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Some basics for your kayak adventure!
Yep, you need these!
Kayak: Of course you need a kayak! There are many different kayaks to choose from. Are you an extremist and ready for whitewater kayaking or a beginner who just wants to leisurely paddle down a quiet river. You could go ocean kayaking. It's all up to you to decide what type of kayaking you intend to do.
Paddle: The different types of kayaking require different paddles. So once again, choose your adventure!
PFD: PFD is a Personal Flotation Device or life jacket. (required by USCG)
Float Plan: Did you tell someone where you are going, and when to expect you back, and who to call if your not back by then?
Spray Skirt: For whitewater and sea kayaking, you probably want a spray skirt. They help keep the water out of your kayak. After all, if your kayak is filled with water it won't float very well! For recreational kayaking you probably won't need a spray skirt. Spray skirts are designed to fit both the kayak and you.
Whistle: Attach one to your PFD so you can get the attention of your fellow paddlers. (Required by USCG)
Helmet: Whitewater kayaking? Get a helmet!!!
LIGHT: so other boats can see you at night. (required by USCG for night paddling)
Not necessary but might make life easier
Dry Top, Drysuit, Wetsuit, Paddle Jacket: Totally up to you. If you don't mind getting a bit wet don't worry about it. If you think you will get cold, go ahead and use one.
Booties: Again, totally up to you.
Gloves: If you are worried about blisters, scrapes, etc. you may want to try them. They could also keep your hands warm.
Rope Bag: You may want to carry one of these to aid your fellow paddlers.
Knife: In the event ropes get tangled or who knows what. You may not need one, but just in case...
Dry Bag or Dry Box: You probably want to take a camera to capture those special moments. These will keep the camera and your snacks safe.
Pumps and sponges: Water in your boat? Enough said.
GPS/Compass/Radios: Two way radios are a good idea to keep in contact with your fellow paddlers. Consider a marine radio with NOAA weather radio if you are planning an ocean trip.
Hat/Sunscreen: Keep your skin protected!
Water: Stay hydrated!!
Snacks: All that paddling will make you hungry!
Planning to camp out?
Remember, these items need to be light and small enough to fit in your kayak.
Tent: Just in case it rains or you want to keep the bugs away.
Sleeping bag: You have to be cozy!
Sleeping pad: Not necessary but definitely more comfortable.
Inflatable pillow: Again, not necessary but more comfortable.
Baby wipes: These come in handy after you've been camping for a few days and you notice your companions are standing farther and farther away from you.
Small cookstove: Unless you plan to cook over a fire.
Pots and pans: Get lightweight aluminum pans that you fit together to take up the least amount of space.
Utensils/Dishes: Again, you want lightweight and compact. You can also use plastic and paper plates of you are on a short excursion.
Cleanup: Use a portable sink. They are small and compact. Biodegradable soaps are good for the environment. Vinegar is good for sterilizing dishes you may have washed in non-potable water.
Food: You won't be able to take a big cooler filled with ice. Plan your meals around items that don't need refrigeration.
Water: Take plenty of water for drinking, cooking and clean up.
Furniture: Yes, furniture! You can pack a small camp chair and fold up table to prepare your meals.
Flashlight: It gets dark.
Waterproof matches: You need to be able to start your fire!
Towels: Invest in microfiber towels. They are small but absorb a lot of water and take up less space.
Biodegradable toilet paper: You know why. :)
Tarp: To cover your gear in the event of rain.
Signal mirror: It's small and you just never know.
Garbage Bags: Take plenty to pack your trash back out!
Bug Spray: Yep, there are critters out there.