The trips vary in distance between about 6 miles for people looking for a shorter, more leisurely outing up to 20 miles for people looking for a more challenging day out.
Most trips are designed for kayaks, but there will be some for more dedicated canoeists and on many, you may find a mixture of boats.
If you like the sound of a trip, contact the organiser by email or phone to check on the details and if you need transport for your kayak and/or yourself to arrange lifts. Most people have a set of ‘V’ – bars which can be bought for about £70 and make transporting a kayak safe and simple. These attach to parallel roof bars, which you may also need to purchase if you don’t already have some or a roof rack.
On the day
The group will normally meet at the clubhouse at about 9 am to get loaded and briefed on the planned outing. Most trips start within about 25 miles / 40 mins of the clubhouse, although sometimes we do have day trips to places further afield like the Hamble and Poole. Trips are designed to start from a place with suitable parking and easy access to the water and often somewhere there are some facilities, such as the Mytchett Visitor Centre, which has toilets and a cafe, or near a pub.
In general, you need to wear a fast-drying base layer(such as you would for running or hiking), shorts, tracksuit bottoms or running tights, a fleece, a waterproof jacket and waterproof trousers for colder months. On your feet, neoprene booties are best worn with socks, and a warm hat is essential in winter. On colder days, a set of pogies (special gloves which fit over the paddle shaft) is a good idea to keep your hands warm and dry. If you are prone to falling in or the weather is very cold, a wet suit will keep you warm, but you may get very hot if you paddle hard. The club supplies buoyancy aids which are highly recommended for all; for children, they are mandatory. Trip leaders may require a buoyancy aid to be worn for you to go on a trip. On wet and wintry days, a spray deck is useful to keep your legs dry.
You need to carry with you in the kayak/canoe a dry bag with a few items to change into in case you do capsize. This includes a spare hat, small towel, spare fleece/base layer and as many other items of clothing as you need to keep warm and comfortable.
Other useful things to take are:- a mobile phone in a waterproof bag, some cash, a first aid kit, a knife, a whistle, a water bottle and a snack bar in case you need an extra energy boost.
See the notes for tourers – kit page for comprehensive details on the kit. Also, see notes for tourers – basics for more detailed information on what to expect on a tour. (You need to be a club member to access these pages)
You also need to carry a full set of day clothes in the car to change into when you are off the water in case of a dunking.
Getting on the water
Your trip leader will brief you about the route ahead and any obstructions or dangers, such as weirs, to keep clear. Usually, there will be a halfway stop at a pub for lunch or refreshments before returning back to your start point. Some trips are one-way, so transport arrangements need to be made to collect and drop off boats and people.