I don’t often accept guest blog posts here at the Adventure Blog, but my friends over at Austin Canoe and Kayak asked if the could submit something and since they’re based right here in my hometown I told them I’d be happy to publish a story from them. What they gave me is the great article below that I think will be of interest to many of you. There is a lot of good information here on the best gear items you’ll want to have with you on your next paddling trip.
And when you’re done reading the article, be sure to head over to AustinKayak.com to check out all of the great products they have for sale at bargain prices.
by Joseph Dowdy
I’m talking about ten items that every kayaker needs before getting on the water to ensure they’ll be prepared for anything and have a positive experience. You may modify this list depending on what you plan on doing but let’s start here.
Paddle – Of course you know you need a paddle to go kayaking. You won’t get very far without one. Like PFDs, kayak paddles have been designed for every type of paddler and you should take time to find the one that fits you best. Higher end models will be more expensive but are made of lightweight, durable materials that’ll leave you feeling like you can paddle forever.
Paddle Keeper – Having a place to secure your paddle is important especially when partaking in any activity that involves you getting in and out of your kayak, rapids, fishing or photography. Why is it important? Because you don’t want to lose your paddle! You can also substitute the paddle keeper with a leash.
Leashes, Hooks & Clips – A piece of gear escaping overboard is the easiest way to damper an otherwise great day on the water. Save yourself some worry and lake bottom searching by securing all of your gear onto your kayak. Use a combination of leashes, hooks and clips or carabineers to attach items around your kayak.
Water bottle – It’s smart to bring along a bottle of water or Camelbak to drink from even if you’re just going out for a light paddle on a cool overcast day. Camelbaks are a great investment for kayakers because they are hands free and allow you to drink while you paddle. Otherwise, any water bottle will do.
Sandals or Water Shoes – I can’t remember the last time I went kayaking without my sandals and that’s because I don’t like coming home at the end of a day with a pair of ruined tennis shoes. Unless you capsize or just decide to jump in, you won’t get soaked when you go kayaking but it is almost guaranteed that your feet will.
Dry Bags & Boxes – Whether you’re planning on bringing a pair of keys and wallet or a complete change of clothes, you’ll need to make sure this stuff stays dry. Kayak and kayaking accessory manufacturers make a wide variety of options and sizes from bags and boxes to small pouches designed to fit the shape of your phone. It’s always a good idea to keep the items you use more often in a separate location.
Emergency Kit – I started off with a red dry bag (red signifying emergency) and stuffed it with a small first aid kit, flashlight, matches, knife, rope, sunscreen, bug repellant and a rain jacket. Hopefully you’ll never have to open this bag but when you do, you’ll know you’ve got what you need.
Paddling Apparel – A pair of cotton shorts and a tee shirt may be just fine but using apparel designed to get wet and dry quickly will make your paddling experience a more comfortable and safer one. Shop for apparel that is made of synthetic materials that are capable of wicking sweat off your body and dry quickly. If paddling during the colder part of the year, also stick to synthetic materials but don’t forget to layer up!
It shouldn’t be hard to find these basic kayaking accessories. Specialty retailers will have all of these items and most will be fairly inexpensive too! One great example would be Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), who operates three physical locations in Texas and a very easy to use website, www.ack.com where you can search for these and other products. So next time you go kayaking, be prepared with the right gear and don’t learn the hard way like I did!
About the Author
Joseph is an avid kayaker based out of the central Texas area. He has paddled many of central Texas’ waterways and has attended and/or participated in many kayak fishing tournaments, races and paddling festivals. He’s currently employed at Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK) and loves that he gets to spend time working with his favorite toys.