Kayak trip

10 Things to Remember when planning a kayak trip

Kayaking Trips are some of the most exciting trips that you can plan during the spring and summer months. Not only will you be out in nature enjoying the views but you will also be getting the exercise that your body deserves. Unfortunately, sometimes accidents during kayaking trips can happen so it is best to be prepared and have a plan. In this kayaking guide, we will teach you how to kayak safely and efficiently.

10 Things to Remember when planning a kayak trip

1. Kayak with a Friend
Unless you are a very experienced kayaker or kayak instructor it is usually best to go on a kayaking trip with friends or family. Not only will it be more fun with more people but it is also a safer way to travel. If one of you flips you can have your friends help you get back in your kayak. Kayaking with friends is especially important when doing multi-day trips, not just for safety reasons but also because you have more room to bring stuff that you need such as tents, shelter, clothing, and food.

2. Have a Plan in Place
When going out for a kayak trip it is important to have a route planned before heading out. It would be ideal if you knew the area already. If you are not very familiar with the area, simply pack a GPS/ Cell phone or talk to some locals who kayak. Asking locals is one of the best ways to find out about the terrain because there are some things that GPS or maps just cannot tell you such as tides, wind speeds, currents, and water temperatures. Kayaking forums are also a great way to find out information about popular places.

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3. Bring a PFD or Life Vest!
One of the most important things that you can remember when you are kayaking is bringing a PFD, no matter where you are paddling. The types that are best for kayaking are usually type III’s. There are a lot of different kayaking specific PFD’s out there, its usually best to go out and spend a bit of money to go and get a good quality one that will last you for a long time. Just make sure that you are wearing it the entire time and it’s not just sitting on the bow of the kayak.

4. What Type of kayak will you be using?
The type of kayak that you choose is largely dependant on what kind of water you will be paddling. Below are some of the most common types for each situation.

Touring Kayaks: Recommended for more experienced paddlers who want to cover larger distances. You can also use these kayaks for multi-day trips.

Recreational: These kayaks are best for a day paddle in calmer bodies of water like slow-moving rivers, lakes, and bays. If you are a beginner you will probably get started with these kayaks.

Sit on Top Kayaks: Sit on top Kayaks are a favorite among fisherman so if you are thinking of doing some fishing on your kayak trip you may want to give these kayaks a try! Sit on Top kayaks are also good for beginners because they are wide, stable and they can carry more stuff.

Inflatable Kayaks: These are good starter kayaks but unless you are willing to spend more money on them they usually lack the on-water performance of their hardshell cousins.

Tandem Kayaks: These kayaks should only be considered if you are both well versed in paddling. Often times these kayaks are affectionately called “divorce boats”.

5. Choose the right clothing

This may sound obvious at first but it is important to dress for the conditions. When it is warmer you can have swim trunks, a PFD, and a shirt on but when conditions are temperate to chilly you may want to consider putting on a wetsuit or rash guard. Many people do not think they need this equipment until they take a dip in the water!

6. Pack for how long you are kayaking
The longer you will be kayaking the more equipment you will need to bring. For shorter Day trips you typically don’t need to bring too much equipment other than the essentials such as PFD’s paddles, navigation equipment, and a bilge pump. If you are going on a longer paddling journey then you need to consider camping equipment, shelter, and various other clothing. This is a good guide on what to bring on a multi-day kayaking trip.

7. Bring a spare Paddle
Not everyone thinks of this but it is a good thing to have on an emergency basis. Even a cheap paddle is better than losing a paddle and having no paddle at all. This is a must-pack item especially if you are going on a multi-day trip.

8. Bring a Whistle
This may not be very obvious but a whistle is often the only thing that can get you noticed if you are in peril. This is especially key if you are paddling in bigger bodies of water like lakes and oceans.

9. Bring lots of Water and Food
Water may not be the first thing that you think of because you are surrounded by it, but it is a good thing to remember to bring to keep you hydrated. In summer conditions it is very easy to get dehydrated in the hot sun. Food is another important thing to bring even if it is just a few granola bars. Consistent kayaking actually burns a surprising amount of calories so it is important to keep your body re-fueled.

10. Common Sense and Knowledge

All of these items on this list would be useless if you did not use your head in some situations. If you are sea kayaking make sure you know how to roll, you’ve practiced how to rescue yourself and you know how to rescue others. Learn to read the water conditions, know your kayaks limits, and use critical thinking for obstacles around you that you encounter.

Before going out on a kayaking trip be sure to remember these 10 tips before heading out because they could very well save your life.

Derek Lenze
Founder of FloatingAuthority.com
Derek is a paddling enthusiast that comes from Vancouver, Canada. When he is not paddling he can be found working on his blog Floating Authority.com.


  • Kayak trip: Derek Lenze
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