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The Best Life Jacket for Kayaking in the UK

Kayaking is an incredibly popular water sport in the UK, offering enthusiasts the opportunity to explore rivers, lakes, and coastlines with its unique thrill and tranquility. While kayaking can be an exhilarating experience, it’s essential to prioritize safety on the water. One crucial piece of equipment that should never be overlooked is a reliable life jacket. In this article, we will delve into the importance of a life jacket for kayaking and explore the top options available in the market. We’ll also discuss the significance of material and durability, as well as maintenance and care. Finally, we will touch on the essential regulations and standards governing life jackets in the UK.
Understanding the Importance of a Life Jacket for Kayaking
Before we dive into the specifics, let’s take a moment to appreciate the significance of a life jacket for kayaking. Regardless of your skill level or experience, accidents can happen, and the unexpected can occur on the water. A life jacket, also known as a personal flotation device (PFD), is designed to keep you buoyant in case of a capsize, allowing you to stay afloat and ensuring your safety until help arrives.
Not only does a life jacket provide buoyancy, but it is also an essential visual aid that assists rescue personnel in locating you quickly. Even the strongest swimmers can experience difficulties in open water, making a life jacket a vital piece of equipment that should never be forgotten.
Imagine yourself on a serene lake, surrounded by breathtaking scenery. You’re gliding through the water, feeling the gentle breeze on your face as you paddle your kayak. The sun is shining, and everything seems perfect. But suddenly, a strong gust of wind catches you off guard, causing your kayak to tip over. In an instant, you find yourself in the water, disoriented and struggling to stay afloat. This is where a life jacket becomes your lifeline, keeping you above the water’s surface and giving you the precious time needed to regain your composure and call for help.
Safety Features to Look for in a Life Jacket
With safety being the top priority, it’s crucial to select

Original Source: Canoe & Kayak UK >>

The Gloucester Waterways Museum – History, Information & The Paddlers Guide

The Gloucester Waterways Museum is an enchanting destination that showcases the rich heritage of Britain’s rivers and canals. Overlooking the historic Gloucester Docks in Gloucester, England, the museum provides a captivating exploration into the country’s waterways and their significant contributions to the national economy, culture, and lifestyle. As such, it draws visitors from across the globe, including kayakers who are offered a unique perspective on this vibrant water-bound environment.

A Journey Through History

Established in 1988, the Gloucester Waterways Museum is housed in the Llanthony Warehouse, one of the beautifully preserved Victorian warehouses in the Gloucester Docks. The museum forms part of the Canal & River Trust, a charity entrusted with the care of 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales.

The three-story museum is a living testament to Britain’s vast network of navigable rivers and canals. It focuses on the history, technology, people, and the natural environment related to the nation’s waterways. The museum’s extensive collections consist of various objects such as canal boats, canal and river craft, traditional clothing, tools, and equipment, and an impressive library of books and archives.

Interactive exhibits allow visitors to delve into the lives of those who have lived and worked on the waterways over the centuries. In addition, visitors can explore the museum aboard a narrowboat, which offers a novel way of engaging with the exhibits. The museum has consistently upgraded its facilities and exhibits, ensuring an enriching experience for every visitor.

The Gloucester Waterways Museum doesn’t exist in isolation. It forms an integral part of the vibrant community of Gloucester Docks, a site of considerable historic and architectural significance. The docks, with their beautiful old buildings and an array of contemporary amenities, offer a lively waterfront experience.

Kayaking at the Gloucester Waterways Museum

Kayaking is a great way to experience the museum and its surroundings. It offers an intimate encounter with the history and natural beauty of the area. As such, the museum is a popular stop for kayakers paddling along the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

Key Considerations for Kayakers

Safety Measures: Ensure that you’re well-versed with safety regulations before you go kayaking. Wearing a life jacket is mandatory.

Original Source: Canoe & Kayak UK >>

The Best Sea Fishing Kayaks UK

There is nothing better than paddling your sea fishing kayak out on a sunny Sunday morning, sitting back and waiting for your first catch.

In calm conditions just about any kayak with decent storage space will do, but these aren’t the conditions that you need to prepare for.

Any kayak fisherman worth their salt will tell you that stability and comfort are the biggest requirements of any quality fishing kayak, especially one which will be used at sea.

So, below we have put together a useful buying guide to help you find and buy the best sea fishing kayak for you, and we have also reviewed the top 4 best sea fishing kayaks.

Quick List

Best for Beginners: AQUATEC Hudson Inflatable Sea Fishing Kayak
Best for Sea Fishing: Cambridge Kayaks Zander Kayak
Best Overall: Sevylor Inflatable Sea Fishing Kayak
Best Tandem Sea Fishing Kayak: Intex Explorer K2 Sea Kayak
Best for Budget: Intex Explorer K2 Sea Kayak

Should I Buy a Plastic Kayak or an Inflatable One For Sea Kayak Fishing?

You will find many good options when it comes to sea kayaks, made of both plastic and other inflatable materials.

However, picking the right one will be important in making sure that you get the most out of whichever boat you end up buying.

You see, plastic kayaks are the most durable and tend to offer the most stability (especially secondary stability). Although some inflatable options do have flatter hulls which makes for more primary stability and may be favoured by beginner paddlers.

However, the main thing to keep in mind is that most inflatable options will not be suitable for rougher wind and sea conditions.

Whilst inflatable kayaks may well be lighter and more portable, cheaper and more affordable, they also put you at greater risk of capsizing should you find yourself up against some stronger waves.

UK weather is unpredictable, and if you want to maximise the number of sea fishing trips that you can go on, a hardshell option will be best for you. If you are open to using your boat for fishing on lakes and rivers also though, then an inflatable one will let you spend potentially more time out

Original Source: Canoe & Kayak UK >>

The 11 Best Inflatable Kayaks UK (Updated for 2022)

You don’t have to spend much time out on the water before you realise just how many benefits there are to kayaking.

Beginners, intermediate and advanced paddlers will see benefits spanning the physical, mental and emotional.

Not only does kayaking work your core muscles (not to mention your arms, shoulders and back!), but being out on the open water is great for reducing stress and increasing general well being. Also, it is a relatively low impact sport so it can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

So, now that we have discussed some of the clear benefits of kayaking (if you didn’t know them already), we will jump into the list of the top 10 best sea kayaks UK.

Quick List

Best for Beginners: Decathlon Touring Inflatable Kayak
Best Overall: Shipwreck Arrowstream Dropstitch Inflatable Kayak
Best for 2 People: Intex Excursion Pro Inflatable
Best for Tracking: Aqua Marina Tomahawk Inflatable Kayak
Best for White Water: Airhead Montana Inflatable Kayak
Best for Budget: Bestway Hydro Force Lite Rapid X2 Inflatable Kayak

The 11 Best Inflatable Kayaks UK

Best For Beginners

1. Decathlon Touring Inflatable Kayak

Best Overall

2. Shipwreck Arrowstream Dropstitch Inflatable Kayak

Best for 2 People

3. Intex Excursion Pro Inflatable Kayak

Best for Tracking

4. Aqua Marina Tomahawk Inflatable Kayak

Best for White Water

5. Airhead Montana Inflatable Kayak

6. Itiwit Inflatable Touring Kayak

7. Aqua Marina Laxo Inflatable Kayak

8. Aquatec Ottawa Inflatable Kayak

Best for Budget

9. Bestway Hydro Force Lite Rapid X2

Original Source: Canoe & Kayak UK >>

10 Best Canoe & Kayak Touring Trips in The UK

Whether your just out on a pleasant day’s paddle or a multi-day journey, touring kayaks and even sit-on-tops are perfect for exploring the waterways of the UK. Here’s a few suggestions on some truly classic and some of the best canoe & kayak touring trips and destinations in the UK to get you started.

Once you’ve caught the canoe & kayak touring bug there are plenty more out there, just waiting for you to discover and go canoe & kayak touring.

Below, we list the best UK canoe and kayak touring trips.

1. River Thames

Old Father Thames, immortalised for centuries in prose and verse, is probably the most famous river in the UK! But although it flows directly through the heart of the capital there’s a whole lot more to the River Thames than just London.

It becomes officially navigable at Cricklade in Wiltshire and the upper stretches of the river offer some beautiful potential for paddle touring.

Further downstream the Thames begins to grow in stature.

There are plenty of easy access and egress points along the way and some lovely riverside pubs.

Henley, famous for its boating regatta, and the section between here and Marlow is picturesque and green.

Further down stream at Runnymede you can moor up and then take a short walk to where the historic Magna Carta was signed; and the section between there and Windsor is a popular stretch for paddling day trippers.

Shepperton and Sunbury are great spots to start a Thames paddling tour from and you could journey down stream further to the historic palace at Hampton Court.

After the lock at Teddington the Thames becomes tidal, so it’s a more serious venture, but more experienced paddlers will love the unusual view that the river offers of our capital city, and cruising past such powerful landmarks as the House of Commons with Big Ben looming and the London Eye just downstream is certainly a special paddling experience.

2. River Trent

The River Trent is another of the major rivers of England.

Its source is in Staffordshire and it flows through the Midlands until it joins the River Ouse at Trent Falls to form the Humber

Original Source: Canoe & Kayak UK >>

Top Tips on Buying & Selling Second Hand Canoes & Kayaks

Since the dawn of kayaking and canoeing, paddlers have been buying and selling canoes and kayaks from one and another.

It makes perfect sense, one woman’s outmoded cast-off is another man’s ideal beginner kayak to use and abuse while he’s learning.

Throughout time there’s been a booming trade, propped up by a steady stream of supply and demand.

Sometimes after a few years of paddling a specific boat something will change, you’ll get better, lose weight, gain weight or just alter your preferences slightly and suddenly you’re using the sale of your current paddle craft to finance the purchase of your new one.

Conversely, if you’re in the market for your first boat, it’s unusual to go straight out and buy a state-of-the-art, brand new model before really acquiring a taste for exactly what it is that you’re after.

The market is huge, and it’s pretty much a given that at any one time there’ll be a buyer out there for your boat, and a boat out there suited to your needs. It is just a matter of looking round a bit.

We are fortunate in the paddling community that the second hand market is also a pretty safe one – it’s certainly nothing like trying to get a fair deal on a second hand car!

There is a much smaller pool of people in the paddling world for a start, and as such word of mouth reverberates very quickly around internet forums and the like if somebody isn’t playing fair.

And then, of course, there’s the fact that on the whole paddlers tend to be decent, honest people!

Nevertheless, there are some potential pitfalls and downsides to second hand kayak & canoe trading, all of which are easily avoidable if you know what to look out for.

With this in mind we’ve put together the following guide to help ensure that any second hand deal you enter into is safe, convenient, fair to all parties and that you end up with what you wanted at the end of it.

We’ve also got some top marketing tips for you if you’re looking to make a quick sale, so that you can

Original Source: Canoe & Kayak UK >>

How To Get Started in Sea Kayaking

The sea kayak offers up so much than the sum of its parts.

Maybe it’s because we’re a nation of island dwellers and the call of the sea is ingrained upon our souls, after all did you know that no matter where you are in the UK you are never more than about eighty miles from a coastline?

Or maybe it’s because the sea kayak offers us a very special kind of freedom.

Launch out from the shore and you are instantly master of your own boat and have access to a very different perspective on the wild nature that now surrounds you and the stunning shores and coastlines that present themselves to you at every dip of the paddle.

Getting Started

Whatever your motivation to get out in a sea kayak, the sea is a changeable and dynamic environment, so you’ll need to be fully prepared.

Part of the excitement of the sea is just how quickly it can change from a dead-calm millpond to a raging, rough maelstrom, so good planning, knowing your limits and a solid understanding of the weather and environment is key.

Even if you’re just heading out for a short paddle around a sheltered bay it’s still a wise move to get in to the habit of checking the weather reports and tide times beforehand.

It is a really good idea to attend a basic sea kayaking course and there are a great many specialist sea kayaking schools around the UK that provide courses in navigation, the effects of weather and how to counteract them, and how to interpret tides and plan a trip to fit around them.

Once you’ve added these to your bag of sea kayaking paddling skills you’ll be set to start exploring the sea to your heart’s content.

Sea Kayak Clubs

Another great way to get started is to join a club.

Most clubs will contain at least a couple of salty sea dogs who can take you on trips that you couldn’t plan yourself, there may also be kayaks that you can try out, and there will be lots of people eager to share their enthusiasm for this very special branch

Original Source: Canoe & Kayak UK >>

Buying a Kayak Paddle – How to Find & Buy The Right Kayak Paddle For You

A kayak paddle is just a paddle, right?

No, not really.

Just like with all bits of kit for our sport, a lot of clever people spend a lot of time designing what they hope will be an ideal paddle for a very specific purpose.

We have been at the stage for a long time where you most probably wouldn’t choose to use the paddle you take on whitewater on a touring trip, and you certainly wouldn’t do so the other way round.

This article is designed to help you know exactly what to look for in a paddle – whether it’s for whitewater kayaking or kayak touring use – when you go out to buy one for yourself!

Whitewater Vs Touring Paddles

There are a few fundamental differences that make a kayak paddle suitable either for whitewater kayaking or for kayak touring. The most obvious are blade shape and shaft length.

Whitewater paddling is aggressive, and requires ‘high-angle’ strokes, where each time you plant the paddle at as steep an angle as possible, engaging maximum trunk rotation and body movement.

An ideal stroke is almost a ‘scoop’ with the shaft angled as close to vertical as possible. This gives you maximum power, allowing for quick acceleration and maintained speed through holes.

The best sort of paddle for this aggressive style is one with an asymmetric blade that has plenty of surface area without being too long.

You need to be able to switch from one side to the other quickly in order to maintain a high stroke rate, so ideally whitewater paddles shouldn’t be too long, between 190cm and 203cm is the norm.

Kayak touring paddles, on the other hand, are generally longer (usually between the 210cm and 240cm mark), and have much longer, narrower blades generally suited to a more relaxed and maintainable ‘low-angle’ style of paddling perfect for long periods of time spent paddling your kayak at as steady pace.

Obviously, these are general lengths, and choosing the right length for you is an important consideration to make when buying a paddle (see ‘Sizing Your Paddle’ box).

Often a manufacturer will make a model of paddle in a selection of

Original Source: Canoe & Kayak UK >>

Airkayaks Guide to Inflatable Kayak Pumps (updated for 2022)

We field questions almost daily on inflatable kayak pumps, types of pumps, whether or not to use a pressure gauge and valve adaptors. Here is a short guide, answering some of the most asked questions, but feel free to ask any others!

Note: this article is an update from our article on the subject in 2011.

Types of Inflatable Kayak Pumps

There are a number of pumps available to inflate your kayak, both manual and electric. Here are some types:

Airkayaks Universal Inflatable Kayak Hand Pump – Gauge Close Up – Inflatable Kayak Pumps

Dual Action Hand Pump 

A barrel-type cylindrical pump that has two options – by turning a knob, one can go from double action mode (quickly pump up an inflatable) to single action mode (more easily pump to higher pressures). Recommends: Best dual action pump

Airkayaks has released the Airkayaks Universal Hand Pump. It is lightweight at 1.7 lbs, compact, and provides single or double-action pumping with a built-in gauge to 15 psi, an aluminum shaft, and folding feet that’s ideal for all Inflatable Kayaks. The feet fold, and the handles are removable to save space in your kayak bag or backpack, and there are not a ton of extra valves that you will wind up not using.

The reason why we chose to have this pump with a 15 PSI Gauge is so that you can also use it to pump up your inflatable SUP. It includes a 4 ft. (1.25 m) hose, and Halkey-Roberts, Boston, and stem fittings. If the HR valve is not fitting perfectly, we’ve put both sizes of common O-Rings on the pump as well.

Note: For Advanced Elements Kayaks with an AE Spring Valve, simply friction fit the spring valve adapter included with your AE kayak on top of the boston valve. (or use the AE2011 Hand Pump).

Double Action Hand Pump 

This is a barrel-type cylindrical pump that pushes air in on the up and the down stroke. Tougher than a foot pump, but also larger. Typically has an inflate and deflate position on the pump handle. These are great for lower pressure inflatables, up to about 4PSI. Can be used on higher pressure inflatables, but you will earn every muscle getting it up there. Will pump up an inflatable faster than the single action pump or bellows foot pump.

For Advanced Elements Kayaks, we recommend the AE2011 as it includes the Advanced Elements Spring Valve Adapter. Dont have the AE2011 pump and have an AE kayak? Put the AE Fitting on top of a Boston Valve. It will “friction fit” – note this is a tight feeling and it will

Original Source: AirKayaks >>

Airkayaks Guide to selecting a Kayak Paddle for your inflatable kayak (updated for 2022)

So you’ve made the decision on an inflatable kayak. You’ve researched yourself to death, and have finally narrowed it down to the one that’s perfect for you. A sigh of relief – the hard part is over – until you find there are just as many choices, styles and terminologies for a kayak paddle.

If you want to skip the article, head to the bottom for our Comparison Chart with every paddle carries.

Note: this article is an update from our previous post on the subject in 2014.

First of all, what is a breakdown kayak paddle?

Unlike a canoe paddle, which has one blade, shaft and handle grip, a kayak paddle features two blade heads (left hand and right hand) and a shaft.

The paddler grips the shaft with both hands, and dips one blade into the water and pulls, then dips the other side into the water and pulls. This is a more efficient method of paddling when sitting lower in the water.

While there are 2-pc breakdown paddles on the market, the most portable paddles are the 4-pc breakdown paddles consisting of two shaft lengths that connect into one, and two blades – a left hand and right hand – that attach onto the shaft. only carries 4-pc breakdown paddles. 4-pc breakdown paddles for inflatables typically have a longest shaft length of 25 to 30 inches in length, making them easily storable, often in the kayak carrying case.

What length kayak paddle should I look for?

Since inflatable kayaks are typically wider than hardshell kayaks, a 230 or 240cm paddle is considered a good length. For those confused with the measurement system, a 230cm paddle is 90.55 inches in length while a 240cm paddle is 94.5 inches in length (2.54 cm per inch).

The choice of either is a personal preference, but you should consider your height, paddling style and typical paddling conditions. In general, 230cm is good for persons under 6 feet, high-angle paddlers, and those in fast moving paddling conditions. Paddlers over 6 feet, low-angle paddlers and those in calmer touring conditions may be more comfortable with a 240cm, though our largest-selling paddle for inflatable kayaks is the 230cm size.

As a rule of thumb, all Advanced Elements (AE1012, AE1017, AE1009, AE1007, AE1044), Aquagide Navarro and McKenzie Series, and Aire Tomcat Series, 230cm will fit 99% of paddlers. Aquaglide Chelan, and Advanced Elements AirVolution series and Fishing kayaks, may want to consider 240cm paddles.

What kayak paddles does include in the Basic Bundle?

If you are new to, for kayaks that do not come with a pump and or paddle(s), we offer a basic bundle which is everything you need to get paddling. The basic bundle includes: the kayak and everything

Original Source: AirKayaks >>