Get the most out of your Night-Time Kayaking with these tips
If you love kayaking, you’ll love the night-time version even more. Whether it’s the moonlight reflecting off the water or the calmness that comes with fewer boats on the water, kayaking at night can be an amazing experience and an adventure you won’t soon forget. This article will give you all the tips you need to make your night-time kayaking excursion as enjoyable as possible. With these tips, you can be ready to take your first trip out under the moon and stars in no time!
The Right Gear.
Make sure you have gear that’s suited to moonlight paddling. The best boats for night kayaking are low and wide, which makes them quiet and easy to paddle. In addition, look for bright colors or reflective tape so you don’t lose track of where you are (hint: not in a tree). If you plan on paddling in waters full of other people, consider a glow stick too – they’re cheap and super effective at letting other boaters know where you are. Also bring plenty of warm clothing: nights can get cool quickly once the sun goes down.
Where you go?
Most lakes are connected in some way by a stream or river. That makes it easy to paddle from one lake to another after dark. If you find yourself exploring more than one lake, try different routes from the shoreline in order to experience completely different scenery, wildlife and types of surroundings. If there are only a few sites available for overnight camping at a particular lake, check out other locations nearby; many times you can put your kayak on top of a car and take off for another adventure in an entirely new area.
For safety reasons, always paddle in a group. If you are going out on a solo trip, consider taking a long route and not solely focusing on speed. You can also stay close to shore or even limit yourself to paddling around buoys that only move slightly instead of actual open water. Just make sure that you are back at port before dark. You should plan about 30 minutes for each mile you want to cover – so if you’re paddling 10 miles away from home (and then returning), set aside three hours for your excursion. And always bring an extra liter of water per person, just in case something goes wrong along the way.
What’s under the water?
Even if you are an experienced paddler, there are a few things to keep in mind when heading out at night. Choose a moonless or very new moon day for optimum visibility. You can also use flashlights to see where you’re going and wear bright or reflective clothing so other boaters on or near shore can spot you. Remember that boats usually aren’t expecting anyone to be on the water at night, so it’s important to stay aware of what other people are doing.
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It's easy to be lulled into a false sense of security in calm waters, but that's where mistakes happen. Ensure you're aware of your surroundings and check that all safety gear is fastened and secure before paddling off at night. If you do get into trouble, try to stay calm and keep your wits about you. Panic can kill! It’s also worth keeping a torch handy (preferably one attached to a lifejacket), as it can come in handy if something goes wrong or you lose track of time while on open water. Consider using moonlight rather than headlamps so that it doesn't give away your position to animals or other boaters.
Fun Night Kayaking Adventures
Before you think about a trip, there are a few things to know. Night-time kayaking involves more preparation than daytime paddling; it’s important to be ready for anything that comes up. First, know that you’ll probably have no cell phone service where you are so make sure to tell someone where you’re going and when they can expect to hear from you again (if they will). It is also advisable to bring extra warm clothing and a flashlight. As always, check weather conditions—you don’t want high winds or choppy water ruining your experience. Lastly, bring food and water—it can be difficult to pack supplies in your boat if you are just getting started.
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