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Kayaking is one of the best outdoor adventures and an experience that is often unforgettable. Kayaking destinations are spread all over the world from Europe to North America, to Asia, and even Africa.
There are kayaking companies that help in making the sport truly competitive as well as give an opportunity for those who just want to have a good time. Before you get it on and step into that kayak, it helps to know the difference between kayaks and canoes.
The Difference between Kayaks and Canoes
Kayaks are boats where you sit in and paddle. The paddle is designed with a blade at each end. On the other hand, the canoe is a boat where you kneel in and paddle.
The design of this paddle has a blade on one end and on the other, a handle. For the best assortment of kayak brands for sport and recreational purposes, check out this article .
Now that you have the basics, you need the right gear for kayaking to turn a good trip into an amazing one. The equipment goes beyond the paddle and the kayak.
1. Water Shoes
From the time you enter the water until you exit, your feet need protection. This is because some of the locations from where you launch and exit may be risky to traverse barefoot. Some of the locations may be littered with broken glass, rusty fishing tackles, and sharp tin cans.
The danger could also be posed by natural risks such as coral and clam shells. Kayaking shoes are typically made of neoprene and are flexible enough to help you maneuver in the water and when exiting your kayak. Ensure you go for durable, warm, and easy to adjust water shoes.
2. Paddling Gloves
Most people find it absolutely necessary to wear gloves when biking but tend to overlook them when going kayaking. When paddling, you experience heavy force and resistance. These events can make you get blisters. Paddling gloves also protect your fingers from freezing by keeping your hands warm enough.
It doesn’treally matter whether you are going for a long distance kayaking trip, planning to kayak on rapids, or simply heading out on the water, gloves are absolutely essential. Look for the best material such as synthetic leather or spandex and one that fits well with good palm grips.
3. Water-Resistant Sunscreen
Applying sunscreen especially when kayaking in summer is given. However, most people fail to get the right type of sunscreen. Normal sunscreen tends to wear off when entering and exiting the kayak. This leaves your ankles and feet exposed to sunburns.
Carrying your sunscreen into the water gives you the opportunity to reapply on areas you experience burning sensations. Go for sunscreens that have labels such as Water Resistant (40 min) or Water Resistant (80 min).
4. Polarized Sunglasses
Even if the weather is a bit mild when setting out for kayaking, you never know when the clouds may clear, exposing you to the bright sun. Most kayakers cite the reflections and the glare created on water among the most undesirable effects of kayaking under the bright sun.
Polarized glasses play an important role by allowing you to take in the sights both below and above the water surface with minimal eyestrain. These glasses are coated with a chemical film that helps in reducing the blinding glare. It also helps in reducing the harmful effects of the ultraviolet light from the sun.
5. Buoyancy Aids
Whether you are a beginner or a veteran in kayaking, having buoyancy aids is strongly recommended. Much like life jackets, buoyancy aids come in handy when you get into trouble while in the water. They allow for more movement around the neck and arms, unlike life jackets.
There are three main types of buoyancy aids: whitewater, recreational kayak, and sea kayaking buoyancy aids. Whitewater buoyancy aids come with an extra flotation feature to keep you safe in whitewater. Recreational buoyancy aids are ideal for beginner or recreational kayakers. They are safe and simple. Sea kayaking buoyancy aids are the most technical of all.
Wearing a helmet protects your head against the risk of bashing by your paddle and those of others as well. If your kayak capsizes, the helmet plays a crucial protective role.
A good helmet gives you visibility to see what is going on in your immediate environment. Helmets that obscure vision may end up being the cause of accidents instead of being helpful aids. Helmets should fit snugly on your head to give you a natural and secure feel.
Look for helmets that have a tough shell, a multi-impact liner, and a quick-drying fabric liner that is washable and treated to keep it fresh.
7. Wetsuit or Dry Suit
The weather at the time of kayaking dictates the clothing to wear. On hot sunny days, you may decide to put on a t-shirt with shorts and paddle on flat water. Experts advise that you dress for the water temperature because you may fall in and get wet.
On cold days, wear a wetsuit or dry suit. These serve the same purpose of slowing down the amount of heat loss thereby keeping you warm for longer although through different processes. They work through insulation.
Other benefits of wet and dry suits include buoyancy, weighting, and their suitability for various water conditions.
There are many other kayaking accessories you may want to carry with you such as dry bags, knives, rope bags, spray decks, and waterproof cases. Some of these are optional hence do not satisfactorily pass the essential test. If you are kayaking through a company, you will be provided most of these items, but some will be totally up to you. It helps to confirm in advance.