Friday, June 29, 2012

Canoeing & Kayaking Trip Prep

Water sports like canoeing and kayaking can be a fantastic day out with a little preparation.

I've always loved the water!  I spent many vacations at resorts like Lake Hopatcong in New Jersey or the Hamptons and Sag Harbor on Long Island.  While I enjoy being in the water, I especially like being on the water.  I've sailed larger vessels like the Clearwater Sloop but really enjoy people powered watercraft like canoes and kayaks.

Take a Class
Magda is using a feathered kayak paddle
I had been canoeing for years but enrolled in a class through my local county park system.  They gave us great pointers on choosing the proper oar for your height and how to choose/adjust your flotation vest for the best fit.  You can also read Sea Kayaking - Basic Skills, Paddling Techniques and Trip Planning by Dan Henderson of The Mountaineers Books.  Dan is a former National Athlete and team coach and his book is a wealth of information on all types of kayaking.

How to Paddle & Steer
According to our instructor, the canoe oar handle should come to just below your chin when held vertically.  Kayak paddles come in feathered and un-feathered so you'll have to experiment with which is more comfortable. Feathered kayak paddles go with the natural roll and allow you to keep your wrists straight throughout the paddle stroke. They do not need to be adjusted much between strokes and the healthiest position for your wrists is straight. Check out this short video instruction on how to stroke and steer your kayak using a feathered paddle:

Sperry Topsider Boating Shoes
Getting a Grip
You'll want to wear water repellent slip proof shoes for canoeing and sit on top kayaking.  Really any grippy soled athletic shoe will work.  Magda is wearing a pair of Sperry Topsider Sandals in the lead photo.  These sandals and Sperry's athletic shoes have ridged soles that act like little water squeegees to keep you from slipping when boarding watercraft. Most accidents happen while boarding and disembarking.  Needless to say decks and boat interiors are often wet & slippery me hearty. 

What to Bring On Board?
Well, stuff that floats of course!  If something isn't waterproof, it might be best to leave it on shore.  Here's my packing essentials for a day out on the water, canoeing, kayaking or on board a recreational craft.

Packing List
Everything pictured above, including the Adventure Medical Kit fits in The Mountainsmith Sixer Travel Cooler.  

The Sixer Travel Cooler for easy boarding
Going from left to right:

UV Protective Eyewear - These are Rudy Project Demi-turtle sunglasses.  Very important because water reflects up to 90% of the sun's rays. Wrap around design best protects eyes.

Sunblock - We like Mission Athletecare's Sun Defeated Continuous Spray, SPF/UPF 30.  You don't want to risk dropping an oar or paddle so an easy to spray sunblock like this works great.

Kestrel 4500 Weather Tracker - GPS of Wi-Fi might not be available off shore.  The Kestrel 4500 tracks weather conditions on the water and measures wind speed and direction.  Barometer charts upcoming storms and squalls so you can get to shore safely while the unit itself floats / measures water temps.

Water & Water Filtration - I find Insulated Klean Kanteens work best. You can even clip the caribiner top to your flotation vest or a rail & water stays cool for up to 24 hrs.  Need more water?  You can carry less and simply filter additional water in case of an emergency with a Purificup.

Food & Snacks - Think of packing things you can eat with one hand.  Meal bars, gel packs can both be held and eaten while paddling.  I keep cut sandwiches and raw vegetables cold in The Sixer & a Lunch 2 Go.

Marine Specific Medical Kit - I like Adventure Medical Kits Marine 250.  Very complete and you can even snap it on or install it permanently in your watercraft.  Doing this makes it easy to remove items with one hand while the kit is mounted.  The Marine 250 first aid supplies are packaged in waterproof inner bags and is well organized according to emergency. Perfect for fishing, recreational and day trips on inland waterways we always add a few packs of Natrapel Insect Repellent towelettes to our medical kits.

Sailing to Nantucket Island off the coast of Massachusetts.

1 comment:

  1. Very Prep Sport Wear. I am a Preppy person, I like your adventure because it helps my fashion better.