Lakes, Rivers, & Beaches, Oh My! Top Picks For You & What To Pack.

Ready to hit the lake, river, stream, or beach? Me too! From fishing to kayaking, below are some of my favorite water-related items you’ll want to check out for your next excursion.

The Contents, Florida Keys. One of my favorite clear water places!

1. Kayak/SUP: Thinking about buying a kayak or a SUP? How about you get an all-in-one!? Yes, it exists and it’s the best thing ever. The Hi Life 11.0 is advertised as being “Part Kayak. Part SUP. All fun.” These are all true! I purchased mine over a year ago from REI and haven’t looked back. They retail from $600-800 depending on your kayak outfitter. It weighs 55 lbs, so you might need this carrying strap/sling to help you get it from the car to the water.

How do I store my kayak? Glad you asked! I recommend buying a J-hook from your local hardware store, then using heavy duty chain, s-hooks, and caribiners to hook it on the J-hooks on a garage wall. I got mine from 36 down to 16 inches by hanging it this way. Since all kayaks weigh different amounts, you will need to talk to customer service or a friendly employee to make sure you purchased the correct hooks and chains as there are some flimsy options out there you’ll want to avoid.

2. PFDs: If you’re going to be in the water, a portable flotation device (PDF) is a necessity. I love this inflatable belt from Onyx for lazy canoe and kayak trips and open water swimming.

3. Swim Goggles: Comfort and visibility-wise, the TYR Special Ops 2.0 polarized swim goggles are the best thing for outdoor swimming, HANDS DOWN. Everything under the water is more clear and easier to see. For indoor swimming, I recommend the same goggles, only not polarized. I’ve tried a lot of goggles in the past few years and landed on these gems with no intention of switching to another brand.

4. Anti-Fog Options: If you’re spending any large amount of time in the water, you need to be able to see, so cleaning your goggles is a must! Keep your goggles in an eye-glass container to avoid scratching and make sure to buy some Frog Spit to keep the fog off of your lenses. The 2 oz bottle will last you all year! A lot of my friends use baby shampoo if they can’t find the Frog Spit at a local retailer. It’s not quite as good, but a close second!

5. Dry Sacks: You’ve got to keep your valuables safe and dry! I love this dry sack from Outdoor Products. It’s huge and inexpensive, and it works!

6. Waterproof the Phone: Protect your phone on your day canoe/kayak trips, the lake, or just from spills in those nasty campground bathrooms with this Travelon Waterproof Pouch. It also floats!

7. Towels: Beach towels are always perfect for sand beaches: they’re large enough for your body. However, if you’re like me and you’re going to be on the water a few days in a row, you want something that also dries fast and will last forever. My towel from REI has lasted for over 10 years now and is still good as new! They have a plethora of options on their website including this deluxe towel. And always pack some shower flip-flops if you’re going to rinse off in a public shower. Dollar Tree always has the best deal on these. If you want something a little thicker, go with the flip-flops from Old Navy.

8. Lifestraw: I know you’re “just” floating, but what if you lose your water bottle? You’ll want the Lifestraw. Do NOT take chances and drink straight from the creek, especially on a hot day when you really need to stay hydrated.

9. SCUBA Diving: If you’re into diving like I am, and plan to go out on your own (not on a tour), I recommend this Diver Below Buoy and this Torpedo Buoy for your next dive. One of my friends uses both of them on all of his ocean dives and spent hours researching which buoys would be best before settling on these!

10. Fly Fishing: Make sure to try fly fishing before you die! It’s a bucket list experience, that’s for sure. One of my college friends, who is a fly fishing guide, says that this Orvis Encounter is the best flyrod outfit for the price.

Flyfishing in Montana and caught this beauty with the Orvis Outfit.

11. Water Bottles: If you’re not wanting to spend $30 or more on a Yeti or Yeti knock-off, the Podium Big Chill from Camelbak will keep your drinks colder twice as long as a regular bottle. I use mine ALL summer long! Heck, I take it to work!

12. Hats and Visors. If you’re going someplace where the sun is relentless even on the water, a cap of some sort is a must. Columbia’s Coolhead cap is the best for hot summer days. I own three of these because one of them I wore out so badly it serves now as my fishing cap. Columbia has a lot to offer in the head-protection area! Under Armour visors are my pick in the visor category. Click here to view some of their options.

13. Sandals and Flip Flops: There are SO many options in this category. Teva always gets my top vote for comfort and value. I own the beach-friendly Mush and the Terra Fi Lite. Keen has a lot of options, and the Bali and Waimea sandals are my favorite for the lake and rocky beaches because of the unique toe protection. (Note that the Waimea are difficult to find for women, so you may need to get the men’s). I actually wore out the top of my last pair and the bottoms still looked perfect after 10 years. And, yeah… I broke down and bought some Glacier National Park Chaco’s this season. I personally don’t think Chaco’s are the most comfortable, overall, but many of you do.

14. Sun Protection: Sunscreen is your friend! There are so many options out there I hate to recommend one over another, as not all work for everyone. Please just make sure to pack some. Consumer Reports actually rates sunscreens each year if you need a place to check out reviews.

I love this rash guard from Title Nine and Carve Designs. I’ve had it for several years and used it while kayaking, beach combing, and snorkeling.

Scuba Diving and snorkeling with my Carve Designs Rash Guard.

Another new warm weather and water related favorite is my Columbia PFG cooling top. It gets cool as you sweat or get wet!

And you need to protect your booty! I opted for this pair of Roga running shorts from Oiselle a few years back that also double as board shorts, believe it or not, thanks to a recommendation from the sales lady at Title Nine. They’re flattering and versatile.

Thanks for reading! Remember, this list was not for EVERYTHING you need to take, just a few of my favorite things. Do you have some favorites? I’d love to hear about them!



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