Your First Time Kayaking Slideshow

Aires by Kokatat; $100 This hybrid PFD offers the best of both worldsaccommodating paddlers with long and short torsos alike. Other high-back designs can tend to ride up on paddlers, especially for gals with shorter torsos. This Kokatat model uses thin, minimal padding, accommodates a wide range of seat types, and comes in four sizes to dial-in fit.

V-Eight by Astral; $105 The V-Eight is one of the best selling PFDs out there. It uses lightweight, breathable fabric to help stay cool on those hot days on the water, and its comfortable cut leaves arms free to achieve a good wide range of motion. In fact you might not feel like youre wearing a PFD at all.

Quest Paddle by Adventure Technology; $145- $235 The Adventure Tech Quest is a great choice because its blade accommodates both a high- or a low-angle paddle stroke. Its made from durable materials and is a versatile pick for a wide range of environmentsfrom open water to ocean swells. The Quest is available as a $145 straight-shaft or the $235 Full Control Grip model shown here. Available in 210-, 220-, 230- or 240-centimeter lengths.

Skagit Paddle by Werner Paddles; $130 The Werner Skagit comes in at a great price point and is best suited for a low-angle paddling style. Its lightweight but durable with a good dose of performance any paddler will appreciate. The straight-shaft Skagit is available in 10-centimeter increments from 210- to 260-cenitmeter lengths.

Paddle Leash by Harmony Gear; $19 If you capsize your kayak the wind or the current can quickly separate you from your paddle. A paddle leash will prevent this and should be used whenever youre paddling on large bodies of water or far from shore. Theyre basically all the same, just make sure you have one.

Fox 40 Safety Whistle by NRS; $7 A safety whistle can be heard at a much further distance than yelling will carry, so if youre in need of help or just want to warn that absent minded motor boat captain of your position, make sure youre packing. Like the leash, this one isnt rocket science, but a paddling specific model like this one from NRS is designed to work even if they have water in them.

Solution Gear Sit-on-Top Cart by Sea to Summit; $100 This simple little cart is designed to work with sometimes-awkward sit-on-top kayak designs. The two tapered rubber cones fit into the scupper holes of your boat, and are easily adjustablewithout toolsfrom seven to 15 inches wide. Sturdy pneumatic tires and lightweight aluminum frame construction make this an easily portable and long-lasting option. Check out this video to see how easy it is to use:

The C-Tug by C-Tug; $170 This made-in-New-Zealand boat cart is capable of holding up to 300 pounds, and with foam blocks can easily accommodate two stacked kayaks. The modular design breaks apart in seconds for easy storagein the boat, in the garage, anywhere. Shown here with durable, nearly indestructible plastic wheels, its also available with conventional pneumatic wheels for $10 less. See this video for how it works:

BilgeMaster Pump by Aqua-Bound; $35 Its important to remember to pack a high-volume water pump to remove large volumes of water quickly from your boat if you capsize or if a large wave fills your boat with waterthis is critical when paddling far from shore or in cold-water conditions. Whichever model you choose, make sure its a two-way pump (so it works on both the up-stroke and the down-stroke), make sure its small and compact, and above all, make sure it floats! The Made-in-the-USA BilgeMaster clears a gallon of water in just over seven pumps and comes with comfortable T-handle and high-visibility padded cover thats easy to see and wont sink.