your depth picking out a gift for your paddling loved one? Are you not sure what kind of gear they have or what they might want?
A gift certificate to REI will take out the guesswork for you.
You can buy the gift card on the REI website, and you have the option to either send a hard copy in the mail or deliver it by email.
You can choose any amount you like, and there are also a ton of cute designs to choose from so you can personalize the card as well.
Genevieve Sun Hat
There’s no shade to protect against the ultraviolet rays when kayaking or canoeing on sunny days. Luckily, a wide-brimmed hat can step in and save sensitive cheeks from burning.
The Genevieve Sun Hat from Prana is super stylish and would make an awesome gift.
Surprisingly, it’s made from paper and recycled polyester. The sweatband features hemp fibers, and the drawstring cord is faux suede.
It’s available in either black and white or black and brown. Plus, it offers UPF 50+ protection in the shade of its brim.
Not only will this hat offer some UV protection for your friend’s skin, but it’ll look great while doing it!
Ray-Ban Clubmaster Classic
The Ray-Ban Clubmaster Classic Sunglasses are another perfect gift option for the stylish, sun-sensitive kayakers or canoeists among us.
On bright days, sunlight can reflect quite sharply off the water, so these Ray-Bans’ polarized lenses help with visibility.
These classically fashionable shades are customizable and available in two sizes.
There are fourteen different frame colors to choose from as well, and you can even have a personalized message engraved in calligraphy on the inner frame.
They also come with a genuine leather case, of which you have a choice of black, brown, or red.
These are certainly a splurge, but if you’re looking for a valuable and top-quality gift for canoeists and kayakers, these fit the bill.
Gerber StrongArm Serrated Fixed Blade Knife
Though it may look a bit intimidating, a good-quality knife is an asset for various adventurous outdoor activities.
The Gerber StrongArm Knife has a black ceramic coating over the serrated steel blade to prevent rusting, which is helpful for anyone who might be using it while out on the water.
Manufactured in Portland, this 4.8-inch knife has a glass-filled nylon handle and a rubber outer with a diamond texture for superior grip.
A safety sheath features removable belt loops, offering various carrying options.
Donation to National Parks Conservation Association
Sometimes the best gift isn’t a physical object but a concept.
Donating in your loved one’s name to the National Parks Conservation Association helps ensure that there will be plenty of waterways to canoe and kayak on for years to come.
Because kayaking and canoeing aren’t just about the gear and accessories, but first and foremost about exploring natural environments.
You can select amounts between $25 and $1,000 or choose your own amount and enter your loved one’s name into the honoree section.
Best Practical Canoeing and Kayaking Gifts
For some of us, practicality is a love language, and giving the gift of usefulness is a way to show how much you care.
Seattle Sports Paddler Pad Seat Cushion
One of the most iconic kayak-themed gifts is a kayak seat cushion, and the Seattle Sports Paddler Pad Seat Cushion is an excellent choice.
This pad works not only with kayaks but also canoes. You can even kneel on it while gardening or make a picnic table bench or tree stump more comfortable while on a camping trip.
This kayak seat pad is dependable with no hidden gimmicks or special features. It does, however, have an attractive topographical map graphic printed on it.
Granite Gear Wedge Canoe Thwart Bag
Many items on this list are aimed at kayakers, but this is just for the canoers.
The Granite Gear Wedge Canoe Thwart Bag straps to a canoe’s thwarts (those are the wooden crossbars) and hangs down.
It has water-resistant fabric and a structured bottom to prevent sagging, so it can function in place of a traditional dry bag.
It comes with several smaller pockets, straps, and D-rings, so it’s fully customizable and does a great job of keeping gear organized.
Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sack
You can never have too many dry bags!
A dry bag is simply a waterproof bag to store items in a canoe or kayak without worrying about them getting wet. It’s easily one of the best practical gifts for frequent kayakers and canoeists.
The Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sack has fully taped seams and uses 70-denier nylon with a polyurethane coating. The word “denier” refers to how tight the fibers in the fabric are, and the higher the number, the closer the weave.
This lightweight dry bag is available in three bright colors: blue, red, and yellow, but the interior is a bright opaque white, making the contents easier to see.
Read our full guide to the best dry bags for kayaking and canoeing.
Columbia Midweight Stretch Baselayer Long Sleeve Shirt
As with all outdoor activities, the proper clothing can be the difference between a good day and a bad day for kayakers and canoeists.
When someone is being physically active in various weather conditions, the best clothing will regulate body temperature. Nobody wants to freeze, but too-warm clothing can lead to sweat and overheating.
This Columbia Midweight Stretch Baselayer has many innovative features that lead to maximum comfort and performance.
It has a four-way stretch fabric that’s both antimicrobial and moisture-wicking, and it also has Omni-heat technology and ergonomic stitching.
Add this t-shirt to your gift list for a present that’s both practical and luxe.
LifeProof FRĒ MagSafe Series Waterproof Case for iPhone
There are a lot of ultra-protective phone cases on the market, but most of them focus on rugged drop protection.
However, the LifeProof Fre Magsafe Case is one of the few entirely waterproof cases out there.
This phone case is submersible up to two meters for an entire hour! That’s great for anyone who loves to canoe and kayak. Your loved one could drop their phone overboard without destroying it.
It’s a bit pricey as far as phone cases go, but the added protection makes it worth the extra cost.
This polycarbonate and silicone case also comes with its own screen protector and uses 60% recycled plastic.
This particular case is compatible with the iPhone 13, but LifeProof also makes this case for various phone makes and models.
KEEN Whisper Sandals – Women’s
A good pair of water shoes is a practical and thoughtful gift, and the Keen Whisper Sandals are versatile in that they work both in and out of the water.
This makes them extra practical because one can wear them in various settings.
The outsoles of these water shoes are super durable carbon rubber, and the upper uses polyester webbing.
These shoes also have odor-resisting materials, plus they’re washable so they’ll never get stinky.
Additionally, the Whisper Sandals have rubber toe guards to prevent stubbing one’s toe on rocky trails, and the soles are shock-absorbing.
Read our full guide to the best water shoes for kayaking & canoeing.
Best Kayak and Canoe Gadgets
Gadgets are pieces of gear that go beyond practicality–they bring the kayaking or canoeing experience to the next level.
GoPro Hero 8 (Black) Action Camera + 32GB Extreme Micro-SD Card + 38 Piece Accessory Kit
The GoPro Hero 8 Camera is essentially synonymous with extreme sports. This tiny camera is highly portable and can mount onto various places to capture action from a first-person perspective.
It has a fisheye lens that takes in a lot of light and a quick shutter speed, making it a must-have for capturing a moving target in outdoor lighting.
And this particular GoPro comes with all the accessories you could hope for.
I won’t list them all here because the list would be too long, but some highlights include mounts for your head, chest, and wrist, a tripod, and a selfie stick.
A GoPro is the perfect companion for outdoor adventures, and it’s one of the best gifts for whitewater kayakers who want to record their adventures.
JBL Clip 3, River Teal – Waterproof, Durable & Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Listening to some tunes while gliding along a calm lake or river sounds like a dream, and you can make that dream come true for your loved one with a JBL Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker.
This stylish and compact speaker comes with a carabiner clip to easily secure it to other gear.
It’s perfectly round and comes in twelve fun color options. And, of course, it’s waterproof, so there’ll be no danger of ruining it out on the water.
The rechargeable battery can continuously run for up to ten hours, so this waterproof speaker can keep the music flowing all day long.
Solar Charger Power Bank, Qi Wireless Charger
While this wireless power bank can recharge via a USB port, it includes a solar panel for backup power.
This solar power bank also comes with a built-in flashlight and compass. One could therefore use this feature as a kayak compass.
Your loved one will never have to worry about getting stranded or lost in the wilderness with a dead phone.
Bote Breeze Aero Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board with Paddle
The Bote Breeze Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board makes for an excellent kayaking accessories gift.
With this paddle board, your water sports-loving friend will have even more options for fun activities out on the water.
Plus, paddle boarding is a fun way to stretch your legs after sitting in a kayak.
This paddle board comes with a paddle, a travel bag, and a repair kit. A center fin adds extra stability, and since it’s inflatable, it’s easy to pack up and store.
It weighs just twenty pounds but can accommodate up to 250 pounds.
RAM Tube Jr. Fishing Rod Holder
If you’re searching for gifts for kayak fishermen, consider the Ram Tube Jr. Fishing Rod Holder.
It’s a handy accessory for anyone as enthusiastic about fishing as they are about canoeing or kayaking. And, let’s face it–any kind of boat goes swimmingly with fishing.
The Ram Tube Jr. Holder is lightweight and conveniently compatible with kayaks.
It’s designed and manufactured in the Pacific Northwest. And while it doesn’t come with a base, it can mount directly onto ram track systems.
Garmin Striker 4 Fish Finder with Transducer
A fish finder is a super handy gadget for fishermen. The surface of a lake can be very mysterious.
What lurks beneath the waters? A fish finder uses sonar to determine where to find fish beneath the water’s surface.
The Garmin Striker 4 can determine the depth and temperature of the water, and it also includes GPS so it can double as a kayak compass. It also marks hot spots where many fish are clustered, taking the guesswork out of fishing.
With a fish finder, a day of kayak fishing can put food on the table at night. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!
Looking for more Garmin product options? Read our guide to the best Garmin watches for women.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elina Ansary is a writer, visual artist, and avid traveler. She grew up in San Francisco, CA, and spent her childhood camping up and down Northern California. These days, she visits artist residencies around the world and has lived in Amsterdam, Australia, and now Brooklyn, NY.
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