Hey guys, Let me tell you about one of my favorite kayaking accessories. I love Ascend dry bags.
I know that there a lot of different brands of dry bags on the market. I’ll be honest, I have not used any other bag. My Ascend bag is a Heavy Duty, lime green bag. With a capacity of 10L’s and it is plenty big enough for my needs.
Ascend makes 4 basic sizes in their heavy-duty line. All are made of a thick, heavy-duty waterproof PVC material and sport electronic-welded construction on all the seams. These bags also have a roll-top design with quick release buckles to ensure the contents of the bag stay dry, as well as a built in D-ring for connecting to the kayak in case of flip overs. They are built tough for those rough rides. They do make a medium duty and a light duty bag as well. I chose the heavy-duty just for extra assurance.
Here are the specs on the heavy-duty line of bags.
Rolled/sealed size: 8” x 12”/20 x 35 cm
Rolled/sealed capacity: 610 cu in/10 L 20 L
Rolled/sealed size: 10” x 15”/25.5 x 38 cm
Rolled/sealed capacity: 1,220 cu in/20 L
Rolled/sealed size: 11” x 19”/28 x 48 cm
Rolled/sealed capacity: 1,830 cu in/30 L
Rolled/sealed size: 13” x 25”/33 x 63.5 cm
Rolled/sealed capacity: 3,356 cu in/55 L
Why A Dry Bag?
The answer is pretty obvious as to why we would want a dry bag. To keep your stuff dry, of course. I certainly would not trust my camera gear or my phone to a Ziploc baggy.
Even on a short day trip there are certain things you want to keep dry. You may even want more than one bag, depending on what kind of trip you are planning on taking. You could also use the dry bags to hold wet items, so you are not mixing them in with the dry stuff. The options are unlimited.
What’s In It?
You can put anything you want into your dry bag.
My dry bag typically has my phone, my camera and sometimes an extra lens for the camera, and some snacks. Okay you can’t go out on the kayak without snacks. There is nothing worse than soggy chips. I will say, if your dry bag is out in the sun, don’t put your chocolate in there. It will not make the trip.
Now, I am still working on my must have list for short trips on the kayak and I have yet to do a long trip on it. So I am sure my list will grow. Some things I can think of for sure are a towel, jacket, change of clothing, maybe even a dry pair of shoes. If you are planning on a longer trip, maybe an overnight trip. You would certainly want to keep your sleeping bag, tent, and other camping gear dry.
Maybe you have a separate bag for dirty clothes or wet clothes. That way you can keep track of them and not mix them with the good stuff.
How Do I Secure My Bag?
I have a few carabiner clips that I used to secure my bag to the kayak. They come in all sizes and strengths. You can also place them in the kayak, if you have a sit-in style kayak. You can also put them under the bungee straps that are commonly on kayaks.
Dry Bags are Important
So, why an Ascend dry bag? Well, I like the color, and the durability of my bag. I also like that I have options in weight and sizes of the bags. The price point is reasonable and I ran across some great reviews about the product. They are easy to open and close while I am on the water, and I am always pulling my camera out and putting it back. I hope you check them out and possibly add one to you stash of kayak accessories.
Let me know below in the comments if you have a dry bag and how you use yours. Thanks for joining me again.
In this post we are going to focus on Ascend kayak reviews of their 10′-0 series of kayaks.
As I have mention in previous posts, I personally own an Ascend D10T kayak. So I will review my likes and dislikes of my personal kayak and I will break down and review a couple of their other models.
So, the Ascend D10T. Mine is a couple of years old and I have used it a handful of times.
Mine is bright red, which I love, and only comes in the one color. It is 10′-0″ in length and 34″ wide. I have only used it on Lake Taneycomo in Branson, Missouri. Originally the White River. Lots of boaters, some current due to the dam at Table Rock Lake and lots of fish. The Ascend D10T is a sit-on top style kayak and has a fairly flat bottom. This makes the boat pretty stable and I have been able to access some pretty shallow water. I have not tried to stand on the boat, as Lake Taneycomo is very cold water. It handles the boat waves really well though.
It comes with a high back adjustable seat pad. The back, when placed correctly is pretty comfortable, but I will say the seat pad is not. I am still searching for a way to make it bearable for long periods of time.
It only has one storage pocket that is supposedly waterproof, but it is not big enough for my phone, so I do not use it. I highly recommend a dry bag for stuff. There is a cup holder molded into the floor of the kayak to keep a bottle of water within easy access. It also has molded cubbies on either side of the seat, which are perfect for throwing stuff in.
The foot rests are adjustable and I do like that. The back of the kayak is flat and suitable for storing stuff and comes with an elastic bungee to keep everything secure. The D10T has a handle on the front and on the back for carrying. It does weigh in at about 65lbs, so it is much too heavy for me to lift and carry on my own.
All in all, I think that the Ascend D10T is a great first sit-on top kayak. It is easy to get on and off of. Easy to fish from, and relatively inexpensive. I do have a few modifications on mine such as a rod holder and I have wheels to get it from the truck to the water.
The next kayak we are going to look at is the Ascend 10T. This one is very similar to the D10T with a couple of distinct differences. While it is still a sit-on top at 10′-0″ in length it is only 31″ wide versus the 34″ width of the D10T. This one comes in several colors as well.
This boat also comes with a different type of Ascend seat. It is slightly raised off of the floor of the kayak with a medal frame, much like a stadium seat. Due to it being slightly narrower than the D10T, the front is slightly rounder while the back is slightly narrower. It also has the adjustable foot pegs like the D10T.
The Ascend 10T comes with the two standard carrying handles on the front and back, but it also has one on each side. This in my opinion would make it a little easier to maneuver yourself, whether you were trying to load into a truck or on a car. As well as trying to get it to the water. It is a little heavier than the D10T at 67lbs. Not sure 2 lbs would make much of a difference.
This kayak does sport two pole holders and several rings for connecting and securing stuff. It still only has the one waterproof storage hole, and the molded cup holder.
This Ascend kayak is a sit-in type of kayak. It is technically only 9′-10″ in length and only 29″ wide. This in my opinion would affect the overall stability of the kayak, although, I believe it would be plenty stable for general recreational kayaking. It does come with the Ascend metal framed seat that sits into the kayak on a molded side bracket. It is the lightest of all the Ascend kayaks at only 50lbs.
This model comes with elastic paddle holders on both sides, a clip-on fabric cover on the back to keep your stuff in the kayak and possibly some water out. It also has a cup holder and two molded cubbies in the top of the front of the kayak. Easy access from the seat. The D10 also has elastic banding for securing stuff to the front and the back of the kayak. This one also sports carrying handles on the front and the back. This model also comes in two colors.
This a pretty cool Ascend model. Still, in the sit-in type and 10′-0″ length. It is 30″ wide and comes with the metal frame Ascend seat. This kayak is set up for fishing with 2 flush mount pole holders and the area behind the seat is set up for a crate or tackle box, or just to hold gear. It has the elastic banding over the back and the front for securing gear and one the sides for your paddle.
This model has a dash of sorts. Molded plastic with a cup holder, dry cubby and an open cubby ideal for small objects like lures or chapstick. It has glide rails on either side of the dash to attach accessories too, such as cameras, fish finders etc.
This is a sharp looking boat and is available in 2 different colors. In my opinion it would make a great starter kayak if you were looking to get into some fishing and flat water kayaking.
This model is relatively new as it is a Hybrid of a kayak and a canoe. The body style is very canoe like in its v-shape nose and tail. Wider in to middle and a deeper cavity. This model is a single-seater with the metal framed Ascend seat that sits up off the floor.
The H10 has gear storage in the front and in the back behind the seat. Both have fabric coverings with hook fasteners to keep them closed. There are no cup holders or other molded cubbies, but you have plenty of floor space for a cooler or tackle box. It has 2 pole holders and side glide rails on either side of the boat. It also has the carrying handles on the front and back of the boat.
I believe this model would handle much like a canoe with the versatility of a kayak, how fun. It also comes in 2 basic colors and has the best weight capacity of the 10′-0″ models.
Ascend 10′ Boats all Wrapped Up
There you have it!
I believe any of these boats would make a great first boat. Just consider your purpose and how much of a boat you want to manage. Like I said earlier, mine is a little heavy for me to handle on my own, although, with some modification I manage. So, happy kayaking you all.
If any of you currently have an Ascend kayak let me know how you like it below. I would love to know.
In this article we are going to dive into a few different makers and models specifically design for us ladies. Let’s face it, we are not built like the average guy or child. We have a few extra bumps. You know what I mean?
As I researched different life vests, I decided I wanted to be a little different from most sites you run into. I don’t want to be just another review site that sends you straight to another site to just purchase the product.
So, I did some reading about the companies themselves. I am not going to focus on price point in this article. While there are some cost effective options out there, I am primarily looking at comfort, quality and functionality.
So again, this is my unbiased opinion based on my personal research on the world wide web of these products. Let’s have a look.
Astral Womens Life Vests
Astral started out as a small company in Asheville, NC. They still do small production runs of certain products there as well as repairs and quality control. The mission of their company was to provide a quality product that was nature friendly. Their PFDs are PVC free and breathable. They have worked hard to be as clean and toxin-free as possible. I felt that it was important to acknowledge this.
Astral has several models of PFDs that I really liked. Their design is lady friendly, rugged, well put together and has options.
My first and second choices from this manufacturer are the Astral V-Eight and the Astral V-Eight Fisher. Both are very similar in design, and are both made of the same quality materials. The V-Eight comes in 3 colors, the Fisher in only 2.
I also liked the Astral Layla. Designed for the curves of a woman. It has a side entry versus a front zipper. Comes in 2 pretty colors and built just as tough as the other Astral products. I also like that the buoyant material is an organic plant material. How cool is that?
Sizing is based on chest dimension.
XS 27″ – 31″ M/L 38″ – 44″
S/M 31″ – 37″ L/XL 45″ – 51″
These are not the cheapest jackets/vests on the market, but I felt they were quality. Many of the reviews I read, the folks that had them, had them for many, many years.
NRS (Northwest River Supplies)
NRS has an interesting story. Started in 1972 by an idealistic business professor named Bill Parks in his garage. Sound familiar? Seems lots of crazy companies have started in garages. Bill was a river runner and was drawn to rivers and the beautiful places they carried him. The company is now an employee owned and run company.
It is located in Moscow, Idaho and still design all their products in house. They are passionate about preserving the waterways in which them and their customers play.
The one vest that I found by this maker was the NRS Shenook Fishing Vest. Of course, I love to fish so this appealed to me immediately.
Also, created to fit womens curves, it also has plenty of extra fun stuff. It has a front zippered entry with 6 adjustment points. It even comes with a built in pole holder, Hello! Plus lots of pockets for gear.
I actually went and tried one of these vest on. I required a L/XL size, but it fit wonderfully. I was able to get into it easily and tighten it up for the perfect fit. As you will see I am not a small girl, so this one rates high on my list.
My next pick from NRS would be the NRS Zoya Mesh Back PFD. Again lightweight, created with kayakers and paddlers in mind. Supple foam inserts that mold to a womans chest, front zippered entry and 6 adjustment points for great fit.
Sizing on both these vests are pretty good too. Based on chest dimension.
XS/M 30″ – 42″
L/XL 42″ – 52″
Again not the least expensive, but I was impressed with the reviews, the company story and the look. They also have other models, but these were my favorites.
We can’t talk PFD manufacturers without mentioning Stohlquist. They are everywhere. When I was researching, their PFDs were on the top of many lists and mentioned many times within the lists. The company has been around for over 40 yrs. They have designing and producing quality water ware for a long time. Started in Buena Vista, Co. near the Arkansas River by a man named Jim Stohlquist.
My pick from here was the Stohlquist Betsea. I liked that it was designed with the princess seams on the inside and out for feminine fit. I also liked that it had lined hand warmer pockets as well as two large pockets on the front for stuff. It has built-in contoured cups to hug instead of crush our extra bumps. Several adjustment points and several attachment points for extra gear.
<Click on the photo for pricing>
Sizing for the Betsea are as follows.
Petite 24″ – 30″
XS/SM 28: – 34″
M/LG 34: – 40″
Plus 40″ – 46″
Stohlquist has many options for women, and some are certainly designed for fishing as well as paddling. The price points on these vary quite a bit.
MTI Adventure Wear
Last but not least on my list. MTI short for Marine Technoligies International was founded in 1991 by the Takashinas just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. MTI is still a family owned business near the waterfront of Plymouth, Massachusetts.
The Owners Gordon and Lilli Colby met over 20 yrs ago and are both water babies. They both have a passion for paddle sports and nearshore sailing. That passion is what still drives this company to produce quality products.
I looked at two models of womens PFDs produced by this company. The first was the MTI Destiny Womens Life Jacket and the second was the MTI Moxie. Both are made with quality materials and design. One of the best features for me is the Bust-Adjust Fit System. I am a busty lady and it is hard to fit into a straight line jacket.
Both also provide pockets and enlarged arm holes for movement. Both had good reviews everywhere I looked as well. The sizing did differ between the two.
XS/SM 30″ – 36″ M/LG 36″ – 46″ XL/2X 46″ – 56″
S/M 29″ – 40″ L/XL 40″ – 48″
There You Have It!
Through my reading and research, these are the 4 companies that topped my list. These are the ones that caught my eye.
I can tell you that I bought an inexpensive PDF when I got my kayak without doing any research. I was just happy to get one to zip up with me in it. Not lying, I am not a small girl. I fought with that dang thing all summer and if I can help you ladies avoid that mess, I will be a happy girl.
Hope this helps you all out and I would love to know what PFDs you all have chosen, so leave me a comment and a picture so I can see.
Well, hello ladies. I thought this would be an interesting topic to dive into. As I am over 50 and not a weight lifter and I enjoy kayaking solo.
So we are going to take a look at light-weight kayaks for women.
You want to be able to transport and manage your kayak on your own. My kayak is 10ft. long and weighs about 65 lbs. It is a lot to manage on my own.
So, here I am going to bring my research to you and help you make a decision based on what I share about different kayaks and their manageability.
What Did I Uncover
So, as we know from my previous post about kayak styles, there are several types of kayaks. As it turns out, there are also many weights of kayaks.
Here I am going to focus on lightweight kayaks for women and here are a few that I think would be great options for those of us that are of average build and strength. We want to be able to get our kayak to the water effectively and without killing ourselves.
While doing my research, I used many avenues. Before I get started I should say that I am going to mention a few different places where I searched for information. Everything you read will be my unbiased opinion and nothing more.
I started on Amazon to begin my search for the most popular light-weight kayaks. After coming up with a decent list of the ones I thought would work really well, I then checked reviews on several levels. I looked at Walmart, Cabelas, Some product manufacturers’ and YouTube. Just to name a few.
So, for my search criteria I looked into a few things. Weight being my number one factor, I also wanted kayaks that had good weight capacity, price point and good reviews. It’s all fine to have a really light kayak, but it has to hold you up above the water, and we want it to last longer than one season.
So, let us dive into my crazy opinions and see what I came up with.
Hard Body Kayaks
So, let’s start with my first choice. The reason I chose this one first is due to the ease at which you can get it and that it had pretty good reviews. No matter where I searched, for the price, it was one of the best.
The Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 is a basic sit-in recreational kayak. Many folks on YouTube have even modified them for fishing. They can be found at two very common places, Walmart and Amazon. I am sure that you can find them in other places as well. The price points I found ranged from $245 up to $325. The average rating I found from reviews was 4.4 Stars out of 5. <click the photo for current pricing> Specs for the Aruba
So, combine the facts and this made it to number one on my list. Besides, you can get it in a few colors which makes it even more fun.
The Vibe Skipjack 90 was the next one I found to be exceptable for the criteria I was looking for. This just has a fun name don’t you think?
Beyond that it looked pretty cool too. After doing some research, I found that the average rating on this one based on reviews was about 4.8 stars out of 5. They said that it was good for Lakes, ponds, rivers and streams. Again, these have also been used for fishing, This one is a sit-on style kayak with a general price point of $400 to $500.
The Sun Dolphin Phoenix 10.4 is next in line. Again, this is a basic low price point kayak that is relatively easy to find. Like it’s smaller brother the Aruba, it is a sit-in style of kayak. The price starts generally at $220 up to around $350. Based on reviews it rates about 4.6 stars out of 5. Specs for the Phoenix 10.4
The Malibu 9.5 Ocean Kayak Sit-on also made my list. It popped up in my first search and it intrigued me enough to warrant a closer look. It was the only one that I searched that came up with 5 out 5 stars according to the reviews I found.
I looked not only on Amazon, but on the West Marine website and the manufacturers’ website. It is a little higher on the price point scale ranging from $550 to $600.
Some interesting details I came across on this kayak included, a stackable design, compact, straight tracking, great for waves and surf but also good on lakes and mild rivers. The hull was designed for stability and has a molded seat that is slightly elevated from the floor for comfort.
It just looked like a fun kayak, so I included it. <Click the photo for current pricing>
I also wanted to include a few fishing kayaks in my list. It was actually amazing to me that there were actually a few that fit my weight criteria. Now, the more stuff you mount on your kayak is ultimately going to increase that weight. So, be careful with your add ons.
First is the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 120 Fishing Kayak. Again, reasonable price point ranging from $240 to $500. This kayak I found to be very popular online. The biggest complaint was the not so comfortable seat pad that comes with the kayak. General ratings per the reviews were 4.8 stars out of 5. It is a sit-on style, which makes it ideal for fishing.
The general consensus of this kayak is that it tracks well, is pretty stable and has enough storage for gear. <Click photo for current pricing>
Finally, the Emotion Guster Sit-in Angler made the list. Again a reasonable price point of $450 to $500. These can be found at Tractor Supply, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Amazon, of course. According to the research I found, people rated it well for tracking, stability and ease of handling. I found that it ranged from 4.5 to 5 stars. Specs for the Emotion Guster
As I mentioned before, my kayak is a 70lb kayak and I was surprised to find such great kayaks that weighed so much less than mine.
Okay, we cannot talk about lightweight kayaks and not touch on some inflatable kayaks on the market. I won’t lie, I have thought about them myself, so I was kind of excited to dig a little deeper into what is out there.
The Intex Challenger K1 is the first one on the list. This one made it to first primarily due to weight and reviews. The price point on this kayak started at about $70. It is a one man kayak but it had a crazy amount of reviews and ended up with an average of 4.4 starts out of 5.
The Intex Challenger K2 made number two on the list. Like it’s smaller version the K1, it had a ton of reviews and ended with a rating of about 4.2 stars out of 5. Again great price point starting at the $90 range. Now due to this being a 2 man kayak the weight capacity is higher, but if you are a solo you can take one of the seats out and have plenty of storage for gear. Specs for the Intex Challenger K2
The last one I decided to put on this list is the Sea Eagle SE330 Pro Solo. This kayak is in a class above the previous two due to the fact that it is built to be tough.
It falls in a much higher price point starting at $260. This kayak has a general rating of 4.3 stars out of 5. It is a rugged inflatable made of 33 mil. Polykrylar. It has inflatable I-beam construction and has been used for whitewater kayaking up to class III rapids.
Based on reviews that I read, this kayak only takes about 6min. to inflate and is great for fishing, paddling or river running. Specs on the Sea Eagle SE330
So, while I really like the hard body kayaks myself, I am really tempted to try one of these really fun looking inflatables. I’m going to share this really cool lady, Carol Derer, I found on YouTube with you all, because, she is an example of why I did this post. Single lady, kayak and wanting something easy to manage.
It just goes to show that you can enjoy something like kayaking, even if you are not a body builder or have someone to help you pack your gear. I hope you guys enjoyed this post and found it useful. If you have any questions or comments leave them below. If I do not know the answers I certainly will do my best to find them for you.
Kayaking is an awesome way to experience nature, get some exercise and even make new friends. It can also be a way to get hurt or worse if we do not think about safety. So in this article we are going to look at kayaking life jackets or vests, and how to choose the right one for you.
The 5 Basic Types
While the majority of us use the terms’ life jacket or life vest to encompass the entirety of PFD’s or Personal Flotation Devices. Those terms’ are not entirely accurate.
Actually the term PFD is broken down into 5 categories.
Type 1 – These are designed primarily for off shore, rough seas or open water. Think about commercial fishing boats or the coast guard when you think of these. They are designed with the thought that you are going to be in the water for longer periods of time.
Type 2 – These are designed with quick rescue in mind. Near shore, calm waters.
Type 3 – These are the most popular and ideal for folks like us. The kayakers, water skiing, fishing, etc. Similar to type 2, and designed based on quick rescue, and calmer waters. These are also designed based on the activities you will be doing.
Type 4 – Throwable PFD. These typically come in the shape of a ring or floatable cushion. I know that these were very common on my Grandpas boat when I was younger.
Type 5 – These are designed with special circumstances in mind. Such as full body for very cold water to insulate against hypothermia. These will have special classifications on their labels.
We are going to focus on Type 3, since these are the ones that are ideal for what we are doing.
What To Look Out For
When out shopping for your own PFD some key features to look out for are going to be.
Comfort is huge. You do not want to be in a kayak all day in a life jacket that is uncomfortable. I know this, cause I have experienced it myself. It does not make for a great adventure. You really need one that is going to allow you to move the way you need too. Another factor or feature within this is Ventilation. Some of these jackets can be hot, especially if you are out in the sun for hours.
Storage is something I never really thought much about. In my research though, I have discovered that most life jackets and vests come with pockets and d-rings for attaching goodies too. Some even come with a hydration bladder so you can carry drinkable water with you without the trash.
Entry method, meaning how you put it on. Some zip up the front, others slip over your head.
Durability is important. With the price of some of these things, you do not want to buy a new every week or year. Look at the material, zippers, buckles, etc.
Last but not least, Buoyancy. This is the factor that keeps your head above the water.
Standard vs Inflatable
The term Standard encompasses the most widely used life jackets and vests. They are found everywhere from Walmart, Amazon, sporting goods stores, etc. They range from the old fashion, over the head bright orange flotation devices to the more modern, fancy vests with pockets, buckles, tabs and fancy colors. They also vary in price from $10 and up. They are typically made out of nylon or neoprene and use foam as the primary float.
Pros of Standard PFDs
Any Price Point
Cons of Standard PFDs
Inflatables are a relatively new item on the market compared to the standard models. They can be labeled as a Type 3 or a Type 5 depending on their design. Inflatables come in two styles, manual and automatic. Manual inflatables are just that. The wearer manually inflates the vest by pulling on a cord, which ten activates a C02 gas cartridge. The automatic model inflates when it is submerged in water.
Pros of Inflatables
Cons of Inflatables
Not inherently Buoyant. They must be inflated and if you are injured or rendered unconscious, that could be a problem.
Requires Maintenance/Replacement of Cartridges
Not for Everyone, not necessarily good for all sports, where standard PFDs are interchangeable
Can be Pricey
Hybrid PFDs – These are a combo of standard and inflatable. You get the best of both worlds, but you are going to pay for it.
Get The Right Size
You want to make sure you get the right size. Adult Life Jackets and Vests are sized by your chest measurement not your weight. Now, if you are built like me and are a little larger in that area, it definitely makes a difference when you start shopping. Generally speaking, your larger department type stores are not going to carry gender specific jackets and vests. Most are going to be unisex and for a larger busted women, that is a challenge.
So, to get the right size, measure your chest at it’s broadest point. Then use that number along with the manufacturers size recommendations. Also, try them on. Let’s face it. How many one size fits all things really do?
Tips for getting the right fit
Wear the clothing you would normally wear when kayaking or eat least of similar material when shopping.
Try them on, tighten them up and mimic the movements you would be doing. Try paddling, twisting, sitting down on the floor if necessary.
Think about adjustments. The more straps, the more you can make.
Again, look for gender specific. Unisex may not fit as well. Ladies, remember we tend to have extra baggage and bumps. Just saying.
Test the fit
Once you have the PFD on, tighten everything up from the bottom to the shoulders, in that order. Then have someone pull up on the shoulder straps. The body of the PFD should not move. If it comes up around your chin, it’s not right. It should fit like a great pair of gloves, snug but comfortable. You do not want it slipping around causing chaffing.
Child sizing is a bit different. Just to touch on this a bit, children PFDs are sized by their weight. A typical guideline that I found in my research is this.
Infants – 8-30lbs
Child – 30-50lbs
Youth – 50-90lbs
No matter what water activity you are embarking on, safety should come first. I hope that the information that I have provided will help you make an informed decision about the right PDF for you. I would love to know how your journey is going and if you have anything to add to this, leave me a comment below.
Thanks for taking the time to read and spend some time with me.
Most of us do not get into kayaking for the health benefits. Let me tell you though, from a personal stand point, there are a lot of health benefits associated with the sport of kayaking. No matter what type of kayaking you are into.
Let us break this down a bit and you will see what I am talking about.
Let’s Get Physical
Most of us think that getting exercise or getting physically fit requires a gym or a regimented program. I personally am not a gym rat, nor do I want to be.
I love hiking outdoors and taking a stroll along the lake. Beats a treadmill every time.
What’s that have to do with kayaking you ask?
Well, think about that awful rowing machine at the gym. You sit on that man-made contraption and row till your arms fall off and all you see are the same four walls where you started.
Now, equate that rowing machine to a kayak. Launch that fine little boat into the river, lake or stream and grab your paddle, a bottle of water, maybe a healthy snack and just imagine the scenery you are going to see. Don’t forget your life jacket, just in case you end up in the water for a swim.
Kayaking has many physical benefits. You are going to work your arms, your legs, your core, your shoulders, and I’m sure there are a few other muscles in there that you don’t even know you have. You will after you get done though.
What Muscles Are Used During Kayaking
As I mentioned above you will use many muscles while you kayak. As a 51 yr. young woman, I enjoy the fact that kayaking is a low-impact sport. Unlike running, kayaking is relatively easy on my knees, hips and other joints that are not as young as they used to be.
Although, it is important to learn to do it with proper form. We do not want to do more damage than good. Check out my post about “Proper Posture” to gain the best benefits from you kayaking experience.
The main muscles used are as follows
Core Muscles – Abdomen, Obliques and Lower Back
Arms and Shoulders – Biceps, Triceps, Deltoid muscle (Rear, Lateral and Anterior) and your Forearms
Chest – Pectoral
Back – Lats and Rhomboids
You will also use your legs to a certain degree to brace yourself on the sides of the kayak when paddling. Thus, giving you a bit of a leg workout.
5 Key Physical Benefits
Weight loss – This one is quite obvious. The more quality physical activity we do, along with reducing our calorie intake can reduce weight.
Muscle Toning and Building – Again, kind of a no brainer. If you apply resistance (water), as with weight training, in a gym you can tone and strengthen your muscles. Since kayaking uses so many, just think of all that you will be achieving, if done on a regular basis.
Improves Cardiovascular Health – Anytime you get your heart rate up for any period of time, it strengthens the heart muscle. Not a bad thing, and kayaking is certainly more fun than running on a treadmill.
More Energy – It has been documented by many medical and health related sources that anytime you increase your activity levels, even with moderate intensity exercise, like kayaking, you can reduce fatigue and boost energy.
Great Source of Vitamin D – I read that it’s estimated that 45%-75% of people are deficient in vitamin D. We do not get enough in the foods we eat, but isn’t it awesome that our bodies can produce it from sunshine. So, get out in the sun!
Let’s Talk Mental Benefits of Kayaking
You ask, how is this going to help me mentally?
For anyone that suffers from stress, fatigue, unhappiness, loneliness, lack of confidence, and the list goes on. One of the best things you can do for yourself is get outside, get close to nature, do something that helps build your confidence. Believe me I can really relate to those that have these issues.
As a teenager I was pretty fearless and had enough confidence for many people. I was going to take on the world. I rode horses, was athletic, slender and in pretty good shape. As I have grown older and have had children, my body has changed and so has my health and confidence levels. I went from being fearless to fearful about a lot of things. So I understand the mental anguish some folks go through.
Kayaking has helped me be a bit more confident. My first trip out on the lake just about made me throw-up. I was by myself, on a lake full of boaters and I had never been on a kayak. I crossed the lake/river and went up a small tributary. This is where I fell in love with my little red boat. The peace of floating up that little stream surrounded by birds, turtles and trees was just amazing. Now when I go out I do not fear being out there alone, I look forward to it.
7 Mental Benefits to Think About
Helps Reduce Stress – Unplug (don’t check social media, leave the TV), Only use your phone for pictures or emergencies. Get your heart rate up, exercise can help reduce stress. Let your mind be quiet.
Feel Happier – Just being out in nature improves my mood. Nothing makes me happier than the sunshine on my face.
Improved Focus – Due to the release of certain things in your system during exercise, such as serotonin, dopamine, and nor epinephrine, helps your brain focus and attention.
Improved Memory – Exercise and increased activity releases chemicals that help the health and production of brain cells.
Improves Sleep – The exercise that you get while kayaking helps to reduce stress and it tires us out. Thus, helping us to fall asleep better at night.
Boosts Self Confidence – This was a big one for me. Anytime you do something new and accomplish a victory, no matter how small, it boosts your confidence. Accept the challenge! It is worth it.
Social Bonding – Find a group that is doing what you want to do. There are groups that get together on a regular basis and do float trips, go fishing, etc. Have fun with it and make new friends.
Paddle Your Stress Away
Now that you know about all the great health benefits of kayaking, I challenge you to get out there and enjoy yourselves. If you need a kayak buddy look me up! Let me know in the comments how your kayaking adventures are going. I would love to hear your stories.
The most important accessories you can purchase for your kayak is the paddle. No one wants to be up the creek without a paddle, if you know what I mean. So, we are going to look at how to choose the right kayak paddle for you.
Here is a beautiful graphic to help you visualize the different steps of choosing a paddle. For more detailed info, read the entire article below.
Okay, let’s talk about length. Does length really matter? Well, I guess that depends on whether you are trying to retrieve your favorite fishing lure or not, or trying to get your friend wet while staying relatively dry.
All kidding aside, length is kind of important. Take for instance, if you are 6′ tall and your kayak is 2′ wide you certainly would not want a 5′ paddle. Length plays into the amount of energy you are going to expel paddling, how much strain you are putting on your back and shoulder muscles and how efficiently you move through the water.
So here are a few simple but easy guidelines. The wider your kayak is the longer your paddle needs to be. Your height also needs to be taken into consideration. Typically, paddles are measured in centimeters, although boats are measured in inches. Also, the type of paddling you are going to do will determine the length of paddle. There are two types of strokes. You have the Low Angle Stroke and the High Angle Stroke. The low angle stroke requires a longer paddle, versus the shorter length for the high angle stroke.
Low Angle Chart
Paddler Height Boat Width Paddle Length
5′-0″ – 5′-10″ 21″- 23″ 220 cm (7′-2″)
5′-6″ – 6′-2″ 23″ – 26″ 230 cm (7′-6″)
Over 6′-3″ Over 25″ 240 cm (7′-10″)
High Angle Chart
Paddler Height Boat Width Paddle Length
5′-0″ – 5’10” Under 22″ 210 cm (6′-10″)
5′-6″ – 6′-2″ 22″ – 23″ 215 cm (7′-0″)
Over 6′-3″ 23″ – 24″ 220 cm (7′-2″)
The chart above is just a basic guide for touring and recreational style paddles. I also converted the metric lengths to an approximate USA Imperial conversion. I know for myself, converting metric in my head doesn’t work. If you are looking for a paddle to go white water kayaking, you are going to look into smaller lengths. The average length for a white water paddle is 60″. The shorter lengths are not as cumbersome when dealing with twists and turns in the river.
How About Materials
Paddles are composed of a couple of basic materials. All of which lend to weight, durability, price and performance.
The blades can be made of plastic/nylon, fiberglass, or carbon-fiber. Plastic also known as the polymer/polypropylene and plastic blends are typically the lowest on the price range. So, they tend to be the most popular with the recreational kayakers. These paddles can be slightly heavier and may not perform quite as well as some of their counterparts.
The “middle of the road” in price point tend to be the fiberglass blades. They are also durable and effective on performance as well as lighter than the plastic. While they can chip, they are not prone to cracking all the way through as can sometimes happen with the plastic.
If you are willing to pay for the top of the line, look at the carbon-fiber blades. They are ultra light, durable and provide the best performance with each stroke.
Shafts are primarily made of aluminum, fiberglass or carbon-fiber. Plastic shafts are rare and really would not be worth the money in my opinion.
Aluminum, while it tends to be the less expensive has some cons. They can get hot in hot weather or cold in cold weather. You may want to invest in some gloves. Also, they not going to be as light as the fiberglass and carbon-fiber.
The fiberglass and carbon-fiber shafts are durable and perform very well when paired with either one of the lighter options of blades. You won’t be sorry you paid a little extra.
Did You Know
First of all, did you have any idea that there was so much that went into buying a paddle? Me either!
After doing the research and reading about all the paddle options, I was kind of blown away. Being a beginner myself, I am learning a ton about the basics of kayaking. Makes me want to go to my local sporting goods store and compare some of the different styles available out there.
My paddle is the basic aluminum shaft with plastic dihedral blade. It is a bit heavy and cumbersome when I am fishing. Now mine does break into two pieces which is very convenient for transporting and packing away. In my research I have also seen some that break down into 4 pieces.
And Just When You Thought You Were Done
I just kept diving into my research and here is where I found out that there are also bent shaft type paddles, wider blades, narrower blades, and fishing blades. I am definitely going to have to look for these. Any time you can find something to help you retrieve a lost fishing lure, you must have it, right?
Then there are also different blade shapes. There is the spoon and dihedral. Dihedral being the most comfortable of the two shapes and used primarily for low angle paddling. Spoon shaped paddles are used more for shorter more powerful strokes. You also have the option of asymmetrical, and symmetrical blades. So many options to consider.
Importance of Paddles
The one thing I did learn was the importance of finding the right paddle. Some of the cons of not having the right paddle are not being able to reach the water without bending over, banging your knuckles on the sides of the kayak, sore muscles due to excessive weight and working way too hard to get somewhere. While some of these may seem minor, just wait till you have to rub your whole body with icy hot to relieve the muscle aches. Just saying!
I hope the information I have provided here helps, I know I am going to be shopping for something a little lighter myself!
Let’s find out what kind of kayak types and styles are out there. I have an Ascend D10T model. It is a sit-on top style and is 10′ long and weighs about 65 lbs. Oh, and it is bright red. Just thought I would throw that in there. Cause you know color matters.
How Many Types Could There Be
Oh My Goodness, This is where it gets crazy. From my research on the world wide web, I have discovered that there are varying opinions on this. According to the American Kayak Association there are basically two categories of kayaks. There are flat water kayaks and white water kayaks. So, this is what we are going to base our research on.
Flat Water Kayaks
Flat water kayaks are the primary kayaks that you will find in your local sporting goods store or Walmart. There are basically 5 types of flat water kayaks.
These are probably the most common and by far the most popular kayaks on the market. I was just in Walmart and by golly they have theirs on display for spring already.
These kayaks typically have a closed cockpit, meaning you sit down in them. The opening is usually large enough to get in easily and depending on the size of the occupants, you could probably put a small child in with you or your favorite fur baby.
They come in a variety of colors and are affordable. Made from an in-expensive polyethylene, they tend to be fairly lightweight and budget friendly. This makes them a great choice for beginners.
Recreational kayaks are typically between 8 to 11 feet in length and have minimal accessories available. Probably wouldn’t use them on open water, but they work great on the lake or in the gentle flowing stream.
Sit-on Top Kayaks:
This is what I have. They tend to be much heavier, as they are a solid, molded piece of plastic. They are self draining, which is convenient and they are easy to get into to.
If by chance you happen to flip over, they are a little easier to get right in the water. These tend to be a little wider than some of the others, so they tend to be pretty stable in the water when encountering waves from passing boats on the lake or pulling in a large fish.
I love mine, as it is easy to fish on and it is easy to pack gear on. It makes for easy access to my tackle box. I will say, that with no cockpit, you will get a little wet while paddling. Not a bad thing on a hot day, but I have yet to go out on the lake in the colder weather. I am kind of a wimp. So again, budget friendly depending on manufacturer and easy for beginners.
So there are a lot of opinions about these on the web. Some love the diversity of them for their lightweight, storage capabilities and over-all convenience.
Some are not impressed with their maneuverability in the water during breezy days, over-all durability and comfort. I will say that I personally have not used one, but have looked at them many times.
I think if you were to look seriously at one of these for purchase, cheaper would probably not be better. I would not want to be on a river float and pop my kayak. That would be a bummer!
This is kind of a dream kayak for me. I saw one on the lake a few times and fell in love with the idea of having my hands free for other things.
Besides the fishing I also haul my camera around with me for that occasional, once in a lifetime, wildlife moment. These are more expensive and tend to be a bit cumbersome to haul around, especially if you are by yourself.
From my research, several of the models are heavy, the pedal mechanisms need regular maintenance, and can be tricky to learn how to maneuver. So, probably not for a beginner.
Last, but not least, we come to the touring kayaks. These are longer usually 12′ or longer and much narrower than the recreational kayaks. These can be much harder to come by.
Not usually found at the local sporting store or Walmart. They are more specialized, thus much more expensive. Generally used for large bodies of open water and going long distances.
They can be quite hard to store due to length and hard to manage. Not good for smaller variety rivers and creeks due to their length and maneuverability. Great for speed and hauling enough supplies for several days of paddling.
White Water Kayaks
So according to the American Kayak Association there are 5 main styles of white water kayaks.
These are small, usually only about 6′ and are primarily used for going to a favorite spot where you can play in the waves of turbulent water. Not really good for paddling down a river for any length of time. They are great for doing tricks, but uncomfortable when traveling from spot to spot.
These are longer, usually 7-8′ long and track better for paddling those flat areas on the river in between fun spots. They are long enough to store gear and are more comfortable. These can also be easy enough to maneuver around turns and bends in the river.
Also known as Creekers, these are typically 8′ or longer. They are built a little sturdier to handle those drops and are pretty comfortable from what I have read. They do have two basic hull types, a displacement hull and a planning hull.
Beginners should pay attention to that as it could be tricky in holes and crossing eddy lines in a displacement hull. Now, I am basing this on my research and not my personal experience. So, I am sure there are differing opinions on what’s best.
Also known as Long Boats. The name says it all. These were made in the late 80s and 90s and can be found on a lot of used sites. You can pick them up relatively inexpensively and be ready to go pretty quickly.
They are usually much longer, (10-12 feet), than modern day boats and have narrower cockpits. This can be great if you run rivers with long stretches of flat water in between rapids. Can be tricky though in the turns.
This one just makes me smile. How could you not like something called a Duckie?
These are nothing like the inflatable kayaks used on flat water. These vessels are made out of very durable materials, as they are subjected to various types of extreme conditions.
Unlike the flat water inflatables that can be as low as $50, these guys are going to start in the hundreds and work their way up. From what I have researched there are several options out there and boy, do they look fun.
So these guys are kind of in a class of their own. While many folks, myself included, purchase basic recreational kayaks and use them to fish from, fishing kayaks have a few more bells and whistles when it comes to accessories and set-up.
They come in both the sit-in and the sit-on styles. The sit-on styles are preferred, as they allow the angler freedom of movement and access to the gear.
Some of these can be geared to handle fish finders, trolling motors, plus all your necessary fishing gear. You can find them at most places that you can get a recreational kayak, but the more elaborate you go the more you are going to break the budget.
Let’s Wrap it Up
All of these styles have pros and cons. It is just a matter of which one will suit your needs the best. Whether it be length, budget, style or color. Cause again, color matters.
Thanks for joining me again on learning about these kayak types and styles. Who knew there was so much to learn, and wow the options are endless!
Hey, Thanks for accompanying me on my journey into the realm of kayaking.
Where do we start?
In this post we are going to start with the kayaking basics for beginners. What’s that mean? Well, for me, that means:
Deciding why we want to take up kayaking
Choosing the proper kayak for our needs
Choosing the right accessories to get us started
How much do we want to spend
These are just a few things we want to think about as beginners.
Why Do You Want A Kayak
Why are you looking for a kayak?
Here are a few examples of reasons to get a kayak. I am sure there are many more.
Getting closer to nature/exploration
Shooting the rapids
My story starts after I moved to Branson, Missouri. I was staying in a campground right on Lake Taneycomo, which by the way, is filled with trout. I have always loved fishing, and had grown up doing so. Although, I hadn’t done any fishing in years and I had never done any trout fishing.
Anyway, I had taken a job at the Bass Pro shop next to the campground, thus, I was surrounded by all those outdoorsy folks and fishing equipment.
Long story short, I ended up with my fishing license and a fishing pole. As I learned to fish for trout from the bank, I soon realized I needed to get out in the water a little more.
I had been on larger boats, but living in a RV full-time, buying a pontoon boat was not really an option. I entertained the idea of a kayak, as they are small, manageable for one person and mobile. Then I realized there are a multitude of different styles, sizes, and functionalities in the world of kayaks. Who knew!
I started looking at them a little more diligently and soon found several co-workers that had a little knowledge of them. Then by happenstance I was fortunate enough to win a contest at work, and guess what? The prize was a kayak. My very own red kayak, with paddle. Thus, my journey begins!
My first reason for wanting one was for the fishing. That would soon change and expand.
What Kind of Kayak Do You Need
What are you going to do with your kayak?
This will surely impact your decision on the style of kayak and how much you are going to spend on one. There are so many styles out there and they have different functions and price points. Not to mention weight considerations.
I am a larger person, so I definitely wanted one that would not sink with me in it. Fortunately, the one I won at work would do the trick in this category. The one I have is an Ascend D10T model. It is a sit-on top type of kayak, which I do prefer. Don’t like the idea of being stuck in it if I tip over.
If you are just out to have fun, get closer to nature and float down a few streams and lazy rivers your choices are wide. You can get a basic sit-in style kayak just about anywhere these days. Any where from Tractor Supply, Walmart and even Amazon, just to name a few.
Of course, there are the more well-known sporting stores like Cabelas, Bass Pro and Academy, where you can also go for some advice on your purchase. Kayaks come in many styles. Everything from inflatable, sit-in, sit-on, fishing kayaks, wooden kayaks, plastic kayaks, and poly kayaks. So many options! They also come in varying lengths, from 6′ youth on up to 14′. You can check out my post about kayak styles here!
If you are looking to do some fishing, you may want to choose a fishing style kayak. Although, I have met folks that buy a basic kayak and do everything they want with them. It really is a personal choice.
Obviously, if you are looking to shoot the rapids in a rushing river, go out to sea or compete in races, you are going to want to look a little deeper into the choices out there. For the purpose of this article though, we are just focusing on the basics.
What Do You Need To Get on the Water
Well, after you have decided on the kayak that fits you, you are going to need some basic accessories.
Safety first and foremost. A life jacket is a must. I am a really good swimmer, but I would never consider going out on the river without a jacket or some type of PFD (personal flotation device).
Again, the style is a personal choice and they range in price and styles. I personally bought a regular standard PFD that was made for use in kayaks. They are made a little different from a standard PFD, as you are sitting really low in a kayak. Also, you want to be comfortable. So try them on before you buy one.
Next you will need a paddle. You certainly do not want to end up “up the creek without a paddle”. Not all kayaks come with them, depending on where you purchase your kayak. They do come in different lengths. So, choose one that fits you. I have a longer one, and I really like it. My kayak is a little wider than most, so the shorter ones don’t work as well.
Although, it is not necessary for getting out on the water, a nice accessory to have is a dry bag. This is a bag made to keep personal items, such as your cell phone, wallet, etc., dry while out on the water. I wouldn’t go without mine, as I carry my phone with me at all times in case of emergency.
What’s This Going To Cost
Again, as a beginner, I discovered that the price of a kayak can range from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars.
Of course, you could always embark on searching out a used kayak, there are some great deals out there if you look for them. Fortunately, I did win mine, so technically I did not pay for mine.
The retail price of mine was about $450. The paddle would have been about $50. Ultimately, I ended up paying $200 to replace the back glass on my pick-up from when my husband picked the kayak up to take it home. That my friends is a whole other story!
Needless to say, the cost is going to be dependent on your personal budget.
Let’s Get on the Water
So here are a few of the basics to getting started on your kayak journey. We talked about the why, the what for and the essentials or bare basics.
We touched a bit on the budget. So are you ready to go on a journey to find your dream kayak? If not, that is okay. Keep checking back for more information about my personal journey and we will delve a little deeper into the kayak world.
Hello Everyone, and thank you for joining me here on my Kayak Adventures website.
I started this website to share my journey into the world of kayaking and to help those of you that have always wanted to try it out to have the courage to go for it.
Also, those of you that have been kayaking for a while, join me on this adventure to learn more about the wonderful places you can go. The fun accessories that you can put on your kayak to make the journey more fun.
I would also like to invite you to share your adventures and tips here with everyone, so we can all share the adventure.
A Little About My Kayak Story
I haven’t always owned a kayak. In fact, I didn’t get my first kayak until I was 50 yrs young.
I grew up in the country and spent a lot of time camping as a child and even later with my own children. Even though we spent a lot of summers camping and floating down the river, we always used inner tubes.
I have always loved the water and fishing, but never really considered doing it from a kayak.
Then, several years ago, my husband and I moved into our RV full-time and landed in Branson, Missouri. Here we lived in a campground right on Lake Taneycomo, next door to Bass Pro Shop. While working in the Bass Pro Shop, I became interested in the kayaks as a means to get out on the lake closer to the bigger fish. Just never could make the plunge to purchase one.
As luck would have it, one glorious day at work, we were in the midst of a contest and the prize was a beautiful red Ascend D10T kayak. When they called my name as the winner, I just about jumped out of my shoes!
That is where this story gets exciting!
I have fallen completely in love with kayaking!
Whether you are in it to fish, to just float down a lazy river and enjoy the scenery, or to take it on to some crazy, rushing river for a thrill of a lifetime. Kayaking is a great way to relieve stress, get exercise and see some amazing things.
Since owning my kayak I have fished a bit and I have seen some great scenery. I have also purchased a few accessories to make my excursions a bit more fun and convenient.
My Purpose and My Hope
My purpose and hope for this website is to share my adventures with those that either can’t get out and explore in a kayak or to encourage those that want to and don’t know where to start.
I would love to take you all on an adventure and share some beautiful places, maybe catch a few fish and help you make some educated decisions about equipment and accessories if you are in the market.
I am certainly not a pro, but come with me on a journey of discovery and learning and we will figure it out together!
Founder of Kayak Adventures
As a side note: If you like what you see on my website and are curious about how you too could achieve such a great website click on the link below and check out how I created mine.