We all read endless editorials on how technology is ruining our lives: dating apps are ruining our relationships, Facebook makes us less productive, Twitter destroys our concentration, and Instagram is turning us all into vacuous, selfie-gazing narcissists. Of course, all of this might be true, but we still love it so who cares?
While we may be staring at our phones more and more, the media often neglects to mention that technology has made the outdoors more accessible. No longer do you need to know how to use a map and a compass to go for a quick hike, and there are even safety apps that will sound the alarm if you don’t check in.
Of course, hiking is a popular pastime for a lot of people. But in recent years many apps have come on the market for my favorite sport: kayaking.
There are now a range of useful apps on the market to help keep you safe and sound, advise you on river, tide and weather conditions, or even help you find the best kayaking spots and the hottest gear.
As an experienced kayaker, here are my top 5 apps for both beginners and seasoned pros alike.
1. Simple Tides
For neophytes, tides and currents can be complicated (and dangerous). You really don’t want to be paddling against a 5 knot current, or get dragged out into the ocean exhausted and have to be rescued by the coast guard. Doing the calculations before your trip can mean the difference between a gentle paddle and draining struggle.
Luckily, Simple Tides has you covered. Using data from tide-monitoring stations, you can quickly and easily see tide conditions at your location, as well forecasts if you’re planning a trip. The user interface is simple and easy to use, meaning you don’t have to be a hardened sea dog to understand the information.
2. Kayak Log
If you’re part of a kayaking community, you’re going to want to share your adventures with your friends. Kayak log makes it easy to compare data, automatically logging your trip including wind speed, air temperature, duration and photos. After your trip, upload your data to the Kayaklog website where you can compare with your friends or share it via popular social media sites.
A must for any serious kayaker!
3. Paddle Ready
If you’re just getting started with kayaking, this is an app you need. Produced by the American Canoe Association, Paddle Ready provides you with all the safety and educational content you need. The app includes some great features like the ability to share your route with friends before you paddle, as well as access to an invaluable database of information created by certified instructors. Paddle ready also includes plenty of information on tides, river conditions and weather.
4. Canoe and Kayak
So you had a great kayaking adventure with your buddies. The only question is, where to next? Canoe and Kayak Magazine is the place to go to keep up with the latest trends in kayaking and to plan your next trip. The magazine features spectacular photos, videos and personal stories from serious kayakers around the world, as well an invaluable tips on keep safe, and managing common problems.
5. Mountain Buzz
Official apps can provide you with all the basic info you need, but to get the best advice you need to go straight to the horse’s mouth. That’s where Mountain Buzz is invaluable.
Jumping on this forum will give you a wealth of information based on personal experience that you won’t find anywhere else. And if you can’t find the info you’re after in any of the forums, just ask. The friendly community is happy to help you out with anything you need.
So if you’ve been looking for a fun way to keep fit and see more of America, now’s the time to try kayaking. It’s never been safer of more accessible.
See you in the wild!