Welcome to my series of traveling with my TRAK 2.0. As I promised in my previous article, I wanted to take some more time to share my experience with traveling with a folding kayak by air, land and sea, and so on. In order to not making you read through everything at once, I divided those bits, so that whatever is your choice of traveling with a foldable kayak and bringing along your own gear, I hope you find some helpful information quickly.
First things first, packing for going for a paddle
Being the proud owner of any kayak, the ultimate aim is that you eventually end up on the water. So, why not beginning with that bit of information. Whether you’re going for a couple of hours, a whole day or several days, obviously influences how much you will pack and how to stow everything. As a side note: most of my paddles during my 5 month trip were day paddles. Sometimes, I was lucky and stayed on a campsite that I drove to by car for a couple of days, so I didn’t have to take the kayak apart at the end of the day, most of the times though I ended up bringing my kayak in the morning and taking it back home at night. „I can do that with a normal kayak“, you might think. And yes, you may. If you are in a part of the world where you can either rent one and put it on top of your rental car, or bring our own one maybe even with your own car, and most importantly, if you have a place to store it while you travel… like a backyard or shed. Highly unlikely, if you mostly stay in hotels and airbnb’s like in my case. So just as a heads up, while the effort of setting a kayak up in the morning and breaking it down at night might sound like a lot to some of you – don’t forget about the fact that you get to do this wherever in the world you want (Greece, Australia, Dubai, Germany, Portugal, Canada) even in the most remote areas or islands that don’t have kayak rentals available – or have some that are of shitty quality instead.
So, having established that little motivation of mine, I find nothing more elegant and comforting than to casually walk up to a beach or waterline, unpack and set-up my kayak, and being able to stow everything I brought in and on the kayak without leaving anything behind while going for a paddle. Leaving zero trace. Not just that it’s really elegant and cool to show off that way, it’s also the ultimate way to kayak travel, as you can bring everything, not having to go back and forth between the kayak and your car or a cab you had to take, and at the end of the day leave with everything, without needing a car or storage unit somewhere close by.
My TRAK 2.0 allows for that.
Day trip packing – Clean set up and leaving zero trace
My favorite way to do this for a days paddle is to just bring everything in my TRAK bag, and have the backpack (any dry bag works really) with a towel, some water and snacks and a change of clothes. While it seams obvious that you can store your dry bag on top of or even inside of your kayak, people wondered a lot what to do with the big rolling TRAK bag.
So, in order to be able to take an Uber and be dumped somewhere along a harbor or beach, here are my tips for how to pack and proceed with the set up:
- Most essentially: Take the back pad out of your TRAK bag. That way you will be able to roll and store that big bag inside your kayak. For instance, behind your seat.
- Put everything into the TRAK bag: kayak, floatation bags, sea sock, spray skirt, paddle, safety gear
- In your backpack or dry bag (if you use the TRAK backpack that can also be your drybag) pack extra clothes, towel and anything you don’t want to get wet. I also packed my deck bag in there and put snacks, drinks, sunscreen, gloves, and sometimes my paddle leash in there. Everything I wanted access to during the paddle. That way all I needed to do was pull it out and attach it to my kayak once it was set-up.
- During set-up, all you need to do is pull the safety gear out of the rolling TRAK bag put it aside, while everything else out of that bag will be used for set-up. Then you set up your kayak, roll up the rolling TRAK bag before you close your keder, and pack the rolling bag in the back of your kayak. Then you attach the safety gear, pull the deck bag out of your backpack to attach it to the front, and the drybag (if you didn’t pack in in the back of the kayak as well) can go on the back of the kayak. Voilà, you’re ready to jump in and go.
- Side note: I found that despite the fact that I was able to set it all up in 15min or less being by myself, I never found myself in a situation where that was realistic: too many people wanted to know what I was doing. So, bring extra time because you’ll have to chat and explain to heaps of people around
- After the paddle:When the sun was out, which it usually was, I would usually open up the kayak and give it a little dry down with my towel, before just leaving it out to dry while I rested and ate my leftover snacks. Once it’s all dry, you can take it apart and pack it back up, haul a taxi and leave.
Extra tip – Getting the frame out by yourself
If you’re alone and simply breaking the nose of your kayak doesn’t help to get the frame out enough, I found it helpful to
a) ask for help around me or
b) just use my safety rope and a carabiner to attach the bow of the kayak to some sturdy thing (tree, car, balcony, whatever works) for backpressure.
Works like a charm. Also, that is usually a good indicator that you really need to lubricate better.
I hope these tips help you digging deeper in the potentials of your TRAK 2.0. Enjoy the ride and see you out there!
To read more about my experience taking the TRAK 2.0 on travels, check out my other blogs