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 the nature. It is great to approach closely the wildlife and the small size of the canoe / kayak also allows to be able to get a close look at the fauna and flora or even disembark where we like. But it can sometimes becomes painful and uncomfortable. Hopefully, these canoeing and kayaking tips will help you have a better adventure!

Canoeing / kayaking tips 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 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.

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; 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 Camelpak) 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!

I’d love to learn more about your kayaking tips and the objects you recommend. Please add them to the comments!

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Tips canoing kayaking adventure

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