Open canoes, kayaks, rafts, stand-up paddle boards… if you fancy a go at an expedition on any of these then below is some advice from fellow Adventurer’s Blogging Chain member Mark Kalch. I normally write intros for the guests providing 10 Tips but Mark’s done a pretty good one for me…
“Mark Kalch’s 7 rivers, 7 continents project aims to complete source to sea paddling descents of the longest river on each continent – a total distance of some 35 000km. With the world’s biggest river, the Amazon in South America completed in 2008, this year he will paddle the 6400km Missouri-Mississippi River in North America. Here are his tips for your first paddling expedition.”
1. Take a buddy – on your first big paddling journey it is always good to have a friend around, number one for safety and second to share the fun.
2. Find out about the river you intend to paddle – today the amount of information available, from Google Maps to the USGS Real-time stream flow data, means you can always be prepared.
3. Choose the right boat for the job – canoe, kayak, raft, SUP board. Each of them have pros and cons depending on your expedition.
4. Do a swift-water rescue course – it will save your life and the lives of others (skills learnt also transfer well to open water).
5. Learn how to paddle – it will save you a lot of frustration (and your shoulders!).
6. Pack light – if a Jetboil stove, tarp shelter and a pair of Keen sandals are representative of your kit then you have gone and done good.
7. Take your time – unless you have signed up to the Yukon River Quest what is the hurry? Life on river or the sea is peaceful. Don’t be in a hurry to rid yourself of this calm.
8. Know your limits (but don’t be held back by them) – running class V/VI takes a lot of skill and often a little luck. Similarly, running coastal tides requires great knowledge and expertise. Don’t put yourself in an untenable situation or place others at risk because you bit off more than you could chew.
9. Take a pee bottle – must I explain the hassle of needing to relieve oneself while in a kayak under your spray deck and not having one?
10. Good coffee and coffee press are essential. Trust me on this.
Read more about Mark and his 7 Rivers, 7 Continents expedition on his website here.