Kayaking 101: An Introductory Guide For Beginners

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Kayaking is an iconic image of outdoor exploration; and is an activity that just gets better with each paddle. But, as fun as the sport is, there is a lot to learn. So, if you’re a complete beginner to the world of kayaking and are feeling a little bit lost, then you’re in the right place!

Here is an introductory guide to the sport for beginners.


If you’re going to be spending time, effort, and money on kayaking, you’ll probably want to know you’re getting some benefits. You may be happy to find out that Kayaking has a lot to offer. Aside from helping to improve mental health, and increasing physical health and well-being, kayaking also offers many of the following benefits:

It’s Fun

Kayaking is an enjoyable recreational activity that is always great – whether you are gliding down a lazy river or paddling in the open water of a lake.

You Have Access To Remote Areas

There are many places around the world that you can only get to by water. Thanks to a shallow draft, a kayak can get into small spaces that a lot of other boats cannot, including narrow streams and backcountry Lakes.

It’s Really Good Exercise

Kayaking is a great overall workout for every part of your body. You’ll be using muscles that you probably didn’t even know you had and burning calories at a rate of knots, plus you’ll be far away from your phone screen, too.

It also improves your balance and stability. As you develop your kayaking skills, your overall body torso balance will increase, too.

Should I Buy Or Rent A Kayak?

Kayaking can be quite a large investment. There are a few different costs that you need to consider before you decide whether to buy or rent.

Buy: Depending on just how much you’re okay with spending, purchasing a kayak could set you back between $250 and $1000. You’ll also have to purchase a life vest ($50-$100) and other miscellaneous gear which could cost you a few hundred dollars.

You’ll also need to be on the lookout for the best RV kayak rack to ensure your kayak can be reliably transported, and will also have to think about paying for storage.

Rent: However, to get a taste of the activity, you can rent a kayak for an hour or the entire day starting anywhere from $50 to $100. If you later figure out that kayaking isn’t for you, then you won’t have spent lots of money on it.

What Gear Do I Need?
Regardless of where you go on your kayaking adventure, you’ll need to make sure that you have all the right gear. Here’s a list of exactly what you need:

  • Life Vest
  • Kayak Whistle
  • Bilge Pump
  • Kayak Lights
  • Helmet
  • Reliable clothing (including a good pair of neoprene water shoes). This includes a hat, summer weight wetsuit, surfing shirt, board shorts or swim trunks, a dry-fit shirt, and dry-fit pants.

Remember to dress for the water, not the weather. It doesn’t matter if it’s 90 degrees outside, if the water in the river you’re paddling is 55 degrees and you go in it … you’ll be happy you’re wearing water-resistant clothes.

Choosing The Best Sized Kayak

The key is buying a kayak that is the correct size in terms of your weight. This is actually the most important thing that you need to consider when looking for the right kayak. For example, if you weigh 175 pounds and your gear totals 25 pounds, you’ll want to be on the lookout for a kayak with a practical weight limit of 200 pounds, instead of a maximum capacity of 200 pounds.

You must also purchase the right-sized kayak for your height. This is especially relevant if you are a taller individual where locating a kayak that works for your height can be a bit more complicated. This is because your height determines your overall center of gravity when you are sitting in your kayak, which impacts your stability.

Choosing The Correct Kayak Paddle

Having an accurately sized paddle may be the difference between tiring yourself out with a paddle that is far too large, or frequently hitting the side of your chosen kayak with the shaft of your paddle. As a result, figuring out the right paddle length that works with your body is essential.


And there you have it! This article is a great introduction to kayaking for any beginner. However, this only scratches the surface of everything you truly need to know if you want to pursue the sport seriously.


About the author

Saman Iqbal

Saman is a law student. She enjoys writing about tech, politics and the world in general. She's an avid reader and writes fictional prose in her free time.

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