You could always try to paddleboard without the recommended accessories, but I don’t think you’d get very far. Gear is essential for a successful paddle boarding trip, though you shouldn’t overload yourself with it. You should be a small checklist of items that you consider vital for your outing, and you should go over it long before you ever head out on the water.
Beyond the basic things like your board, paddle, and proper attire, there are a great many things that can make your trip easier. Some can be simply for organizational means, while others can keep you safe, or secure your board better. But what items are important to add to that checklist, and why?
Follow along while we find out together.
A Deck Bag
But won’t any old bag do? Why does it have to specifically be a deck bag? Well, the reasoning comes with the material the deck bag is made of.
Most normal bags are made of absorbent cloth that won’t repel water and keep it from soaking the inside of your bag and subsequently your belongings. Deck bags are designed to be waterproof, so even if they end up submerged or it starts to rain, your belongings will be safe and sound. They also typically come with extra storage and weather resistance to ensure that you can keep your paddle boarding gear organized and safe from the elements while your paddle boarding.
Deck bags can come in different liter sizes, but you’ll find most vary between 20 and 30L. You can also customize your bag to suit your individual tastes as most manufacturers provide different color options.
If you’re someone who enjoys paddle boarding at night or even in the early morning before the sun is up, you’ll want to invest in some SUP lights. Some of these will be attachable to your SUP and will be able to be fully submerged in water so you can have light coming up from the underside. Others will be attached on top and used more to help you navigate.
Either way, these lights are incredibly helpful with keeping you alert and aware of your surroundings even when it’s dark. It can be dangerous paddling where there’s no proper light source, so these lights will ensure you don’t run into anything, and that nothing runs into you.
If you want to stop your board and settle down for a little while to do some yoga, fish, or just listen to nature, you’re going to need a proper anchor to weigh down your board and keep it secure. While there are many types of anchors you can choose from, you’ll typically come across two in particular. The grapnel anchor and a sand anchor are the most common you’ll find as they serve different purposes.
A grapnel anchor is recommended for bodies of water with rocky or craggy bottoms as they have claws that can catch on the hard bits underneath the water. They can also manage to settle into the sand as well, but if your lake or pond is particularly breezy or the currents are temperamental, it probably won’t help you too much.
As for sand anchors, they are more like weighted sandbags than anything else. They come with a bag you fill up with sand, a buoy, and a line to help keep things secure. Sand anchors are recommended for softer sandier bottoms as they can simply settle and stay put rather than getting caught up on rocks.
Both are great for their individual uses and can come in real handy when you get tired of paddling.
A leash is essentially what is going to keep you and your board attached. It is usually something you’ll secure around your ankle so that if the current picks up and you end up overboard, you won’t lose your paddleboard in the mess. It is to ensure that in dangerous situations you won’t be left stranded without a way to get back from where you came.
Leashes aren’t particularly an expensive add on to your gear set and most of the time they’ll even come with your paddle boarding kit. But on the off-chance they don’t, it is a great idea to pick one up to keep yourself safe and sturdy on your board so you don’t get hurt.
Paddle Board Lock
It’s essentially like a bike lock, but for your paddleboard. These boards are super expensive and they are prime for stealing and reselling because they fetch such a high price. If you want to keep your board secure without worrying about where it might be nabbed off to, you’ll want to invest in a proper lock.
It may seem simple, but it can make all the difference.
**You can find more lock reviews here
Bike Trailers or Car Racks
If you don’t live up close and personal to a lake or a beach, you’re going to want to invest in something that makes transporting your paddleboard easier. Some of them are easier to tote around than others, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a trailer or a rack to help you out with carting it around. Most trailers will come with some kind of flexible fabric or rope or an extendable bar that will help you secure your board and then secure the device onto your bike.
As for the racks, they are similar to how you’d mount a bicycle rack on your car, only it is suitable for paddleboards, SUPs, and Surfboards. These mounts can get a little pricey, as can the bike trailer, but if you tend to travel often with your boards they can be a real time and energy saver. It can get exhausting having to either lug everything with you or to deflate and stow your board every time you use it.
With these racks, it ensures that your board won’t get damaged or scratched, but will be securely fastened to whatever vehicle you’re using for transportation. These keep your board safe and also keep you safe as they are more secure than just shoving the board in your car or trying to attach it to your bike. Paddleboards are expensive and they need to be treated with respect and care.
Personal Flotation Device
Yep, you heard me, you need a life jacket. I know you think you’ll be perfectly careful, but the fact is that accidents happen and it is better to be safe than sorry. If you’re going to go out on the water, you should be prepared for anything that could happen to you.
Drowning is too easy, but with a flotation vest, you can guarantee that even if you fall overboard, you won’t be at risk of staying underwater. There is such a wide array of flotation devices that you can find one that is right for you. It could be a vest, a belt, or even a floatie of some kind that will ensure you don’t risk your life.
When putting on your flotation device, make sure you follow all of the directions so you can be safe and secure.
There are, of course, plenty of other items to add into your paddle boarding gear list. The ones mentioned above are just the things that we think are most important to a successful trip. It includes everything from safety measures, to travel aids so that you aren’t forced to simply make do with what you’ve got. Check out our gift recommendations for ideas.
Some of these items may seem a bit expensive, but the majority of what you need is relatively affordable and will keep you and your belongings safe and secure so that you can just relax and enjoy your time out on the water.
Other items you might want to bring along that would benefit your trip would be things like:
- Paddle Sleeve/Cover
- Stainless Steel Water Bottle
- Waterproof Phone Case
- Water Shoes (You can also check out our top 6 shoe recommendations here.)
- Waterproof Camera2
- Waterproof Ear Buds & MP3
- Cooler (Here are my Top 5 Cooler recommendations)
- A Waterproof Speaker (Here are my Top Speaker Recommendations)
There are plenty of ways to fully customize your experience and bring what you’d like out onto the board with you. It is better to be over-prepared with your gear than under-prepared in most cases, and if you’re planning on paddle boarding out alone most of these safety precautions are vital.
Paddleboarding can be such a joyful hobby that above all it is important to remember to have fun. Even when considering your safety and preparedness, don’t lose sight of why you’re going in the first place. Paddle Board Athlete out!