Things you need to know when going kayaking

Things you need to know when going kayaking

From Eugene Stadnik

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Like every other activity, it's necessary to keep in mind certain things to bring along with you when going on a trip. To go kayaking, it's basic that you take with you your own kayak, paddle and lifejacket -if you're not renting them-, water, sunglasses, a cap, sunscreen and a thermal T-shirt.

What's there to know about kayaks?

About the kayak, there are several things to know: first of all, don't be scared if you need to bring with you a lot of things because a kayak can carry a hundred pounds of extra weight, so you may take whatever you need. The canoe has, at least, one compartment where you can keep your clothes and food, but the majority have two: one in the bow and the other in the stern. Most canoes allow you to keep your things on the exterior instead of in the compartments.

What do I need to know before going on the trip?

If it's the first time you're going on a kayak camping trip, make sure the weather is nice and there won't be any thunderstorms.

Learn about security in the water and what to do in case of emergency. Also, there are certain manoeuvres and signals that you must learn before going into the water: a short whistle is to get the attention of other paddlers. A long whistle, and moving the paddle up and down means "help".

Be aware of how important it is to have a good physique because it will not be possible to stop anywhere to rest.

A lot of veterans agree about the need of knowing where you're going. It would be best if you could visit and get to know the place before diving into the waters.

Which safety equipment do I need to know?

The basic equipment includes the life jacket and whistle: the first one will help you keeping yourself afloat and the second one will help you call whoever is near you. It's advised to bring flares, but those are only used in cases of extreme emergencies. Also you need some kayak rack for truck to transport your kayak to the river.

The life jacket must be your size: you won't be comfortable wearing one that's a size too small because it will prevent you from paddling, and wearing a size too big won't help you in case of an emergency.

What should I eat? What should I drink?

On the one hand, everything you need to pack is very similar to what you would bring to a backpacking trip: three meals and snacks, and a water purifier. The best thing to do would be to pack fresh food, as cooking is gonna be almost impossible. It's important that all of this is kept in a dry bag that's not going to contain anything else.

On the other hand, if you wish to bring with you other beverages that are not water, the best thing to do would be to choose small containers so it doesn't weight too much.

What clothes do I need to pack?

Moreover, for the clothes you're going to need another dry bag -in the store you're going to find dry bags of different sizes- and the best advice would be to pack them tightly -you don't want them to move around the kayak-. If you're going to go on a kayak camping trip in the summer, it's essential to pack a cap and lots of sunscreen to prevent skin cancer. If instead you go in the winter, you're going to need thermal T-shirts and windbreakers.

What about my phone?

When you're in the store, make sure you buy a little dry bag where you can keep your phone, the GPS, the camera and whatever other item you may be needing.

How do I handle the kayak?

Your body must be always kept straight and you must never lean on the back of the canoe. Don't bent your knees completely, only slightly. When paddling, rotate your torso alongside the direction of the paddle. Moreover, when paddling, be as quiet as possible. If you hear a splash, you're doing it wrong.

Kayak is a great sport to not only exercise, but relax, because when you're out in the water, it's relaxing to just sit back and admire the views. Don't let the fear scare this experience away!

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