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Affordable Gifts for Kayakers and Canoeists: 2021 Edition

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Are you searching for the most awesome affordable gifts for kayakers and canoeists on your list this year?

If you’ve been bit by the paddling bug yourself or know people who have, you know that it can be an expensive hobby. And if you’re looking for the best gifts for kayakers in your life, you may feel like a massive dent in the wallet is unavoidable. 

Good news! It’s possible to buy an awesome gift for your favorite paddler without shelling out hundreds of dollars. In fact, all of the gifts for paddlers on our list are under $50.

A collage of photos featuring canoeing and kayaking

Finding the perfect gifts for kayakers and canoeists has never been easier, and there are lots of little things that will make a day on the water a lot more fun. So, without further ado, here are the most awesome and affordable gifts for kayakers and canoeists, all under $50.

Affordable Gifts for Day Paddlers

A young boy lounges in a red kayak on a pond. He is wearing a wide-brimmed hat, a life jacket, and sunglasses.
Rowan enjoying a break from paddling on a beautiful day

A day paddler is someone who spends a few hours to a full day out on the water, whether in a kayak or a canoe. For the most part, Eric and I fall into this category, and we are always fine-tuning our gear so that it’s easier and more fun to get out on the water.

The following affordable gifts for kayakers and canoeists are either things that we have and love or items that we’ve put on our own wish list for the upcoming paddling season.

Canoe Seat Stash Bag: A Sweet Gift for the Canoe Paddler in Your Life

Photo Credit: REI

Keep all those little necessities exactly where you want them while paddling. This small under-seat bag by Granite Gear is the perfect stash pack for maps, sunglasses, phones, wallets, etc. Not only does it keep the gear you need most at hand, but it also keeps it out of the bilge water (a major plus).

The bag is water-resistant and easy to attach/detach with two buckles. It’s great for portages because you can leave it strapped to the seat. Every canoe paddler on your list will appreciate this small, but useful bag for day paddles.


Kayak Deck Compass: An Affordable Gift for the Directionally Challeged

Every paddler should have a good compass and know how to use it. This deck compass by Seattle Sports secures to the deck of any kayak with perimeter deck rigging with adjustable nylon straps.

A rubber base prevents the compass from shifting during rough seas. The compass is graduated in five-degree increments for accurate bearings and is useful for day tripping and long trips. This is a useful, affordable gift for kayakers who have everything.

Photo credit: REI

A Discovery View Dry Bag: You Can Never Have Too Many!

As most paddlers will tell you, you can never have too many dry bags. So don’t spend time wondering if this is something that you’re favorite kayaker will appreciate.

We put 100% confidence in dry bags by SealLine, and the Discovery View Dry Bags are awesome because they protect your gear and give you a good view of what’s inside.

These bags are durable, 100% waterproof, and include a PurgeAir™ waterproof valve to help compress the bag further once sealed. If you’re not sure what to get your favorite kayaker or canoeist, you can’t go wrong with a dry bag. We use all sizes, but find the 20L bag great for long days on the water.

Photo credit: REI

Wide-Brimmed Hat: Stay Safe and Cool in the Sun

Photo credit: REI

Anyone who spends a significant amount of time out on the water knows that the harsh sun can be relentless and dangerous. This stylish, wide-brimmed hat from Outdoor Research shades you from harmful rays and keeps the bugs away – perfect for all the Northeast paddlers out there!

The hat is treated with EPA-registered Insect Shield® to help repel mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting insects, and it’s effective through 70+ washes. Includes a foam-stiffened brim and mesh panels for better air flow.

Oh, and did I mention that it floats?


Rugged Lunch Cooler for Two: The Perfect Gift for Canoiests and Kayakers

Photo credit: REI

Have you noticed how crazy technical and expensive coolers are these days? For a day on the water, you won’t need something too fancy, but having a cooler with a tight lid latch and good insulation is a must.

The Stanley 7qt Adventure Cooler has enough room for lunch and drinks for two people, and it is rugged and tough enough for lots of outdoor adventures. It’s easy to clean and comes with an external bungee cord so you can easily tie it down in the boat.


Quick-Dry Pack Towels: For Those Impromptu Afternoon Swims

Regular towels are great for a day at the beach, but when you’re spending all day out and about on the water, you want something that dries quickly and packs down small. The PackTowl fits in even the smallest pack and the microfiber blend absorbs four times its weight in water.

The PackTowl includes a special antimicrobial treatment to reduce odors and folds into its own travel pouch for storage. Not only is the PackTowl a great gift for kayakers, but it’s also awesome for travelers and backpackers.

Photo credit: REI

Waterproof Phone Case: Keep Your Phone Safe on the Water

a waterproof phone case for kayaking. Photo source: REI
Photo credit: Amazon

Sure you can keep your phone in your dry bag, but if you want to be able to take photos, track miles, or use it for other things during your paddle, it’s nice to have a dedicated phone case.

The Seattle Sports E-Merse R/S Original X-Large waterproof case features a double-closure system for ultimate protection and is submersible to 10 feet. A clear window allows you to use your device’s touch screen and buttons through the case. It also comes with a breakaway lanyard so you can wear it around your neck while paddling.


Affordable Gifts for Kayak and Canoe Campers

Two canoes rest near the shore of a lake.
Canoe camping is so peaceful!

Paddlers who venture out on multi-day trips can benefit from all of the gear mentioned above, but the gear listed below is specifically for kayak and canoe campers on your gift list.

GCI Outdoor SitBacker Adjustable Canoe Seat: Maximum Comfort for Long Distances

Spending multiple days on the water requires a little bit of extra comfort, and this plus seat makes a perfect gift for canoe paddlers.

The SitBacker canoe seat fastens to canoe benches with an easy-to-use dual buckle strap system. BackComfort Technology adjusts the backrest to unlimited reclining positions and a shoulder strap with Auto-Fold Technology makes it easy to open, close, and carry.

The SitBacker also features a lumbar cushion, a padded seat, and a storage pocket for small items that you want to keep close at hand.


A Lightweight Hammock: For Canoe Camping or Just Lounging

A red hammock by ENO. Photo source: REI
Photo credit: REI

A hammock is such a lightweight and versatile piece of gear! When canoe camping, you can choose to sleep in a hammock system instead of a tent, or you can simply bring a hammock along for those relaxing afternoons at your campsite.

The SingleNest Hammock by ENO is super packable and light. We’ve had ours for more than 10 years! Best $50 we’ve ever spent, as it’s great for the backyard, backpacking, and paddling. in the Northeast.


Gravity Bag Water Filter: From Lake or River to Your Bottle

Weighing just 5.7 ounces, the LifeStraw Flex Gravity Bag with Filter is a must-have piece of camping equipment for canoeing or kayaking. The 2-stage filter removes 99.999999% of bacteria and 99.999% of parasites and microplastics to help you avoid waterborne illness

The filter has a lifetime of 2,000 liters of use, and the carbon capsule filters up to 100 liters. The slow-drip filter is best used at the end of the day when you can hang it from a tree and let gravity do the work.

Life Straw gravity filter. Photo credit: REI
Photo credit: REI

Pop-Up Sail: Harness the Wind from Your Kayak/Canoe


What a fun gift for paddlers of all experience levels! This nifty pop-up sail can be installed on a canoe, kayak, boat, or SUP for an extra boost of speed when traveling with the wind.

This little sail has a see-through window so you know where you’re going, and it easily folds away when not in use. It’s a great gift for paddlers who appreciate using the wind to make paddling just a little easier.


Solar Phone Charger

Most people take their phones with them everywhere, including into the backcountry. A solar charger and power bank makes a great gift for paddlers, but also for hikers and campers.

This POWOBEST Solar Phone Charger includes three solar panels. It will fully charge in seven hours, after which it can recharge your phone between four and six times, depending on the brand. It works via a USB port or wireless charging if your phone is compatible. And it’s water-resistant.

A solar charger for a phone. Photo credit: Amazon
Photo credit: Amazon

Paddling the lakes and rivers of America’s vast wilderness is one of life’s greatest pleasures, whether you choose to do it in a kayak or a canoe. Not only is kayaking and canoeing a great way to get outside, but it also allows you to explore wild places that are inaccessible by car or foot. 

If you’ve got a friend or loved one who enjoys kayaking or canoeing, these affordable gifts may be exactly what you’re looking for.


Want more awesome gift ideas for the outdoor adventurer in your life? Check out these posts:


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The front of a kayak looking toward a mountain lake. Caption reads: Affordable gifts for paddlers

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