While planning a kayak vacation may seem like a camping trip gone exponential with a boat, it’s not that complicated. Because kayaks can be used in so many different water environments – rivers, oceans, creeks, lakes – the ability to plan a holiday is fairly wide open in terms of destinations. Given the rugged design of this water craft, it can be utilized in rapids and take a beating as well as be stable under general ocean wave conditions. The only limitations are really defined by the holiday destination, the size of the kayak and time out on the water.
For example, simple kayak control and peaceful water trips can be had on large lakes such as Lake Tahoe, California, during the summer. Ocean exposure and learning how to boat in the waves can be had at just about any beach park on the west or east coast where there is at least a beach entrance to the water. Santa Barbara beach is a good location on the west coast. Extreme river-kayak trips can be had by gaining park access to river trips in Costa Rica or New Zealand for an international flavour.
Planning is key with a kayak trip
Most kayak trips are probably going to involve your own equipment. While a rider could technically rent such equipment, kayaks are not necessarily available at every water location. With a rider bringing his own boat and equipment, this becomes a non-issue. That said, a car rack will be necessary for any kind of a vehicle trip. This is in addition to any other equipment brought along for camping at the particular destination if lodging is not procured from a motel or similar.
The length of a kayak holiday can be flexible as well. It can be a simple weekend outing or a run to the river on Saturday. It can be a multi-week camping trip with a full-scale exploration plan involved, going on a river adventure through an entire region. Much of how the holiday goes depends on the planning involved. As a result, good kayak trips are well detailed before any boat ever touches the water. Clearly, long trips will need a lodging and food component, depending on whether the boating is in the same location or traveling along a greater distance. If the latter, ground transportation will need to be planned as well once the party reaches the end destination miles away.
Match your skills to your environment
It’s important that the trip destination and the water area to be travelled on matches the skill level of the kayaking party. A beginner zone will be absolutely boring for a party that is used to dealing with navigating rapids. A fast-moving river could potentially be a serious risk hazard for a kayaker only used to boating on calm lakes. Nothing ruins a trip faster than someone having a horrible time, so matching the trip participants’ skill level to the conditions is important and smart.
Appoint an experienced kayak trip leader
A kayak trip should also have an experienced leader who knows how to handle boating and water emergencies as well as camping problems if going to extended stays. This experience and knowledge can be extremely helpful when something goes or wrong, or worse, someone needs to be rescued suddenly. A trip leader also helps keep everyone on track with what’s next on the agenda or where the trip is going. This allows the rest of the party to enjoy the experience more rather than getting into a guessing game on what to do next. In some cases, hiring a trip through a kayak tour guide service may be a good idea, especially if having a holiday in a new area or water zone for the first time. An experienced guide will know where to go to keep kayakers safe rather than getting lost. On rivers such guidance is especially important, particularly in tropical areas and those with rapids.
By Julie Bowman