Looking to go kayaking or canoeing? Like all outdoor activities, there will be some clothing and equipment that you will need so as to remain safe and comfortable while on water. Below is a basic accessory list that will detail 10 kayaking equipment you shouldn’t go without.
1. Decent paddle
Make sure to purchase a paddle that is not necessarily cheap. A nice paddle will ensure that your outing is enjoyable as it is lighter and therefore able to swing around very easily. To support this, try out a high end carbon fiber and you will understand how easy and comfortable it is when compared to the cheap ones. Try not to purchase a long paddle. A Paddle is considered the right size by placing it vertically and reaching up then wrapping your fingers around the end of the paddles comfortably making sure that you do not stretch while doing so.
2. Paddle float
This is a bag that is inflatable and is used during a self-rescue like when you fall out of the kayak and need to return into it. One method of returning to a kayak is inflating a paddle float on a single blade of the paddle and then using it like an out-trigger to get back in. There are paddle floats which feature a dual chamber enabling you to have another float if one of them fails.
3. Life-vest that is specific to kayaking
Life-vests that are specifically made for kayaking differ from other life-vests differently. Some differences are: The kayaking life-vest has a higher back which does not interfere with the seat of the kayak, the kayaking life-vests have been designed to fit comfortably for kayaking movements, and the kayaking life-vest has a comfortable fit so that you do not get rubbed the wrong way when you paddle. Some models also come with pockets that enable you to put things like cameras, snacks, radios, etc.
4. Bilge pump
When water gets into your kayak, you will need to get out. This especially occurs during capsize. It can also come from splashes, waves, or boat wake. In canoes, people tend to use buckets but buckets don’t work efficiently in kayaks because it is difficult to get the bucket filling the small area available. A bilge pump can pump out water very quickly and efficiently.
5. Spray skirt
A spray skirt is normally worn around the waist. While sitting on water, the skirt will seal the opening of the cockpit ensuring that water is kept out of the boat. If paddling is going to be done in a water area that is large or in weather that is not very friendly, then you will need to purchase a spray skirt.
6. Dry bags
Keeping your items and spare clothes dry while you are in the water is very important and you may require a container that is waterproof for this. It is recommended to bring at least 2 bags each trip you take. One bag will contain spare clothes and the other will have things like cell phones, wallets and other things that you normally bring with you. It is much easier to locate space for smaller dry-bags than larger ones while packing a kayak. For small items like cell phones and wallets, consider using a 5 liter bag and for the rest of the items, use a 10 liter bag.
Whistles are helpful in making other people who are travelling in boats recognize you. In some waters, it is a required item while in water and it can also be used to communicate with other paddlers. They can also be used during an emergency so as to get attention.
8. Rescue sling
A rescue sling can help you to get back into the boat by providing you with something to step on if all other attempts fail. After the sling is wrapped around the coaming of the cockpit, you proceed to stepping on the sling and then getting into the boat. It can also help when you are trying to rescue someone else.
If your kayak does not have bulkheads, then ensure that you carry flotation with you. If a kayak is filled with water, then it will not float well. Various manufacturers deal with this problem by adding hatches and bulkheads so as to create storage areas that are airtight and watertight. When coming out of the boat, the cockpit is filled with water and the bulkheads aid by keeping the ends dry. If a boat lacks bulkheads, it will end up filling with water thus making rescue and recovery very hard even for paddlers who are experienced. Float bags are purchased so as to help prevent this problem that occurs especially in recreational kayaks.
10. Compass and map
Some waterways tend to be confusing and so you will require a compass and a map so that you can get a sense of direction. It is recommended to mount one compass on the kayak and another simpler one on the life-vest.
These are some of the recommended kayaking equipment that you may require on a kayaking trip. While there is other equipment that you may need especially when paddling on larger bodies of water, these ones will ensure that you have a safe and comfortable trip when kayaking on smaller waters.