7 gifts for the kayaker who has (almost) everything

Having trouble thinking of creative Christmas gift ideas for the kayaker in your life?

We’ve put together a list of seven interesting, unique, where-in-the-world-did-you-find-this gifts that every kayaker will love.  Some are cheap, some are pricey, but they’d all be a fun addition to your kayaker’s arsenal.

All of these items can be purchased online, most of them at our two favorite kayak stores – Austin Kayak and REI.

1) Greatland Laser Rescue Laser Flare – $109.95

The Greatland Laser Rescue Laser Flare from REI

The Greatland Laser Rescue Laser Flare from REI

Safety first, right?  Well, this is unquestionably a safety device.  But it’s also a high-powered laser, which makes it so much cooler than other safety equipment.  Flares, Glo-sticks and whistles all have their place, but when it comes to being rescued in style, you can’t go wrong with a laser.

Completely waterproof, the laser can be seen from over 20 miles away. It’ll also drive your dog crazy.

Buy this for the kayaker in your life and, even if they don’t trust it as their main emergency device, they’ve still got an awesome laser to play with.  A classic win-win.

2) Topeak iPhone Dry Bag – $29.95

The Topeak iPhone Dry Bag

The Topeak iPhone Dry Bag

One of the great dilemmas of the past decade – as we’ve watched cellphones become more important and more expensive – is what to do with them when you’re kayaking.  It’s always a good idea to have a phone with you, but at $700 for a new smartphone, who can afford to risk it?

You can always throw it in the bottom of your dry bag and hope it doesn’t get crushed or soaked, or you can double bag in Ziplocs and watch as it overheats.

Or you can buy the Topeak iPhone Dry Bag, which allows you to view and use your phone while it’s in a waterproof case.  You can even use your rear-facing camera with the case on.

For 30 bucks, it’s cheap insurance for an expensive investment.  And if you need to use your phone while on the ‘yak, you can do so without fear.

3) The Oru (Oragami) Kayak – $800

Perhaps opening up the sport of kayaking to apartment-dwellers worldwide, the Oru Kayak is a plastic, folding, origami-ish kayak that’s lightweight and extremely portable.

They’ve raised over $350,000 dollars for this project on Kickstarter and early reviewers are thrilled with the product.

It’s a full 12 feet, watertight, durable and comes with a warranty.  I’ve watched the video several times and still can’t quite figure out all the folding involved, but it doesn’t look any more complicated than my inflatable.

4) Brunton Solaris 4 USB Solar Panel – $199

You can file this one in the category Completely Unnecessary but still Totally Awesome.  It’s a portable, waterproof solar panel made by Brunton with built in USB ports.  Advertised for kayakers, hikers and especially campers, this mini power station is ready on a (sunny) moment’s notice to charge your phone, camera or GPS device.

Burton Solaris 4 USB Solar Panel

Burton Solaris 4 USB Solar Panel from Austin Kayak

The panel folds up to fit into a small space or backpack, and as long as you have your USB charging cables, you have virtually unlimited power for your gadgets – until nightfall, of course (then you better hope you have your laser).

If you like multi-day paddling trips, this may be a good purchase.  Use your cameras during the day, charge them up from your campsite at night and set out the next day with a full charge.

5) Hobie Island Conversion Kit – $1,809

Hobie Adventure Island Conversion Kit

The Hobie Adventure Island Conversion Kit from KO Sailing

At over $1,800, this gift idea is for the high-net-worth readers only.  If you have a 2007 or newer Hobie adventure kayak, and there are lots of used ones out there if you want one, this conversion kit allows you to turn your kayak into a small but stable sailboat.

Hobie Kayaks already have the inserts molded into the hull, so adding the sail and the outrigger hulls is fairly easy.  The sail is big enough to generate some serious movement but small enough to remain maneuverable while seated in the kayak.

The outrigger hulls are retractable, allowing you to pull them in tight when you are ready to dock or if you want to switch back to paddle-power, and a twist and stow rudder is included as well.

If you’ve got some money and an interest in sail-yaking, give this kit a shot.

6) Wildcat Light System with Bug Lights – $139

Wildcat Light System with Bug Lights

Wildcat Light System with Bug Lights from Austin Kayak

This kit comes with two sets of kayak lights: A green set designed to attract fish to your kayak, and an amber set to keep mosquitos away.

Sounds like a cool idea for kayak anglers, if it works.  But even if it doesn’t, it’s a great way to dress your kayak up for the Christmas season.

The lights are waterproof and come with all of the necessary assembly hardware.  The green lights, according to Wildcat, have a frequency that was specially calibrated to penetrate deep into the water.  The frequency of the amber light is designed to discourage mosquitos and other bugs from getting too close.  And again, they look awesome.

7) YakAttack ParkNPole Stakeout Pole – $75

YakAttack ParkNPole Stakeout Pole from Austin Kayak

YakAttack ParkNPole Stakeout Pole from Austin Kayak

This gift is perhaps the most practical one on the list – an 8-foot stakeout pole.

This pole is light and long and can be used for more than keeping your kayak in place.  Flip the pole over and use the handle as a foot for pushing off in shallow water.

Stakeout poles are a must for anyone interested in kayak fishing, snorkeling or photography.  This one would also make for a great extension for a GoPro camera.

The benefit of this pole over others is that it floats, it has a solid, fiberglass construction and is thin enough to fit on the kayak without cutting into your seating space (unlike some PVC stakeout poles).



  1. That folding kayak is so cool, and a reasonable price.

    • They have photos on their website with lights inside the kayak, and it looks so cool! It’d be like kayaking a paper lantern. And you’re right, that’s not a bad price at all if it works as advertised.

  2. Love the Wildcat Light System and the folding kayak! Wonder how it would hold up to alligators and some of the other rough things we run into on our local rivers 😉

    • I wondered the same thing! My inflatable has stood up to some submerged logs and occasional encounters with other rough objects, and so far so good – hopefully this one is at least as strong.

  3. I want to have all of those things! (Especially the folding kayak!)

  4. Ahhhh love this! I’d also love to see a list of the top 10 kayaks this christmas season. I mean, I’m sort of stuck with mine, but it’s nice to dream, right??

  5. How bout this. You buy all those things and send them to me. I’ll tell you how well they work. Then you can write about that. 🙂


  1. […] I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, and I don’t have a bucket list.  But I do like making goals (for example, seeing all of the National Parks) and I’m a sucker for a good list. […]

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