Kayak With The Best Gear
Few activities give the outdoor enthusiast such a varied array of experiences as paddling a kayak. Whether you are seeking the heart-stopping exhilaration of a roller coaster or the serenity and peace of getting lost in the moment, you can find your passion in the sport of kayaking.
Types of kayaks
There are different types of kayaking. Using a whitewater kayak involves navigating swift moving rivers. A flatwater kayak is used in large bodies of calm water and can include anything from a lazy day on a lake to a long day kayaking on the ocean. Fishing kayaks have become extremely popular over the last few years as well. These boats are designed specifically for the angler.
Who's doing it?
People from all walks of life are becoming addicted to the sport of kayaking. The people who consider themselves kayakers are as diverse as the boats they paddle and the environments they paddle in. Some are die-hard whitewater kayakers and others thrive on a leisurely paddle on a secluded lake. And still others do it simply for the company the sport affords them to keep.
Whatever the circumstances that drives these people to decide to kayak, one thing keeps them coming back. It is the indescribable feeling that one gets by stepping into their boat, pushing away from land, dipping their kayak paddle into the water, and taking that first stroke! As they leave their cares, problems, and stresses back on land, they are floating and they are free.
Five kayak gear essentials
Okay, so you've found the kayak of your dreams. Now it's time to get the necessary kayak gear. Kayak accessories come in a dizzying array of brands, styles, and price ranges. A good rule of thumb when buying kayak accessories is to buy the best quality equipment you can afford, especially when it's your safety of the line. Below are the top five things you will need to get started in paddling.
- Kayak Paddle - Next to your kayak, this is the most important piece of gear you'll need. There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a paddle: blade length and shape, feathered or non-feathered, and material.
- Kayak Lifejacket (or PFD) - Your lifejacket is one piece of kayaking equipment you never want to hit the water without. Just make sure your PFD has been approved by the U.S. Coast Guard and that it is designed for kayaking.
- Kayak Spayskirt - This is a highly recommended kayak accessory that fits around the opening of the cockpit and keeps water out of the kayak. Most are custom fitted to your boat. Finding the right size is easy after you know your kayak.
- Kayak Helmet - A helmet is a must for whitewater kayaking. This is your head we're talking about, so buy the best one you can afford. This is no place to cut corners on the budget!
- Kayak Clothing - Let's face it, you can't go kayaking NAKED! Dressing for kayaking can be tricky. The day may be warm and sunny, but that water beneath your kayak could be only a few degrees above freezing. Safety rule #1 is whenever you go kayaking, make sure you're dressed for immersion.
Top Kayak Gear Brands
There are a lot of brands out there that offer paddling gear, but we consider these brands to be the cream of the crop.