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 We are Maidstone Canoe Club

 We sea kayak.

 We race.

 We are Maidstone Canoe Club.

 We mess about in boats.

 We run rivers.

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First Kayaking Trip Away

So you’ve signed up for your first weekend kayaking trip and you are wondering what you need to bring and what will happen when you get there. The second bit is easy – you will have great fun! I will return to this later.

 

First of all, you will obviously need a boat and a paddle. Make sure that your boat fits properly and is suitable for moving water. You should be quite snug in the boat, so that it moves when you do. You will also need a helmet. You may borrow one from the club if you don’t own one. Just check with Richard Blue Van Man (the bosun) so he can keep a track of what has been borrowed. I am going to assume that as you have been paddling for a while now, you will own the rest of the kit I am going to suggest, but please ask if you need anything or if you are still unsure about what you need to bring after reading this.

Snacks

You will need river snacks. Most people will have chocolate bars or cereal bars in their buoyancy aid for when they need them. I would also suggest taking a drink with you. If you have a flask, something like hot Ribena can taste surprisingly good if you are feeling a little chilly. Some people will also carry sandwiches in a dry bag in the back of their boats.

Gloves

I have been asked about wearing gloves while paddling. This is a personal choice, but I prefer pogies. Pogies are neoprene paddle mitts which attach to the paddle shaft. A friend and I once wore one pogie and one glove each and both found that the hand in the pogie stayed warmer. If you were to buy any, I would recommend the Palm Descent pogies, as they are short and easy to put your hand back into on moving water.

Getting there

We would normally car share where possible and split the fuel costs. Post on the forum or Facebook if you need a lift.

The bunk house

We usually stay in bunkhouses in the winter and camp in the summer. The bunkhouse at the River Dart Country Park provides a duvet and one pillow, so take a second one if you prefer two. The bunk rooms sleep up to twelve people, so if you are a light sleeper, I suggest that you take earplugs! You will need to take your own shower towel. Breakfast is included but you will need to buy your evening meal. We usually have a meal together somewhere. There is a bar at the Country Park too.

Drying your kit

There is a drying room at the bunkhouse where you can hang up your kit to dry. It can be useful to bring a few hangers as there are seldom enough in any drying room. It is unnecessary to dry spray decks and buoyancy aids, which will get wet as soon as you get back on the river, and hanging them in the drying room may prevent someone’s thermals from drying!

The river

The River Dart has several sections, each offering a different level of difficulty. After breakfast on both days, we will have a briefing, where the groups paddling each section will be organised and safety cover confirmed. We expect to run the Lower Dart on Saturday, getting on at the River Dart Country Park. We also plan to run “The Loop”, getting on at Newbridge, either on Saturday afternoon, if time allows, or on Sunday.

Kit list

Outerwear

Helmet

Cag/dry trousers/dry-suit

Wetsuit/wetsuit trousers

Spray deck

Buoyancy aid

River shoes/boots

Gloves/pogies (optional)

Thermal Layers

Thermal tops - layers are best

Long johns

Socks

Towel (for helping you to change discreetly!)

A bag to carry a complete set of dry clothes (including shoes) to put on afterwards. Remember a warm coat and a hat.