Here is my story sad, but true

I am an old guy new to kayaking. I came to kayaking because of 8 knee operations and a replacement.

I just returned from a 2 day trip down the Colorado from Loma to Westwater (Class 1, 3 MPH current, 30 miles) and I have a few questions. I have a Advance Elements Tandem inflatable kayak.

  1. Packing - I had 2 large dry bags, camping equitment. They ended up behind the seat and presented a large profile and caught every wiff of wind. Questions - I would like to reduce what is needed to go overnight, thus reducing the profile.

  2. How to pick a landing area? Needing a rest and a walkabout, I look for a place to land. The places I picked had soft sucking mud bottoms. When I got out, I start sinking in the mud. What is the correct method for exiting with the current and the mud.

  3. I difted alot (old and out of shape). The kayak would sometime run at the bank. A sweep stroke woudn’t turn it away. What I did was placing the paddle in the water on the side I wanted the kayak to turn. This presented a pivot point and kayak turn nicely. Is this a stroke? What is it called?

  4. Difting, the kayak would change it’s direction of travel. Sometimes sideways, sometimes backward. Is this something I should be concerned with, or it is just the way it is.

    Thanks for any responses.

maintaining direction
A drifting boat will turn seemingly at will (actually according to a combination of current,wind and other influences). In order to maintain control you must supply power by paddling or by making corrective strokes periodically. As far as take out spots are concerned I look for sand or gravel or even a solid rock beach area. Any area that looks like dirt (AKA mud) is only used as a last resort.

Sounds like fun!
I’m not sure I have too much advice because I’m pretty much of an amateur.

  1. I think if there’s mud you’re just going to sink and that’s it. It may be the terrain and there aren’t any better places to land. Where I do most of my kayaking is at high altitude and it’s all granite. I would look for a sloping shore, some evidence of rocks, and perhaps some kind of grasses. If there’s grasses, there’s roots. Also look for trail signs where others have gotten in or out of the water.

  2. Moving water can be much more dangerous, that’s one thing I’ve learned reading pnet. I deliberately choose to stay on flat reservoirs because I don’t want to learn any particular skills. My rescue plan is fall out of boat into warm water, tow it to the nearby shore, empty it, get back in and continue. If you want to live life a little more on the edge, I highly recommend some classes…or even hang out with someone who is more of an expert.

  3. I hike and kayak by myself all of the time. Leave your plan with someone and make sure they know when to start calling the authorities to come look for the body (hopefully just the broken-legged).

  4. Lightening your camping gear will really be a process of trial and error. What can you do without for a few days? Changes of clothes? Cleanliness? What if items? (what if it rains, what if it’s cold, what if it’s hot). Remove as much packaging as possible. Try to make one thing perform two roles. If you’re loaded with money buy light gear.

    Well, that’s all of my not very expert advice. Sounds like fun and enjoy your next trip!

Inflatables tend to get blown about by the wind and they don’t track too well, but nothing tracks while drifting. If you get caught in an eddy it can turn you and pull you in to shore. If you want to bring lots and lots of stuff then consider a canoe.

Some thoughts
You might want to consider switching to a hard shell kayak with a large cockpit, (to make it easier to get that leg without the full range into).

Get one with a forward and aft watertight compartment and then break your gear up in to smaller dry bags that you can stow in the hatches.

If you still need more stuff, you can bungee a large water proof NRS “Bills Bag”, (or equal) on the back deck

The hard shell is much easier to control in windy conditions and you can make it go where you want to a lot easier in the 3MPH current, just by simple ruddering and a few corrective strokes here and there.

When we want to get out and there seems to be no hope but mud, we look around for a log or a bunch of broken branches in the mud and treading softly feel our way stepping on the branches until we are on firmer ground, but it is always best to have one hand holding a solid object- just in case!

Hopefully the replacement is going well.

I should have had one ten years ago, but figure I will wait until the good knee goes and then will be forced to get it done.

Not too much help, but a few thoughts to ponder.



The stroke sounds like a Bow Rudder to

yes try a 14 foot Pungo for example
The advice cgbikes gave you - echoed my own thoughts.

I have a bad knee and other issue but find I’m happiest when paddling alone in places I’ve deemed seemingly safe.

An inflatable boat sounds like a cool idea but even with my limited experience I’d not expect it to act the same as a hard shell. It would seem more like a raft ride?

Mud is not fun and can be dangerous. Slippery rocks I personally find dangerous on that knee of mine. Test the soil with your paddle blade and if it is too soft, don’t get out there.