10 Tips & Tricks For An Enjoyable Kayak Trip
If you’re a beginner who has been kayaking for years, you might be eager to build up your skills and take more challenging watersports trips. Or, if you’ve watched people kayaking and wondered whether you’d have fun on a watercraft trip, there are ways to make your leisure activity much more enjoyable. In this article, I’ll describe several ways to make your kayaking trips more exciting.
Prepare physically for the trip
Kayaking is a physical sport. And although you do not have to be very strong to paddle, being fit for the trip makes it more fun. Do some short cardio exercises prior to your trip to strengthen your muscles, heart, and lungs.
You will be able to row for longer periods of time if your core and back muscles are in good shape. A strong heart and lungs allow you to enjoy your journey because you won’t need to stop every few minutes to catch your breath.
Bring the right gear and supplies
Your gear determines whether you will have fun or a frustrating kayaking trip. Here are a few things you will need:
Your preferred kayak type
Do you prefer sit-in or sit-on-top kayaks? Touring or whitewater kayaks? These are some of the questions you need to answer before heading out. If you are an expert paddler, you should know what kayak works for you. If you are a beginner, try various kinds of boats and settle at one that is comfortable and easy to paddle.
Sit-on-tops are best for beginners as it is easy to get in and out. It is also best if you don’t like your legs being covered up in a cockpit. On the other hand, sit-ins are an excellent option if you do not like getting wet, but it can be hard to get in and out.
Once you decide whether to go for sit-on-top or sit-in, narrow down to other types based on waters you wish to kayak on. For rapids, inflatable whitewater kayaks are the best. But, if you want to kayak for long distances with high speed, go for touring types. Simply figure out which vessel type works for you for a fun trip with less frustration and strain on your muscles.
A lightweight paddle
The type of kayak paddle you use makes a difference between a fun and a frustrating kayaking experience. Always carry a kayak paddle that is light enough to avoid hand muscle pains. Consider those made of carbon fiber shaft and plastic blades as they are the most lightweight. For budget paddles, go for the aluminum shaft. They are cheaper and reasonably light.
Choose the paddle of the right length based on the body height and your kayak’s size. The wrong length will ruin your kayaking experience. It is also best to learn how to paddle and practice until you are comfortable before heading out.
Sun protective gear
Staying sunburn-free is a great way to enjoy your kayaking experience. Carry sunscreen to slather your body to protect yourself against harmful UV rays. Reapply it after every two hours- set a reminder so that you do not forget.
Use protective clothing such as a buff or bandana and a hat to protect your neck and face. Sunglasses are also a must-carry for protection and good sight under the sun. Secure your hats and glasses with retainer cords as they can easily fly away as you kayak. Losing any of your items can ruin your adventure.
Other basic supplies for a safe and great kayaking experience include:
- Personal floatation device (PFD)/life jacket
- Signaling device
- Healthy snacks
- Dry bag to keep essential gear
Appropriate clothes make a huge difference during your kayaking adventure. Dress for the weather and prepare for any changes throughout your trip. Either way, ensure the clothes fit you well but are snuggly to allow you to freely move your hands as you steer the boat.
Put on a lightweight top and shorts if you are going for a short kayaking trip. Go for synthetic fabrics that wick away moisture to avoid being weighed down by wet clothes that can mess up your trip.
For long trips, wear wet and dry suits when not kayaking in summer. They will keep you warm and dry all day long for a comfortable kayaking experience. Try out your outfit before the adventure to ensure you can lift your arms with little resistance. This way, you avoid chafing and early muscle fatigues that can ruin your expedition.
If the weather is unpredictable, dress in layers to avoid too much heat or cold. Carry a light windbreaker to use when it becomes colder later in the day. Your PFD should also fit well with large armholes to keep you safe without interfering with your paddling. Also, remember to wear your sunglasses, sunhat, and bandana.
Familiarize with the basics
Apart from learning paddling techniques and appropriate dressing, it would help if you familiarize yourself with the common paddle and hand signals. Being able to signal accordingly gives you a sense of camaraderie in the boating community and builds confidence in the water. You can use the signals to warn others of impending obstacles or inform them when you are in danger. You can also understand the gestures of other kayakers to act accordingly while on water.
Kayak Trip: Start Easy
Kayaking is an exciting experience but takes time to learn the ropes fully. The secret to an enjoyable kayak trip, especially for first-timers, is to start easy. Don’t push too hard initially; kayak for a short distance. It can be frightening to paddle back if you go too far, and you can easily get seasick, ruining the entire trip. As such, limiting your trips for one hour or less gives your body time to adjust to kayaking.
Choose calm waters with less traffic on your first few expeditions to avoid stressful moments in the waters. Areas along shorelines and smaller lakes are less busy and will give you a good space to learn and navigate with ease.
Tag along with the right people
To stay safe while kayaking, it is recommended that you bring someone with you. However, the type of friend or family member you choose can make or break your adventure. Keep in mind the abilities of people you are tagging along with. If you go with beginners or young children on a trip, keep the adventure short. This way, you learn their reaction and comfort level to avoid complaints that may arise if they get overly tired.
If you are a beginner, tag someone you are comfortable with who cannot take more risks than you can accommodate. It is stressful and dangerous to kayak under pressure or in areas beyond your skill level. And, for this, you need someone who understands you and willing to adapt for your comfort. When you eventually find an interesting group to kayak with regularly, be with them whenever possible. Keep sharing ideas for enjoyable and lifelong kayaking adventures.
Kayak Trip: Plan secondary excursions
If you are going for long kayaking trips, it can be boring to be in the water doing the same thing all day long. Plan other activities to engage in together with kayaking. For instance, you can enjoy a cookout at the shore using your camping cookware and swim and cool off at the coves.
Consider also camping in a new place as you kayak. This gives you a chance to explore the area as you kayak and do other activities. You can also add interesting hobbies such as fishing and photography to avoid getting bored easily.
Kayak Trip: Explore new locations
Kayaking in the same location all year round can get boring. Research new locations and plan your kayaking expedition with your buddies. The thought of kayaking in a different spot awakens the urge for the trip and gives you more fun and experience.
Change your kayaking style
If you are used to kayaking in a certain way, it can get monotonous. Monotony will soon make kayaking uninteresting, and you may soon be unmotivated to plan for your next adventure.
At that point, try different kayaking styles. For instance, try whitewater or tandem kayaking if you are used to long, slow touring paddling trips. This way, you break the boredom while building an experience that will go towards more fun paddling excursions.
Consider the weather and time
Wrong timing can ruin your kayaking adventure. During summer, plan kayaking trips early morning or evening to avoid scorching heat at noon. Do not freak out when you see dark clouds during such times. As long as you have your wet suits, rain showers will not ruin your trip. Only cancel your adventures when there are very strong winds or thunderstorms to avoid getting in danger which can create bad kayaking memories.
Kayak Trip: Key Insights & Takeaways
Whether you will have an enjoyable or frustrating kayaking trip lies within you. Always have pre-trip plans to avoid last-minute frustrations that can ruin your adventures. Have everything you will need in place and be flexible to change your style and kayaking location for a fun-filled and memorable experience in the waters!
About the author:
Name: Ally Mash
Bio: Ally is an avid outdoor enthusiast who has spent most of his free time backpacking through South America, Iceland, Vietnam, and Europe. He loves sharing his experience through Adventures Pursuit. His mission is to get more people in the mindset of protecting our planet by sharing its beauty.