Inflatable Kayaking 101 – Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of the inflatable kayaking lessons for beginners.

This post will cover the last two beginner inflatable kayaking tips and advice including:

  • What you need to know for your first time out in your inflatable kayak
  • As well as which important gear and accessories you need to have with you
Beginner Inflatable Kayaking Lessons # 4 and # 5

Lesson # 4 – Your First Time Out

If your experience with inflatable kayaking is anything like mine, your first time out will be very exciting. This is when you are going to figure it all out and realize how easy, convenient and fun it is to setup and use.

I have three pieces of advice for your first time out:

1. Be sure to really read over the instructions that come with the model you purchased before you go out and also bring them with you. Each model sets up a little differently and you will need your instructions the first time you setup.

Do not make the same mistake I did… The first time I took my Sea Eagle FastTrack out I never even looked at the instructions (thinking I new my stuff) and didn’t realize that the skeg needed to be attached before inflating the kayak. I had to deflate and start all over. It doesn’t take much time to inflate them but still it is frustrating if you need to do it twice!

2. Pick a nice sunny day with very little wind. For your first time out inflatable kayaking you want to be comfortable. If you are battling winds or possible rain, the experience becomes more difficult. I think it is good to first get your feet wet and really get comfortable with how your kayak feels and your paddle strokes first before taking on heavy surf or strong whitewater rapids. You may even want to watch a few youtube videos before heading out to get an idea of how to do proper paddle strokes.

3. Go with a friend. Paddling with a friend is a lot of fun and if you are new to inflatable kayaking it can be great to have support with you. If however you do go out alone, play it safe and make sure to tell someone where you are going and when you plan to be back.

Lesson # 5 – Gear Up

If you are just heading out to paddle for the day you do not need much gear but there are a few things you will want to have with you such as:

  • PFD – A lifejacket is your most important accessory and should always be worn. Make sure all your paddling partners are wearing a PFD as well… including your dog.
  • Repair Kit – As mentioned before it is important when paddling any type of inflatable boat to always bring your repair kit along with you.
  • Dry Bag – Dry bags are very inexpensive and are critical to storing any goods that you do not want to get wet such as your keys, cell phone, food, extra clothes, etc. For most day trips you will only need one dry bag but if you will be bringing a lot of gear with you or doing multi-day trips then you may need more. Dry bags come in many different sizes.
  • Pump – Of course you will need a pump to inflate your kayak. Some models will come with a pump already while with others you will need to purchase one separately. I have always used a standard foot pump and found it to work great. Other options are a hand pump or an electric pump.
  • Bilge Pump – I would recommend always having a bilge pump with you. A bilge pump easily pumps water out of your kayak if you are flooded by a wave or tip over. You may never have to use it but it is a very inexpensive safety precaution that is worth having.
  • Paddle – Of course you need a paddle. If your kayak doesn’t come with one you will need to purchase one separately. They come in different styles, sizes and prices. A little research will help you choose a paddle to best suit your height as well as the type of paddling you will be doing most.
  • Helmet – A helmet is needed for whitewater kayaking only

Those are the necessities but there are many other luxuries that you may choose to use as well depending on your needs as well as the weather.  These include gloves, dry top, wet suit, paddle drip rings, yak grips, hat, boat sponge, water shoes, water socks, waterproof camera or audio supplies, anchor system, etc.

Go Out and Have Fun….

Hopefully the above tips and advice will help you feel more comfortable with getting started in the inflatable kayak world. Besides continuing with some paddle stroke practice, after you have been out once or twice you will feel like an old pro.

If you are still searching for the right inflatable kayak or inflatable canoe model please see our inflatable reviews to view the different model categories that you are able to choose from.

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