5 Must Have Things To Take When Planning a Kayaking Trip

Whether you are an experienced or novice kayaker, it’s always good to have a handy guide to refer to when you’re planning a kayaking trip, be it annually or monthly (you lucky). With the excitement of the event, it’s all too easy to miss something during your preparation.

With that in mind, we have put together a list of essential things to consider when planning your next trip.

Now, take note, the last thing you want is to be caught up sh*t creek without a paddle.

1. Weather Conditions

“Check the weather before you go”. Yes, yes, we’ve all heard it before. It’s as much as a cliché as remembering to check you’ve got your passport before flying.

Weather Condition Kayaking

Source: BLMOregon

However, the weather is still one of the biggest factors when it comes to planning a kayaking trip. Certain coastal spots and inland regions are known for their violent and volatile weather systems. All it takes is a couple of hours of heavy rain, and that gentle river soon swells to a dangerous torrent.

You should know the weather forecast for the days or weeks you plan on taking the trip. Getting the weather report ahead of time, and staying informed of changes during your stay, puts you in the driver seat of your safety. Plus, even though you’ll be on the water, it’s no fun getting rained on the entire time! (especially if you have your pupper with you on the kayak)

2. Kayak Maintenance

There’s a lot of truth in the saying; “better safe than sorry.” Whether you do it or not, it’s safe practice to check for damage and carry out maintenance on your kayak every 4-5 trips.

This is due to the conditions we face while paddling. Bumping into rocks, strong drifts, or dropped kayaks all take their toll on our rafts, even if you have a super durable inflatable.

Kayak Maintenance

Source: ConorSmith

Taking the time to service your kayak will give you piece of mind and allow you to enjoy your trip knowing that you have a water ready kayak.

Most kayaking and outdoor stores are only too happy to share their knowledge and assist you in maintaining your equipment.

3. Indoor Sessions

If it’s been a while and you’re a little rusty with your paddle, brushing up on your stroke before a big trip is always a good idea – especially if you’re going on a multi-day sea excursion with a large group. Nobody wants to be that guy that drifts along at the back like deadwood.

Although no way as exciting as being out in the great outdoors, indoor sessions are an excellent sport specific exercise that will shock your paddling muscles back into action. Classes can be difficult to locate, and your local kayaking club would be your best bet.

Failing that, a couple of short paddling sessions on calm water should be enough to sharpen your skills and get your muscles prepped for the main event. And if all else fails, there’s always the rowing machine to kick your ass back into shape.

4. Essential Items

No kayak trip guide would be complete without a list of essential items. The following items are not just recommended – they are MUST haves for all long distance kayaking trips.

  • Meals – We suggest nonperishable foods rich in nutrients and energy
  • Trail Mix – High in protein and a great energy booster. Take a large bag with you in addition to your meals
  • Hiking & Water Shoes – If you plan on travelling over rough terrain during your trip, pack your hiking boots for proper foot and ankle support. Water shoes make your feet comfortable and are great when kayaking long distances
  • First Aid Kit – Make sure that you have enough supplies for you and your group
  • Flashlight – Always handy
  • Good Tent and sleeping bag – Only required if you plan on sleeping under the stars
  • Signal Extender – Perfect for those shrouded woodland areas that block signal
  • Toiletries – Unless you plan on going Bear Grylls style, remember to pack soap, deodorant, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, and toilet paper
  • GPS – You should know where you are and where you’re going at all times
  • Map – Always have a backup method of orienteering yourself when you’ll be out in the bush for several days. Sometimes the old ways are the best and a map and compass will function long after your GPS has lost power.
  • Safety Vests – Don’t forget your vest, even experienced kayakers can take a dip.

5. Kayak Travel Insurance

This is the most important must have thing to take. It will protect your entire trip. From cancellation due to weather, to lost or broken equipment from the grade 4 white water rafting you decided to do after all.

Most trips will be weather dependent and delays are imminent even with a slight alteration in forecast. No one wants to take a chance with their lives after all. That’s why all guided adventures strong recommend some kind of an insurance policy to be financially covered in case of any change in your itinerary.

The last thing you want is to have spent your time preparing and planning with zeal and excitement just to have your trip ruined and not have the means to do it again as these trips can get costly.

We use RoamRight as our main kayaking trip insurance company. They are competitively priced, easy to work with, and there when you need them.

They even include medical coverage with their policy. This saved us big time on our last vacation, as my cousin broke his foot during our that trip. We called RoamRight and they took care of all the bills, easy peazy.

What Now?

Although it may seem tedious and be time-consuming, covering the above list of essential things will keep you safe your next kayak trip.

Planning isn’t meant to drain all the fun out of a trip. It’s done to ensure your safety and make sure you’re prepared and properly set-up for every eventuality.

However, you can only plan so much, and when you feel as if you’ve ticked all the boxes, there’s only one thing left to do; go out there and enjoy the adventure.

Featured Image By Anna