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Prepping Your Equipment for Spring

Multiple kayaks on the grass

Even with some snow on the ground, warmer days are on their way and we will soon be able to take to the rivers and lakes once again.

So it makes sense to spend a little bit of time ensuring our kayaks are in tip-top shape and ready to put out to the waters as soon as we are wanting to splash about.

Start by taking stock of all your equipment. Now if you took the time to put it all away at the end of last season in an orderly and correct manner this should be a pretty quick job.

But if things were thrown in the garage in a rather more haphazard way than you really would have liked it is time well spent.

Is everything in order? Are you missing any bits and pieces of equipment? Are some items rather past the end of their useful lifespans and should really be replaced?

Let’s be honest – buying things is half the fun of any hobby and kayaking is no exception. Use your inventory stocktake to draw up a shopping list of what you need to replace and any extra you might want to indulge in.

Items that you should give careful inspection towards start with your kayak itself. Depending on what it is made from, they do wear out over time.

More modern plastic hulls are pretty close to indestructible but even they can get scratched up over the years and the plastics can be affected by ultraviolet rays depending on where you stored your craft.

If yours is a more specialist or vintage craft, check the fiberglass or wood or even fabric hulls for areas needing attention – and this includes any rubber seals or ropes and the like.

Those of us that enjoy kayaking at a relatively light level may really not need much more equipment than our vessel, paddles, and lifejackets. A spare paddle is always a good investment in case one disappears down the rapids in a direction you are not planning on taking.

And a lifejacket is absolutely essential – this is not the item to treat cavalierly. Check it is intact and everything buckles and tightens as it should – if in doubt at all it is time for a new one.

As we become more serious about kayaking and the difficulty of the waterways we paddle increases, we may think about spray skirts – especially during colder weather – and bilge pumps if we are going to be on the water a long while.

Dry bags are also a very good investment for any personal effects we take with us – phones and sandwiches do not mix well with water. If you are going to be out after dark, a headlamp and spare batteries are a sensible precaution, and everyone should have a whistle with them – many lifejackets and backpacks even have them built-in.

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