Solo Kayaking Tips

Are you planning for a solo kayak trip? If so, you will find these tips very helpful. Kayaking solo is a great experience, but it will require a bit more self-reliance and forethought before heading out.

When kayaking alone you won’t have the added safety net that comes with kayaking as part of a group. In other words, help won’t be as readily available. So, take a moment to review and put into place some of these solo kayaking tips. Follow these solo kayaking suggestions as described below and enjoy safe, and secure solo kayaking. 

Know Your Limits

Knowing your limits as far as technical skills and kayaking abilities is an essential part of solo kayaking. You will be a bit more vulnerable in many respects when solo kayaking.  For example, ( something I never seriously considered) have you ever considered that you can be easily attacked by a wild animal when out solo kayaking? For this reason, consider paddling, at least 50 yards from the shoreline. It is also not recommended to kayak solo if you plan to camp overnight where potential predators live, such as wild bears.

Life Jacket

A life jacket is a must-needed item for any water sport. In solo kayaking, it is also a priority item. Solo kayaking places you at a higher level of risk. Therefore, a life jacket is an essential piece of equipment that will help you tremendously if you should find yourself in the water. 

Be sure that your life jacket fits you properly. Always keep aware of the surrounding environment. Notice the changes in weather and waves.  When kayaking alone you should consider wearing a bright clothes that are easy to spot because there will be no one else in the immediate area.

Dress For The Weather

Your clothing and gear is a crucial factor for safe kayaking. As such, you should dress appropriately for the weather. Sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, etc., should also be included for consideration. As a solo paddler, you should be prepared for anything as the weather can change anytime, so layering will help you. You won’t get enough shade on the water except for trees. Therefore, wearing sunglasses is necessary to protect the eyes from the UV ray. Sunscreen will protect your skin from the bright sun. Also, you won’t feel uncomfortable if you wear a hat. It will add a little extra cover to protect your face. 

Food And Drink

Kayaking takes a lot of energy. So, please take plenty of food and beverages with you to avoid suffering from hunger and dehydration while kayaking. As a solo paddler, you need more energy and fluids. Because you are the only person powering the kayak and do other work, you should drink at least one bottle of water in an hour’s break. It will provide you enough stamina to paddle. 

Also, you need enough food to maintain your energy. Granola bars are perfect for lunch to get good power. But it won’t make your stomach full. Pack plenty of high-calorie snacks into your backpack. Nuts can be perfect for this. Make sure you have packed different types of foods. Make a plan of food for the whole journey. And never drink the source water (river,

sea, canal, etc.) directly. It can make you ill. Even, it can cause your death. 

Emergency Plan

Have an emergency plan. It is very important to plan for and notice changes in the weather and water conditions when out on the water. Packing the proper safety gear should be a priority. Don’t overlook the importance of signal devices like flares when packing for your solo paddle. These will prove invaluable should you find yourself in an emergency situation. 

Carefully pack all the essential equipment like sunscreen, bug repellant, extra clothing, etc. Paddling becomes harder in windy conditions. Pack a map in your backpack, install offline maps on your phone or tablet.  Chances are that you will be kayaking within an area that might be out of network coverage. Hence, offline maps will help you much in navigating. And a paper map will serve as a reliable backup if your device battery runs out. 

Don’t forget to save the contact information of the nearest emergency help center. Also, inform your friends and family of your travel plans before you head out. If you face any emergency, contact them ASAP. Furthermore, instruct them to expect to be contacted at certain times and checkpoints and what to do if they don’t hear from you as expected.

Choose Shorter Route

Another great idea for keeping your solo kayaking journey safe is to plan shorter kayaking segments. With shorter segments you still get a chance to enjoy the kayaking experience. Additionally, shorter kayaking segments are perfect for exploring the beauty of an off shore coast, especially in citites.

Don’t Panic 

Most solo paddlers panic too quickly when they face any unexpected situation. Anticipate the unexpected such as falling into the water. Make your kayak completely buoyant before heading out. It will help you much if you panic while out on the water. It is a good idea to practice your re-entry skills when conditions allow (or in controlled environments) to prevent difficulties when these rare, but quite possible events occur.

“9 Tips for Solo Paddling / Kayaking Alone – Weekly Kayaking Tips – Kayak Hipster” – YouTube video by Kayak Hipster

Know The Area

Plan ahead, familiarize yourself with where you plan to kayak. It is very easy to become disoriented while out on the water, so take the time to absorb as many details about your planned route as possible. Note the landmarks and distances between them. In the case of sea kayaking, navigate keeping the eyes on the sea-shore topography. 

Never Overestimate Your Strength 

Know your physical capabilities. In solo kayaking, you should not overestimate your physical strength and stamina. Be mindful of the distance you travel out. You have to save your energy to get back to the shore. Keep in mind that you may also have to carry the kayak to your car. So, it is very important to save energy while paddling. 

Packing List

Solo kayaking is a bit different than other types of kayaking. Solo kayaking requires a greater amount of self-reliance and planning. When solo kayaking, your safety rests solely on your shoulders so you may need to consider taking a few additional safety items along with you. For starters, make sure you have all these items:

– Communication device (Smartphone, VHF Radio, Torch, Whistle, etc.)

– Plenty of water and snacks

– Waterproof bag

– Skin and eye-protecting items

Final Words

Kayaking is a great way to explore the scenic beauty that lies offshore from a different angle. If you are planning to go solo kayaking, make sure you are properly prepared for the trip. Unfortunately many paddlers don’t follow the additional safety precautions recommended for solo kayaking and face many difficulties. Here, we discussed some solo kayaking tips. You can easily enjoy a safe and secure solo kayaking with joy by following these tips. 

Images Source: YouTube Clips

Easy tips for kayakers

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