Thanks for all the information in your kayak camping trips artical. I have learned through many extended trips on my own, many of these tricks. A few other little tidbits that might also be helpful,particularly on extended trips: Tuna and chicken now come in different flavors such as Teriyaki and Lemon Pepper flavors in air tight packages at most local grocery stores. These are very nutritious, high protein additions to meals that are waterproof, need no refrigeration and are not freeze dried. These served with something easy to cook such as "Vigo" saffron rice which comes in smaller two serving packages or throwing a potato wrapped in foil in the fire are, almost, a gourmet meal while camping.
In the article it was also mentioned that much of the equipment used for backpacking can also be used for kayaking without the lightweight factor necessary. However, if kayaking in tidal areas such as the keys or along coastal areas, weight is definitely a factor when the depth of water can have such a huge variable. Even with tidal charts, some areas are still passable if you have less weight.
Another tip I would like to add, after learning the hard way, is to definitely research the area you'll be kayaking extensively. I live in Florida, where there are so many different waterways that you'll never be able to explore them all, and alligators can be a slight to serious nuisance.
A friend and I had 4 days off so I convinced her to go on a trip to see how far, from south to north, we could get on the St. Johns river. Fortunately for us, I downloaded very detailed maps from the internet, which are crucial in knowing your exact location in case of emergency. However, those maps don't indicate the huge population of alligators in these waters. To make a very long story shorter, I insisted we stay close together to appear as one larger boat (we were both in 14 foot kayaks) as alligators are less likely to attack anything larger than itself. We were about 1.5 to 2 feet apart and at one point had a about a 3.5 foot gator that we startled, jump up in between us to about our head heigth and dive back down behind us. Also, being in brackish water, unless the gators hear a motor running, once they go below the water, they have no idea where you are and will come back up to the surface only to be startled and roll back into the water with potential for a kayaker to be knocked over into the water. Needless to say the canals we were in prior to actually reaching the beginning of the St. Johns river where infested with alligators and we were basically surrounded in low levels of water, due to recent drought conditions. Ultimately we were rescued by St. Johns Water Management after camping over night on the levy that paralleled the canal.
Moral of this story is that you should do much more than download maps. We would have had a much safer experience had we contacted such resources as St. Johns Water Management prior to our trip.
Thank you for your time and please continue all the informational articles. As much as more experienced kayakers might think they know, there's always some new idea or equipment to make kayaking easier.
PFD's (Life Jackets)
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