First trip prepping.

Haven’t even bought the kayak yet but starting to plan what all I will need on my first outing. Looking for suggestions. I think I know most of the safety items I’ll need (life jacket. Cell phone, water, snack, etc.). Ill also need to get a dry bag or something . Clothing should be easy. I’ll wear stuff that can dry quick if it gets wet and some sandals or something like that. Hat, sunscreen. Maybe a small first aid kit. But my first trip will be short and in a river and a branch off of that river so the loop won’t be long and it’s pretty calm without many obstructions/obstacles.

What are some Other things I might need? I thought about a rope to tie off to something. Just any old rope or is there a special fastener to get on each end?

Speaking of life jackets I don’t k ow sheer to start. I’m hoping to go to Academy and grab one. Just something that doesn’t absorb water? Somethingg that dries relatively quick?

Btw I’ll be talking to a co worker that kayaks and getting more ideas on stuff but I’d love to see what is suggested here. YouTube had some videos but most were for overnight or even multi-day trips. This trip would be 4 hours at the most.

You should read a book
There’s too much to tell you in a forum format.

Derek Hutchinson’s books are pretty good.

Rent or borrow before buy
You are not in a good position right now to go out and waste money on stuff that may not work out.

The PFD (life jacket) has to fit tightly enough so it won’t ride up in case of a swim and sit high enough that it doesn’t interfere with your paddling motion of seat in a kayak. This is hard to assess until you try on a PFD while sitting in a kayak, better yet spending time paddling it, especially if you are short.

Kayaking is a wet sport - fit of a PFD is far more important than how fast it dries.

Sandals can get stuck in foot pegs, not always a great idea. It depends on the specific sandals and footpegs.

It’s a good idea to allocate some bucks for gear when contemplating getting a kayak, but the stuff is best purchased somewhat together. For now beg or borrow enough basics to get by - a four hour flatwater trip (if you make it that long) can be done with substitutes.

Do get an Otter box or similarly good dry storage for your phone, in case you need to call out. That’ll come in handy down the road anyway.

Thanks Celia.

I guess what I meant by the Pfd is that I read somewhere not to get the old style that takes on water and makes it heavier so it’s harder to swim or get back in the kayak. But point taken about fit.

I’m pretty sure I am going to go on my first ride with someone else. Just makes sense, so well have each others support, etc.

I may be able to borrow one as you said but I’d like to also start looking around and trying some on and compare.

Didn’t know that about sandals. What shoes are generally recommended?

?? about the PFD

– Last Updated: Jul-31-12 1:48 PM EST –

NO decent PFD should ever take on water and make it harder to swim in. That's not an old style, that's one where the flotation has long since failed and the thing should have been retired. PFD's have a life span and it is not indefinite.

It is much harder to fit a PFD in a way that doesn't chafe and interfere for a shorter torsoed woman than a larger guy. And it is worth spending over $100 for one that you'll be living in. Hence my advice to borrow right now.

Re sandals, the floppies that have very limited anchor points on the foot are easily caught in pedals. The water shoes with toe protection and more strapping, as well as better soles, are best if sandals at all. But they aren't cheap. If you don't have well secured sandals, I'd suggest you find a pair of ratty old sneakers that you don't mind getting muddy and wet. Or get a pair of cheapo canvas sneaks for $5 from discount big box stores.

You should consider finding a paddling school/shop near you that has ACA or BCU certified kayak instruction. Talk to them, discuss your plans with them and sign up for the class/ classes appropriate for where you are and where you want to be as a paddler.

Good luck.

I’ll second slowing down
I’ll second slowing down. Taking a class would be useful, as they cover a lot of the basics (including gear, safety, how to make the kayak move, etc.). For touring or sea kayaking, a day long class is normal. For sit on tops, half day seems common. A day long class is usually about $100, and includes use of all the gear you’d need during the class.

Old PFDs with kapok
It’s the kapok in really old PFDs that gets hard and absorbs water. I don’t know if the newer PFDs that use kapok (yes, there’s at least one brand that does) suffer from this problem. Maybe the kapok is treated with something now? At any rate, there’s no need to buy a kapok-filled PFD when most paddling versions do NOT use it.

Basics to bring on a day trip
You don’t absolutely need to read a book about this for an initial trip in sheltered water on a calm warm day. Assuming that you go with a friend and it is a half-day trip or shorter:

  • PFD that fits you and meets your state’s boating requirements–just get a Type III since it’s most common anyway
  • Waterproof case for your cell phone and car keys
  • Small dry bag or a Tupperware-style box for snacks and lunch
  • Drinking water in a container that you can easily drink from, such as a cyclist’s water bottle
  • A change of clothes in a waterproof bag or box, in case you get soaked and cold
  • Sunglasses with securable strap, visor or hat, sunblock
  • A 12’ or 15’ strap with cam buckle in case you want to pull the boat in shallow water and don’t know knots
  • Sandals are OK if they’re not the kind that would come off in a capsize (i.e., flip-flops, Crocs). Keen sandals are one example of those that would stay on your feet.
  • Small first aid kit
  • One of you should probably bring a spare paddle

    Last but not least:
  • Map and waterproof watch would be a good idea, not so much for navigation in this case but so you can keep track of where you are AND your rate of travel. Since you’re new at this, you don’t know what your average speed is and would not be otherwise able to estimate time required for a Plan B route should you need to devise one.

    The thing that I would ask your friend about is, How would you or I get back upright and paddling again if we do capsize? If it’s very shallow and warm, with little current and shoreline always close, you don’t have a lot to worry about. Otherwise, better think of what you two would do in that event.