Summer Kayak Touring for Beginners: 3 Tips for an Unforgettable Adventure

Summer is the perfect time to indulge in outdoor activities, and one of the most exciting ways to explore the beauty of nature is through kayak touring. Whether you're paddling through serene lakes or meandering down picturesque rivers, kayak touring offers a unique and immersive experience.  If you're a beginner and looking to embark on your first summer kayak tour, we've got you covered! In this article, we sit down with Joe Mongo from Feelfree Kayaks to discuss the top three tips that will help you have a memorable and enjoyable adventure. So, grab your paddle and let's dive in! 

Tip #1: Choose the Right Kayak: When it comes to kayak touring, selecting the right kayak is crucial. It can significantly impact your comfort, stability, and overall experience on the water. We currently carry a variety of touring kayaks from Feelfree Kayaks but here are a few essential factors to consider: 

  • Stability: As a beginner, opt for a kayak with excellent stability. Look for wider hulls and flat bottoms, as they provide better balance and maneuverability, making it easier to stay upright.
  • Sit-on-top or Sit-inside: Sit-on-top kayaks are ideal for beginners as they are easier to get in and out of. They also offer a more relaxed and open experience, which is perfect for warm summer days. However, if you prefer a drier ride and want protection from splashing water, a sit-inside kayak might be a better option.
  • Size and Weight: Consider the size and weight of the kayak, as it affects both transportation and storage. Lightweight kayaks are easier to handle, especially if you plan to paddle solo or need to load and unload it from your vehicle.
  • Renting vs. Buying: If you're unsure about your long-term commitment to kayaking, consider renting a kayak for your first few tours. It allows you to test different models and sizes before investing in your own kayak.

Tip #2: Essential Gear and Safety Precautions: Before hitting the water, it's crucial to ensure you have the right gear and take necessary safety precautions. Here are a few essentials to keep in mind: 

  • Personal Flotation Device (PFD): A PFD, also known as a life jacket, is an absolute must-have for kayak touring. Choose a PFD that fits well and is specifically designed for water sports. Remember, wearing it throughout your tour is non-negotiable! We carry a variety of PFDs from brands such as NRS and Astral so make sure to check them out here.
  • Paddle: Select a paddle that suits your height and paddling style. Generally, the paddle should be long enough to comfortably reach the water without straining your shoulders or back.You will also want to discern if you are a low angle or high angle paddler. You can learn more about this here.
  • Sun Protection: Summer means more sun exposure, so don't forget to pack sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and lightweight clothing that provides sun protection. Protecting yourself from harmful UV rays will ensure you have a pleasant and safe experience.
  • Water and Snacks: Stay hydrated during your kayak tour by carrying an adequate supply of water. Pack snacks or energy bars to keep your energy levels up. It's essential to fuel yourself adequately for a full day on the water. We recommend a Feelfree Gear Dry Tube Mini for your snacks and personal items. This bag should fit perfectly in your day hatch. 
  • Weather Check: Always check the weather forecast before heading out. Avoid kayaking during storms, strong winds, or extreme heat conditions. Safety should always be your top priority.
  • Learn Basic Techniques: Familiarize yourself with basic paddling techniques, such as forward stroke, reverse stroke, edging, and rolling. Practice these techniques in calm waters before venturing into more challenging conditions.

Tip #3 Plan and Prepare: Proper planning and preparation can make a significant difference in your kayak touring experience. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your adventure: 

  • Research Your Route: Before setting off, research your chosen route thoroughly. Learn about any potential hazards, currents, tides, or obstructions that you might encounter along the way. Familiarize yourself with landmarks or key points of interest to enhance your navigation skills.
  • Start with Shorter Tours: As a beginner, it's wise to start with shorter tours to build your stamina and confidence. Gradually increase the distance and difficulty level as you gain experience.
  • Buddy System: Whenever possible, go kayaking with a friend or join a guided tour. Kayaking with a companion enhances safety and allows you to share the experience with someone else.
  • Respect Nature: As you embark on your kayak tour, remember to respect, and preserve the natural environment. Avoid disturbing wildlife, take your trash with you, and leave no trace behind. Let's work together to protect our beautiful waterways for future generations.

Summer kayak touring for beginners is an excellent way to explore nature, soak up the sun, and create unforgettable memories. By following these top three tips - choosing the right kayak, having essential gear and safety precautions, and planning and preparing effectively - you'll set yourself up for a successful and enjoyable adventure. So, grab your sunscreen, paddle, and sense of adventure, and get ready to experience the wonders of kayak touring this summer! Happy paddling! 


Read Jake's Llano River Blog HERE

Written by Jake Smith, Feelfree US Marketing

Photography by Feelfree Marketing Team


Joes Adventure Touring Kayak Kit


Feelfree Gear Mini Tube 

Feelfree Adventura v2 140 with Skeg

Werner Paddle

Tow Line


Immersion Research Skirt 

Watershed Aleutian Deck Bag