To fully enjoy your new inflatable kayak, you will need a few essential accessories. These five accessories will ensure that your next inflatable kayaking expedition is a fun, and safe one.
#1 Air Pump
An inflatable craft is not very useful unless it is inflated properly. A working air pump is an obvious accessory that you will not want to forget! There are a variety of air pumps available today, both manual (i.e. foot pump style) and electric. Unless you have an electric outlet nearby the body of water you plan on kayaking, a manual pump is recommended. The good news is that many inflatable kayak models on the market today come complete with a suitable air pump. When purchasing your inflatable craft, be sure to determine if the model you choose includes an air pump. If not, you will need to purchase one separately. Manual air pumps vary in quality, so be sure to test each before purchase if possible.
#2 Pressure Gauge
The amount of air that goes into your kayak will directly reflect how it handles on the water. The manufacturer of your inflatable kayak should include a maximum air pressure reading for optimum performance. Over inflating the craft could result in serious damage to it while on the water, and under inflating will cause the kayak to handle sluggishly and under perform. Keep a pressure gauge handy throughout your kayaking trip to monitor and adjust pressure as needed.
#3 Life Jacket (or Buoyancy Aid)
Even if you plan on traversing only shallow water on your trip, always include a life jacket or some kind of flotation aid in case you need it. Having one could not only save a life, it may also be required in many states. If separated from your kayak, the life jacket will give you the buoyancy you need to get back to it. It goes without saying that if you have a life jacket along with you, wear it at all times!
Sunscreen is one accessory that is very easy to forget, but important nonetheless. The sun's rays can make your skin look like a lobster after a full day of exposure. Sunburn is not only painful in the short term, its UV rays can cause permanent damage over time, possibly leading to skin cancer or premature aging of the skin. Choose a sunscreen with at a rating of at least 30 for maximum protection.
#5 Plastic Storage Bin
Once your kayaking excursion has ended, you will need to dry and store your inflatable kayak for protection and ease of transporting. Many manufacturers include a storage case, but inflatable kayak owner experiences show that they are usually too small and almost impossible to get the kayak back into them once its deflated.
Save yourself considerable time and hassle storing your inflatable kayak by purchasing a large plastic storage bin from your local Target or WalMart. Once completely dry and fully deflated, simply fold your kayak and store in a this water tight bin for easy storage in your car or truck. Secure the lid and your inflatable kayak will be ready for its next use.
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