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Nutrition, Hydration and Packing for Paddling

Are you packed right for kayaking or paddleboarding?

Whether stand up paddling, kayaking, sailing, or stand up PEDALing (on the Hobie Mirage Eclipse), we all require nutritious, sustaining foods for a quick hour, day trip, or weekends, to keep up with our water enjoyment. Along with fueling your physical body for fun activity on the water, food and hydration are just as important for mental clarity and general good health. Carbohydrates, fats and protein, enjoy them all while paddling! Carbohydrates are your first source of fuel feeding your working muscles and brain. Set up your plan for snacks before dropping in and make it easy to grab a granola bar, trail mix with pretzels, coconut macaroons, fig bars, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, crackers, or even a medley of dried fruits. Some other easy foods for longer outings could be freeze dried/dehydrated meals, jerky, or pack sandwiches prior with cut up cucumber, carrots or celery. Perhaps make a list of your favorite menu items and think about how much time you will be out there. Try to pack just enough so you are not carrying around extra. Any size cooler can be easily strapped down, if you are already set up with bungee tie-down cords. This is a great place to store other essentials.

How to pack for your paddle for the weekend. Two paddleboards packed and ready.
Photo by Nat Parmentier

When it comes to hydration, it is a good idea to hydrate even before you begin your day. Some great suggestions for added electrolytes and nutrients are: Gatorade, coconut water, low fat or fat free milk or milk substitutes, even watery foods can provide hydration, as well. (i.e. oranges, watermelon, strawberries, etc.). Also, a cup of coffee is nice, especially an iced one, if you live in the desert. All things in appropriate amounts, and according to your activity level and duration out on the water. When it comes to planning for an hour of enjoyment or weekend SUP camping trip, the best items to always have with you are a PFD, hydration, sunscreen, and a whistle. On longer paddles, strap down a larger cooler with extra food and water, use a backpack, dry bag or anything that works best for long term comfort. Pack lights so you are visible on the water if paddling in the dark, and any extra clothing to protect you from the elements. Using polarized eye protection will help with glare reflecting from all angles. A wide brim hat is a good idea for extra sun protection on your face, neck, scalp and hair. Go for bright colored ones that will help to make you more visible to oncoming boat traffic. Straps under your chin are a smart idea, so you do not lose it. Ropes or leashes can be handy in case you need to tether boards that cannot be carried to an overnight spot. If paddling a long distance, try a lightweight carbon paddle to help with fatigue on longer times spent paddling. Lastly, a first aid kit with just enough supplies for an emergency. And always make sure to have fun!

By Suzi DeMaio-Amore

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