Saturday, July 20, 2024

Newbie Kayaking Suggestions for First-Time Paddlers – Bearfoot Concept


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All in favour of kayaking however don’t have a variety of expertise? Kayaking may be a good way to get out on the water, whether or not for a leisurely morning paddle or a extra rigorous in a single day journey.

The Bearfoot Concept workforce and I’ve executed various day and in a single day kayaking journeys throughout the U.S. On this publish, we share some fundamental newbie kayaking suggestions so you may get on the market, give it a attempt, and have enjoyable as nicely!

From kayaking gear to your paddling method to frequent questions on what to put on kayaking and the place to go, these newbie kayaking suggestions can have you out on the water with confidence very quickly.

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Obtain Useful Outside Packing Checklists & Journey Planning Guides

Forms of Kayaks

Sit-On-Prime vs. Sit-Inside Kayaks

There are two foremost sorts of kayaks – sit-on-top and sit-inside kayaks.

Sit-on-top kayaks are usually the simplest for learners. They’re very steady and straightforward to get out and in of, and for these of you who may really feel nervous, a sit-on-top kayak received’t depart you feeling trapped.

Sit-on-top kayaks are nice for heat water, particularly in case you suppose you may need to swim out of your kayak. Then again, if it’s chilly, you’re going to get moist on a sit-on-top kayak, which is one thing to bear in mind.

A woman smiles sitting in a red sit-on-top kayak. She is wearing a PFD
Sit-on-top kayaks are simpler to get in/out of and somewhat extra steady

Sit-inside kayaks have a “cockpit” the place your legs go contained in the hull of the kayak. For learners, a sit-inside kayak could really feel somewhat extra confining till you get the cling of it.

Nevertheless, sit-inside kayaks are much more environment friendly and if you’re paddling an extended distance, sit-inside kayaks might be extra comfy for the lengthy haul.

Sit-inside kayaks aren’t as simple to get out and in of, however if you’re kayaking in colder water and need to keep dry, sit-in kayaks may be tailored with a “spray-skirt” to forestall water from getting contained in the hull.

A woman takes a selfie from behind while kayaking. She's in a yellow sit-in kayak and wearing a sun hat.
Sit-inside kayaks have a “cockpit” and are higher for paddling longer distances or in chilly water

Single Kayaks vs. Double Kayaks

If you happen to don’t have a accomplice, then a single kayak it’s. Single kayaks are lighter and faster on the water.

Double kayaks, also referred to as tandem kayaks, have two seats. Double kayaks are heavier than single kayaks and take a little bit of synchronization between the 2 paddlers to maneuver. When you get into your groove, nonetheless, a double kayak may be very environment friendly.

Double kayaks are a fantastic alternative for pairs the place one particular person may not have the energy to energy a kayak on their very own. In case you are on an in a single day kayaking journey, double kayaks usually have greater hulls for storage too.

Two older couples sit in tandem kayaks. One is red and the other is yellow.
I took my mother and father and my Dutch relations on their first kayaking journey. They opted for double kayaks because it offers you twice the manpower.

What to Put on Kayaking

When kayaking, it’s good to have clothes which you could simply transfer round in, dries rapidly, and can assist shield you from the solar.

Because you’ll seemingly be getting moist, you need to steer clear of something cotton which is able to depart you dripping and soggy all day (and will trigger chafing).

Assuming it’s heat and also you don’t want a wetsuit or drysuit of any type, you’ll need light-weight, quick-drying layers – like a rash guard or solar safety shirt and boardshorts.

Under are a number of of my favourite items of clothes and accessories for kayaking (and actually any water exercise):

Important Kayaking Gear

As a newbie kayaker, you don’t must exit and throw down a ton of cash on fancy gear proper off the bat. Renting’s seemingly the way in which to go as you get began, and as soon as you recognize what sort of kayaking you take pleasure in you possibly can spend money on the precise gear for you.

If you happen to’re renting kayaks, the life vest and paddle are often included and different “nice-to-haves”, like paddling gloves and drybags, could also be accessible for hire.

If you happen to’re able to hit the water repeatedly and want to spend money on kayaking gear, listed below are our prime picks:


If you happen to’re seeking to buy a kayak of your personal, the Notion Joyride Kayak is a good decide. It will get rave critiques from each newbie kayakers and skilled paddlers. Plus it has all the pieces you’d need in a kayak like safe space for storing, a bungee for fast entry storage, a padded, adjustable seating system, drink holders, and even a “Selfie Slot” to carry your smartphone.

Store the Notion Joyride Kayak at:

Kayak Paddle

Search for a paddle that’s sturdy and budget-friendly like this entry-level paddle while you’re simply beginning out (no want for an costly carbon fiber paddle straight away until you could have the funds for it). You may additionally need a paddle that breaks down into items if you need one thing extra compact which you could simply journey with.

Store Bending Branches Kayak Paddle at:

Life Vest

All the time have a life vest, referred to as a PFD (private floatation gadget) with you. In some instances, it’s the regulation.

I like to recommend all the time carrying your PFD while you launch, and all the time have it inside arm’s attain so you possibly can rapidly put it on.

If you happen to resolve to tug over and seashore your kayaks for a bit, be sure that to safe your PFD to your boat so the wind doesn’t blow it away.

The NRS Ninja PDF is unisex, light-weight, comfy, and doesn’t get in the way in which of your paddle stroke.

Woman kayaking wearing a life vest (PFD) with forested mountains in the background
All the time put on a PFD or have one with you when out on the water

Paddling Gloves

If you happen to’re paddling for an extended distance, a pair of paddling gloves, just like the NRS Boater’s Gloves, may also help forestall blisters and callouses. We additionally like carrying them for added solar safety on our arms.

Store NRS Boater’s Gloves at:

Sturdy Drybag

A drybag is important for maintaining your garments, towel, cellphone, pockets, and every other necessities dry. The within of your boat will get moist! 10-15 liters is an effective measurement for a day journey. The SealLine Discovery 10L bag has a valve to let air out for simpler compression which we love.

Store SealLine Discovery View Dry Bag at:

Fast Dry Towel

I really like packing a small fast dry towel in my drybag in case I must wipe down my seat or need to go for a dip whereas paddling. I’d additionally suggest maintaining a fast dry towel and set of dry garments on shore or in your automotive to make sure you can dry your self (and the kayak) off earlier than hopping within the automotive.

Store REI Co-op Multi Towel Lite at:

A woman smiles at the camera while sitting in a kayak. There's a dry bag strapped to the back of her kayak
Preserve your belongings in a dry bag to make sure nothing will get moist!

Different Kayaking Necessities

Listed below are a number of different kayaking necessities that I prefer to deliver with me after I paddle.

  • Sunscreen
  • Lip Balm with SPF
  • A reusable water bottle
  • Snacks (you possibly can see all of our favorites right here)
  • Digital camera – A GoPro is an superior alternative for kayaking as a result of it’s waterproof, nice for POV pictures, and might simply mount to totally different spots in your kayak.
  • Binoculars – deliver alongside a water-proof pair to identify wildlife proper out of your kayak!
  • Paracord – Convey alongside a compact rope to tie up your kayak in case you need to depart it on shore to discover.
  • Carabiner – you need to use this to clip your dry bag or water bottle to your kayak.
  • Garmin Mini – if you’re out of cell attain, I all the time advocate bringing an emergency communication gadget simply in case.
Man and dog sitting in a kayak with distant mountains in the background
Canines can go kayaking too! Simply be sure that they’re comfy on the water and put on a PFD, like this Ruffwear Canine Life Jacket

Easy methods to Transport a Kayak

That is seemingly one of many trickiest issues for first-time kayakers. How on earth do you get the boat from the rental store to the water?

In your first time, I’d suggest renting a kayak from someplace on the water so you possibly can bypass this step, however in case you do must load a kayak on the highest of your car, this video offers you step-by-step directions:

YouTube video

If you happen to don’t need to spend money on a elaborate rack setup, it is a budget-friendly answer for securing the kayak to your roof.

Store Riverside Automobile Prime Common Kayak Service at:

If securing a kayak to your roof looks like an excessive amount of work, there are extra moveable kayak choices to contemplate which might be good for flatwater paddling.

  • Inflatable Sit-Inside Kayak: This Aquaglide Deschutes Inflatable Kayak packs down right into a bag for a really cheap value. Merely unpack it at your launch level, hook it as much as an air pump (not included), and also you’re able to go. If you happen to’re in search of a two-person possibility, try this Superior Components Tandem Inflatable Kayak.
  • Inflatable Sit-On-Prime Kayak: We’ve seen various inflatable sit-on-top kayaks on the market, and a few are even made to double as rise up paddleboards. You possibly can try a number of inflatable sit-on-top kayaks right here.
  • Folding Sit-Inside Kayak: Oru Kayak makes quite a lot of light-weight, folding kayaks that make transportation and storage simpler. This Oru Kayak Lake Kayak is an effective possibility for lakes and different calm, protected waterways with minimal present.

Easy methods to Sit in a Kayak

Physique Posture

Once you sit in a kayak, you need to be sitting with a straight again and your legs out in entrance of you, however you don’t need to be tense or uncomfortable.

Barely bend your knees and place them towards the facet of the kayak. This contact offers you extra stability and energy in your strokes.

Most kayaks have a backrest which you could pull tighter or make looser that will help you sit up straighter and relieve decrease again pressure. Be certain that to regulate your backrest to your private consolation.

If you happen to’re in a sit-in kayak, there might be a pair of footpegs on the entrance of your kayak close to your ft. Once you place your ft on the footpegs and barely bend your legs, your knees ought to transfer outward and contact the facet of the kayak comfortably.

In case your legs are totally prolonged or bent too near your physique, alter the footpegs as wanted.

A woman takes a selfie from behind while in a red kayak. She is kayaking in a canyon and wearing a sun hat.
You possibly can see how my knees are barely bent in my kayak and pushed up towards the perimeters

Easy methods to Paddle a Kayak

Easy methods to Maintain a Kayak Paddle

You’ll need to maintain a kayak paddle just like the way you maintain the handlebars on a bicycle together with your arms gripping down on the paddle.

If you happen to relaxation the paddle on prime of your head, your elbows ought to make a 90-degree angle. That is known as a paddler’s field and tells you the way far aside your arms needs to be spaced.

You’re going to need to additionally be sure that the scooped sides of your paddle blades are going through you.

Keep in mind you don’t must have a dying grip in your paddle, most paddles float in case you drop it. You need to have a relaxed grip that’s within the form of an “o”. 

For extra data on methods to maintain your kayak paddle, try this beneficial publish on the REI Weblog.

Easy methods to Paddle Ahead

Have interaction your core and twist your torso to lean ahead and put the paddle blade totally into the water close to your ft. Then pull again to your seat with the blade and take away it from the water.

Simply keep in mind, lengthy strokes out of your ft to your seat is the way in which to go. Don’t overlook to paddle on either side otherwise you’ll simply paddle your self in a circle!

Easy methods to Paddle Backwards

To paddle backwards in a kayak, do the ahead stroke in reverse. Put the paddle within the water at your seat and push it in direction of your ft then take away the paddle from the water and swap sides doing the identical movement.

A woman holds a kayak paddle while looking ahead at the water.
Paddling in a kayak can really feel awkward at first, however it will get simpler the extra you do it (I promise!)

Easy methods to Cease a Kayak

Put your paddle within the water like you might be doing a backstroke and maintain it there, dragging it towards the water. It will gradual after which halt any motion you had been making within the water.

Easy methods to Flip a Kayak

If you wish to flip LEFT, then paddle solely in your proper. If you wish to flip RIGHT, then paddle solely in your left.

Suggestions For Your First Kayaking Tour

When you find yourself planning your first kayaking journey, there are a number of concerns you’ll need to make:

  • Journey Size: In your first-time kayaking, plan a visit that’s lower than three hours. You don’t need to exhaust your self or chew off greater than you’re prepared for. 2-3 hours offers you adequate time to get a really feel for kayaking and resolve in case you prefer it.
  • Wind/Water Circumstances: If it’s actually windy, you may go for one other day. Wind poses an extra problem that typically is unavoidable, however we suggest attempting kayaking for the primary time when it’s calm out. Additionally, lake, calm river, or bay circumstances are usually simpler than the ocean for brand spanking new paddlers.
  • Take a category or go on a guided tour: If you happen to’re nervous, think about taking a category or becoming a member of a guided tour to your first journey. Use REI’s Class Finder to see if there’s a category close to you. You’ll construct a basis, familiarity with the gear, and the arrogance to go by yourself subsequent time. Or who is aware of? Possibly you’ll meet a brand new paddling accomplice within the class.

The place To Go Kayaking

As soon as you might be comfy and able to advance to the subsequent degree, try my all-time favourite kayaking journeys for inspiration:

A woman kayaing in San Juan Islands. She is in a tandem kayak with a man and there are 4 other people in tandem kayaks around her.
Kayaking the San Juan Islands in Washington

Frequent Kayaking Fears FAQ

We hope these newbie kayaking suggestions encourage you to attempt paddling for the primary time this summer season or to get again on the market if it’s been some time. What questions or suggestions do you could have? Depart them within the feedback beneath!

Bearfoot Theory | Embark on your kayaking adventure with our ultimate beginner's guide! Discover the different types of kayaks and learn how to choose the perfect one for your needs. Dive into the essentials of kayaking clothing & gear and get tips for staying safe and comfortable on your journey. Our blog post also covers beginner kayaking tips and inspirational locations for your first kayaking trip.


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