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Affordable Gifts for Kayakers and Canoeists: 2023 Edition

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

A collage of photos featuring the best gifts for kayakers.
the best gifts for kayakers and canoeists don’t have to be expensive!

If you’ve been bitten 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 $75.

Finding the perfect gifts for avid 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 $75.

Great Gift Ideas 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 wish list for the upcoming paddling season.

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

An underseat canoe bag, which is a perfect gift for canoeists.
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 while carrying your canoe.

Every canoe paddler on your list will appreciate this small, but useful bag for day paddles.

Portable, Waterproof Speaker for Paddlers

This highly-rated waterproof speaker from JBL offers big sound in a tiny package. It pairs easily with your phone via Bluetooth, has a surprisingly long-lasting battery, and is durable enough for all kinds of outdoor activities.

While this is one of our favorite gifts for kayakers, it would also work well for campers and travelers who want a rugged, quality speaker that won’t take up much room.

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Big River Dry Bags: You Can Never Have Too Many

As most paddlers will tell you, you can never have too many waterproof bags. Don’t spend time wondering if this is something that you’re favorite kayaker will appreciate. They are always appreciated!

We put 100% confidence in dry bags by Sea to Summit, and the Big River Dry Bags come in six different sizes and four colors.

Big River Dry Bags are a durable and abrasion-resistant option that uses a strong 420D nylon fabric that will keep gear dry. The roll-top closure keeps water out, and the Field Repair Buckles can be replaced in seconds with just a Philips screwdriver.

We use all sizes but find the 20L bag great for long days on the water.

big river dry bag
Photo credit: Sea to Summit

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

pistil designs sun hat
Photo credit: Pistil Designs

Anyone who spends a significant amount of time out on the water knows that the harsh sun can be relentless and dangerous.

Look no further than Pistil Designs for beautiful and stylish wide-brimmed hats that any recipient will love.

Pistil makes hats for men and women, and it’s hands down my favorite company for finding the coolest hats at the best prices.

The Donovan Sun Hat (pictured), is lightweight, quick-drying, and moisture-wicking with a UPF rating of 50+, but there are dozens more to choose from!

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

A Stanley lunch cooler.
Photo credit: Stanley

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 outdoor adventures.

This tough little cooler is easy to clean and comes with an external bungee system that you can use to tie it down in your 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.

A quick dry towel from REI.
Photo credit: REI

Gel Kayak Seat Cushion: Make Long Paddles More Comfortable

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Even the most die-hard paddlers will tell you that sitting in a kayak or canoe for hours on end is not easy on the tush.

This ergonomically designed no-slip gell cushion is designed to take the pressure off the tailbone while providing a nice measure of cooling and breathability. I picked up one of these at a lakeside gear shop while on a multi-day trip, and now I recommend them to everyone who spends time in a canoe or kayak.

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 Kayakers Who Camp

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.

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

The LifeStraw Peak Series Compact Gravity Water Filter System 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.

Filters up to 3 liters of water at a time.

Lifestraw gravity water filter.
Photo credit: Amazon

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

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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.

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The front of a kayak looking toward a mountain lake. Caption reads: Affordable gifts for paddlers
Tara Schatz sits with her two dogs, Gatsby and Flynn.

Tara is a freelance writer and travel blogger with a passion for outdoor adventures. She is the co-author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes in Vermont and currently blogs at Back Road Ramblers and Vermont Explored, where she shares travel tips, adventure destinations, and vacation ideas for the wanderer in everyone.