Kayaking Essentials – what you need to know
Do you want to jump in and head out on your first kayak trip? Imagine yourself in a kayak, pushing your way through a body of water. Kayaking is a sport full of challenges, full of freedom, and with a lot of adrenaline. It provides you with therapeutic and calming contact with nature, while still offering you a unique and rewarding exercise.
However, as a beginner, there are a number of things you need to have in order for your trip to be successful, fun, and above all, safe. In this post, we list all the essential items for kayaking that you will require.
A kayak is the first thing you need to make this trip possible. There are quite a few of them, and you can choose one depending on where you are going to kayak. For example, if you do a lot of fast water cruising, you need a kayak that can handle this properly and efficiently.
The paddle is an integral part of your kayak. You can use it to propel your kayak through the water. A paddle is made up of two different parts; the pale and the shank. Most come from different materials. It could be plastic, wood, or even fiberglass. Ensure your paddle is compatible with your kayak.
Here is where you can sit to paddle your kayak. A kayak seat has many benefits, including comfort and body support, when kayaking. You can choose a low or high position, depending on your kayak and compatibility.
You will need it if any water enters the boat. This happens especially when you are paddling too much or in a strong current. If you don’t remove the water, you might end up capsizing. Therefore, it is important that you carry it in an accessible place.
If you don’t want your kayak gear and other essentials to get wet, you need to invest in a decent dry bag. This bag is not like the traditional bags we are used to. It has been designed in such a way that it can keep dry and safe objects like camera, phone, GPS, etc. Ensure the bag contain enough storage space and is equipped with a clasp to help you close it properly.
Moving your kayak from one location to another can be a challenge if you don’t have the right transportation equipment. Here are some of the things you need to transport your kayak safely and easily.
This cart allows you to transport your kayak to the water easily. Ensure that your kayak cart is equipped with a comfortable handle and is easy to store.
If you are going to be carrying your kayak in your car, you need a roof rack. This will help you to transport your kayak on the roof of your car. As with the roof carrier, you need to make sure that it is compatible with your kayak and the car.
When you are on the kayak, safety is paramount, and there is no other way to stay safe except with the right safety gear. Here’s what you need to pack for safety
Never underestimate the strength of the water, no matter how good a swimmer, always be forewarned. Thus, the life jacket is an element of a mandatory presence for your safety and awareness. This vest can keep you afloat in an emergency. For example, if the kayak capsizes and you cannot return to it, the vest will allow you to stay afloat while waiting for your rescue.
Also, remember, you need to have the right size. One that provides a perfect fit. Moreover, since you will be wearing it for a considerable period, it should also be comfortable.
Helmets have the function of protecting the forehead, neck and ears. They are essential for your safety, as they provide the much-needed protection for your head when handling rapids or even narrow waterways. There are several sizes adaptable to you, which can be regulated by the size of the head. Choose one that makes you feel comfortable.
It is a skirt that fits on the rim of the cabin and on your waist to prevent water from entering the kayak. It can be manufactured with various materials, with neoprene being the most efficient. The skirt has two safety straps on the front for quick removal if necessary.
It might seem small and unnecessary, but this device can be a great addition to your kayaking gear list. With a whistle, you can alert other people in case you find yourself in a difficult situation.
First aid kit
When going on a kayak tour as a beginner, things can go wrong, and accidents should never be left to chance. You might injure yourself after an awkward fall, or get into a group of angry wasps. Therefore, it’s important to have your kayak first aid kit ready with you.
CLOTHING AND SHOES
The type of clothing you pack for your kayaking trip is also important and should be taken into account. As with kayaking, a number of factors come into play. The region you want to go to and the weather conditions determine what you are going to do.
Wetsuit or drysuit
Wetsuits are used to insulate you from outside conditions. It does this by allowing a thin layer of water to accumulate under the skin, which is heated by the body. This creates a sort of warm shield that keeps your body warm even if you dive deep, and the water is very cold.
Drysuit, on the other hand, has latex closures on the neck and cuffs so that it does not allow the passage of water completely. Also, it provides security in waters with temperatures below 10 degrees, where hypothermia comes very quickly. In addition to giving heat, the internal air gives extra buoyancy.
If you know the weather will be a bit sunny, a hat will come in handy. It will help you to effectively protect the neck, face and shoulders from the sun. You need a hat with a solid brim for maximum protection. It should also be comfortable and highly breathable.
During the trip, your feet must also be protected. This is one of the main reasons you should invest in good kayak shoes. They not only help protect your feet, but also provide much-needed warmth. During the selection process, you have to be very attentive to comfort. And in this case, you have to settle for neoprene. The sole should also be strong, and the shoes should provide a good fit.
When you do those tiring paddles, your hands suffer the most. For this very reason, they must be well protected. There is no other way to protect them than with the right pair of kayak gloves. In addition, they will also give you the much-needed heat. Ensure that your gloves come from soft fabrics and offer a very comfortable fit.
Things can get really tough, and you find yourself lost, especially when you are at sea. Fortunately, with the right navigation tools, you can easily find your way around and avoid awkward moments. For navigation, here is everything you need.
When it comes to an outdoor adventure, you will know how really useful GPS can be. This is one of the reasons why you need to get yourself a decent kayak GPS before setting off with your kayak. This small device will allow you to navigate through waterways. Plus, you can even use it to plan your trip before you go.
When buying a kayak GPS, you need to be on the lookout for these few things. First, it should be very easy to use. Second, it should be waterproof. Finally, make sure it is equipped with a personal locator beacon.
Much like GPS, the compass is also essential, especially if you know you are going to be venturing into an area that you know very little about. A compass will actually help you navigate using direction and coordinates. As with a compass, the choice you make should be easy to use. It should also be compact and waterproof.
When it comes to personal items, you need a lot of items for kayaking. They are a must if you are a kayaking enthusiast.
Camera: to help you capture these breathtaking sights as well as your movement on the water
Sunscreen: To protect you from the sun, especially if you know you will be kayaking for an extended period in the sun.
Water bottles and snacks: To give you the energy you need to paddle, you need bottled water and snacks to keep you well hydrated throughout your ride.
These are the materials that we consider essential for beginners to take on their kayak route. Some are optional, and you could skip them if the crossing is short. But it is always better to carry more than less. After all, you will need to use them sooner or later. Remember that it is for your safety.
Now that you know what you will need for kayaking, find a calmer place with less wave and enter the water for the first time.