3 May, 2023
Kayaking multi-day trips are quite easy to find online but multi-day paddleboarding trips are a bit more of a new thing. But they are a great way of taking trips as you can fit lots on the board and see some wonderful sights.
One thing to think about is upskilling your paddle skills. Being in different places and on different waters means knowing as much about water safety as possible. Go on a course, take some lessons, practise paddling, self-rescues and safety on the water. Learn about navigation, river safety, what buoys mean and so on. British Canoeing is a good place to start to find training courses.
Next is to think about the board you will take. If you are taking kit with you, you will need a touring board. Paddleboards best suited for SUP camping are 12.5 feet or longer and at least 30 inches wide. You will need to optimise much of the deck space for gear. Try a few different brands and go for one you like best.
Regarding kit, aim for a kit under 40 pounds. Think about whether there are facilities on your trip you can use, such as toilets and cafes. If you are camping are there campsites and water available? If not will you take a cooking stove and food. Pack your food, drink and other supplies in washable and reusable containers to prevent waste. Take away all your litter.
When packing the board, place heavier items towards centre handle. Weave straps and tie downs through handles of dry bags. Tighten all tie down straps to secure load.
What will you wear? Depending on the time of year you may want a wetsuit or drysuit, or cag to keep the wind chill off. Carry a spare set of clothing in a drybag in case you fall into the water.
Plan your route appropriately. Pick one which is easy to follow and navigate, and within your paddling skills.
Who will you be going with? There are several adventure groups who run trips you could be a part of, or maybe find a paddle buddy. If you are planning to do the trip solo, pay extra attention to safety. Take a mobile phone in a dry bag, as well as possible other means of calling for help. Take a compass and map or nautical chart if you need to and get some training on using one. Electronic devices can fail or lose power or signal. Take a powerbank or two as well. Have safety apps such as What3Words.
If on your own, look for an outfitter to help you as they have the experience and knowledge to put you on the right track. Travelling on your own is much riskier than travelling with a group. An outfitter can help you plan your route and your meal plan, suggest the appropriate gear and rent or sell you everything you need for your trip.
Leave word there about where you are going, by what route, and when you plan to return. As well as what to do in case you do not return, such as call the Coastguard. Make sure you have local sea emergency contacts for a real emergency. Write a float plan and have contingency options.
Check the weather forecast before you go and during the journey as needed. Particularly the wind. In windy conditions the water can be choppy and the water can be very cold if paddling early/late in the season.
It’s always a great idea to do trial runs with gear to make sure the logistics of planning go accordingly. See how to paddle with a loaded board, and how to strap it all down securely. Even if the board was to flip over.
Be visible and avoid official waterways. Keep in mind, that a small SUP may not be easy to spot from a bigger vessel.
Finally, read books, listen to podcasts and follow inspiring people who have done similar paddles. They can help to inspire you. Have fun!
I am planning for a multi-day solo adventure paddle around the Finnish islands around the Helsinki archipelago in July. Follow my adventures on Instagram @natashastarseeker
I have an outdoor adventures blog. Having three children, I am particularly interested in getting outside with my family. I aim to make every day an adventure, especially with my children, husband, dogs and friends. From exploring new cities to being in our campervan with the dogs, we like an adventure. We live near the sea and forest and explore every day.
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