Kayaking Tips for Beginners
Kayaking is one of the most popular outdoor sports practiced in North America. Kayaks are light, easy to maneuver and require almost no maintenance. The following article offers a few tips for beginner kayakers:
1. Wear suitable clothing. Kayakers are exposed to a variety of weather conditions. Dress in lightweight layers that can be added or removed as conditions change. Wear water resistant clothing when possible. Wear kayaking shoes or other wettable footwear.
2. Choose a good flotation device. Personal flotation devices (PFDs) come in a variety of types. Most kayakers will be wearing a PFD at all times, so choosing a device that is comfortable and effective is important.
3. Bring along simple navigation aids. These include a paper map, compass and optional GPS unit. Study your route and know basic navigation before leaving on your adventure.
4. Pack efficiently. Bring a light duffle bag or tote, with items pre-organized and packed in plastic bags or containers when necessary. Other types of containers that are suitable for kayaking include small buckets or tubs which can double as a bailing device, emergency paddle or for other uses.
5. Bring along a small towel. A small towel can have many uses when kayaking. Laying a towel across your lap while under way is a simple way to stay dry. A towel also provides a place to lay small items that may be needed at a moment's notice.
6. Adjust your seat, foot pedals and paddle. Taking a few moments to get comfortable with your kayak can really pay off in the long run. Paddlers can choose offset or non-offset paddles (many are adjustable). Most kayaks have adjustments for seats and pedals, which can improve efficiency while avoiding fatigue.
7. Wear sun protection. This includes hat, sunglasses, long sleeve shirt and sunblock. Don't forget to apply sunblock to the insides of legs and upper feet, both areas that are in direct sun in a kayak.
8. Keep electronics handy, but dry. Store cell phones, GPS units, cameras and other sensitive equipment in waterproof pouches or heavy duty zipper bags.
9. Take a lightweight fishing rod. Kayaking trips often include exploring some of the best fishing habitat in the world. There is usually room for a light rod and basic tackle.
10. Pace yourself. Keep track of time, position and other information. Kayaking can be thrilling and its easy to lose track of time. Remember to turn back towards home before getting too tired.
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