Whether you’re a paddling instructor, solo paddler or like to play in rough water offshore, being prepared means you’ll have more fun and be better prepared if something goes wrong to you, a friend or a student.Here’s a few items I carry on me for a variety of paddling conditions both personally and as an instructor.  I vary the list of items depending on the type of water and/or paddling I’m doing. Everything can be stuffed in a small dry bag, can be carried in a waist mounted fanny bag and smaller bunches can be stored in a vest style life jacket.

Watch Video with me describing all the items listed here and how to pack into dry bags.

Dry Bags..
I use SealLine, Outdoor Research and Seattle Sports bags. Seattle Sports has a few deck bags which are waterproof and can fit easily on my SUPs or kayak decks with proper outfitting.  I tend to double dry bag my items as dry bags can leak and some get condensation. I prefer bags with a daisy chain to attach with straps if securing directly to my board’s outfitting.

Bag Contents..

Tool Kit:
Extra fin screws
Hex screw driver for thruster fins
Gerber Center Drive Rescue Multi-tool
Foil tape for ding repairs. Sticks on when wet. Can double as an emergency reflector.
Bungee and rope – For deck outfitting repair and PFD repair.
Electrical tape – for PFD repair and other misc repairs.
Super glue – Great for ding repair and can be used to close wounds (original use).

First Aid:
Glucose – Energy bars and for diabetic emergencies, tube of cake frosting.
Personal and student prescriptions. I store my migraine medicine in a waterproof box with silica gels.
Neosporin for barnacle and coral cuts, open wounds, etc.
Band aids for land use and duct tape to close wounds while on-water. Also Gauze and similar bandaging.

Advil and Aspirin.
Sunblock and/or zinc face cream.
Electrolyte for dehydration. I like Hammer Nutrition’s Spitz
Chemical heat packets for warmth.
CPR face shield.

*Students/Friends who are allergic to bee stings should bring their own epi-pen. You can carry their epi-pen to keep dry on-water but can’t by law carry extra pens for friends/students on your own.  It’s recommended that if an epi-pen is forgotten on shore that the person stays as well.

Safety / Rescue:
Mylar thermal blanket for hypothermia. Also doubles as a bivy for sleeping bags.
Rocket flares for signaling in an emergency. Sound extreme? I’ve used them in a rescues.
Waterproof light for low light or night paddling. Keep in string if in PFD. I like the attach-on Guardian light
Neoprene or similar hood to keep students warm. I love the NRS Storm Hood!
Mobile phone in a waterproof case attached to string. I use the Seattle Sports E-Merse products on a tether.
VHF radio attached to string.  ICOM makes a floating waterproof handheld VHF.
Whistle (no bead inside).  Attach to PFD.
Multi-Tool (listed above).
Tow System for towing people to shore (or to rescue you).  Not pictured. We use NorthWater systems.

For remote areas – 
Spot Beacon or similar devices are a great solution to alerting emergency officials in case of an emergency evacuation.
Solar chargers for communication devices.

Lifejacket (PFD):
Get one with external pockets to store stuff.  I use two from MTI which have adequate pockets but not so bulky they get in my way when paddling or climbing back on my board or boat. One has a quick release system to release a waist mounted leash or tow system in a hurry. Some CO2 life jackets have pockets for storage. A friend slides on a SealLine waterproof bag about 5″ long onto his Co2 PFD waist belt to store his GoPro for boogie boarding freighter waves in Seattle.

Search this blog for more info on:
Communication devices tethered a
Tow Systems.

Choosing a wetsuit.
– Something you want to know more about? Give me a holler.


Overall bag contents


Seattle Sports bag on 11-6 board


About Rob Casey – Named a pioneer in the SUP industry by Stand Up Journal, Rob is the author of “Stand Up Paddling Flat Water to Surf and Rivers” and “Kayaking Puget Sound and the San Juans, 60 Trips.” Rob owns SUP and Kayak school Salmon Bay Paddle in Seattle. He also runs several paddling races.

Salmon Bay Paddle SUP Tips