8 Essentials for Your Family Paddling Trip

Category: article

 Jul 23rd, 2020 by Keith Worrall 

Modified Jul 23rd, 2020 at 10:27 AM

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

8 Essentials for Your Family Paddling Trip

With the weather warming up and summer around the corner, it’s time to start planning your next outdoor adventure. If you’re looking for a fun family trip to take this year, consider packing a cooler and paddling down a river!

If you’ve never gone paddling or canoeing with your family, it’s important to do your research and be prepared for any situation. Between picking a location and making a packing list, even the most seasoned paddlers can forget a thing or two.

As you pack for your paddling trip, don’t forget to include these 8 must-have items:

1. Canoe and paddles

First things first, you will need to either buy or rent a canoe and enough paddles for everyone in your family, as well as a spare or two. There are many types of canoes that come in different shapes and sizes to accommodate any of your needs, so make sure you shop around to find the right fit.

2. Personal floatation devices

When it comes to paddling, everyone in your family should be wearing a personal floatation device (PFD) that fits and functions at all times. Even if the water looks calm, there are underwater currents that can change at the drop of a hat.

3. Food and water

Whether you’re planning to take a day trip or camp overnight while paddling the longest canoe trail in the Northeast, your whole family will appreciate a nice selection of food and snacks, as well as plenty of water or a water filter. Dry and canned goods are always a safe choice, but there are options that can help you prepare a hot meal at your campsite as well, such as portable stove tops and cooking tools.

4. Camping gear

If you plan to camp overnight, you’ll need all the camping basics – a multi-person tent, stakes, tarps, waterproof sleeping bags and pads, dry bags, firestarters, multi-tools and personal items. Even if you don’t plan to camp overnight, it can be helpful to throw a tarp in your pack, at the minimum, in case the weather takes a turn for the worse along your canoe trail.

5. Weather gear

Weatherproof gear will keep everyone warm, dry and happy, so be sure you’ve included quick-dry pants and shirts, a few different layers, rain jackets, swimsuits, paddling shoes or sandals, a sun hat and sunscreen. Depending on your location and the weather, you may also need to pack immersion protection for cold water paddling.

6. Canoe repair and safety kit

You never know when something unexpected will happen to your canoe or other gear. If you want to be sure everything is covered, pack a few canoe repair and safety kits. Most locations require that you bring a floating safety line, flashlight and a whistle, at minimum, and you can add a pump, rope and other items that can ensure you can handle any surprises along the way.

7. Navigational tools

The last thing you want is to be out on the river with your family without the right navigational tools. With limited sunlight and cell service, you should always plan to bring a paper map and compass, as well as any GPS devices you’d like to have. Before you begin your journey, mark out your route and any checkpoints along the river so you can reference it often and have a good sense of where you are at all times.

8. First aid kit

Having a basic first aid kit is also essential for your first family paddling trip. There are sharp rocks in the river and lots of opportunities for insect bites. While you likely won’t have to handle anything life-threatening, having the basics on hand, such as bandages, gauze and antiseptic, can help give you the peace of mind you need to enjoy quality time with your family.

Paddling is a great way to connect with the ones you love most and explore the world around you. And with a little preparation, you’ll have everything you need to hit the water.

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