Weather permitting, there’s no better way to enjoy the day than with an intense, action-packed tour on the water. Kayaking is an exciting, physically exhausting, and generally productive way one way to do just that. If you’re someone who prefers to get their exercise in courtesy of natural outdoor activities, this is certainly a great option. Paddling provides you with a great upper body workout while, of course, it can also serve as a great leg exercise, as most of your power comes from your legs. And if you’re something strictly in it for the thrills, well you can’t go wrong with that either. However, if you’ve never gone kayaking before — or simply have done it just a handful of times — there are a few things you should know ahead of time. Namely, when it comes to equipment that will make the whole process “smooth sailing,” so to speak (boat pun definitely intended). While you don’t need much to get started, it is helpful to get the right stuff off of the jump to prevent excessive spending. Luckily, there are some great products on the web you can purchase for relatively cheap. Let’s go through some of the best of the best.

Best Inflatable Kayak

If you’re just starting out, you should purchase a kayak that is tailored for beginners — both in terms of price and function. For these reasons, an inflatable kayak is a great choice, specifically, the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, a two person inflatable kayak with aluminum oars for easy steering. What particularly stood out regarding this kayak, at least for us, was just how comfortable it was for two people. It’s made with an adjustable inflatable seat and backrest, along with a roomy cockpit designed for comfort and space. Comfort shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, though — this kayak is ten feet long and can hold up to 400 pounds. And for an inflatable kayak, it’s quite stable, as it features a removable skeg for increased directional stability. The color of the kayak itself is also rather helpful for beginners (or long-time kayak enthusiasts for that matter), as it’s made with a bright yellow color to increase visibility when you’re out on the water. Considering it’s a blow up kayak, it’s made for smaller bodies of water like mild rivers and lakes, so keep that in mind when you’re purchasing it. However, if you are a beginner, those are certainly good places to start, anyway. And of course, the boat comes with an easy-to-use air pump that can help get your boat ready for the water in just a few minutes.

Best Kayak Carrier

Lugging around a big kayak, especially if you opt for one that’s not inflatable, can be cumbersome and frankly, quite difficult. That’s why you need a kayak carrier like the Abn Universal Kayak Carrier. This is basically just a trolley in which you can easily transport your kayak, canoe, paddleboard, float mat, or Jon boat, making it a versatile option if you have multiple different boat models. It’s made from high-strength anodized steel that’s capable of supporting up to 200 pounds despite the fact that it only weighs around eight. Additionally, it features 9.5” knobby tires that are easy to inflate and durable enough to tread on a variety of different tough surfaces like gravel, sand, or even through heavily wooded areas. An oversized foam bumper helps keep your device safe from scratches and wear, and it also contains a 12-foot tie-down strap to ensure your boat is safe and secure. This device is also super compact, as the tires can be easily removed with a lynchpin, allowing you to store the carrier in a backpack or duffel bag, or even stow it away on the kayak. It also contains a spring-loaded kickstand for super quick and easy loading, making it perhaps the most convenient piece of equipment for a day out on the water.

Best Waterproof Dry Bag

When you’re out on the water, you must not forget to bring a bag that can store all of your belongings while also protecting them from the water. These Freegrace Waterproof Dry Bags Set of Three can do just that. Protecting your personal items — namely, your cellphone — should be a priority when going kayaking, so there’s no reason to settle for cheap plastic bags when you can spend a little extra on these bags that will make your trip relatively worry-free. The dry bag comes in three different sizes — 5L, 10L, and 20L, depending on how many items you typically bring with you. And in addition to the main dry bag that contains a 27.6″-49.6″ adjustable and removable shoulder strap for convenient carrying, the entire set also comes with an IPX8-certified waterproof phone case and a waterproof, opaque black pouch designed to store your wallet, cash, credit cards, etc. But what really separates these dry bags, however, are the double zip lock seals that make them twice as safe to bring on the water than any other dry bag on the market, period. For beginners who are more likely to get water into the kayak or get submerged, these bags are a must-have.