Who knew buying two little boats would lead to so many additional purchases. Turns out kayaks require lots of kayak gear. Now that we’re finally done buying all the kayak accessories (hopefully), I thought it would be fun to share all that gear with you.
Let’s start with the biggest and most necessary purchase of all — a roof rack for the truck. Since this is where the kayaks will be stored most of the time, it was important that they were secure up there and easy to drive around with on an everyday basis.
After much research and contemplation, Tim decided to carry the kayaks flat on top of the truck as opposed to on their sides in a J shaped cradle. His reasoning was that for one, carrying them flat would not add as much extra height to the truck as carrying them on their sides. Also, it would be easier for us to take them on and off (I am vertically challenged and already need a small stool to reach the top of the truck). And finally, we had enough room up there to carry them flat.
The system we ended up with is called Yakima EvenKeel Kayak Saddles. The kayaks sit on top of the saddles and when you tighten the straps down they snuggly hug the bottom of the boats. We’ve only been using them less than a week, but so far they seem really stable and easy to get the kayaks on and off.
For the rack itself, Tim decided that due to the length of the kayaks (14.5 feet) we needed one crossbar on the roof of the truck cab, and one in the back on the truck cap. This configuration required two different kinds of mounting systems. We got lucky and found used Q Tower Mounts and a crossbar for the front on Craig’s list. For the back, we got Rain Gutter Mounts and a crossbar from ORS Racks Direct.
The entire roof rack system was a big investment, but we can take it with us when we get another truck, and like I said before since the top of the truck is where the kayaks will be most of the time, we really needed a system that was secure.
The only drawback to carrying the kayaks flat on the truck is that anytime it rains water collects in the cockpits and gets the seats wet. We solved this problem with some waterproof cockpit covers. Always on the hunt for a deal, we first visited the L.L. Bean Outlet where we found one black Harmony Cover in the exact size we needed. The second one we bought at a local sporting goods store here in Ellsworth. At first glance, the yellow Seal Brand Cover seems like it will be more durable, but we’ve had two large rain storms since getting them and both kayaks are dry inside, so I guess time will tell if there’s a difference.
The paddles and life jackets were the first kayak accessories that we purchased. Since we wanted to try out our new kayaks right away we went ahead and bought them from the same place where we go the boats. The Werner Paddles we purchased used for a really good deal and so far we’re very happy with them. The life jackets are just okay. I’m not convinced that any life jacket is truly comfortable. I mean, it’s a bulky cushion strapped to your body. How comfortable can it be?
Now for the fun stuff! I don’t know why, but I get really excited about all the different kinds of dry bags. We learned early on that the bulkheads in our kayaks were not completely waterproof. We plan to re-seal them, but even then I prefer to carry my stuff in dry bags. Here’s what we’ve got:
- Two different size Seal Line bags from LL. Bean (Amazon sells similar ones). They hold towels, long sleeve shirts, snacks, small emergency kits, and extra water for longer paddles.
- A set of three dry bags that recently picked up at a discount store for a ridiculously small amount of money. I am not the biggest fan of the velcro closures, but the large size bag has worked well as a lunch carrier. Time will tell if the other two come in handy or not.
- A small waterproof pouch that was originally purchased so I could bring my phone out on the water to take photos with. I have confirmed that this does indeed keep the phone dry (a wave caught me by surprise), but the problem is that you have to take the phone out of the pouch to take photos, leaving it exposed. Not good.
- The Enofine Waterproof Case is now how I keep my phone dry. I went with a mid-range price case because I couldn’t swallow paying $80+ for a once in a while phone case. So far I love it. It fits well, keeps the phone dry, and even protects it from bumps and drops. Perfect! Tim might get one too, but for now, he’s just been using our GoPro with a waterproof case to take photos.
Are you wondering where we store all this stuff? We turned a large plastic tub into a gearbox that fits on the back seat of the truck. It holds the life jackets, all the dry bags, and our hiking backpacks. The back seat of our truck is starting to look like one big outdoor fun gear storage space.
Okay, that’s enough talk about all the stuff, it’s time to get out on the water!