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If you are a total novice in kayaking, it may not sound any different than regular boating. However, kayaking is more like a personal endeavor, and you need some essential gear with you for the best experience. Being a beginner, it definitely is a hectic task to figure out what you need and what you don’t.
That’s why we are going to list down a gear checklist for beginners that you should always pack with you every time you are going kayaking. It’s going to help you even if you are not a complete starter.
So, without wasting time, let’s get started!
Here are some of the necessary gear and accessories that you must ensure that you are equipped with while you are sailing your kayak. Be patient and read till the end.
This goes beyond saying that you need a kayak for kayaking; that’s obvious. But what type and size of kayak do you need? Practically, there are different types of kayaks available in the market aiming at different levels of kayakers – from beginners to experts. Touring, inflatable, nesting, folding, sit-inside, sit-on-top, fishing, etc. - these are some of the most common kayaks that boaters choose.
For a beginner, using a sit-on-top kayak is going to be a perfect choice as these are quite durable and balance on the water. Even if you fall in the water, getting back to the kayak is very easy in this case.
The paddle you choose should be of great quality as it’s the only gear that you use to cut through the water. Most paddle’s shaft is made from fiberglass, aluminum, or carbon fiber. The blade is also made from carbon fiber and fiberglass. If you are just getting started, it’s best if you go with whatever seems to be an affordable one. However, if you are trying to be an expert, opting for paddles made from carbon fiber or fiberglass is a better option.
A buoyancy aid is kind of a life jacket that you are already familiar with. However, this is actually more comfortable to wear than a life-vest, as you get more room for your shoulder and neck movement. On a side note, even if you can swim, you shouldn’t ignore wearing the vest as you never know how oddly the water may behave in some cases. So, always be prepared for safety.
As regular shoes don’t fit well in the water, some boaters tend to flip-floppers when boating. The problem with flip-floppers is they don’t tend to be stuck to your feet quite often. If you are frequently moving your legs, chances are there that the flip-floppers will be dethatched from your feet. Not to mention that these will drown if you fall in the water! That’s why you need to wear wet shoes that are waterproof and fit perfectly to your feet.
Dry bags are waterproof bags that can keep anything you keep inside from getting wet. Kayakers usually put a separate set of clothes in the dry bag to make sure that they have something to wear if their clothes are totally wet. Plus, you can also keep your gadgets and devices in it that are not waterproof.
Although getting a helmet is not a dire need for a kayaker, it becomes essential if you are going on a trip on rough water. This becomes more relevant if you are kayaking on stream water instead of still water. In this case, the kayak may tremble more than ever, and there are chances that you may hit the kayak board with your head, or the paddle may hit your head, as well. If the water around the stream has rocks, the need for a helmet becomes a pre-requisite item.
Try to pick a large-sized sponge that you can use to keep the boat dry. While you ride, there will be a small amount of water inside the boat that can prove to be vital once it aggregates. Use the sponge to soak the water from the boat and squeeze the water out. This way, your boat will be clean and dry – safe from any potential danger of drowning.
The vast water around you won’t be of any help once you are thirsty. To keep yourself hydrated, don’t forget to board enough water with you. Keep a bottle of drinking water to support your thirst and prevent dehydration.
Kayak boats are totally open, and you have no ways to protect your head from getting hotter, except for using a hat. An oversized hat may provide you with some shades, and you can keep your head cool. Wear a sunglass, preferably a polarized one, for soft and anti-UV protection for easy view around.
A whistle can be of great help once you are in the middle of an emergency. If you are somehow drowning or expecting any sort of danger, you should immediately use the whistle to draw the attention of people around.
Here are some other useful gears that you should try to pick for your safe journey.
GPS Tracker: A GPS tracker will keep you safe if you are lost, and people around can track you drown.
Rain Jacket: In case it rains, wearing a rain jacket can save you from getting wet and catching hypothermia.
Dry Towel: A dry towel will help you get dry if you get wet from a continuous splash of water.
Weather App on Phone: Get a weather app on your phone to check the weather around. This way, you can return safely without getting in the middle of adverse weather.
Compass: Keep a compass with you to figure out your directions smoothly to avoid getting lost.
Beacon Light: A powerful beacon light will allow you to get noticed by people around the shore if your whistle sound doesn’t reach them.
This primary gear checklist that we have compiled for beginners is not actually limited to beginners. Regardless of their expertise, Kayakers should make sure that they have packed these essential gear and accessories before they set sail every time with their kayak boats.
However, for a beginner, you must bookmark this list to tick mark as long as you can set this in your mind.
Best of luck!