Essential packing list for paddleboarding: 20 items


If you’re thinking of getting out on the water this summer, and are looking for a checklist of what to bring, we’ve all been there! No one was born knowing the information so good on you for searching. So we’ve put together a short list of 20 items that will help you pack for success. You may find that a number of items are never used, but as the saying goes, it’s sometimes better to have them and not need them then need them and not have them. To get some context on this list, the Author - Chris, has his wilderness first aid and has worked in Antarctica. Therefore, a couple of safety items have made it in.

SUP in Antarctica

Let’s start with an intro, then dive into why each item is useful in his opinion. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, having the right gear and accessories can make your experience on the water much more enjoyable. In this blog, we'll cover a list of items to pack for your next paddleboarding trip, including why each item is either essential or a good to have. We've also created a free packing list for paddleboarding that you can print off to ensure you have everything you need.

Packing List Items - essential:


  1. Water: Staying hydrated is crucial during any physical activity, and paddleboarding is no exception. Bring plenty of water in a reusable water bottle or hydration pack to keep yourself refreshed and energized while you're out on your SUP board.
  2. Rope and Throw Line: A rope and throw line are essential safety items for any paddleboarding excursion. They can be used to secure your inflatable paddle board to a dock, help tow another paddler in need, or even serve as a makeshift anchor. Knowing a few knots is always helpful, a bowline being one of the most popular… or as the saying goes “if you don’t know a knot, tie a lot.”
  3. Personal Flotation Device (PFD): Safety should always be a priority, and a PFD is a must-have item for any water sport. It provides buoyancy and can be a lifesaver in case of an emergency. I personally like to wear them for an extra layer of warmth on cooler days. 
  4. Paddle: Your paddle is an essential piece of equipment for stand-up paddleboarding. If you’re going to paddling for quite some time, it might be worth it to invest in a carbon fiber paddle. I would probably upgrade the paddle before I upgrade the board. 
  5. Fins: Fins provide stability and control while you're out on your paddleboard. Make sure you have the appropriate fins for your board and water conditions.
  6. Leash: A leash is a crucial safety item that connects you to your paddleboard. In the event you fall off, your board won't drift away, making it easier to get back on and continue your adventure.
  7. Hat: A hat provides shade and protects your face from the sun. Choose a wide-brimmed hat or a cap with a neck flap for the best protection. If you’re too cool for those, do your best with any head protection. 
  8. Whistle: A whistle is an essential safety tool that can be used to signal for help in case of an emergency or to alert others to your presence. It always draws attention and that’s a good thing when it is needed. The SOS call is 3 short blasts, followed by 3 longer, then 3 short blasts again. 
  9. Phone: Bring your phone in a waterproof case to capture photos of your adventure, use GPS navigation, or call for help if necessary. A good app that is used with SAR teams (search and rescue) is What3words - whilst GPS is great, sometimes it can become confusing to the untrained, whereas what3words works by giving every 3 meter squared section of the earth 3 words to describe where it is. In an emergency, having both at your disposal increases your chances of help. 
  10. Pump: A pump is essential for inflating your blow-up paddle board. 

Packing List Items - good to have:


  1. Water Purification Tablets: In case you run out of drinking water or need to refill from a natural source, water purification tablets can be a lifesaver. These tablets help remove harmful bacteria and viruses, ensuring you have access to safe drinking water during your paddleboarding adventure. Whilst most trips may be close to home, they’re a handy item to have when they’re needed.
  2. Energy Bars: Pack some energy bars or snacks to keep yourself fueled during your paddleboarding session. They're a convenient and portable source of energy.
  3. Dry Bag: A dry bag is good to have for keeping your belongings dry and safe while you're out on your inflatable paddleboard. Store your phone, keys, wallet, and any other valuables inside to ensure they stay protected.
  4. First Aid Kit: Accidents can happen, so it's essential to be prepared. A compact, waterproof first aid kit should contain basic supplies such as adhesive bandages, gauze, medical tape, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any necessary personal medications.
  5. Multitool: A multitool can be incredibly handy during a paddleboarding trip. With various tools like pliers, a knife, screwdrivers, and more, you'll be well-equipped to handle any minor repairs or adjustments needed while on the water. Having this in conjunction will be helpful if you get any punctures or need to do something with the valve for example. 
  6. Torch: A torch is useful for navigating during low-light conditions or signaling for help in case of an emergency.
  7. Sun Cream: Protecting your skin from the sun's harmful rays is essential while out on the water. Apply sun cream before you hit the water and reapply as needed throughout the day.
  8. Carabiners: Carabiners are versatile and handy for securing gear to your paddleboard. They can be used to attach a dry bag, water bottle, or even your paddle when not in use.
  9. Compass: A compass is a useful navigation tool, especially when exploring unfamiliar waters. It can help you find your way back to shore or locate a specific destination while stand-up paddleboarding.
  10. Carry Bag: A carry bag makes transporting your stand-up paddleboard and accessories a breeze. Opt for a bag with comfortable straps and enough space for all your gear.

Free Packing List for Paddleboarding:

Now that we've covered the essential items for your paddleboarding adventure, we've created a printable packing list to help you stay organized:

◻ Personal Flotation Device (PFD)

◻ Paddle

◻ Leash

◻ Water

◻ Rope and Throw Line

◻ Fins

◻ Hat

◻ Whistle

◻ Phone

◻ Pump

◻ Water Purification Tablets

◻ Energy Bars

◻ Dry Bag

◻ First Aid Kit

◻ Multitool

◻ Torch

◻ Sun Cream

◻ Carabiners

◻ Compass

◻ Carry Bag


With this 20 item packing list, you'll be well-prepared for your next paddleboarding adventure. Whether you're exploring local waters or venturing to new destinations, having the right gear and accessories can significantly enhance your experience. Remember to always prioritize safety and take time to familiarize yourself with your SUP board and equipment before you head out on the water.

If you're in the market for a new paddleboard, be sure to check out the best inflatable paddle boards on our site. Additionally, consider investing in some high-quality SUP accessories to further elevate your paddleboarding experience. And if you're looking for a place to paddle, search "stand up paddle boards near me" to find local rental shops and popular paddling spots. If you’re in Toronto, we’re happy to help on the rental side, or even ship boards nationally.

Featured blog image: Photo by Mat Napo on Unsplash  

List image: Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash  

Board image: Photo by Holly Mandarich on Unsplash  


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