Sunset over Rum - Pic: Douglas Wilcox - Scottish Sea Kayaking Photo Gallery
This section draws together a range of information about sea kayaking equipment, clothing, accessories, etc using links to discussions on the Community Forum, articles, links to external articles and reviews both from UK Sea Kayak Guidebook's own Review Section and links to external reviews. For ideas on repairs, maintenance, modifications and things to make, see the Repairs & DIY page. See the Camping Equipment page for anything related to camping equipment.
If you'd like to contribute an article or a link, your contribution is very welcome. Information about sea kayaks is found on the Sea Kayaks page and the Retailers Page has links to specific websites for boat retailers and manufacturers, and for clothing and equipment retailers and manufacturers.
Ideas, suggestions or broken links? Please email me with details.
Accessories - discussion on inexpensive accessories, includes a wonderful description of the many uses of a GPS (General Purpose Stick).
Anemometers - discussion.
Backrests - see the DIY & Repairs page for ideas on backrests, removing f/glass seats, foam seats etc.
Bailout Bag - thoughts from Paddling.net on what to have in a "bailout bag".
Battery charging - see Solar Panels / Chargers below.
Boat bags / covers - Canyongear.co.uk offer made-to-measure kit, "from paddle tops to boat bags". See also the article on storing sea kayaks. Rik at Wasup makes boat bags and a variety of other interesting things and is willing to consider all sorts of custom bags. RB Sails in Cornwall also make covers / bags. See also this discussion.
Camping equipment - see the Camping & Outdoors page for anything related to camping equipment.
Caring for electronic gear in a "wet" environment - discussion
Cleats and fairleads - see the refs to "Tow Lines" below.
Contact lenses - discussion
Deck Slates - (also known as Sea Slates) - a handy way to note tidal and other misc info on your boat. See this discussion for details and how and where to buy them.
Drinking water - carrying / storing water in a sea kayak - discussion
Dry bags - comments on Lomo dry bags - discussion
Emergency shelters - discussion
Emergency kit - discussion. See also "Bailout bag" above.
EPIRB's - The VHF / EPIRBs page has links to discussions on choosing and using.
Equipment Reviews are here.
Expedition kit - discussion with "top 10" suggestions.
First Aid Kit - Paul Kirtley offers his ideas on a wilderness first aid kit.
Fishing from a sea kayak - discussion. KayakFishing.co.uk could also be of interest. Whitby Sea Anglers run a good site dedicated to sea angling and appear to have some good information about fishing from a kayak.
Flares - Discussion here on keeping them dry. Waterproof flare tubes are discussed here. A simple DIY flare tube is described here. See also this discussion. This discussion references smoke flares. As of 1 April 2010 the number of locations where we can dispose of 'time-expired pyrotechnics' will reduce to just 18 - click here for more details, and here for a discussion which includes advice from RYA and also lists disposal points - see also this article by Simon Willis. Advice on what type of flares to carry - see also this discussion. This discussion references a number of laser flare options. This discussion illustrates the consequences of getting it wrong as well as providing some guidance on what to do with a mis-fired flare.
Flares - and other "dangerous good" which seems to include fuel containers - on ferries - see this discussion.
GPS - see the Navigation & GPS page
Hatches - discussion on making VCP hatches fit, easing removal etc. See this discussion for info on sourcing KajakSport hatches. KajakSport also make replacement covers for some Valley hatches. SeaLect Designs make alternatives to Valley and KajakSport covers.
Insurance for kit, boats etc - discussion.
J bars, V cradles, uprights - see Transporting Kayaks on Vehicles.
Keel strip - See this discussion - info on replacing / diy fitting in the Repairs & Modifications page. As an alternative to the usual glass or kevlar keel strip, the Keel Eazy is worth considering - available from Reed Chillcheater.
Kit List - Zoe Newsome's check-list for expedition kit.
Kites - discussion on using kites to power a kayak.
Knives - Britishblades.com provides a wealth of resources for anyone "into" knives, including an excellent article on using the Lansky sharpening system. This YouTube video by Lansky shows how to use their system. This discussion considers the legal aspects of carrying a knife, and also has some suggestions for choice of knife. Britishblades also has this FAQ on the legalities of knives, and also this interesting (and lengthy) discussion.
Logos, lettering for boat names etc - John Woods runs a business making, amongst other things, laser cut vinyl lettering and logos. He's reasonably priced and the quality of the product is excellent - contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your needs and ideas. Art & Sea Custom Kayak Graphics offer a wide range of options using laser cut vinyl.
Outfitting Sea Kayaks - article with a wide range of ideas on everything from deck bags to electric pumps.
Paddle floats - discussion.
Pumps - Foot - Henderson - discussion.
Reflective tape - discussion
Repairs, maintenance, modifications and things to make, see here. Details of resources for repairs to boats, equipment, clothing & tents, and various DIY ideas.
Safety Kit - discussion.
Sails - discussion - this discussion has thoughts on "Flat Earth" and QKayaks sails. More on Flat Earth and Windpaddle sails in this discussion. This discussion has a mass of information on Flat Earth sails. As does this discussion. Discussion covering Windpaddle sails. See also this discussion for details on how to rig a boat. Douglas Wilcox has some excellent material on his blog about sailing sea kayaks, including a mass of detail on rigging and technique. This blog post covers some fine tuning tips for the sailing rig. This discussion covers choices and also has some comment on rigging.
Seats - see the DIY & Repairs page for ideas on removing f/glass seats, foam seats etc.
Self bailer - discussion
Sleeping Bags - see the Camping & Outdoors page.
Spray decks - custom-made - Reed will make their Aquatherm decks to specific sizes, and it is believed that KariTek and Desperate Measures may also be able to get custom sized decks made to special order. I believe they both use Phoenix, who make good decks but only deal with retailers.
Spray deck / cockpit size data - Skirtfit.com offer a comprehensive resource. Seals sizing data. Shore are developing a spraydeck finder. (The resource available from Palm has been removed from their latest site as viewed 24 April 14).
Strobe lights - discussion with various suggestions for strobes.
Torches / headlamps - Candlepowerforums.com is the place to look. This site has beamshots in a variety of settings for a wide range of torches. See also this discussion. This discussion about headtorches offers some up-to-date suggestions.
Towing / Tow lines - discussion here and here and here. Check this discussion for comments on attaching a line to the towee's boat. This discussion deals with the "Rafted Bulldog Tow". Useful article from Atlantic Kayak Tours on towing techniques (.pdf) See this discussion for thoughts on fitting cleats and fairleads. This discussion deals specifically with fittings on plastic boats. This discussion deals with various boat and body mounted options for tow lines and comes from the practical perspective of one having been needed in a rescue.
Tow lines - Article on choosing, making and using a towline for a sea-kayak.
Transporting kayaks - couriers - people have reported that Shiply.com is a useful resource. Also have a look at this discussion. myParcelDelivery search couriers for UK mainland delivery on articles as follows: max - 3.6m in length, 1.8m in width, and 2.1m in height. The weight limit is 68kg. No good for most sea kayaks, but for smaller boats?
Transporting kayaks on vehicles - General How To advice - this discussion looks at the practicalities of speed and roofrack systems. This discussion illustrates a superb vehicle trailer idea for transporting a large, heavy double sea kayak. This discussion covers tie downs and cradles. This discussion on the Inland board is about the inflatable "Handirack" - perhaps not the best way to carry a sea boat, but it can be done. This discussion references the VW California and also links to Simon Willis's experiences with VW campers and roof rack systems. This discussion references the Mazda Bongo campervan and the Karitek rack system. This discussion references Rhino Bars and the German Zolzer company, who make an interesting range of carrying accessories, including a J bar system for the side of "hi roof" vans. This discussion looks at ways of getting boats onto a vehicle where it's difficult to lift a heavy boat, and also mentions trailers. See this discussion for a cunning front-tie attachment point on a vehicle. This discussion references a broken Thule J cradle mount, and includes a link to an earlier discussion involving another makers cradles, which also failed at the roof bar / cradle interface.
Transporting kayaks on vehicles - Cradles / Loading Systems / Roof Bars etc - Kayak Carrier Systems (KCS) are back on the market (Aug 2014) and make excellent J cradles, V cradles and a most excellent kayak trolley which also serves as a loading device to help get a kayak onto a vehicle. Kari-Tek also have some interesting solutions, including their excellent loading system. So do Marsport. For Thule roof bars and equipment, see Roofbox.co.uk or Roofracks.co.uk. Zolzer also make an "easy load" type system, and a range of cradles, available in the UK from Whetman Equipment who are agents. This article from the Paddler ezine has some good general advice on transport and tie downs.
Transporting kayaks on vehicles - Legalities - This discussion on legalities is worth a look at and has references to overhangs, and this Factsheet on Overhanging Loads from DTI gives a lot of useful information. The RYA has a factsheet on Trailers and Overhangs. Going to Italy with a boat on the roof? You need a metal V-20V sign if the boat overhangs.
Trolleys - discussion here. Kayak Carrier Systems (KCS) are back on the market (Aug 2014) and make a most excellent kayak trolley which also serves as a loading device to help get a kayak onto a vehicle. Kari-Tek make practical, strong trolleys. See also the DIY Page for suggestions on making your own trolley. See also this discussion which covers KCS, KariTek and others, as does this discussion which also references the new versions of the KCS trolley. Douglas Wilcox reviewed the KCS trolley on his blog.
VHF radio (marine) - see the VHF page.
Waterproof map cases - discussion
Bouyancy Aid - article with suggestions as to what to carry in and on your bouyancy aid.
Clothing - cleaning, maintaining and storing garments made from breathable fabrics - excellent advice and info from Kokatat (PDF) on clothing care. See also this document from them on general care and storage. Additionally, don't store (or dry) kit with latex seals in a room with any electric motors - they produce ozone, and ozone damages rubber and latex.
Clothing, equipment and preparation for cold weather - discussion here, here and here. See this discussion for views on "summer survival" kit, including ref to Fourth Element thermocline gear and Reed Chillcheater. Immersion wear - discussion. See this discussion for comment on "summer survival". Winter clothing - discussion. How to Dress for Kayaking from Atlantic Kayak Tours gives some good advice on and covers clothing choices relative to temperatures and conditions. Another of their articles on Cold Water Safety on makes salutory reading. This one on Cold Water Paddling offers some useful suggestions on kit and equipment. From Ocean Paddler magazine, this excellent article outlines ideas on clothing for sea kayaking. This discussion has suggestions for good thermals. This discussion looks at clothing choices generally. Hypothermia - detailed discussion with links to a number of other valuable resources. This article on Cold Water Shock from the ACC makes salutory reading.
Down filled kit - how PHD Down Clothing in Manchester make some fabulous sleeping bags, jackets etc. Article on a factory visit by Singletrack Magazine.
Drysuits - discussion here (includes comments on the practicality of importing from the States - see also this discussion). See also here and here. This discussion has reference to the benefits of "feet/socks" over ankle seals. See this discussion for comment on drysuits v other clothing combinations, also this one. See this discussion for thoughts on breathable / non-breathable drysuits. This discussion has suggestions for female specific suits for the smaller lady. More thoughts on female specific drysuits in this discussion. This discussion offers suggestions for multi-use suits (rivers and sea). This discussion refers to the warranty on Typhoon drysuits, with a link to the claims made for Kokatat's warranty.
Drysuits - manufacturers and "made to measure" - see the Retailers page.
Drysuit - Lomo Renegade - discussion
NATO straps for watches - a minefield if there ever was one, with a massive range of price and quality. This discussion on Britishblades.com is useful. For those of us who want a nice chunky strap, which is long enough for the larger wrist, or to go over a cag's cuff, the "Nato G10 Zulu Military Diving Nylon Watch Strap 18mm 20mm 22mm 24mm" - from an eBay seller called gadgetrus123 - works very well.
PFD's - see Bouyancy Aids.
Sallopettes - discussion.
Spray hood - high visibility hood which fit over wearer's head and the inflated lifejacket. For use in the water and reduces spray being inhaled.
Blade types - discussion
Choosing paddles - discussion. See also this discussion on Werners v Lendals. AS Watersports have an article on choosing paddles, and most of the major manufacturers also have guidance on their sites. This article from Sea Kayak Chesapeake Bay gives a good overview of different types of paddles, construction and use. This discussion covers "mid range" paddles and references lots of choices. See "Paddle Length" below for links to wizards to help select type and length. This excellent article by Nigel Denis has a mass of useful information on paddle choices.
Epic Activ and Relaxed Touring - reviews
Greenland paddles - making your own - see the Repairs & DIY page
Lendal PadLok system - discussion (see also the discussion above)
Paddle bags - discussion.
Paddle manufacturers and retailers - see the Retailers & Manufacturers page
Paddling technique / paddle choices - discussion
Werner vs Lendal - discussion with thoughts on others as well.
Werners - the two parters seem to get stuck together easily and seems to be a common problem. This discussion has ideas on freeing them. Some breakages have been reported in 2011 - this discussion has details.
Wing Paddles - or not - discussion
Books - Abebooks.com and BookFinder.com - useful resources for finding all sorts of books. Pesda Press publish a variety of "paddling books" including various guides and technical books. See also the UKSKGB Reviews page and reviews by Mark Rainsley in UKRGB's Book Review section.
Charts - Admiralty Hydrographic Office folio of charts for the area from Mull of Kintyre to Ardmurchan Point including Mull, Iona, Tiree, Coll, Jura, Islay and right up Loch Linnhe to Fort William - £37.50. They have a similar folio for other areas, including the Clyde. They also offer an Electronic Chart Plotter on CD at £49.95 - (prices as at Jan 2006). Marine Chart Services sell used and "cancelled" charts at very reasonable prices, as well as new ones. Maptech-Marine "digitally reproduce charts from reputable world institutions including the British Admiralty with all the colour and detail found on the paper original".
Maps - Ordnance Survey Maps from the OS, the National Mapping Office of GB.
(Updated 08-Mar-2016 )