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Kit List for New Entrants

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Many of our new entrant customers who attend their first 'Introduction to Kayaking - Non-Tidal' course ask for a comprehensive kit list based on part of the content of the theory session of the course. the course offers students a no-nonsense summary of the bare minimum of gear and safety equipment they will need for their particular type of paddling i.e. non-tidal, estuaries and coastal (tidal) paddling. The focus is on the bare basics to save our students money and minimise the purchase of useless gear.

The equipment needs for river paddlers negotiating a non-tidal river that is NOT in spate and not running is pretty basic. However, NEVER paddle in a running river, that is, a river in spate after heavy rains. Fast running rivers are extremely dangerous - it's what is below the water line that you cannot see that is the danger. DO NOT paddle rivers in SPATE! But in normal safe conditions, river paddlers only need the following;

  1. Spare warm clothing, extra food & fluids.
  2. Throw bag - 15m minimum
  3. Means of calling for assistance - as many as reasonable i.e. mobile phone, whistle (acme thunderer pea whistle)
  4. Cordage to tether boats when on the bank.
  5. A good medical kit based on your personal needs.
  6. Hat, glasses, sun cream, all the common sense items.

For estuary and coastal paddlers, the list is more extensive due to the fact that they are paddling in deep tidal waters and the effect of wind over tide can create rough conditions. The following is the bare minimum of gear recommended and individuals should add as they see fit;

  1. Spare warm clothing, extra food & fluids.
  2. Towline - 15m minimum (large bag mouth & adjustable short/long tow system)
  3. Means of calling for assistance - as many as reasonably possible i.e. mobile phone, whistle (acme thunderer pea whistle), at least one flare (rocket/smoke combination) carried in the PFD, a heliograph, strobe and marine VHF - all on your person.
  4. Cordage to tether boats when on the beach.
  5. A good medical kit based on your personal needs including a good burns kit if camping overnight.
  6. Spare paddle.
  7. Hat, glasses, sun cream, all the common sense items.
  8. Flares - a minimum of one rocket, one collision and one smoke. More as you please.
  9. Grab bag - a dry bag filled with emergency gear, whatever suits you and your environment i.e. warm clothing, fluids, high fat, protein energy bars, emergency blanket, storm cag, hat, gloves, scarf and so on. The list can be as long as you think is required. This is your last-ditch survival bag so keep this in mind when stocking it.
  10. Repair kit. As above, you can fill this with the items you feel you will need but a guideline follows; tie-straps, spare skeg wire, plumbers putty, cordage, small sharp cutting blade, strips of canvas and canvas glue (bike repair kits work well) and so the list continues as you see fit.
  11. Some added gear for safety if you end up on a secluded beach in bad weather; tarp, fire making kit, 2 man bothy and storm cag.

Always dress for the water and avoid cotton and denim clothing. Layer for warmth and venting and wear good footwear with a good heel and ankle support. The above is the minimum recommended gear for these environments and you can add as needed. The list looks excessive but years of experience have taught me the value of each and every one of these items. Know your gear, know how to use it, practice and check it regularly, replace where necessary. And be disciplined in carrying it all with you; the day that you don't is the day you will need it. Take my word for it!

Published On: 21st July 2016