On a hot summer day, it’s hard to resist getting out on the water. There are plenty of places to rent gear such as stand-up paddleboards and kayaks, or you can take the plunge and invest in a few key pieces that will help you have a great day outside.
Astral Ronny PFD: Let’s start with the basics. Always wear a personal flotation device (PFD) while kayaking, SUP-ing or anytime you’re on the water. (It’s the law!) Find one that is comfortable, too. Astral’s Ronny PFD has a thin back, comfortable for kayaking, but it also allows for the range of motion you need for paddling. Venting keeps you cool and there are myriad pockets in which to stuff your snacks and other essentials. $99.95. Available at Mountain to Sound Outfitters, West Seattle, 3602 SW Alaska St.; 206.935.7669.
SealLine Baja 20-liter dry bag: Keep all your goodies dry when out on the water in this classic bag from local company SealLine. $28.95. Available at Northwest Outdoor Center
Delta 12AR kayak: This recreational kayak is all about comfort on the water, with a wide cockpit for easy entry and nice storage options in front and rear hatches. The hull design gives you great glide and is as stable as a battleship. It’s perfect for a cruise around a choppy Lake Union. $1,295. Available at Northwest Outdoor Center, Westlake, 2100 Westlake Ave. N; 206.281.9694.
Oboz Campster: We love this water-friendly shoe. It’s part sandal, part slipper. The heel strap flips up or down, depending on whether you want to slip the shoe on or keep it more secure. It’s perfect for the campsite, strolling on rocky beaches or boating. $90. Available at REI, South Lake Union, 222 Yale Ave. N; 206.223.1944; obozfootwear.com.
Patagonia Micro Swell rash guard: You may be wearing a bikini, but if you’re out or in the water for a long time, a rash guard is the way to go for sun and chafing protection. Made of nylon and spandex, it’s stretchy and light and will dry in a hot minute. $75/short sleeves, $85/long sleeves. Available at Patagonia, Belltown, 2100 First Ave.; 206.622.9700.
Red Paddle Co. Ride SUP: The inflatable stand-up paddleboard you take with you. This 10-foot, 8-inch board folds up into a tidy pack of about 30 pounds, with shoulder straps and wheels for easy transport. Inflated, it has an added fiberglass batten that keeps it stiff, eliminating any flex where you stand. $1,349. Available at Urban Surf, Wallingford, 2100 N Northlake Way; 206.545.9463.
Oru Beach kayak: This origami kayak unfolds from a mere 26-pound pack with carrying strap to a sturdy 12-foot-long kayak in minutes. It handles like a dream and is stable enough for the dog or your kid to get in with you. It’s perfect for anyone who doesn’t want to haul a huge, heavy kayak onto a roof rack every time they want to paddle. $1,299. Available at REI.
Werner Camano paddle: This kayak paddle from Sultan-based Werner Paddles has a carbon fiber shaft and longer, narrower fiberglass blades that are perfect for low-angle paddling. A nice swing weight of the blades reduces fatigue on the water, and the shaft lets the paddler adjust the angle of the blades for optimum efficiency. $275. Available at Northwest Outdoor Center
SealLine E-case: This little waterproof case can hold lots of things, but face it, you’re going to want to put your phone in it. We can’t be apart from our electronic tethers, so at least keep them dry and safe while on the water. Yes, you can use the touchscreen through it. $24.95. Available at Northwest Outdoor Center
NRS Canine Flotation Device: This dog life jacket will keep your pup afloat if he’s your paddle buddy. $44.95. Available at Northwest Outdoor Center