Have you just started kayaking or planning your first kayaking trip? How exciting! It’s a good idea to research kayaking tips for beginners and to consider some equipment that will make your first trips easier… and more fun!

Photo of a woman in a kayak paddling next to Hinchinbrook Island in Queensland, Australia. Illustratation of some kayaking tips for beginners: use gloves and cover your body.
Kayaking Hinchinbrook Island (Queensland, Australia)

Kayaking or canoeing is the perfect way to explore a river and fully enjoy all it can offer. I love the serenity of not having any motor noise to fully enjoy nature. It is great to approach closely the wildlife and the small size of the canoe/kayak also allows us to be able to get a close look at the fauna and flora or even disembark where we like. But it can sometimes become painful and uncomfortable. So if you’re a beginner, these canoeing and kayaking tips will help you have a better adventure.

Canoeing/kayaking tips for beginners and my favourite equipment

I am far from being an expert at kayaking, but I have made a few overnight trips. I believe my experience can help those preparing for their first trip. I put together these tips that include objects or equipment I love to have with me.

1. Be sunproof

With the sun being very aggressive in Australia, I have become paranoid with sunburnt and protect myself as much as possible during outdoor activities, and it is even more important for kayaking and canoeing as we are on the water.
I would not leave without a hat or a cap and my sunglasses, I wear long sleeves and cover my legs (which is eco-friendly to limit the use of sunscreen if I go for a swim too!) and put sunscreen on my face, hands and feet. Also, don’t forget to protect your lips.

UV protection + Light + Breathable + Quick dry = Perfect clothing for kayaking!

2. Pack in waterproof dry bags

… and make sure you know how to close them!

You will have a better experience on the water if you are not worried about your precious gear getting wet. They are also excellent to compress the equipment, and as space is limited on a kayak or a canoe, it is great to be able to reduce the size of the bag (it works very well with clothes and sleeping bags). The types of bags I usually use:

3. Use gloves

Kayaking or canoeing can lose all its fun when you have to paddle with blisters, or with your hands sunburnt.
I don’t have specific paddling gloves for kayaking; I re-use boating or mountain-biking gloves. Try to pick gloves that will go up to your long-sleeve shirt so you’re fully protected from the sun!.

4. Bring a hydration backpack

First, staying hydrated during any activity is important, and the hydration backpack (often known as Camelbak) will allow you to do so quickly so you don’t have to stop paddling for too long. Second, it eliminates the risk of dropping your water bottle or your cap. Finally, if your kayak/canoe doesn’t have a comfortable seat, it will act as a small cushion on your back!

Make sure you pick a design that is comfortable: you should hardly feel that you have it on your back! I usually use a 2L or 3L bladder.

5. Be careful with your first aid kit

For any outdoor activities, you need to carry a first aid kit, so the adventure does not turn into a nightmare from a small incident. When kayaking/canoeing, make sure you protect your first aid kit from being wet!

Buy a kit or make your own… but make sure it’s safe from being wet!


6. Protect your map

Some adventures will not be feasible without a map so it is important to find a way to keep it dry and limit the risk of losing it!
I recommend placing your map in a waterproof plastic cover.


7. Recharge your batteries

If you like to document your trip with photos and videos, you may run out of battery at some point. Powerbanks are great to charge your equipment on the go. Some (like this one below) even have integrated solar panels and are waterproof.

Do you have more tips for kayaking beginners or other items you’d recommend? Please share them in the comments below!SaveSave

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Tips canoing kayaking adventure

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Henry Killingsworth

    It was really helpful when you mentioned that it is a good idea to wear gloves while kayaking so that you don’t get blisters. My wife and I are wanting to go on a kayaking trip this summer together as one of our vacations. We will have to make sure that we get some gloves to use so that we don’t hurt our hands using the paddles.

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