November 20, 2016
Are you interested in canoeing? Canoeing is a great way both to exercise and enjoy nature. It can be a very relaxing experience if all goes according to plan. However, you want to be prepared if that is not the case. Here are some tips to help you on your first voyage.
Choosing your canoe
You want to take your time when choosing a canoe. Your canoe has to keep you safe and dry for the duration of your trip. A canoe is an investment in both your physical and mental health. You shouldn't just choose one based on price or appearance. Unless you live within walking distance of water, you are probably going to want a canoe that is easy to transport. You are also going to want a canoe that can stand up to harsh weather, and hold all of your necessary supplies. Finding a canoe that fits all of these requirements is not always easy. Don’t be discouraged if it takes you more than a day of looking to find the right fit for you.
Packing for your trip
Naturally, the amount of supplies you need to pack into your canoe will depend on the nature of your trip. A weekend camping trip will require camping gear, food, and several pairs of clothes while an afternoon in the canoe will require only sunscreen, a first aid kit, water, and some snacks. Regardless of the type of trip, it is always a good idea to have sunscreen, emergency supplies, rain gear, an extra paddle, fresh water, and anything else that you deem a necessity.
Before you even load up, you should check the weather to make sure that it is good for canoeing. Never take your canoe out if the weather looks bad. A general rule for using any type of watercraft is to wear a personal flotation device (PFD). It does not matter how old you are, or how experienced of a swimmer you are. A PFD could save your life--don’t skip wearing one. If you have a paddling partner with you in the canoe, you should make sure to communicate with them. This will minimize your chance of capsizing the boat. Finally, make sure to use sunscreen. With the sun beating down on you all day, you want to make sure to protect your skin.
If you are completely new to canoeing, you may want to take a class in order to learn some basic paddling tricks and techniques. Paddling a canoe seems pretty self-explanatory, but there are some ways to make the process easier for yourself. For example, most seasoned canoers will tell you that it is easier to steer the canoe from the front than the back. Almost as important as your paddling technique is you posture. The repetitive motion of paddling can be damaging to the body if you don’t sit up straight. There is also a great deal of canoeing lingo that can help you avoid confusion when you are out on the water.
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