Pack for an aquatic adventure

If the summer months are getting you excited for some days at the beach, lake or river, then this is the kit-list for you. Wet gear, missing towels and accidentally flashing a local dog walker can spoil a day on the water, which is why we’ve tested out some of the best products for water sports in 2024 and put together a ‘to-pack’ list. From sun-glasses to sea-kayaks, this is everything you need to take to the water.

If you’re looking for adventure inspiration check out the water themed Wired For Adventure Volume 22.



Teva Sandals

Teva 80’s Original Universal Revive Sandals

A day by the water requires some versatile footwear, up for long walks on the beach and slippy rock pooling. It wouldn’t hurt If they looked good too.

Teva started making sandals after the founder’s flip-flops floated away in the Grand Canyon, so they’re all specifically designed to stay on your feet in the water. The brand is bringing back their OG design, with its signature grippy sole, adjustable strapping system and quick drying properties. These revivals also have a funky 80s pattern to boot.

We loved how versatile these sandals were, they’re perfect for  hopping in and out of kayaks or lazing by the water, and, because they truly are quick drying, you don’t end up with that horrible damp sandal feeling that some Velcro strap sandals have.


Pack a wetsuit

Patagonia Yulex Regulator Lite Spring Wetsuit

If you’re going to be in the water for a long-period of time, a good wetsuit is essential to keep you warm and comfortable. With the summer weather finally breaking here in the UK, a spring wetsuit, like this Patagonia Yulex Regulator suit will help you maintain your temperature whether you’re wakeboarding, waterskiing, kitesurfing or diving.

This suit works exactly as a wetsuit should. It’s formfitting and keeps you happy in temperate waters (18-23°C) so you can focus on the fun. What we really like though, is Patagonia have made this suit with natural rubber and without neoprene. This means it’s better for the environment and, with its fairtrade certification, for the people who made it.


Mac in a Sac Origin Packable Waterproof Overtrousers and Origin Packable Waterproof Jacket

If you’re kayaking, canoeing or just caught in a storm, a good pair of waterproofs is essential for a day by the water. The Mac in a Sac Origin overtrousers and jacket are perfect because they’re packable. They remain highly waterproof (up to 10000mm), but will pack down to a fist sized package that you can squish in your bag without a second thought. This makes them the most convenient waterproofs on the market – once you’re done with them, they dry out quickly and can be packed away. We also love the Velcro ankle tab on the trousers that can tighten the fit for extra protection.

Life Jacket:

Helly Hansen Life Jacket

Helly Hensen Sport Comfort Life Vest

If you’re venturing across water deeper than standing level, it’s essential that you bring a life vest. This Helly Hansen vest is a great lightweight, soft foam jacket that fits nicely and allows for a good range of movement. This was most important for us as we tested out life vests, as there’s nothing more irritating than one that rubs or clings. There are plenty of adjustment points to make this possible, like a waist belt and adjustable hem.

It is 50N buoyancy, which means it’s only suitable for activities where you could rescue yourself in a short amount of time, ie. Where you aren’t likely to find yourself far from your craft or incapacitated in the water.


Pack Waylons Sunglasses

Vallon Waylons

There often isn’t great protection from the sun on beaches, rivers or the open ocean, so along with some strong sunscreen and a good hat, sunglasses are essential to look after your eye health.

The Vallon Waylons are up for the job, with a great balance of stylish and practical. They’re a very sleek pair of glasses that we reckon will suit most face shapes (having tested them out on a good few when they arrived at WFA headquarters). They also have a really clear field of vision whilst protecting from 100% of UVA/B light. The polarization filter succeeds at reducing glare and the head strap is subtle but secure, keeping your sunglasses in place no matter what you’re up to.

Changing Robe:

Voited Dry Coat

Voited Changing Robe/Drycoat
From £129 

If you’re going to have to pull off a carpark quick change act, wrestling yourself in and out of a wetsuit without a changing area in sight, then you’ll want something like a changing robe to protect your modesty.

We’re a big fan of this Voited Changing Robe because it is so much more than just that. It is roomy enough to make changing a breeze, but its microfibre lining also soaks up excess moisture really efficiently. With deep pockets and added insulation, this robe can also be used as a cover up on a particularly windy day or even a blanket if you wanted to save space in your boot.



Pack canoe

Venture Ranger 149 Canoe

When it comes to equipment, whatever your chosen water sport is, it’s likely you already know what suits you and your style. But for the people reading who want to take their water adventures further than a day hire but not worry over the shape of a kayak’s cockpit, then a sturdy, family- and beginner-friendly canoe is a great place to start.

Something like the Venture Ranger 149 from the Pyranha family is a great investment to get to know your local rivers and lakes, spend more time on the water and not sweat the small stuff. It’s very stable and a wonderful canoe to progress with, and is even sturdy enough to take on some whitewater. Because it’s got a very low profile, you don’t have to worry about the wind or water conditions (as long as it’s not obviously dangerous!). With this canoe you can take your weekends to the next level and before you know it you’ll be on an expedition somewhere you wouldn’t have dreamt of telling people why a deep dish yoke is the best for portaging.



Craft Cadence

Craft Cadence Roll Top Waterproof Backpack 30L

One of the best things you can take on a trip to the water is a good waterproof backpack. It will allow you to manage what gets wet and what doesn’t, making the unpacking and drying part of your adventure so much less depressing. Because of how important a good waterproof bag is, we had some strict criteria.

One of the worst things about roll top waterproof bags is they’re usually just empty voids. The bigger their capacity the worse this is, if you’re not just carrying a few large pieces of kit. The Craft Cadence roll top bag, which you can get in 21 or 30 litres, has all the bells and whistles of any good travel bag, it just happens to be waterproof as well. It boasts external pockets, daisy chains, top straps and removable internal storage compartments. If you want a laptop and notebook sleeve, one Velcros onto the interior zip-pocket compartment, which is also attached by Velcro, if you do just want a big bucket bag. Every compartment is waterproof, but the whole bag is very light and unobtrusive, and has hip and chest straps for stability. We really love this roll top bag!

Dry Bag

Helly Hansen Dry bag

Helly Hansen Light Dry Bags
From £18

Once you have your main bag sorted, organising it on the inside is the next step to ensuring nothing gets wet that doesn’t need to. A good set of dry bags will ensure this, and are the perfect companions if you’ll be out on the water for a long period of time.

The Helly Hansen Light Dry Bags, ranging from 3 to 20 litres, are exactly what they say on the tin. They’re light and flexible but still rugged and highly waterproof. At a reasonable price for such high quality, we think they’re some of the best on the market.

Day Packs

Freerain Hip Pack and Backpack

Matador Freerain Waterproof Packable Hip Pack and 22L Backpack
Approximately £47 and £79

If you’re going on a multi-day or multi-activity aquatic adventure and don’t always want to be lugging around your big bag, then a packable day-pack is essential. However, just because it is packable, doesn’t mean we don’t also want it to be lightweight, waterproof and functional, which is where these bags by Matador come into their own.

The Freerain Hip Pack is a two litre packable hip pack with an external compartment and adjustable belt. Waterproof hip packs are pretty rare, but this one has everything you’d want from a hip belt whilst also being highly waterproof. It also packs into a fist sized stuff sack.

The Freerain Backpack is a great option if you need more than the 2L of space offered by the hip pack. It is equally waterproof and packable, but has more space for things like water bottles and coats. There are removable chest and hip straps, gear loops, bottle pockets and compression straps, making it as functional as any other day pack on the market. It’s ideal for a day by the water without every bit of gear you brought with you.


Pack microfibre towel

Matador Ultralight Travel Towel L
Approximately £29

After a long day of aquatic fun, you need a good way to dry off. Unfortunately, Egyptian cotton towels are bulky, heavy and difficult to transport. A microfibre towel is a popular option amongst travellers and we think Matador has created the smallest one.

In all honesty, when we unravelled the towel we were convinced it wouldn’t absorb any water. It is very thin and feels like it’s made out of the same material as a glasses cleaner. Despite our hesitancy, this tiny towel absorbs an awful lot, dries quickly and packs down to roughly palm size. Is it the most luxurious drying experience? No. But if all you’re interested in is getting the water from your body then this is truly the most convenient option.