Shortly after graduating college, I was looking for different activities to stay busy during the spring and summer months. While I was living in Southern Illinois, kayaking was becoming a popular recreational activity due to the countless numbers of lakes, rivers, and creeks. I decided to get in on the growing trend and bought an inexpensive kayak. My first experiences kayaking were in the wetlands near the Cache River, which closely resemble a Louisiana bayou.
Not long after, my friends had bought kayaks of their own and our weekends consisted of looking for new places to go. Eventually, I upgraded to a larger fishing kayak, which opened up new opportunities for recreation. These are a few tips to make sure your kayaking experience is fun and enjoyable.
Since you are usually out in the open while kayaking, sun protection is a must. Applying sunscreen to not only your arms and legs, but your ears, neck, and face will help protect from nasty sunburns. Just remember to reapply every couples of hours. Polarized sunglasses and a hat or bandana can also help block harmful rays from the sun.
Most kayaks come with some kind of storage compartment. Kayaks can actually hold a lot of equipment, but it can be hard to reach when shoved to the back. Tying a string and carabineer to your equipment can make it easier to take out. Dry bags are also great for keeping clothes or electronics safe, and can be bought in many different sizes/styles. Having a way to clip your paddle to the side of your kayak is also convenient, as it frees up your hands. This can be done with some cordage and straps that are attached to the lip of the cockpit of your kayak.
After spending hours in a kayak, it’s easy for your legs and back to become sore. Putting some type of cushioning such as a spare lifejacket, dry bag, or foam under your knees and heels can help relieve some of the discomfort. Taking a break to stretch out your legs outside of the kayak can also help.
Many accessories can make kayaking more comfortable, fun, and efficient. A lifejacket is a necessity. Make sure yours fits comfortably and doesn’t ride up when you’re in the water. As mentioned before, dry bags can help keep clothing, food, and electronics safe. When deciding the right length for a paddle, your fingertips should reach just over the top of the paddle, which ensures it isn’t too long or too short. I like to put Yakgrips on my paddle, which are a soft round cushion that protects your hands from fatigue and blisters on long trips.
Where to go
While Nevada doesn’t have the amount of lakes like Illinois and Colorado, there are still several places to take your kayak. Lake Tahoe is one of the most obvious choices, and it’s clear water and beautiful views make it one of the top kayaking destinations in the country.
Pyramid Lake, Rye Patch Reservoir, and Wildhorse Reservoir are also good destinations. Many of these lakes also have good fishing.
If you have kids, there are several games to play such as kayak tag. The person who is “it” has to throw a ball into another kayak in order to tag them.
Finally, decide which kayak is right for you. Kayaks can be bought for under $200 and are good for beginners to get started. You can then decide if you’d like to upgrade, or possibly purchase a double kayak, which are great for parents/kids.
Have fun and happy trails!!!