If you are planning to go kayaking, then you need to know about the gear that you need to bring. These will include: Personal flotation devices, Flotation device, Paddle, and a Wetsuit. Before purchasing anything, you need to read a few articles and decide if you need a life jacket or not. A personal flotation device is essential for kayaking, as it will keep you safe in the water if you fall out of your kayak or load it with water.
While kayaking in warm weather is possible, cold weather requires special gear to remain comfortable. It is important to carry enough water to drink and food to keep yourself satisfied. Pack snacks, sunscreen, and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes. A first aid kit is essential, as is a headlamp. For the comfort of others, kayaking gear is often lightweight. Regardless of weather, it is essential to pack enough water and food for the entire trip.
A personal flotation device, or PFD, is an important safety tool. There are two main types of PFDs: inflatable life jackets and standard life vests. Choosing the right one depends on your personal preference and budget. A guide is available at REI.com. An inflatable PFD is more comfortable, and a standard one does the trick. If you are uncertain which one is best for you, read through REI's personal floatation device buying guide.
The wetsuit vs dry suit debate can be a very subjective one. While some people prefer the skin-tight fit of a neoprene suit, others may find the bagginess of a waterproof dry suit more comfortable. To determine which one is better for your specific kayaking needs, consider the following. Keep in mind that wetsuits are a good choice when water temperatures are chilly.
The first consideration when choosing a kayaking suit is the temperature of the water. As water conducts body heat away at a rate of 25 times faster than air, a wetsuit will be more comfortable. However, if you plan to paddle in very cold water, a dry suit is a better choice. While wetsuits are much easier to take off and put on, dry suits can be a challenge to remove and can be harder to wear.
Your Flotation Device (PFD) should fit properly and securely. There are three types of PFDs: Type III, Type V and hybrid. All offer varying levels of buoyancy, and they are designed for specific uses. For example, racing sailors use inflatable Type V vests that double as harnesses. Kayak fishing enthusiasts use type V kayak fishing life jackets. These vests offer anywhere from 15.5 to 22 pounds of floatation. Some vests are made of foam while others are automatically inflated. A hybrid foam and inflation vest can provide a lot of buoyancy while still being comfortable to wear.
The Onyx Type III life vest is an excellent budget choice. It is made of breathable material and features large armholes for a comfortable fit. It has two zippered pockets for storing other small gear and snacks, and its bright orange color makes it easy to spot in the dark. However, this life vest is not designed for rapids or rough water, and its size isn't adjustable. If you plan on kayaking in the rain, a life vest like the Zen will not protect you if you lose control.
A paddle is a basic component of kayaking equipment. The paddle blade is the component that generates power while you sit in your kayak. Most paddle blades are curved, scooping water with every stroke to push the kayak forward. The concave side of the blade should face you while paddling. This angle minimizes wrist twisting and increases comfort. You may also want to consider a paddle that has adjustable feathering.
The length of your kayak paddle will vary, depending on the height and the style of paddling you'll be doing. In general, you should have a paddle that is 8 to 12 inches (20-30 cm) longer than your height. You can also purchase a kayak with unique features, such as paddle blade length, which are ideal for white water paddling. It's important to take your height and torso measurements before purchasing a paddle.
When you're kayaking, the safety of your head is of the utmost importance. A basic, adjustable helmet will do, as will one with extra ventilation and a waterproof liner. Choose the right size according to your head shape and comfort level, as well as your age and experience. Always wear your helmet on the back, as the front is too water-absorbing and isn't made to protect you from capsizing or entrapment. Basic kayaking helmets are not recommended for ocean kayaking or flat-water surfing.
Regardless of the water-sport you're planning to do, the right helmet will protect your noggin. Full-face helmets offer complete coverage and are typically the most bulky and expensive. But they're also the most protective option, and are best for high-risk whitewater kayaking or large groups. Unlike the other types of helmets, full-face helmets also offer better hearing protection. However, they aren't a good choice for kayaking in cold or high-altitude environments.