The Pro Tips Paddle Checklist

Whether your paddle excursion lasts a couple hours or a couple days, we have everything you'll need with the Pro Tips paddle checklist.


Long before super highways crisscrossed this great nation there was another system of travel: the waterways. Whether by lake or pond, river or stream, sea or ocean, it was possible to traverse great swaths of the country by water alone. That still holds true today, it’s all just there to be enjoyed and explored. Modern paddle enthusiasts generally think on a less epic scale, however. Most are content with excursions that last from a couple hours, to a day, to a weekend, and perhaps a little longer for the especially adventurous.

But no matter what the duration, there are a few essentials that no paddler should find themselves without.

Always think safety first. That means a personal flotation device (PFD) at minimum, and, if the trip includes technical rapids runs, a helmet is another requirement. Your boat, be it a kayak, paddleboard, or canoe, must also be ship-shape (if you’ll pardon the pun). Always give it a once over before shoving off.

There are a host of other items that you’ll be glad you have should the event ever arise that you need them. For example, if you hit a submerged tree stump in some murky waters and it punctures the hull of your boat, you’ll be glad to have things like a bilge pump, a sponge, an emergency whistle or air horn, as well as some duct tape to patch the breech.

Also remember when you are out on the water you are effectively exposed to all the elements. That means sun as well as rain. So pack accordingly with sunscreen and lip balm in addition to raingear. Anything you take with you, especially things that are sensitive to water (like your mobile phone) should be packed safely away in dry cases or bags as well.

Paddle Checklist