How Long Does it Take to Kayak a Mile

Kayaking

Written by David Myers

October 2, 2019
kayaking with doggo

Photo of the week!

When planning your next kayaking trip you might find yourself looking at your waterway maps and wondering how far you can actually get in a given day. This article aims to help you to answer that question. Although it is worth noting that a lot of it will depend on your own style of kayaking, and your general fitness. The conclusion we come to won’t be correct for everyone, but it’s a good general guideline for how long it will take to kayak a mile.

Fitness

The biggest factor that will determine how far you can paddle a kayak in one mile will be your general fitness and how long you’ve been kayaking. If you’re brand new to kayaking you can expect to cover about 2 miles in a single hour. If you’re an experienced kayaker with a decent level of endurance built up then you can expect to cover 4 miles in an hour.

Cargo

If you’re travelling light, then you can expect to cover more distance than someone travelling with more weight or cargo.

If you’re a fisherman with a rod, and a big box of tackles, then perhaps you’ll only manage 2 miles an hour.

If you’re just kayaking with you, your kayak, and your paddle, then you should be able to make good time.

Weather

Weather can make a huge difference to how much distance you can cover. If you’re trying to paddle into wind, you’re going to be really struggling. If you’re paddling with the wind behind you you’ll make great time! So weather can be both a positive and negative depending on if it’s working in your favour. Weather forecasts generally give you an idea of the direction of the wind, so if you’ve got a gale blowing in the opposite direction you want to go then maybe you’re best off giving yourself more time to get to your destination.

Water conditions

If the water you plan to paddle in is calm, then that’s fine and shouldn’t slow you down at all. However, if there’s strong currents and you have to fight them, then this is going to slow you down considerably. If you’re not a strong enough kayaker then some currents can stop you dead in your tracks. So that’s certainly something worth looking out for.

So.. How long will it take then?

As I said above, it will take as long as it takes. There’s too many factors to give you a concrete answer, although we can give a good general rule that can be used if conditions are good and you’re of average fitness.

So as a general rule we can say that it should take you around 25 to 30 minutes to paddle a mile when you take into account average winds, currents, and the average level of human fitness.

But at the end of the day, who cares how long it takes? Just enjoy yourself!

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