Well the time finally comes at the end of summer for some of us who experience the four seasons to temporarily abandon our favorite activity and think about storing our kayaks and canoes.
Parks close, cold and ultimately snow and ice will be present and invite us for winter sports or other type of outdoor activities. And yes, it’s always possible to play outdoor even during those super cold winter months!
What Do We Do With Our Equipment?
You may think it’s easy to store your equipment and it does not require a lot of knowledge and experience.
However a little planned care for your kayaks or canoes and other related accessories can result in better and safer paddling when the season comes back.
It’s a fact of life everything gets old even your kayaks! Throughout the years, you can expect scratches, holes, real cracks (the kind that get you worried), faint painting. We’re not living in an ideal world so we need to plan maintenance care and storage at least once a year.
Your safety and pleasure on the water depends on it!
I discovered by experience using expensive outdoor equipment, that there are three steps not to be forgotten:
• Repair and maintenance
• Adequate conditions for storage
Follow these three simple yet very effective principles for any of your gears (kayaking, scuba diving, camping, hiking…) and you’ll be able to enjoy safe and performing equipment during all your seasonal and favorite activities!
Cleaning Your Gear
We all agree that when you unpack your gear at spring time it feels much nicer to find cleaned boots, stoves, sleeping bags, tents and boats!
Boats and folding boats:
• Remove all lose components (straps, seats, hatch covers) and wash them with warm fresh water using a mild detergent (don’t use strong commercial products or bleach that will burn the fibers). Rinse well thoroughly afterwards. Don’t forget to wash also your personal flotation device!
• Remove salt water and sand from your kayak or canoe or diving gear (regulators): rinse the boats, and all the attached parts (deck cords, toogle handles and bulkheads), pedals, rudder or derive
• Use an eraser-type sponge if your kayak stays in the water during the entire season
• Try to check all the O rings for dirt and clean well the openings of your dry compartments.
• And most of all let all your gear dry properly –put your boats upside down and off the ground. Use a towell if necessary.
Paddles are very expensive, I keep all our paddles in a safe place in our basement during those long winter times.
If you have 2-piece paddles then store them in separate pieces. But before that, clean the joints both inside and outside with a small bottle brush (I’m using my old baby bottle brush!):
After this easy step I simply wash and rinse the paddle carefully and dry with a soft towel.
I do the same thing for my canoe’s wood paddles.
Drysuits, wetsuits and PFD’s
Before anything else wash them and dry them very carefully. Actually this is the same thing you should do after each use! Check all zips carefully during that process.
One thing for sure: Do not put your wet suits in a washing machine!
If you need to replenish the waterproof treatment on your PFD or dry suit then the best thing to do is to consult individual manufacturers for guidance.
Repair and Maintenance
Check every boat and every piece of equipment carefully to see if any repairs need to be done.
And don’t be lazy. If you see something wrong, just repair it now!
Adequate Conditions for Storage
You need to put your canoes or kayaks in a safe place. That is somewhere where they won’t get damaged.
If you leave them in the snow, then you might expect some damage to occur from freezing and expanding or your local wildlife!
The best thing to do is to store your canoe or kayak in a garage. If you don’t have a safe place like that, then simply store your boat outside, but well covered. Then you can cover it quite easily.
Any outdoor activity like kayaking, canoeing, hiking, biking among others, requires a few winning elements to be successful.
As Stephen Cowey put it so well you need to have the end in mind. The ultimate goal is always to have some pleasure through an activity that you can realize any time any day, and you can experience with your family, children or your friends!
So here is a list of 7 habits you can practice any time, and get the maximum on your next paddling trip or exciting adventure!
FIRST HABIT: Stay Fit!
Yes indeed, don’t go kayaking even on a flat water body for three hours right at the beginning of the season because you’ll get discourage pretty fast if you’re not fit.
Within 48h you’ll experience body aching on all your big group muscles, like shoulders, arms, and back muscles.
That will resolve very fast, but then it’s unpleasant and unnecessary.
Hence, it’s important to do regular exercises and cardio throughout the winter to keep our body healthy.
I got a gym set up at home to keep us busy during the long winter days!
See my son… How he developed those muscles-)
SECOND HABIT: Read Great Books and Inspiring Stories
When we get bored, it’s very motivating and exciting to read or watch videos on inspiring stories.
I remembered when I read an interview about Audrey Sutherland when her new book “Paddling North” came out!!
What a feeling! Suddenly I got re-energized, and look through my own equipment to get ready for my next canoe-camping trip -)
THIRD HABIT: Renew your equipment
Ok: Let’s be straight forward on that one. I don’t mean go out and spend $500 in just a few hours!
No. Instead, review your equipment, see what’s missing or too old.
You may want to get some new , ecologic water bottles, or find new cooking set for camping.
Maybe get another water proof camera that you’ve seen during your last trip!!
FOURTH HABIT: Make Plans to Visit New Places
If you go canoeing always on the same lake… well at one point it becomes very boring, and you don’t enjoy the activity any more.
You don’t even paddle efficiently.
So make plans to visit new places by checking other paddling blogs and prepare your trip.
That will guarantee some excitement and you’ll be looking forward to go out and paddle.
FIFTH HABIT: Practice Other Outdoor Activities
Don’t go for one type of activity. Try to be diversified and practice other things like SUP, biking, mountain climbing, scuba diving. In winter season, enjoy some skiing, snow shoeing, dogsledding.
The list for outdoor adventures is pretty long!
See this afternoon, I went out and did some cross country skiing.
It was so beautiful in the woods with all that fresh snow… Quiet time for me!
SIXTH HABIT: Reach Out
That means the best way to do it is to keep in touch with your friends or family and present them your latest adventures and great photos.
You can use your Facebook page and keep engaging, and you can also visit other people’s pages to find new ideas or share your experiences.
SEVENTH HABIT: Relax
If you keep running during the whole week, and then go on a two-day trip canoe-camping with your kids, that could be a recipe for failure.
You’ll be so tired, you won’t really enjoy that free time in the woods.
The only thing you’ll probably keep thinking, is a good bath and some resting time in front of your TV!
So try to plan time to relax and free your mind and body to be available for your next outdoor trip!
Staying Fit Part 2
Let’s see how.
Early June 2008. Preparing for our first canoeing trip of the season.
Lift up the canoe on my shoulders.
Lose balance. Wrong decision.
Forced with my left arm fully extended to straighten the canoe with my car roof.
The best decision would have been to let the canoe fall on the ground.
In a split second I decided to get injured rather than to get a scratch on my red canoe.
Over 3 months of shoulder pain and sleepless nights.
A paddling season “on the water” as we say in French –meaning no season at all.
A visit to the orthopedist simply to hear that only time will help –based on the RMI that demonstrated a 50% tear of the supra-spinatus muscle.
To make it short, it was only in October that I found a sport orthotherapist to treat that little problem and finally get my sleep back!
Then I did over 8 months of regular arms/shoulders stretching to be able to fully extend my left arm again. No fun.
My point with that story?One: Get fit before the start of the paddling season
I wasn’t fit at all to lift up that canoe and I exposed myself to injury fairly easily. I did nothing much during the winter season to prepare my body and big muscle groups to get ready for other types of movements that I usually do during summer time.
Let’s say that I was indeed fit at the end of the previous summer, but I did not maintain that level of cardio or muscle strength during the following months. It requires less effort to stay fit than to start all over again each spring.
Regular cardio workouts (spinning, jumping rope, cross country skiing to name just a few), cardio-based bodyweight exercises (plyometric push-ups, jumping jacks, boxing moves) coupled with stretching is definitely the right thing to do.
For instance, I like to do from time to time Billy’s Bootcamp workouts. Guaranty you’ll sweat!!
I also use free videos and training plans.
Of course, best to check with your physician what you can do (before starting anything) if you have some health concerns.Three: Live your life to be healthy
My personal definition (and there are a lot!!) is a combination of several “how-to-do” activities or lifestyles behavior:
• Eat well! Here is the dirty dozen to avoid.
• Learn to relax and… do it!
• Get and stay physically on shape year after year
• Learn to play! Surprised? Playing like our kids do help us to forget all our daily worries and make us discover a world we had almost forgotten. Believe me on that one –I do it every day.
• Educate your mind with spiritual readings or music.
So your turn now: Are you fit to start the new season?
Write your comments in the box below!
Summer or not, it is always a good time to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and retreat to a more relaxing and peaceful location, like the beach or by the lake. With so many water activities to choose from, you definitely cannot get bored!
One of the most popular activities for people who want to test and ride with the waves is kayaking. It is not as extreme or complicated as surfing, but it is certainly one of the most enjoyable things you can do on water. Are you tired of swimming all day? Try kayaking instead!
But, before you jump on a kayak, make sure you are familiar with the activity first. It is not an easy-peasy one, after all. Continue reading below to get our introduction to kayaking!
Introduction to Kayaking – Kayaking Sport Overview
Kayaking may look like simply riding on a boat, but it is much more complex.
Considered as both a recreational activity and a competitive sport, kayaking is usually performed with a specialized boat, “the kayak”, and a double-bladed oar for paddling. Kayaking is very versatile and can be done in practically any body of water— In fact, you can do it on rivers, oceans, seas, and even big lakes.
A more interesting and exciting fact about kayaking is that you do not need any advanced skill to do it. Whether you are a first-timer or a seasoned kayaker, you can practice kayaking easily. However, it is still best to have a professional nearby, especially if you are kayaking for the first time. Remember: safety first!
Nowadays, kayaking is considered one of the preferred water activities by a majority of people in the world. But back when it was first discovered, kayaking was considered anything but a recreation activity.
The earliest record of a kayak’s usage happened thousands of years ago. The Inuits (or Eskimos), inhabitants of the arctic region, created and used kayaks made of driftwood and sealskins to serve as their primary mode of transportation for hunting, fishing, and transferring supplies from one place to another. In fact, the term “kayak” literally translates to “hunter’s boat.”
As years and seasons changed, so did the construction of kayaks. In the early 1900s, Europeans replaced sealskin covers with fabric, and thanks to Hans Klepper, a German inventor, the folding kayak was born.
By the 1930s, kayaks had become more than just a necessary mode of transport— as evident by the use of kayaks in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. As time passed by, several versions of kayaks were also invented— fiberglass, plastic, and more. Until today, kayaks are still improving in terms of materials and construction.
Types of kayak
In reality, there are two types of kayak:Sit in kayak, Sit on Top Kayak
A sit-in kayak is the most common (and traditional) type of kayak— this is the one which is usually seen in pictures and river kayaking. As the name suggests, with this kayak, the user sits inside, meaning most of his/her body is going to be covered in an enclosed cockpit. To prevent water from splashing on the upper part of your body (which is not that covered), you can purchase a spray skirt, which also functions as a flexible gasket.
Sit on top kayak
Unlike sit-in kayaks, this type allows the lower part of your body to be a bit free, since it is not secured in an enclosed cockpit. Sit-on-top kayaks are also affordable and recommended for first-timers and recreational kayakers. Choose this type of kayak if you are still practicing and honing your skills.Kinds of kayak
There are also different kinds of kayaks, each with their own purpose and advantages:Recreational kayaks
This type of kayak is perfect for beginners or those who just want to enjoy calm rivers or lakes. Recreational kayaks are not meant for more extreme modes of kayaking, but they are still sturdy and are made for comfort and stability. Recreational kayaks can be sit-in or sit-on-top— go with whatever suits your leisurely needs.
For people who want more adventure than a calm river and wish to go with the rapids, then this kind of kayak is the one to rent or buy. It has two major subcategories: creek boats (for overall versatility) and play boats (for trick contests and optimum maneuverability). Whitewater kayaks are also smaller than touring kayaks, and they are often made of high-impact plastic.
For long escapades in different bodies of water, a touring kayak is the one for you. This kind of kayak has a long design, which makes it easy for people to store things for overnight of all-day activities. It is also energy-efficient, which makes it a lot easier to paddle fast and far.
Like the name suggests, inflatable kayaks are not constructed from the usual materials that other kayaks are made of. This kind is commonly made of high-denier nylon and PVC, and is perfect for people who want to go kayaking for recreation. Since they are inflatable, they are very portable and take less space than other kinds of kayaks.
If you want to fish with other modes of transport than a common boat, then a sturdy fishing kayak is for you. It has angler-friendly rod holders and ample storage spaces for your fresh catches of the day. Fishing kayaks are usually simple and has great access to remote spots, making them greater than small boats for true-blue anglers.
Most kayaks can only fit one person, but tandem kayaks are different. This kind of kayak can sit up to two paddlers, and are available in both sit-in and sit-on-top types. Because of its slightly upgraded seating capacity, tandem kayaks are the common choice of couples or families who wish to enjoy recreational kayaking with their loved ones.Kayaking Tips
Recreational kayaking might be peaceful, but it does not hurt to have a professional teach you a thing or two. After all, kayaking is done on water, and accidents might happen, so might as well get thoroughly educated before getting on (or in) that kayak.Dress for the water
Before kayaking, consider the temperature of the water that you are about to paddle on. Wear a life jacket all the time and layer up with clothes if the water is cold. Remember: safety first!Choose your gear
Depending on the type of kayaking activity that you want to do, choose the right kind of kayak and paddle for you. If you are just going for a stroll, then a recreational kayak might be a good choice. Want to go on a whitewater or rapid adventure? Opt for a whitewater kayak, then! Remember: choose carefully.Make yourself comfortable
Most probably, you will be kayaking for hours, so it is very important to make yourself comfortable and at ease. Sit straight and make sure that you are paddling the right way.
So, as you’re discovering buying a used kayak isn’t as easy as you thought, your first task will be to learn how each type of kayak is different from the other.
First of all, there’s the “recreational” kayak. This is probably what you picture in your mind when someone mentions the word kayak. Recreational kayaks are often made of different materials, but they’re made of plastic or fiberglass more often then not. In fact, a combination of fiberglass, and/or plastic is very common, as this increases the durability and decreases the weight of the kayak. Wood kayaks are the most beautiful but are rarer these days due to the availability of stronger materials however, they boast a rural charm!
If you want to know how to buy a used kayak, it might be because you’re interested in a fishing kayak — some of these are the heaviest and quite pricey to boot. Professional fishing kayaks are even more expensive, but this is because they come with more features compared to their non fishing counterparts. Kayaks made of a combination of these materials are the lightest but they also are on the high-end of the price range. So if you’re looking to buy one of these more serious kayaks — hard-shelled and ready for anything, promising to last a lifetime — then you’ll definitely trying to investigate how to buy a used kayak to save as much money as possible.
Used Recreational Kayak – Often cheaper then a fishing kayak
– Large variance in pricing
– Wear and tear may be minimal dependent on who you purchase from
Used Fishing Kayak – Often more expensive since specialized for fishing
– Cheaper options available but usually on the high end
– Wear and tear is often higher since these kayaks are used by hobby fisherman that like to get the most out of their kayak
Used Inflatable Kayak – Much cheaper then anything available in other two categories
– Wear and tear is a huge concern since inflatables and their materials degrade quicker (you should put a year date of 5 years old max dependent on wear and tear)
Folding kayaks aren’t quiet as expensive. But the cheapest used kayak is usually the inflatable kayak! It may be worth it if your looking to save money with a used kayak to instead buy a brand-new inflatable kayak. Amateurs and experts alike love inflatable kayaks because of how easy they are to transport, store, and paddle around in. They are so versatile and while they aren’t quite as sturdy and long-lasting as other kayaks, they are simply the most convenient and easy to use. Make sure if you are purchasing one of these you take a look at all points of the hull since they are prone to tears and the previous owner might have just used a patch kit a bunch of times. Its essentially you try it out on the water to make sure there are no leaks and that it maintains its full inflation.
KEY CONSIDERATIONS/ Questions
- How old is the kayak being sold
- What condition is it in upon first look (scratches all over are not a good sign)
- Does the hull have any damage or the bottom of it from hits and rocks
- What is the reason the current owner is selling?
- Where has it been stored
- If its inflatable does it have any sun damage, sun can dramatically decrease the lifespan of a inflatable boat
- Is the owner trustworthy, can he provide you an ID photo just incase the kayak has been stolen
- Can the owner provide you some contact details so you can contact in case that you find any problems in the future (its a possibility you later find a leak you didn’t see on first inspection)
- Can you try the kayak out with the owners permission (this might be asking a bit much but you need to try it to make sure there is no leaks and the boat performs to its original standard
What do you want to use it for?
When you’re exploring your options for buying a used kayak, beyond just understanding the various types of kayaks, you’ll need to understand what they’re used for. A rigid kayak is ideal for certain sports while an inflatable kayak is better for others. Determine what your purposes are — do you want to go fishing or are you more of a recreational user? Whatever your answer is to that question, there’s a different kayak type for each user.
Moreover, if you want to learn how to buy a used kayak, the best place to begin is by looking at some of our kayak guides (Fishing Kayak Guide) (Inflatable Kayak Guide). The Internet is jam-packed with websites of various kayak manufacturers and dealers, most of which are based offline but that offer extensive photo catalogs and information online. We have compiled most of this information within our kayak guides through hours upon hours of extensive research. This is a great why to find out what exactly your options are. You can compare the different kinds of kayaks and their prices very easily with the web. There may even be online classifieds from individuals, not retailers, that have a kayak they’re ready to get off of their hands! You can save a lot of money by doing lots of price comparison online.
But if you’re still a little unsure of how to buy a used kayak, then here are some specific online resources for you.
craigslist.com can really help you in this area, as they list dozens upon dozens of used kayaks that are up for grabs.
kijiji.com is just as useful. Just make sure that you get the right kayak for the right price. If you want to take to the rapids, don’t get a fishing kayak and vice versa!
ebay.com can sometimes have good deals for kayaks
Hopefully, buying a used kayak doesn’t seem like such an intimidating ordeal. So what are you waiting for? Now that you have an idea of how to buy you can answer the call of the ocean!
Testing Out a Few Ocean Kayaks
We tested the Ocean Kayak Drifter kayak, in the Angler version. This version includes a couple of flush mount rod holders, and a nice tankwell with bungees. At 13 feet long, and almost 33 inches wide, you are going to be hard pressed to flip this boat. You could almost stand up on this boat and sling a fly. It would take a bit of practice, I am sure, but if you are looking for an incredibly wide, stable, fast kayak, the Drifter Angler at 13 feet is an excellent addition to your stable!
The Frenzy is a great little boat, and at 9 feet long, you can quickly grab this boat and go. If you have any farm ponds, or creeks off in the cut around you, this is going to end up being your go to kayak. At 33 inches wide, you can’t flip this boat. It will fill with water before you get it flipped over. I haven’t tried standing on it, but I could easily see how you could get away with slinging flies on this kayak.
The Prowler 13 is one of Ocean Kayaks better selling models, and the new version is not going to be any different. They rebuilt the keel line on this boat, to allow it to cut through the water a lot better. It did a great job before, but now, it is untouchable. It has a nice hatch on the front, and looks like it is going to be decently waterproof. I would still be careful with storing electronics and such in it.
Next on the list is the Scrambler. This is a great all around boat, for any time of fishing you will encounter. Small enough to throw into the car or truck and take to your favorite pond or creek, but still long and wide enough to handle rougher surf, or a faster moving current. The way that Ocean designed this boat, it isn’t really made fo bigger paddlers. You could easily get your girlfriend or wife into this boat, and they would be comfortable enough that you wouldn’t hear any complaining!
Last, but not least, is the Yak Board. The step child in Ocean’s lineup, but quickly becoming one of my favorites. Yes, it is only 8 feet long, and is extremely wide, so it isn’t going to paddle very well. However, as long as the wind is dead, and there is no current, you could easily stay in one spot fishing on this little kayak all day. Ocean Kayak did a good thing when they reintroduced this boat to the lineup, and I am sure there are going to be a lot more fans of it.