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 then contact the trip 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 club house at about 9am to get loaded up and briefed on the planned outing. Most trips start within about 25 miles / 40 mins of the club house, although sometimes we do have day trips to places further afield like the Hamble and Poole. Trips are designed to start from a place where there is 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, waterproof jacket and waterproof trousers for colder months. On your feet neoprene booties are best worn with socks, and In winter a warm hat is essential. On colder days to keep your hands warm and dry a set of pogies (special gloves which fit over the paddle shaft) are a good idea. If you are prone to falling in or the weather is very cold then a wet-suit will keep you warm but you may get very hot if paddling hard. Buoyancy aids are supplied by the club and 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 spare items of clothing you need to keep warm and comfortable.
Other useful things to take are:- a mobile phone in a waterproof bag, some cash, first aid kit, knife, whistle, 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 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 of. Usually there will be a half way 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 for collection and drop-off of boats and people.
The main aim of all the trips is to Have Fun in the company of your fellow paddlers who are all there to support each other and ensure that everybody has a safe and enjoyable trip on the many beautiful waterways we are blessed with.