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Pittsburgh Kayakers Message Board › New to kayaking

New to kayaking

Andrew P.
user 144372212
Bethel Park, PA
Post #: 1
My wife and I are new to kayaking. In fact, we just got our first kayak today (2 person inflatable). We wanted to get a cheaper kayak to test the waters before spending too much on a kayak and rack. This group looks like an awesome network of people so I thought I would just ask the group to see what kind of advice you all could offer to a newbie (or in this case a newbie couple)...

We are excited to get started but we want to make sure we do it responsibly and safely. Are your meet ups typically newbie friendly? Would an inflatable be ok to use on these outings?

Any advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated. I look forward to getting to know the people in this group and getting outside after a long winter.
Dan P.
user 123556632
Pittsburgh, PA
Post #: 2
People occasionally ask me about what they need to get into kayaking. Here is a list I made to help answer that question:

Kayak List

So you want to get into kayaking? Here is a list of items that you will probably want to have, with average prices.

Good, sturdy, easy to maneuver, well-tracking, recreational kayak for lakes or rivers.
Perception Sport Conduit 12.0 Sit-In Kayak
Gander Mountain Item # 732707
Zone Seating System and Knee/Thighpads, Kayak Karrier Handles, Keepers Foot Brace System, Stern hatch and bulkhead, Bungee Deck Rigging.
Price $500

PA. Fish & Boat Commission Boat Registration: This is required on waters controlled by the Fish & Boat Commission, and especially at their launch areas. It is required by some groups with which you might choose to kayak. A registration sticker must be displayed on both port & starboard bow; you need not have the numbers on the boat (numbers are also not required on unpowered sailboats or jet skis). Cost: $20/2 years.

Aquaglide Kayak Paddle
Gander Mountain Item # 773160
Efficient, all-purpose paddle, Two-piece aluminum shaft, Lightweight construction, Durable, injection-molded blades, Convenient hand grips
Price $40

Personal Flotation Device (PFD/Lifevest)
Price: $50

Scotty Throw Bag with 50-Feet Of Floating Mfp Rope (
Price: $25

Seattle Sports Paddlers Bilge Pump by Seattle (
Price $20

Seals Sprayskirts Deluxe Seal Kayak Cockpit Cover (
Price $38

Cascade Creek YAKCLIP Kayak Paddle Holder by Cascade Creek (
Price: $10

Coleman Stadium Seat (Best kayak seat – I’ve tried them all.)
Price: $15

Car roof rack to hold kayak. Type obviously depends on your car’s roof style.
Price: $50-300 ($150 average)

Kayak cart (so you can wheel kayak to put-in)
Price: $75

SealLine EcoSee Clear Dry Bag (20 Liter) (
Price: $23

Shoreline Marine Whistle Safety Basic (Orange) (
Price: $3

Skyblazer Flares - 4 Pack by Orion (Good to have at all times, but required if on certain waters, such as Lake Erie.)
Price: $55

Sealskinz Waterproof Crew Sock (
Price: $38

Total price of above: $1,130

Add another $250 for nylon paddle-pants & jacket (which close with Velcro at the neck, wrists, waist and ankles) and $65 for decent water shoes. You don’t need these when beginning, but they provide a lot of wind & water protection and you’ll find them to be invaluable when kayaking in chilly weather. Some people use pogies to keep their hands warm. I find them too restrictive. Glacier Glove Pogie: Price $20
“All-around” light required if boating at night: Price $50.

Sharon P.
user 43248032
Pittsburgh, PA
Post #: 4
Andrew the bare minimum is a life vest that fits well, a whistle attached to the vest, boat registration and a paddle. The other things can be aquired as you go along. A bilge pump is nice and not very expensive. I always wear paddling gloves to help prevent blisters, bike gloves are a good substitute. I just purchased yak grips which go right on the paddle have to see how they work. Clothing should be quick drying not cotton. Old tennis shoes work well if you don't have some water shoes.
Ben S.
user 37256282
Pittsburgh, PA
Post #: 31
Shucks! If it would have cost over $1100 to start paddling, I would have never gotten the chance! I paid $250 for a boat, paddle, and a foam block roof rack. A PFD was $20 at Cabbala's on sale. After one season, I discovered that a good boat is more enjoyable, and found a good used one on Craigs List.

I do not like paddling lakes and rivers all that much, preferring streams, so I bought a kayak designed for flat, and white water thru class 2. (a combo boat, Dagor Axis 12) I like camping from the kayak, and I can carry enough food and water, plus all my camping gear for a three day outing.
Andrew P.
user 144372212
Bethel Park, PA
Post #: 2
Thanks for the responses. We purchased a few of the essentials and are currently on the lookout for a good deal on some good kayaks.

Just waiting for the right time to take our maiden voyage.

Thanks again for the info.
A former member
Post #: 1
I am new to Kayaking also an have an inflatable 2 person, the only issue with it is the skeg in the back, so you might want to take off the skeg and add PVC pipes to anchor it to the back for stability. it works great. I have to have the inflatable due to I cant carry a kayack (girl) lol I like it though and it allows me to be on the water. That's what matters!
Jennifer B.
Bethel Park, PA
Post #: 559
I am also new. I have an inflatable kayak and if anyone has a paddle and PFD they want to sell, let me know. I had no idea I needed a permit?
user 38012432
Beaver, PA
Post #: 19
small unpowered boats need to be permitted if they 1) float on waterways in PA State Parks or 2) touch any property owned by the PA Fish and Boat Commition (or PAGC). Generally launching an inflatable, kayak or canoe on the Allegheny without a permit is OK as long as you don't touch properties owned by the above mentioned agencies.

However, it's generally better to avoid the hassle and pay for a sticker. The website for the Fish Commision stickers is at­
and the DCNR stickers can be purchased in most state park offices.

There is reciprocity between the permits. IOW, as long as you have one or the other then you are good on either agency's property.

Ben S.
user 37256282
Pittsburgh, PA
Post #: 35
Only residents of PA need to have the permit. Out of state, visitors are not required to have one.

In Ohio, if your state does not require registration, they will not require you to get one there.

Here in W.Va., boats that are not motorized and under 16 feet need no registration.
Jennifer B.
Bethel Park, PA
Post #: 560
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