The Essential Checklist: What to Bring Paddle Boarding

Are you ready to hit the water and experience the thrill of paddle boarding? Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, having the right gear and accessories is essential for a successful and enjoyable stand up paddle boarding adventure.

Read on for our essential checklist of what to bring when paddle boarding, including must-have items, optional gear, and safety accessories We’ve also answered our most commonly asked questions, so grab your paddle board, slip into your swimsuit, and let's dive in.

A Quick List: What to Bring Paddle Boarding

  • Life Jacket

  • Dry Bag

  • Waterproof Phone Pouch

  • Paddle Board Clothing

  • Personal Floatation Device (PFD)

  • Kayak Seat

  • Paddle Board Anchor

  • Cold Water Gear

  • Snacks and Water

  • SUP Leash

  • Paddle Board Repair Kit

  • Waterproof Floating Bluetooth Speaker

Accessory Essentials

1. Life Jacket or Personal Flotation Device (PFD) 

Safety first! A properly fitting life jacket is a must-wear for all ages and experience levels when paddle boarding. Even if you're a confident swimmer, wearing a life jacket can save your life in case of unexpected falls or getting caught in a current. Look for a Coast Guard-approved life jacket that fits snugly and comfortably.

Other than a life jacket, you may also want to consider wearing a personal floatation device (PFD) for added safety. PFDs are designed to keep you afloat and provide extra buoyancy in the water. Look for a PFD that’s specifically designed for paddle boarding and offers a comfortable fit.

What’s the Difference Between a Life Jacket and PFD?

While the terms "life jacket" and "personal floatation device" (PFD) are often used interchangeably, there are some differences

A life jacket is typically more buoyant and designed to turn an unconscious person face-up in the water, making it ideal for non-swimmers or rough water conditions. On the other hand, a PFD provides basic flotation but may not turn a person face-up. 

In Canada, it’s mandatory to wear a life jacket or PFD while paddleboarding, as per Transport Canada regulations, to ensure safety on the water and prevent accidents. Always check local laws and regulations regarding life jacket or PFD usage for paddleboarding in your area.

2. Dry Bag 

Keep your belongings safe and dry with a waterproof dry bag. These handy bags are designed to keep your essentials, like your phone, wallet, keys, and snacks, safe from water damage. Look for a dry bag with a roll-top closure to ensure a watertight seal.

3. Waterproof Phone Pouch 

Part of being out of the water is being able to  capture those epic moments to share with friends and family. A waterproof phone pouch is a must-have accessory to keep your phone safe and dry while paddle boarding. With a durable and waterproof design, this pouch will protect your phone from splashes, drops, and even brief submersion in water, allowing you to take stunning photos, videos, and selfies without worrying about water damage.


4. Paddle Board Clothing 

Dress appropriately for your paddle boarding adventure. From protecting your skin against harmful UV rays to ensuring freedom of movement and comfort, the right paddle board clothing can make a world of difference when on the water.  

Consider wearing:

  • A rash guard or sun protection shirt to shield your skin from the sun's rays 

  • A pair of quick-drying board shorts for ease of movement

  • Water shoes for extra grip and foot protection 

  • Hat and sunglasses if it’s a sunny day

  • Wetsuit or drysuit for cold water paddling, depending on the weather and water conditions

For Long Trips

5. Kayak Seat 

If you plan on spending long hours on your paddle board, a kayak seat can provide extra comfort and support. These seats are easy to attach to your paddle board and can make your paddle boarding experience more enjoyable, especially for those who prefer to sit rather than stand.

6. Paddle Board Anchor 

A paddle board anchor is a handy accessory for maintaining stability and control while paddle boarding. A paddle board anchor can come in handy when you want to stop and take a break or do some fishing on your paddle board. Look for a lightweight and compact anchor that’s easy to transport (about 8 lbs). An anchor helps you stay secured in one spot, allowing you to take a break, do yoga on your board, or simply enjoy the scenery without drifting away.

8. SUP Leash

A SUP leash is a safety accessory that attaches your ankle or calf to your paddle board, preventing it from drifting away from you if you fall off. It's especially important in choppy water or when you're paddling in areas with strong currents. Look for a leash that’s  durable, usually made of nylon, urethane, or neoprene to withstand marine conditions. Also, make sure it is comfortable, and offers a secure attachment to your paddle board.  

9. Paddle Board Repair Kit 

Even on short trips, it's always a good idea to be prepared for any unexpected situations. A DIY paddle board repair kit can come in handy in case of minor damages to your inflatable paddle board, such as punctures or leaks. Make sure to include a patch kit, adhesive, and a pump repair tool to quickly fix any issues and get back on the water in no time. After all, it's better to be safe than soggy!

10. Cooler Bag

A soft cooler is a versatile accessory that should be on your packing list for any paddle boarding adventure. With its lightweight and portable design, a soft cooler is perfect for keeping your snacks, drinks, and perishable items cool and refreshing during your paddle boarding trip. Whether you're enjoying a leisurely paddle or embarking on a long-distance excursion, a soft cooler will keep your food and drinks chilled and readily accessible. Its waterproof and durable construction ensures it can handle the rigors of paddling and water exposure.

Optional Accessories 

11. Cold Water Gear

If you're paddle boarding in colder water or during cooler weather, it's important to wear appropriate gear to stay warm. Invest in a dry suit to protect yourself from the cold water and wind. Don't forget to bring gloves and a beanie to keep your extremities warm.

12. Snacks and Water

Paddle boarding can be a physically demanding activity, so it's important to stay hydrated and fuel up if you’ll be out on the water for a long time. Pack some high-energy snacks such as granola bars, nuts, and dried fruits, as well as plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated throughout your paddle boarding adventure.

What Should I Wear to Go Paddle Boarding?

When it comes to paddle board clothing, it's important to choose quick-drying and comfortable attire. Opt to wear board shorts or swim trunks, rash guards or quick-drying shirts, and water shoes. Avoid cotton clothing as it can absorb water and become heavy. Don't forget to bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun.

Do you wear a swimsuit when paddle boarding?

Yes, wearing a swimsuit is a common choice for paddle boarding, as you’re likely to get wet. Choose a swimsuit that’s comfortable and allows for freedom of movement. Avoid loose-fitting swimsuits that may cause discomfort or chafing during your paddle boarding session.

What Do You Put Your Phone in When Paddle Boarding?

To protect your phone from water damage, it's essential to have a waterproof case or a dry bag. A dry bag is a great option as it provides an extra layer of protection against water and keeps your phone safe and dry. You can easily attach it to your paddle board or wear it around your waist.

How do you carry stuff on a paddle board?

Carrying your belongings on a paddle board can be done using a dry bag, a waterproof backpack, or a bungee cord system. A dry bag is ideal for keeping your belongings dry, while a waterproof backpack allows you to carry more items and distribute the weight evenly on your back. A bungee cord system is perfect for securing larger items, such as a cooler or a camping gear, on the front or rear of your paddle board.

Elevate Your Paddle Boarding Experience

Now that you have the essential checklist for what to bring paddle boarding, you're ready to hit the water. Remember to prioritize safety by wearing a life jacket and carrying a dry bag for your belongings.

Dress appropriately for the weather and water conditions and consider additional gear such as a kayak seat or a paddle board anchor for longer rides.


Check out Maddle’s accessories to check off most of the items we’ve mentioned, and of course, no paddle boarding session is complete without the right paddle board. 

Shop Maddle inflatable paddle boards and stand out in the water with your unique style.

woman standing on beach with paddle board

Camille Brodeur

Driven by the intersection of lifestyle and fitness, Camille's mission is to inspire others to integrate elements of beauty and aesthetic into their outdoor activities. Her depth of experience in the paddle boarding world allows her to inform and motivate others to get out on the water in the safest and most fun ways possible. Whether it be through her work at Maddle or elsewhere, Camille continuously strives to expand the public consciousness surrounding SUPs.


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