Kayak accessories can range from items that help a person transport the kayak on dry land to items that make storage more convenient while paddling the kayak. Other accessories may be activity-specific; for example, kayak accessories that accommodate fishermen may be specifically designed to make transport of fishing equipment easier. Some accessories are designed to make steering easier, while others can aid in stability during rough waters. Choosing among the many types of accessories starts with determining how the paddler is likely to use the kayak most often.
Kayak accessories for storage are quite common and perhaps the most purchased of all accessories. Keeping items dry during paddling is important, so dry bags are often useful for storing items on the deck of the kayak. These bags are made from waterproof materials — usually plastic or nylon — and they can be rolled closed in such a way that water cannot penetrate any openings. Hard shell plastic containers are also available for storing items that cannot get wet; these are useful for protecting items that may also be susceptible to impact damage should the kayak capsize or come in contact with other hard objects.
Steering capabilities and stability can be improved by installing certain kayak accessories such as rudders or outriggers. A rudder mounts to the rear end of the kayak and can be dropped into the water when needed. This rudder will help keep the kayak on track during rough waters or high winds, and it can aid in steering as well. The rudder can be pulled out of the water when not in use by pulling on a rope that runs to the cockpit, and when the rudder is in the water, it can be moved using foot pedals mounted inside the cockpit. Outriggers are kayak accessories that affix to the side or sides of the kayak; they consist of long arms with a pontoon mounted on the end, and they are used to keep the boat stable when a sail is used, or when the kayak is being paddled in rough waters.
Kayak racks are useful for mounting the kayak on a car or truck. This allows for easy transport to and from a body of water. The racks generally mount to the roof of the vehicle, though other types of racks are available that allow the kayak to mounted in other locations on the vehicle. The kayak is usually secured using ratcheting straps to ensure it stays stable and in place during transport.