Don’t worry, it’s pretty simple to do. We’ll just give you some pointers before you paddle out.
When renting a kayak, you will be provided basic instructions, a life jacket, and a paddle. We highly recommend you bring water, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. Kayaks may be launched right out the back door of our shop or we can top you off at a trail head.
We rent the highest rated recreational kayaks (Wildnerness Pungo 120) available in the Bismarck/Mandan area. Our single or tandem kayaks are stable enough for beginners while still providing tracking and speed to satisfy an experienced kayaker. Our trips are an adventure you will remember.
More quick tips for our paddlers
When you’re on the river
SIT UP STRAIGHT AND USE YOUR FEET & LEGS
Sit with your back supported in the kayak, and place the balls of your feet in the pegs. Keep your toes pointed slightly outward and your heels toward the center of the kayak. Your knees should have an outward bend, allowing your legs to apply pressure to the thigh braces for support.
It’s not a race! Enjoy the views of the Missouri, and get a feel for how your body rests in the kayak and how you paddle through the water. Focus on technique, not speed. You’ll enjoy it much more.
Once in a while, sand bars and low hanging trees along the shore seem to pop-out of nowhere. Have fun, but don’t let your guard down completely.
DON’T LOSE YOUR CREW
If you’re kayaking in a group, it’s best for everyone to stay in contact with one another, just to be on the safe side. The general rule of thumb is no one should be further than earshot from each other.
MOVE WITH YOUR KAYAK, NOT AGAINST IT
If you’ve ever experienced a spin while driving, you know exactly what we’re talking about. Don’t fight the motion, just go with it. If you spin your kayak, follow through with the motion and adjust slowly. Use the kayak’s kinetic energy to your advantage.
KEEP BINOCULARS HANDY
…Because what better time to wildlife watch than from the seat of a kayak? Bringing a pair of light, durable binoculars will make your trip even more fun. Look for water-resistant and portable binoculars if possible, and remember, scratch resistant lenses are ideal.
WHEN YOU’RE GETTING DRESSED, THINK WATER; NOT WEATHER
Whether it’s a chilly fall morning or a scorching afternoon in North Dakota, dress for the temperature of the water.
INVEST IN A WATERPROOF STORAGE CASE
Nothing ruins a great kayaking adventure more than coming back to find your expensive smartphone got water damage along the way. A press-and-seal storage container will work just fine for your food and wallet, but we’d recommend investing in something more trustworthy to store your electronics and clothing. We recommend the dry bags you can get at our shop.
KNOW THE RIVER LANGUAGE
There’s a series of hand signals and gestures that help kayakers communicate with each other. After all, taking trips down the river with friends can get a bit noisy and distracting. If you’re kayaking in a group, it may be helpful to brush up on these simple signals, like these as found at Paddling.com.
GET A FEEL FOR YOUR PADDLING STYLE
We recommend you get a feel for how to paddle-stroke before hitting the water. If you want to try it at home, grab a broomstick or hockey stick, straddle an armless chair, and emulate paddling from side to side. The way you hold, paddle and stroke will determine your style. For a really good video on paddling basics, check out this video on youtube.com
Like we mentioned, you should consider leaving your electronics on dry land or sealed in a dry-bag. If you do this, you should print out a map or check-in with us for maps on the area.
KEEP AN EYE ON THE FORECAST
Kayaking through some light rain won’t be much of an issue, but trying to paddle through heavy rain will fill your kayak’s cockpit with water and render it unstable. Make sure to check all weather conditions in the area before heading out. Be careful with southernly winds when coming down on the Missouri River, they will make paddling downriver difficult.
Back on shore
STRETCH IT OUT
When you’ve been sitting in one upright position for a couple of hours or more, your body gets quite tight and settled in that position. To avoid cramps and aches throughout the rest of the day, walk it out a bit. It’s beneficial to get some stretching in before kayaking, as well.
DOUBLE-CHECK YOUR GEAR
Before you hop in the car and head off into the sunset (or sunrise), check your gear. Make sure you haven’t caused any accidental dings, holes, or tears in anything, and pay special attention to your paddle and kayak seat. And, of course, once you’re finished… get ready to do it all over again!