It’s that time of the year again, and most of us (especially those who weathered the New England climate this winter) are happy to finally see the first signs of spring. Warm weather and more hours of sunlight only means it’s time to break out the paddling gear and kayak for the season. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind for the pre-season paddling preparation…
Take your kayak out of storage. Do it, NOW. Do not wait for a “perfect time” to unpack the kayak. The sooner you take it out, the more likely you’ll be itching to hit the water. It’s about that time to dust off your old gear and let your kayak see the light of day.
Give your kayak a proper cleaning and wax. Depending the whether you own a composite or plastic kayak, it’s always a great idea to clean your kayak and give it a nice protective coating before its first paddle. For composite kayaks, I recommend using a cleaner wax paste such as a 3M product – and for plastic kayaks, I recommend a 1 or 2 coats of 303 Plastic Protectant spray. Follow this guide for a complete ‘how-to’ on kayak cleaning: How to clean a kayak
Invest in a kayak lock. Kayak thefts are among the most reported stolen personal property during the summer months. Whether stored in your backyard or on the roof of your car, a $60-80 investment can save you the hassle of dealing with a kayak theft. Generally, plastic recreational kayaks are among those most stolen since they are harder to identify and can be sold on the secondary market for quick cash. Click here for some additional tips that can help keep your kayak safe.
Plan a paddling trip. The summer goes by very fast. One of the best ways to ensure you get the most of the paddling season is to plan at least one big weekend kayaking trip. Planning a trip before the season kicks off will get all the nitty-gritty details out of the way such as when, where, and cost estimates. Mark your calendar, schedule time off, and gear up for an epic weekend trip. Visit our Trip Reports page for some inspiration!
Complete a gear safety-check. This is a great time of year to make sure all of your paddling gear is in safe, functioning condition. Do a rundown of your essentials such as your life jacket, VHF radio, roof rack, straps, paddle float, and other safety gear. Make sure your VHF radio can hold a charge; do a visual inspection of your roof rack to make sure all the components are tight and free from rust/defects; inflate your paddle float to check for air leakage; and double check all the fittings on your kayak to make sure no parts need replacement (i.e. rudder components).