Few activities give you the option of enjoying it solo, as a couple or in a big group of friends. Kayaking is one such activity, and it’s a popular thing to do on a group trip or to get your blood pumping on the weekend with some willing mates. While kayaking might be simple enough to enjoy out on the water, there is a certain level of planning that should go into this trip so that you can create a memorable experience for all. Before you invite the gang to your next outdoor kayak adventure, read this guide on where to start when planning a paddle.
Choose an ideal destination
You might think that if there is a body of water you can go kayaking, but the truth is that some destinations offer more than others. Depending on the endurance levels of your group, you want to choose somewhere that has still water with the option of a current or rapids nearby for the thrill-seekers. You also want to be somewhere idyllic so that you can enjoy the view as you paddle through the water. Is there a spot for you to sit down and enjoy a drink and a bite after your kayak, and what are the chances that this destination is going to be crowded on the day you are planning? Do some research into the nearby kayak destinations and choose an option that will suit your group.
Safety is not the sexiest conversation topic but it’s one worth having when you are going to be out in nature and in the water for an extended period of time. Don’t make assumptions and actually ask your friends if they feel confident in the water and if there are any other health issues that you should be aware of before the day. Life vests are more than an accessory, they are a must-have when you are out on the water. You also want to do a bit of research to learn if there is any wildlife in the area that could present a threat, not to mention packing some insect repellent to keep those bugs at bay. Sunscreen for water sport is another thing you won’t want to forget as the sun can punish you even harsher when you are out on the water.
BYO or hiring kayak
It’s fair to say most groups of friends won’t have a reserve of kayaks ready for action, so you have to think about where you are going to hire them from. If you are headed to a popular spot you might be able to hire a kayak when you get there or pick one up on the way. Be clear on what the process is so that you are not left with some big kayaks and a small car, or worse yet – having to transport them to the top of a mountain on foot. Your access to the water and the destination you choose will dictate how and where you get your kayaks from.
Rest and recovery
If you are designing an itinerary for the day, don’t underestimate the need for downtime in between a big paddle. It might look peaceful but kayaking is exercise and it can take it out of you, especially on a warm day. Pack plenty of water and snacks and even bring some Hydralytes in case someone is needing an extra boost in-between paddles. Often you don’t cover the distance you had planned on your day out, so don’t think you can skip lunch to make up the extra time on the water as you need to rest and refresh. You also want to take into account the journey home – is it far to drive and will you have the energy reserves to get it done, or should you stay somewhere close by?
A kayaking trip is always a lot of fun, even when that friend is splashing you with water for most of the day. Put some planning and forethought into the day and keep your group looped into what’s happening so that everyone knows what they are committing to upfront.