Kayaking is not just for non-motorized paddling on the lake, Make it an adventure! Did you know that kayaking can be more than just a paddle around the lake? Lets go Kayaking! I had no idea until my mom became an avid kayak-er. This is quite the adventurous sport and people all over the country have stepped up kayaking into a 2-3 day even longer adventure. This has prompted me to do a little research. Up till now our kayak trips include a lunch, the dogs, a remote control boat, and an afternoon around our local lake. After watching and learning what my mom does, I'm convinced you can turn kayaking into a vacation if your idea is roughing it, and not a 5 star Hilton. So what do you take on a kayak adventure?
First things first, a kayak. There are several to choose from and 2 basic types. Sit on top and sit in. Ascend Kayaks and Accessories I like my sit-on-top because it's more stable feeling in the water to me, my dogs have more room to walk around, and I can sun my legs, but our sit-in is cooler, since it sits deeper in the water. There are also short skirted sit-ins that are used in white water. I would recommend what ever kayak is most comfortable to you and what suits your all around needs. Choosing a Kayak If you plan to fish, be sure to get one set up for fishing. It will have rod pockets and holders to keep your fishing rods, as well as spots to hold bait and tackle. Be sure to check out our 1 source page for what you should know for kayak fishing. http://1source.basspro.com/index.php/component/k2/81-kayaking/3542-fishing-from-a-kayak
Next is your paddle. I find a longer paddle gives me more reach and allows a more comfortable longer stroke. A shorter paddle gives you a good shoulder work out and is needed for a shorter kayak. This is a formula for the best paddle fit, (paddler height x boat width) and know your angle low or high, average length is a 220cm paddle. Do some research and adjust your paddle as you progress in the sport.
Next is life Jacket, invest your money well on this item! Fit is very important and this is the item that can save your life! I would recommend a life jacket specific for kayaking. It will be more comfortable. Make sure and try them on and sit down and move your arms in paddling motions. You want a jacket that gives you room to paddle and not pinch or rub in your arm movements. They are weight rated, so know your weight, and don't lie on this one. if you go too light, it may not hold you up. If you go too heavy, it may be too big and slip in the water. They also need to fit snug. If it's loose, it may be too big or not adjusted down far enough. You want it to stay in place should you get wet.
Speaking of wet, should you overturn and get wet, you want your gear to stay dry. This brings the need for dry bags. Especially, since this is an adventure, we are taking a lot more gear with us. There are several different sizes and weights. I would pack different bags for different stuff. Example: food and water filter, clothes, emergency, and sleeping gear I would pack in separate bags. This will allow you to only unpack what you need at the time and not everything you brought with you. It will help in packing your kayak as well. You don't have a lot of ample space, so pack small and tight so you can have options of where to stash and strap your gear down. Water tight is what you need. You can skimp and try zip locks and trash bags, but one dump in the water and will be sorry. This may cost you too. You may have to buy all your friends beer for helping you retrieve your items or worse case, all your gear sinks and you know have no shelter, food, or clothes. Now your adventure is over. So be prepared and pack smart.
Emergency essentials. A paddle, first aid kit, survival tool, knife, whistle, light, headlamp, poncho, rope, cell phone or GPS hand held, and batteries, would be in my emergency kit.
Now, let eat and drink! A small backpack style stove works great for kayaking. Jetboil, is the first type that comes to mind and don't forget fuel. This will allow you to eat a hot meal. Pack a nice selection of dehydrated food, Mountain House beef stroganoff is one my favorites and cookie and cream, ice cream for dessert. Pack enough for all your meals out. Energy bars, beef jerky, and compact snacks are great too. Water is essential to staying hydrated, but heavy to pack. So bring a filter and or filter system so you can pack less water, but be able to drink the water around you safely. Sawyer makes a great versatile filter that be used on a bottle, a bag, or in a hydration pack line. Do you research and get a good one that fits all your needs.
Just a few more items. Clothing and hygiene. Personal care and hygiene items to your preference. No rinse body wash, makes a great packable soap. along with other travel size products. Sunscreen and shades. Pack clothes and wear clothes that are versatile. Pants that zip off into shorts, long sleeve, light weight shirts that the sleeves roll up and fasten. Base layers are always a good idea if the weather is in cooler months, spring and fall. Water shoes that allow the water to leave the shoes and wool socks to keep your feet warm and dry. Gloves and a hat will also keep you from getting sun-burnt and blisters on your hands.
Last but not Least, Your sleeping gear. What you invest in and pack can make a huge difference on how well you will sleep. A sleeping bag with the proper temperature rating is essential. Our Ascend 20 degree mummy bag, is a great choice. Packs down small and tight, but will also keep you warm. A compact, self inflating, sleeping pad will help keep you warm and your back happy. Then for shelter, you can do a one man tent or a hammock. The hammocks seem to be the most popular now. They are super lightweight, easy to pack, no poles and comfortable to sleeping. Make sure your not kayaking or sleeping above treeline; that could pose a problem. A bug screen and rain fly are a good idea depending on where you go. Be to be safe and protected than not.
We would love for you to share your photos and read your adventure stories. Do you have any gear on the list, you would like us to cover more in depth on a separate blog? We like to know what interests you, so let us know..