Month: May 2018

How to pack for a sea kayaking trip

How to pack for a sea kayaking trip


Beginner Kayaking

In deciding how to pack for a sea kayaking trip you will need to inventory all of your safety equipment and make sure that everything is in good working order. If any of your safety gear is not working properly or shows signs of wear, you should replace it.

Having the safety equipment to help you through any unforeseen problems should be your first priority. Sea kayaking tours can be just as dangerous as whitewater kayaking so you will need to be prepared. Before going into how to pack for a sea kayaking trip we will first review some of the safety equipment that you should pack for your paddling adventure.

Overview of Safety Equipment

  • Make sure that you have some paddle parks firmly mounted on your kayak, These consist of several small clips or lines that will hold your extra paddle firmly to your kayak, Make sure that they are mounted in a location that you can easily reach while sitting in your cockpit.
  • A good quality floating bilge pump. If water gets into your kayak you could be in a very serious situation. Make sure your bilge pump is sturdily made and will pump at a reasonably high volume per minute. If you can not find a bilge pump that floats either brace it to your kayak or attach flotation securely to it so that it can not be lost.
  • Kayak compasses are a necessity for sea kayaking tours. Personal compasses are not suitable for the constant motion of sea kayaking and may not be waterproof. Mount a good kayak compass for easy directional viewing. Some people are mounting waterproof portable GPS units onto they kayaks. For those that like hi-tech this may be the way to go. You will also need charts or suitable maps of the area to use with this equipment.
  • Paddle floats are a necessity because they can save your life. If you fall out of your kayak in deep water, paddle floats will help you to get back into your boat. Make sure that you learn how to use your paddle floats by practicing in calm water.
  • When learning how to pack for a sea kayaking trip you will discover that an assortment of good quality dry bags are essential. You will also need a waterproof cell phone carrier, camera carrier, and waterproof carriers for other electronic equipment for kayaking. If you have been out in the open water you know that water gets into everything unless you protect it.
  • Safety equipment to pack in your PFD pockets include battery-powered waterproof strobe lights, waterproof portable radio, cell phone in waterproof carrier, emergency flares, and a pocket knife. You should also wear a good tow belt rated for long range touring and a kayak whistle.
  • You will also need a well stocked first aid kit, an emergency blanket, and extra non-cotton, water-temperature appropriate, clothing to pack with your other bulkhead-stored supplies. A good pair of waterproof closed-toe shoes, suitable for paddling, in also highly recommended.


How to Pack for a Sea Kayaking Trip Overview

To learn how to pack your kayak for a sea kayaking trip there are few important tips to remember. Always pack some extra food and water in case you are out longer than originally planned. You can pack lightweight items into your kayak while on the beach and then load the heavier items just before you get in the cockpit. To keep the kayak stable you should always pack the heaviest items in the center of the bulkhead and closest to where you are sitting.

Make sure that you pack into dry bags all supplies that you want kept dry and then load them into the bulkheads. Your first aid kit should always be packed on top for ease of use. The more experienced that you become in packing your kayak, the easier it will become. Stay safe and have a great adventure.


Important Tips in Analyzing Rivers for Whitewater Kayaking

Important Tips in Analyzing Rivers for Whitewater Kayaking

Analyzing Rivers for Whitewater Kayaking

Whitewater kayaking is an exciting adventure sport that every paddler would love to experience, once in their life. Although, one must realize that whitewater kayaking is often a sport for hardcore kayakers, and beginners have to gain ample expertise and experience to live the thrill.

Whitewater kayaking requires meticulous planning and accurate execution of the plan. The first step in whitewater kayaking is analyzing the river. Rivers are classified according to their speed of flow, waves and the course they follow. The International Scale of River Difficulty is a scale that classifies rivers into different grades depending upon their level of difficulty. The grades range from Grade I to Grade VI.

Following are the Grade-wise classification of the river characteristics.

Grade I – Rivers that fall under Grade I category are calm and easy to paddle through. They are virtually free of any obstacles and have a clear passage.

Grade II – Rivers flow moderately fast but are free of obstacles. To attempt kayaking in these rivers would require a fairly experienced kayaker.

Grade III – Rivers flow faster with numerous, irregular waves. Only an experienced paddler can maneuver through the narrow passages.

Grade IV – High, irregular waves coupled with narrow and rocky passage, reserve Grade IV rivers only for paddlers with excellent skills to maneuver their kayaks. Good quality equipments and powerful paddling skills are necessary to tame Grade IV rivers.

Grade VGrade V Rivers are extremely difficult. Violent currents, steep gradients, dangerous passage with rocky obstacles, high waves, boiling eddies are the river characteristics.

Grade VI – Rivers are highly untamable and pose a serious threat to life.

These numerical grades are often followed by a plus (+) or a minus (-) to indicate if a river is inclined towards the higher or lower end of difficulty. There are specific grading systems in USA, India, Australia and New Zealand. They are more or less based on the International Scale of River Difficulty.


Rivers are very unpredictable. Thus, even though the rivers are classified into these Grades, it is essential to study the river before kayaking. River conditions are likely to change seasonally, so it is better to check with the locals, in advance. Increase in the water level makes rapids more difficult. In case of floods, even Grade II rivers can be fatal.

Similarly, heavy tides can cause a river to flow uphill. For whitewater kayaking, selecting the right path helps in averting difficulties. Reading a river or studying river patterns take time and years of experience. Beginner paddlers often learn to read the rivers from other experienced paddlers.