8 Steps How to Plan a Long-Distance Kayaking Trip

It’s 5:30 a.m., and the sun has already begun to shine in the sky. You’ve been anticipating and preparing for your long-awaited kayaking trip and are finally ready to venture into the great outdoors.

You’ve done a lot of research, checked out maps, and read several articles to get the most out of your recreational activity. The only thing left to do now is to get the adventure started and enjoy the kayaking trip.

But how exactly does one go about planning a long-distance paddling trip? While this may appear overwhelming at first, it is actually fairly simple.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned kayaker, planning your trip in advance is essential to a successful experience. This article will discuss all the key aspects to consider for smooth and exciting kayak and canoe trips.

Why Should You Plan a Long-Distance Kayaking Trip?

Kayaking is a fun and thrilling recreational activity that allows the rider to paddle through beautiful waterways and arrive at the destination with the satisfaction of knowing they arrived solely thanks to their own effort and determination.

The kayak has a cockpit where the rider sits with their legs extended beneath the closed deck. This recreation is suitable for all ages and allows you to explore lovely lakes and incredible waterways.

Moreover, kayaking is highly versatile and can be paired with various outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking, and camping. So, if you’re figuring out your route for a long-distance paddle, consider including a suitable camping spot.

Different Types of Kayaking

There are a few different types of kayaking that people enjoy. When preparing for a long-distance trip, you can choose from these options and plan accordingly.

1. Sport

Sport kayaking is the most effective way for sports enthusiasts to improve their skills. Whitewater courses and river races can add a competitive atmosphere that isn’t found in other types of kayaking.

If you enjoy sports, choosing sport kayaking and participating in the competition will provide you with a lot of fun and excitement. However, race courses are usually relatively short and do not involve multi-day trips.

2. Recreational

Recreational kayaking is the simplest, and perhaps the easiest, way of exploring freshwater. It allows the kayaker to take a break and absorb the natural splendor of the river or lake around them.

3. Sea

Kayaking in the sea calls for a high level of concentration and navigational abilities. It requires sea kayaks and other equipment that is made for intense kayaking, and should only be attempted by experienced kayakers who have extensive experience paddling in rough conditions.

How to Plan a Long-Distance Kayaking Trip

A long-distance trip can be enjoyable, but it can also turn into a battle in some cases. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to plan a lengthy kayaking trip and up the ante on the adventure.

1. Get the Perfect Kayak

The most important aspect of planning a kayaking trip is choosing the right kayak. You must select the one that is most suited to your travel style. 

Here’s a rundown of the various kayaks available for your paddling adventure.

  • Recreational Kayaks

For flat water paddling, recreational kayaks are the best choice. They work great for a kayak trip because they offer plenty of storage space for all your gear. 

On top of that, they provide a high level of stability and are quite economical. 

  • Touring Kayaks

These can handle waves and are suitable for paddling in the sea or on a river; they’re also ideal for long-distance adventures. A touring kayak will also have plenty of storage space, making them an ideal choice if you will be bringing camping gear on your kayak trip.

  • Whitewater Kayaks

Whitewater kayaks are quite simple to use, as they are usually small and move quickly. They do not, however, include any storage compartments. 

Their increased maneuverability also means they’re less stable than other kayak types. These factors make them more suited for individuals planning a one-day excursion rather than a long trip.

2. Choose a Paddle that’s Right for You

Whether you are an expert kayaker or a beginner, spending a lot of money on delicate and lightweight fiber paddles is unnecessary. Instead, invest in a paddle that provides better stability and is budget-friendly.

You should make sure that the paddle is the right length for you and your boat. If you are a tall person, you probably need a long paddle to prevent your upper body from having to hunch over to reach the water. 

3. Enhance Your Navigation Skills

Route planning and navigating miles of beautiful rivers calls for sufficient navigational abilities to ensure a smooth journey. Navigation skills are essential for long-distance kayaking trips because many kayakers map their paths between rivers or other waterways.

Furthermore, having some map and compass abilities is beneficial in a variety of kayaking situations, including making sure that you are sticking to your planned route.

Take careful note of the type of water you will be covering. If you’re used to going out on calm water, don’t immediately jump to rough water for your first paddling trip.

If you will be traveling on the sea it may also be important to consult a tide schedule before your trip.

4. Maintain Good Physical Fitness

If you are a beginner, kayaking for continuous hours may cause muscle soreness, and you will likely become tired quickly. Even those who are in good shape should start slowly by building the distance they cover in practice trips before they attempt a long paddle trip.

Some find it helpful to add time on the rowing machine to their workout routine in order to build their arm and shoulder strength. 

5. Bring Only What You Need

Taking lightweight gear with you on a kayaking trip is really important. Those who plan on camping and kayaking will need a lightweight tent, sleeping bag, food, and cooking utensils, at the very least.

Keep everything dry by using high-quality waterproof bags to prevent your gear from becoming drenched in case you tip over or face unexpected rain. A dry bag can be the only thing that stands between you and a cold, wet, miserable experience.

While you should keep gear to a minimum, it’s also important to remember that paddling trips hardly ever go exactly according to plan. For example, you may encounter unexpected weather changes, equipment malfunctions, and so forth.

It’s a great idea to bring a bit of easily accessible rain gear just in case the weather changes unexpectedly. A few extra layers can be important if you’re kayaking during a time of year that brings colder weather.

6. Bring Along Delicious Food

Picking up your favorite snacks or drinks can make your trip much more fun! However, every experienced paddler knows that getting fresh fruits and meat is also important because these items will be much more filling and beneficial than junk food.

In addition, because you will be paddling for a long time, choose calorie-rich snacks to help you maintain your energy levels. Lean meat and cheese sandwiches, nuts, whole grain crackers, and hard-boiled eggs will keep you energized.

You can even bring along fishing equipment to add fresh fish to your menu for the trip. Most lakes and rivers offer a variety of fishing opportunities.

7. Keep Yourself Hydrated

Stay hydrated before your trip and continue hydrating while you’re out on the water. 

Always ensure that you have a sufficient supply of water with you. If you don’t want to have to carry a lot of heavy water, consider purchasing a compact water filter that will make the water you’re kayaking on safe to drink.

Note that this only works if you’ll be kayaking on freshwater, like a river or lake.

8. Safety Gear

Always make sure you have the necessary safety equipment before you paddle away. Here is a list of some of the essential kayaking safety equipment you should carry on your trip:

  • Personal floatation device, generally known as a PFD
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Map and a compass
  • Ropes
  • Sunscreen with high SPF
  • Mobile phone
  • Sunglasses

Helpful Tips for Long Distance Kayaking

If you are a beginner, here are some steps to follow before heading towards your destination.

  • Small lakes or ponds, which are usually quiet and easy to access, are ideal places to start kayaking. When you’re getting familiar with kayaking, it’s best to avoid areas where the water levels tend to change quickly.
  • If you’re the only kayaker on the water, paddle close to the shore so that you’ll be visible to those on shore should you get into trouble and need their assistance.
  • Wear your safety gear at all times.
  • Be honest with yourself about your abilities and only paddle in areas that you can navigate easily.
  • Never attempt to kayak in bad or stormy weather. Always check the weather forecast before venturing out for a kayaking trip.
  • Do not experiment with any form of drug or substance while on the water.
  • To get the most out of this fun and enjoyable activity, we recommend bringing along a friend, family member, or even gathering a group to go with.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Miles are Considered Long for Kayaking?

Well, measuring distance varies from person to person. For example, some consider 4 miles a long distance, while even going as far as 20 miles may not be too much for others.

If you are paddling downstream on a river you will find it much easier to travel a longer distance than you would if you were attempting to go upstream. A fast-moving river will also move you along quicker than a slow river or a flat lake. 

How Much Time Does a Normal Kayaking Trip Take?

On average, a mile of paddling takes 20 to 30 minutes for an average kayaker. Several other elements should be considered, such as your level of experience, weather conditions, and the type of kayak you have.

Is Kayaking the Perfect Workout?

Kayaking is a great way to build muscle mass. It is a fast-paced sport that requires a lot of body movement. 

As a result, it will help you increase strength, tone up your muscles, and avoid gaining weight.

Do Kayaks Flip Over Quickly?

They don’t, in fact. Since kayaks are not built to flip over easily, flipping is dependent mainly on three factors: the sort of kayak you choose, the weather, and the type of water you’re traveling through.

What Not to Do While kayaking?

A kayaker should always avoid offshore winds. They make your journey extremely challenging, and you may find it difficult to go back to shore. 

Always adhere to the boating regulations, and never overload your kayak. Furthermore, double-checking your equipment before heading out on the trip is a must.


Does planning for a long-distance kayaking trip sound easier now? Simply follow the steps described above to start your thrilling kayaking adventure!