A Beginner's Guide to Adventuring with a Kayak

It’s the middle of summer, and you’re looking for a new adventure to go on. Well, maybe kayaking can give you the adventure you’re looking for. Here’s our beginner’s guide to adventuring with a kayak.


  1. Select a Good Beginner Kayak

intex inflatable kayak holland michigan kollen park

Personally, I just purchased a $60 inflatable kayak on Amazon to go on adventures with. It was pretty easy to setup, fit in my compact car, and I can store it a lot easier than a normal Kayak. Plus, the $60 investment didn’t break the bank by any means.
Like many of the other reviews of this kayak in particular, a new paddle is probably needed. That’s not a huge deal though since a decent paddle can be purchased for about $30.

The selection of your kayak and where you take it will be a big part of your kayaking experience.

Sammy Garrard put together a list of good beginner kayaks and how to choose. He covers the 13 factors that go into buying a kayak and then reviews several different kayaks that could be a good fit depending on your needs.

If you’re looking for another startup to support in addition to us at Fathom, Pakayak is shipping this summer too. It’s a full kayak, but comes apart so it can travel better!

pakayak kayak


  1. Be Prepared To Get Wet

If it is your first time kayaking, be ready to get in the water. Not saying it will happen, but it could. It just takes one silly mistake to tip your kayak over. The essentials have to be:

  • A waterproof phone case. This one works well and can be purchased through Amazon. You can still take photos and videos with it too.

kayaking phone case



  • A waterproof bag for miscellaneous items. I just purchased this and it worked great for my first trip! I packed extra shoes, a jacket, water, and some light snacks. 

kayaking waterproof bag


  • A simple lifejacket. Hopefully you don’t run into a scenario where it’s truly needed. At least pack it on your kayak.

kayaking lifejacket amazon




For more accessory ideas, Best Products has a good gallery of items. If you’re a more experienced kayaker, this list is even more helpful!

  1. Pick an Easy Location to Kayak

It sound like a ton of fun to kayak in a big lake or the ocean right away, but it might not be your best idea. Especially if you just have a beginner’s kayak. Most of them aren’t built for rougher waters.

Pick a calm river or lake to adventure on. In the Midwest, there are plenty of spots that are calm and have great scenery.

To find those places, it can be tricky to start. The best places to find information are through local groups or the places that sell kayaks in your area. Meetup.com can sometimes be a place where kayakers will schedule events for local adventures too. Plus, if you go with a group, you’ll meet new people and they might know of places that you’ve never even heard of.

Otherwise, the local outdoors shop will know the best places. Normally, the employees of those shops love to be outdoors and know the local area pretty well.

One last place to look for spots is Paddling.com. It can be hard to figure out the kayaking routes on there, but it’s a good place to start and can at least give you an idea if where people might be kayaking.

If you’re in Michigan, Serena Maria Daniels put together a great list of spots to kayak in Michigan. She mentions the Detroit canals in her article, and we would have to second that. It’s like getting a historical tour of Detroit at times. In addition, we haven't been to Pictured Rocks with kayaks yet, but this place has to be on everyone's list. 

pictured rocks national lakeshore kayaking

If you're in the mood for something new, we highly recommend getting a kayak to go on adventures with. It can be a minor investment, but give you so much in life. From new perspectives to new memories, make the most of it!