The New Year is a good time to rededicate yourself to safe river running by making sure you have the proper safety equipment, and that you’re ready to use it. We’ve compiled 5 things that should be at the top of every kayaker’s list.
1. Float bags. These are easy to forget about, but when you take a swim, they make it much easier and safer for your fellow paddlers to get your boat to shore. They also reduce the likeliness that your boat will pin or wrap in the river.
2. Proper footwear. Get yourself a good pair of shoes with support, traction, and comfort. Again, when you swim you’ll need the right footwear to bounce off rocks and hike back to your boat. If you need to help someone in a rescue situation, you should be wearing the right shoes for the job. (Gorge Boots by Keen are a great, affordable option)
3. Throw bag. Every paddler needs a throw bag with them. 75 feet should be the minimum length and you should practice throwing it on a regular basis. Use the New Year to remind yourself each year to hone your throw bag toss. (We recommend the River Hardware Guide Bag)
4. Breakdown paddle. Unless someone in your group is an accomplished hand paddler or a road is always nearby, someone in your group should carry a breakdown paddle. These are easy to lose when you swim, which is when you will most likely need it, so make sure to properly secure your breakdown in your boat.
5. First Aid Kit. The further you are from a road, the more complete your kit needs to be. Take some time in the New Year to make sure your kit is fully stocked with usable first aid supplies. You’ll want to make sure you have fresh gloves, athletic tape, bandages, and plenty of ibuprofen at a minimum. For extra credit, you should have a sam splint, steri-strips, lighter, gauze, and a CPR mask in your kit. (Adventure Medical Kits makes some great lightweight and watertight kits)
Make it your New Year’s resolution to put safety first and make sure your safety equipment is up to par and ready to go!
Please post comments below about a time you forgot one (or more) of these items and wished you had them!