What to Bring on your Kayak Adventure

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A multi-day kayaking trip can be a great way to challenge yourself, see new terrain, and stay active. When staying on the water, you'll need to protect your safety while anticipating unexpected circumstances, such as bad weather. Here's what to take along on your next Florida kayaking adventure.

Dry bags

Dry bags store your gear, keeping water out. Bring enough dry bags to store clothing, tents and sleeping bags, food, towels, first aid equipment, and other essentials. It's better to use several small dry bags so you can get only what you need than to throw everything in a large dry bag that you'll need to sort through.

Boat light

A boat light is a must for nighttime visibility. At minimum, you'll need a white light you can turn on in enough time to prevent a collision with another boat.

Sunscreen, food, and water

Don't underestimate how dehydrating a day on the water can be. Bring more drinking water than you think you'll need; 2 to 5 liters per person per day is a good starting point. If you're cooking your own food and don't anticipate having fresh water at your camp site, take extra water for cooking.

Ensure you have enough high-protein, easy-to-eat snacks to keep your energy up while paddling.

Take SPF 30 (or higher) sunscreen and apply it liberally every two hours to stave off the heat of the Florida sun.

Sponge or bilge pump

If your boat takes on water, it will start to sink. Everyone on the kayaking trip should have their own sponge or bilge pump, as a safety measure.

Lifejacket

Lifejackets designed for kayaking don't obstruct your ability to paddle. They will keep you afloat you if you fall out of the boat. These are required on many waterways, so it isn't a matter of choice.

Fog horn and safety whistle

These devices allow you to communicate with other kayakers in your group, which is useful if someone gets separated from the group. Since you may not be able to hear a whistle in every situation -- for instance, over the roar of rapids -- it's good to carry both.

VHF radio

A VHF radio lets you check the weather, summon a rescue, and communicate with other boats. It's a smart idea to take one along if you're traveling for more than one day.

Safety laser

A safety laser acts as an emergency signaling device when you are trying to get help. Since a safety laser flashes a wide swath of light, you do not need to be as precise when using it. Since rescue lasers are waterproof, they're a great tool for kayakers. You can also use the laser to see supplies at night.

If you're planning a kayaking trip, stock up on the essential equipment, including your safety laser, well in advance. This way, you can familiarize yourself with how to use everything and practice packing everything in your kayak well before the big trip. 

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