So you want to try your hand at kayaking? It’s a great way to keep cool in the hot months and is a novel way of spending time with your friends. What do you need to get started? Below is a list of all the equipment you’ll need for your first kayak trip.
Without a kayak, you aren’t going anywhere. It’s important that your kayak matches the style of paddling you intend to do as there are different boats for white water, sea, and freestyle. I suggest doing some research before you get out on the water, but if you’re itching to get wet then you can’t go wrong with this Intex Challenger K2 Kayak.
It’s roomy enough for two average sized adults and even has space left over for all of your gear. I was really impressed by this kayak because for an inflatable boat, it handles beautifully. The added bonus with this particular model is the inclusion of a set of paddles, hand pump and reparation kit – perfect to get you out on the water as quickly as possible!
As with any extreme outdoor sport, helmets are a must-have and the legal requirements of most waterways usually require that you wear one. It’s best to check the local laws before you get out on the water. This Mazzif Watersports Helmet has been designed for most water sports and, as such, is completely waterproof. It’s exceptionally light (weighing only 285g) and is built out of a ‘super-hard’ PC alloy hard shell which should be more than capable handling anything. Mazzif makes this helmet in a variety of sizes and colors, so be sure to shop around to find one that fits you well.
3. Waterproof clothing
This is very much a matter of personal preference and relative water temperature. In the summer months, you should be fine without these – but be warned, paddling a boat in wet cotton clothes can quickly become uncomfortable. If you’re paddling in the white water, there’s no question that you’ll need a set of waterproof clothing as they offer more protection that your everyday clothes. This unisex set from Two Bare Feet is great for a first time kayaker. As an inexpensive and basic suit to get you used to the sport, it’s perfect. The suit is made from neoprene and stitched with flatlock seams that prevent chaffing in all the usual areas.
A PFD is a Personal Flotation Device, there’s no question about this – you need to have one. Even if you’re an expert swimmer, PFD’s and buoyancy aids can save your life. You’ll often see people on the river wearing life jackets, personally, I think that these are too bulky to swim in and can often be more of a nuisance to you when you’re trying to get out of a current. This Rivermaster from Nookie is on the expensive side, but with any safety device, it always better to invest a little more. What I like most about this particular product is the freedom it gives you. It’s designed to offer the least restriction to arm movement and, as such, makes swimming and handling equipment all the easier.
5. Spray deck
Spray decks help to keep water out of the boat. This is really useful if you find yourself canoeing in white water or kayaking in the sea, otherwise, they’re not strictly essential. Still, it’s best to know about them beforehand. This RUK Spray Deck has a fully adjustable neoprene waistband to ensure that water doesn’t start seeping into the boat with you because believe me, this isn’t nice. I like that this particular deck has a pocket mounted at the front for quick access. This deck should fit any kayak with a cockpit up to 90cm in length.