The Canoeist and Kayaker Holiday Gift Guide

canoe in a national forest

Paddlers being the picky, hard-to-please group that they are, are extremely hard to shop for during the holidays. Most paddlers already own everything they want, except for that new boat. While that new NDK Romany or Northstar Magic would look great under the tree spending a couple grand probably isn’t within everyone’s idea of a perfect gift. Here are a few unique gifts for canoeists and kayakers. It’s something to surprise them with and maybe something unexpected as well.

jon turk crocodiles and ice

Jon Turk’s Crocodiles and Ice

A more detail review is coming on this book, but in essence this book details several adventures including Turk’s kayak and ski circumnavigation of Ellesmere Island. The book takes you on multiple physical journeys and a mental journey about humanity’s impact on the planet and how adventuring in the wilds can help humanity rediscover our connection to earth, and how that connection will eventually save it. Turk is one of the best adventure writers. His stories feel gripping and this book ranks up there with his best.

Buy on Amazon: Crocodiles and Ice

gerber river shorty knife

Gerber River Shorty Knife

Every paddler should have quick access to a knife, especially if he or she has a tow rope. A knife could save your life if you get entangled underwater. The Gerber River Shorty has a serrated edge to quickly cut through ropes and it features a blunt point, which helps prevent puncture wounds and puncturing a drysuit. The sheath that comes with the knife is designed to hook into standard lash tabs on life vests.

Buy at NRS: Gerber River Shorty Knife

colter stargazer bandana

Colter Co – Stargazer Bandana or the Know Your Knots Bandana

These bandanas make fun gift ideas for canoeists and kayakers. Both are 100% cotton and made and printed in the USA. Each measures 22-inches by 22-inches.

The Stargazer bandana shows the summer night sky in North America. It is printed with a glow-in-the-dark ink that looks bright against the night sky. While night sky smartphone apps are popular right now, gifting this bandana means that your favorite paddler won’t need to pull the phone out and ruin not only his or her night vision but also take away the break from the work-a-day that gazing at the night sky bestows. This is a fun way to increase your connection to the night and the world around you.

Canoeist and kayakers should know some knots, because you’ll eventually run into a situation where knowing the right knot can mean the difference between securing something completely and praying that your knot holds. The Know Your Knots bandana is the perfect gift for someone first learning how to tie knots. It covers 16 different knots:  Lark’s head, overhand knot, whipping knot, sheet bend, double fisherman’s knot, slip knot, figure 8 knot, figure 8 loop, alpine butterfly, bowline, clinch knot, clove hitch, square knot, timber hitch, taut-line hitch, and two half hitches. The easy to understand diagrams will have your knot-tying novice soon up to speed.

Get the bandanas here:

trailkeg getting ready to go.

TrailKeg – Stainless TrailKeg Package

When your canoe or kayak lover also loves beer, the TrailKeg makes the perfect gift. The TrailKeg Package include a TrailKeg Growler, which is a 64-ounce, vacuum insulated, stainless steel growler that keeps beer cold for 24 hours. It can also be pressurized by CO2 cartridge using the included regulator. The regulator hooks into a special lid that includes a safety vent and a connector for the included tag. It’s like bringing a mini-keg into the wilderness. There’s nothing like downing a cold microbrew after a hard day of paddling. And if your paddling buddy paddles on cold water, get him or her two growlers. At the end of each day, just plop the growler into some cold water and it’ll stay cold for another day for beer on day two.

Get the TrailKeg Here:

olympus camera

Olympus TG-4

After messing around with waterproof cameras, camera dive cases, soft waterproof cases and more trying to find the perfect high-quality waterproof camera for paddling, I’ve found that most solutions leave you wanting for more. Or in this case: less. That is less to get in the way of paddling. And until a camera company comes out with a waterproof point and shoot with a large sensor, we stuck with small-sensor point-and-shoots. The Olympus TG-4 is about the best of the point-and-shoots and it shoots RAW! The ability to shoot RAW gives you just a little more image quality and helps make up for the small sensor. Finding this under the tree will make your paddling shutterbug happy.

Buy it at Amazon: Olympus TG-4


Vargo Titanium Ti-Lite 750 Mug

Vargo Titanium Ti-Lite 750 Mug

For solo trips, this is now my cooking pot and mug of choice. It’s big enough to boil enough water for a freeze-dried camping meal and it’s big enough to cook a noodle dish in. It’s also lightweight. It weighs just 3.8 ounces. You can read PLight’s First Impressions: Vargo Titanium Ti-Lite 750 Mug review to learn more.

Buy it at Amazon: Vargo Titanium Ti-Lite 750 Mug

lightweight dry sack

Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sack

This is the perfect stocking stuffer. It’s a high-quality dry bag that weighs much less than the old school SealLine dry bags. While not the lightest dry bag in Sea to Summit’s lineup, it’s light enough (3.3 ounces in the medium size) and holds up well to abuse. I’ve used several on multiple expeditions and paddling trips. The best sizes are the 8 liter, 13 liter and 20 liter. For kayakers, stick with the 8 or 13 liter. For canoeists, the 20 liter fits well in a portage pack.

Buy it at Amazon: Lightweight Dry Sack 


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Stargazer and Know Your Knot bandana for free from Coltor Co. in consideration for a gear review. I received the Stainless TrailKeg for free from TrailKeg in consideration for a gear review.

Subscribe! Get PaddlingLight in your inbox. Enter your email address: