A fantastic kayaking trip can be a once in a lifetime experience but choosing from the huge array of options can be difficult, especially if you are hoping for that ideal adventure on the water! There are some great options available for a kayaking trip and whether you want to explore rivers, lakes, coastal areas or reservoirs and inland waterways there is something just perfect waiting for you. The big question becomes how do I decide on the right kayak and what trip to take. Here are some questions you should answer to help you decide.
What is your level of skill and proficiency? Safety First!
When you are deciding where to take a kayaking trip you need to consider the environment you will be entering so if you know that you can’t handle heavy white water then avoid those rivers! You can find plenty of information online about your potential destinations before you arrive and although there are preferences that you should pay attention to, safety should always be the number one criteria when you are planning a trip.
Before you head off to travel in still or moving waters you need to be confident with the basics of safety including the primary kayaking strokes and the rules of operating in your kayak.
Ask yourself if you are comfortable with the various strokes of kayaking, including forward, backwards, a J stroke and much more. Whatever your level of skill you need to be able to guarantee that you can move around safely and with confidence on the water. Do you know how to do an Eskimo roll or escape from a capsizing kayak without putting yourself at risk of harm or danger? If not you need to seek training or tuition from a qualified expert before you consider heading out on your own or even in a group.
Don’t let Safety Concerns put you off from planning a wonderful kayaking trip
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Choosing a Location to Kayak
Once you have mastered the basic strokes, eskimo rolls and know how to escape a capsizing kayak then you are more than ready to begin planning for your kayaking trip. Kayaking is a wonderful adventure that will let you explore the amazing scenery of the natural world while enjoying the calming experience of being on the water. Of course, if your skills are up to it, you can also start planning a wild ride on a water water river where your adrenaline will be supercharged as you navigate the fast flowing waters of the river.
What kind of Trips can you take with your kayak?
There are many kinds of kayaking trips that you can plan, from day trips to longer excursions. Make sure that you have packed the essentials for you trip, including food, water and other supplies as well as the clothes, camping equipment and safety gear that you will need.
Top Types of Kayaking Trip
- River Cruises are an amazing way to explore an area while enjoying the birdlife, the scenery passing by while giving you a wonderful opportunity to camp by the shores at night.
- Coastal Cruises offer you the chance to experience the spectacular coastal scenery. You will need to be aware of the waves, underwater currents and weather conditions to stay safe and bring a radio or other communication device with you in case of emergency.
- White Water Rapids are found on steep rocky rivers and offer you a heart racing adrenaline filled adventure. Before you take on white water rapids you should be very proficient in your kayak and it is usually safer to go in groups.
- Reservoirs and lakes present a lovely relaxed way to enjoy your kayak while spending time outdoors. On still water you can even have a picnic floating out on your kayak which is a lovely way to have your lunch!
There is a kayaking trip that is perfect for everyone and so if you are going with a group take the time to discuss what you are planning! It’s fun to map your route and decide where you are going to camp, have lunch and explore!
How to Choose the Perfect Kayak for You?
Before you can decide what kind of kayak you should choose you need to know about the options that are available for you to select from.
- Sit-on-top kayaks are probably the most common type of kayak and are extremely user friendly, sturdy and reliable. They have wider structures and are easy to get in and out of and since they are self bailing, by utilizing scupper holes, they are a good choice for coastal cruises as well as river and reservoir trips.
- A Surf Ski is a very narrow type of kayak that is designed for speed, racing and high performance. They are designed for paddling fast through waves, surf and on still waters. Although not ideal for beginners they are a great fun option for experiencing life in the fast lane!
- Inflatable kayaks are a new introduction to the kayak market that have changed the perception that kayaks take a lot of space to store and transport around. They are extremely safe but not suitable for white water or other high intensity environments, although they are great for novices and newcomers to the sport.
- A Folding Kayak is usually made from nylon or canvas skins that are stretched over a folding aluminium frame. Although these are not advised for white water they are a convenient option if you are travelling in an RV or with your family in a car and only intend to paddle in still water.
- Kit Kayaks are the Do It Yourself person’s dream giving you the opportunity to build your own boat! This is a serious undertaking and although you will save money by making your own you will need certain specialized equipment and some good engineering skills to achieve success. Of course you will always have the personal satisfaction of knowing that you made your own vessel!
- White Water Kayaks are expertly designed to be able to survive the rugged conditions that white water presents. They vary by length, width and size but all of them are ready to handle any conditions that a river can throw at you.
When you are selecting the right kayak for you need to consider several other factors beyond the basic type of model that you need.
What kind of seating do you want?
Do you want a sit-on-top kayak or a more snug fit? This will depend on the type of water you will be voyaging in but if you choose the most comfortable option you will be off to a good start.
Do you need storage space?
If you are planning a longer expedition and need to carry camping equipment, food and water with you for your journey then you need to select a kayak that has enough storage space for your particular needs.
How many people will be in the kayak?
Of course, you need to ensure that you select a kayak which has enough room for the occupants and so if you are planning to travel with a friend or partner you will need a two-seater kayak!
Remember too that even if you don’t want to share the kayak with another passenger, having the extra space can be handy for storing kit on camping trips or longer day excursions when you may want to bring food and water with you. A two-seater kayak is also good for fishing.
Make sure that you are comfortable in your kayak
You will be spending extended periods of time in your kayak so be sure that you are comfortable in it. You can always use a cushion to make things more comfortable, but your seating position should not strain your knees, ankles or back while you are in the kayak.
What are the Best Kayaks for Competitions?
Depending on the type of competition you are planning to compete in you will need to choose a different model. For white water racing you need to select a strong, sturdy white-water kayak whereas for still water competition you will need a sleek, narrow design that is made for speed!
You will need to find out in advance what the specific competition requirements are, which may vary considerably from one another, to ensure that your kayak meets the conditions that are set out in the rules.
What type of material should I Consider when selecting a kayak?
Kayaks are made of many materials but the most common are fiberglass, wood, aluminum and even glass! They vary widely in price and utility but fundamentally if you are buying a kayak from a reputable manufacturer or supplier the kayak will have been product tested in the toughest of conditions to ensure that it is reliable and safe. Price will be a determining factor but where possible you should spend towards the upper end of your budget to get the best results.
Recap- Your Ideal Kayaking Trip and the Perfect Kayak
When you are choosing where to go on your kayaking trip you have a huge range of options but wherever you decide to go you will have a wonderful time. Taking the right kayak with you for the conditions and with the right training under your belt you will be in the perfect position to have a great, once in a lifetime experience.