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  New paddler
  Posted by: boogityx3 on Jan-21-14 6:49 AM (EST)

-- Last Updated: Jan-21-14 6:49 AM EST --

Hello. My name is Michael.
I bought my first kayak in Novermer,
and since I live in North Dakota, it has yet
to see the water.
I'll spend a lot of time in it this spring before
attempting my first long trip in June:
Williston, ND to Bismarck, ND on the Missouri River.
(about 230 miles)

Any advice or gear suggestions will be appreciated.

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Messages in this Topic


  New paddler?
  Posted by: Canuka on Jan-21-14 10:17 AM (EST)
Do you mean you have zero experience paddling and you want to do a 230-mile trip on the Missouri after some practice this spring? I'd say that is kind of ambitious.
  Tell us what kind of boat you have
  Posted by: Guideboatguy on Jan-21-14 11:18 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jan-21-14 1:17 PM EST --

People's recommendations for gear will depend on such things as how much storage room you have, and whether or not your kayak has enclosed storage compartments. For example, if it's a rec kayak with no storage compartments, a lot of folks will recommend that you install float bags, or use special gear bags that also can be inflated with air, or at LEAST have good waterproof storage for you gear and secure those bags in the boat. Yes, the risk of a capsize on flatwater is extremely low, but if it happens and the boat has no floatation, it will be extremely difficult to get the boat to shore, especially if you are by yourself.

Another question: Do you need recommendations for camping gear too?

As to 230 miles being rather ambitious, that will depend a bit on you and on how many days you plan to allow for the trip. I've known plenty of people who would have been fine paddling that far on a river like the Missouri, shortly after getting familiar with paddling, IF the trip were to take about a week. I also know others with plenty of experience who'd consider it "too much".

I have time to kill, so here are some suggestions, in no particular order. Maybe some of these will prompt additional questions.

1. Get a good PFD that's comfortable to wear. If it's not comfortable (often the case for really basic models), you won't be likely to wear it.

2. Get the best paddle you can reasonably afford. Spending $100 extra on a paddle will yield greater benefit than spending $100 extra on a slightly better boat.

3. Get dry bags for your gear. Even if you don't tip over, you need a way to keep your stuff from soaking up whatever water gets splashed into the boat (assuming it's a rec boat). Dry bags aren't cheap, and in the short term, super-heavy-duty plastic bags from industrial-supply companies can work really well (get a lot more bags than you need, fix small leaks with duct tape, then discard them as their condition gets worse. Using two bags, on inside the other, is very good insurance against new leaks letting water reach your stuff). Don't even think of using household trash bags to keep your stuff dry. That never works.

4. For river paddling, get familiar with the dangers of fallen trees, etc. Related to that, one easy skill that most paddlers overlook during the initial learning process is back-paddling. If you find yourself on course for getting swept into a fallen tree or similar obstacle, back-paddling and "ferrying" your boat sideways will let you avoid the problem with far less effort and with far more time and room to spare than any other method. A beginner's first instinct is to turn, not being mindful that the current will now carry the boat into the obstacle sideways. Read about this stuff, and practice when you can.

5. Get some basic clothing made from synthetics (preferably purpose-designed outdoor clothing). It need not be the "best" or highly expensive. Even in summer, relying on cotton jeans and cotton T-shirts is likely to be a mistake. Plan on being wet at some point, and the best way to do that is to wear clothing that won't won't make you cold and miserable when it happens. As one example, you can cover the whole range of temperature conditions you might normally face with jeans or shorts and cotton shirts, with a pair of poly longjohns (bottoms and tops) and a pair of light synthetic pants and shirt. The light pants and shirt will be okay when it's hot, and warmer than jeans when combined with the longjohns. If it's warm and rainy, you can even wear the longjohns alone under your rain suit.

Many people find the expense of getting the right gear daunting. It's like any other hobby. Usually it takes years to figure out what you need, or it takes years to develop new skills and thereby develop new needs, and you accumulate your gear gradually over a long time.

  Posted by: Celia on Jan-21-14 11:18 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jan-21-14 11:20 AM EST --

rethink doing the 230 mile trip part. At least until it is clearer whether you are likely to be ready for it. No way to tell from info so far.

It might help if you provided info on what boat you bought and other equipment you have or plan to acquire.

  Posted by: boogityx3 on Jan-21-14 9:35 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jan-21-14 10:58 PM EST --

I bought a Wilderness Tsunami 12.5,
and sorta wish I'd gone a little longer.
But reviews are good anyway:

and I have this paddle:

I also have a small tent and, sleeping bag and am researching waterproof storage bags.
There are bait shops and such all along the way,
spread out every 30 or so miles, so bringing a few days supplies won't be necessary.
I am still looking into what I'll need, and plan to get this done in 6 days or less.
There is a strong current in the direction I'm going for 2/3 of the trip.
I'm 49, but in great shape, and pull off ambitious stuff like this every summer.
This is just this summer's challenge; but kayaking is something I'm sure I'll enjoy for many years.
Thanks for your replies.

  I would strongly advise.
  Posted by: magooch on Jan-22-14 9:45 AM (EST)
If your plan includes taking the rifle along--probably not a good idea; a pistol would be more practical. Your paddle is probably better than you really need, but you should consider a spare.

Before you tackle the whole thing, I think you should try some shorter trips and see how that works out. I would begin with some long days in the cockpit just paddling around. It might take a while before you get used to and feel comfortable in the seat for long periods.
  good start
  Posted by: willowleaf on Jan-22-14 5:41 PM (EST)
You've got a competent touring boat and an excellent paddle -- very good start. But I would try some 40 mile day trips before getting too invested in your plan. 10 to 12 hours of continuous paddling per day for a week is quite a commitment and probably something you should build up to a little, as you shake down your gear acquisitions. Not saying you can't or won't do it, but do enough weekend trips before hand that you really get a feeling for what you can handle. It isn't just brute endurance, but comfort as well. You don't have a lot of position change options in a kayak and even people in great shape can have difficulty with extended periods of paddling one without a break.
  some really good advice here boogity
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Jan-22-14 6:22 PM (EST)
The only thing I'd add is to hook up with a pool session, paddling club or some fellow paddlers who can help you learn and share their experience.
  Posted by: boogityx3 on Jan-23-14 7:38 AM (EST)
Thanks for the replies.
I have been thinking of doing this for a few years,
so I have had time to plan my route, stopping points
and training time.
I am know the river over the entire distance pretty well
as I have fished and camped along a lot of it for several years.

I have a training schedule planned that includes practice runs
that gradually get longer, building to a 30 miler down the James River.
I'll need more gear, I'm sure.
  Posted by: boogityx3 on Jan-23-14 9:56 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jan-23-14 9:58 AM EST --

Double post deleted.



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