A kayaking trip can be exactly what you need, time in the great outdoors, breathing in the fresh air, getting exercise, and reconnecting with your thoughts outside the digital sphere. It can also be a nightmare filled will mosquitoes, aches, hunger, and sunburn made all the worse because you’ve still got several hours to deal with on the return trip. The following will explore some useful tips that could help you plan your next kayaking trip and encourage the first scenario while discouraging the second. When it comes to kayaking trips, being prepared is absolutely necessary.
Let Someone Know Where You’re Going
First and foremost, you should always let someone know where you’re going, how long you’re expecting to be gone, and any stops you plan on making along the way. You might even want to schedule calls back home if you’re going to be stocking up somewhere along the way that has cell reception. This will help ensure that if something happens to you on the trip, your absence is quickly noticed, and people are looking for you. When it comes to any search and rescue scenarios, the sooner people start looking and the more exact information they have about where you were travelling, the better your chances of being found.
Study Your Route
Once you select your kayaking route, you need to learn a little bit about it. Look at the maps, read up about the weather in the area at the time you’re travelling, take note of any area-specific dangers you might encounter, and start calculating how much food and water you’ll need to bring with you to stay energized and happy as you kayak. It’s important to remember that you probably need more to eat and drink than you’re used to, as kayaking is a pretty intense form of exercise. If you’ve never paddled for as long as you intend on paddling, you might want to practise a bit before the trip so that you feel confident in your fitness level to handle the specific route you’ve chosen. As you study the route, take notes on things you’re going to need on the trip.
Get Your Kayak Sorted
You might already have a kayak, but if you don’t, figure that out. It is possible to rent kayaks in some areas, and there are also different kinds of kayaks you might want to select depending on the trip you’re planning. It’s a good idea to ask a local kayak professional if you’re not sure what you need. If the trip involves hiking and carrying the kayak, you might want to look into the best inflatable kayak for the trip you’re taking. This way, you can deflate it and have a much easier time carrying it.
Get A Safety Kit Together
Your safety kit is crucial, especially if you’re going to be travelling along less popular routes. In addition to a basic first aid kit, you’re probably going to want a whistle, a flare, an emergency blanket (don’t worry, these fold up small enough to fit inside your wallet), and bear or dog spray if your route might bring you in contact with dangerous animals.
Look Up The Laws
In many places, you’re required to have an emergency flotation device when you’re in a kayak. This might mean a lifejacket or some other inflatable item. If you intend on fishing as you kayak, you’ll need to look up the regulations along your route and be sure to sort out any licenses beforehand.
Depending on what you’re bringing on the trip, you’re going to need a waterproof solution for at least some of your belongings. There are small cases big enough to hold phones and other valuables that are completely waterproof, but there are also full-sized backpacks you can get if you want to have a dry change of clothes or snacks that aren’t damp. Figure out what you’re bringing, and then be sure to bring enough waterproof baggage to keep anything that needs to say dry out of the water. You might even want to look into waterproof clothing if you’re going to be travelling a long way and don’t want to be soggy for hours.
Understand Your Responsibilities
When you’re travelling in the wilderness, either alone or with friends, your safety is your responsibility. Learning the signs of common struggles like hypothermia or dehydration is critical. You also want to have an understanding of what you’re going to do if you get lost. If anyone travelling with you carries medication or an EpiPen or has any specific medical needs, someone else should be kept aware of these needs so fast action can be taken should a problem arise. For example, if your friend is severely allergic to bee stings, someone else should know this so that, in the event of a sting, medication can be administered and help sought quickly. Knowing how to handle emergencies is part of being prepared for a kayaking trip.
Beyond your own health and safety, you also have a responsibility to the land you’re travelling alone. This goes far beyond littering. Chemicals should not be allowed to get into the water; this includes most shampoos, soaps, sunscreens, and bug sprays. If you need these things, seek out alternatives that don’t kill off biodiversity. Have a plan for any garbage you create (the plan will revolve around taking it with you). Further, in some places where the land is extremely untouched, you might be encouraged to remove your own waste from the environment and dispose of it when you’re back with civilization as the bacteria in your waste will be different from the bacteria in the area and this can wreak havoc on wildlife.
Make Sure Everyone Is On The Same Page
If you’re travelling with a group, you might want to have a discussion ahead of time about everyone’s aims. If one friend views the trip as a marathon designed to push them to their physical limits and another sees it as the perfect Instagram photoshoot, and another wants to play music on their little speaker as everyone rows, and another wants to get away from all technology, you’re going to have a lot of unhappy travellers. Everyone should be on the same page in regards to the ideal pacing and the vibe of the trip, so people aren’t disappointed.
The above tips should help you plan a safe and fun kayaking trip. Again, preparation is critical for you to enjoy the adventure. If you know all your needs will be met and you have plans in place should emergencies arise, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the breathtaking views.