Manchester City Library

Manchester, NH's Online Library

Manchester City Library header image 2

Let’s Go Kayaking!

June 17th, 2012 · 2 Comments · Books, Children, City Library, Foundation, Main Branch, Teens, Trustees, West Branch

Spring is here and summer is just around the corner.  Time to take up a new hobby.  How about kayaking?  The library has books to easily and safely introduce you to this very enjoyable past-time.  Even if you don’t have a kayak, you can still enjoy the many lakes and rivers in New Hampshire by renting a kayak or borrowing one from a friend.  We also have books to help you find the right local lake or river for your skill level.  What if you want to buy a kayak?  Well, we’ve got books on that, too!!  Learn how to select the kind of kayak you want and buy the right gear for it and so much more, buy checking out a few books on the subject from Manchester City Library.  Below are a few titles to get you started.

Click on the photo to go to the book or DVD to go to the catalog entry for that item.

Kayaking Made Easy:  A Manual for Beginners with Tips for the Experienced by Dennis Stuhaug (1998). This is a great book for beginners (like me).  It gives a short history of the Kayak (useful for when the group paddles up to a beach for lunch and you need something to chat about).  For instance, the typical kayak is made of polyethylene plastic, but they weren’t made of this until the late 80’s.  Many Kayak designers come from the aerospace industry.

The book also discusses kayaking with the kids, first aid, how to carry your kayak on the car, boat carts,  weather, waves, currents, how to hold your paddle and where to land (beach or sheltered landing).  The book tells you what type of camping gear to choose if you’re going to kayak and then hang out for awhile.  You can also sail on a Kayak!  This is accomplished with gaff sails.  Finally the book discusses what clothing to wear when you Kayak.  The key, of course, is layering.  Wetsuits are also an option, depending on the weather.

Finally, there is a short, basic glossary and the Beaufort Scale of wind speeds, making this a very educational toll for new kayakers.  But if this book doesn’t answer your Kayaking questions, read on!

Appalachian Mountain Club Quiet Water New Hampshire & Vermont by John Hayes and Alex Wilson (2001). Now for where to go in New Hampshire and Vermont for non-whitewater kayaking.  AMC (Appalachian Mountain Club) has many guides to the outdoors.  Do a search in our catalog and you’ll find them!

This  guide discusses 48 bodies of water in New Hampshire and 44 bodies of water in Vermont (yes, I counted).  Each river, pond, reservoir, or lake gets 2 pages and gives you a simple map of the water, how to get there, it’s length, the prominent species, and it’s atlas map number.

The introduction contains useful information on kayaking with your kids, safety tips (everyone must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD – no questions asked!), equipment selection, picnicking and camping spots, and respect for the outdoors (leave no trace!).  Also discussed are native critters like moose, loons, bald eagles and those “scourges of the north” – black flies.

You can also visit the New Hampshire AMC website at

Kayaking for Everyone by Bill and Mary Burnham (2010). The Knack series of books has come out with a great one on kayaking.  I saved this one for last because it’s pretty (lots of color photographs of every kayak maneuver you can imagine, strokes used in white water kayaking (that’s a whole other ballgame), gear information, what knots to use and how to tie them, and different rescues).  You learn how to select a kayak for purchase and it gives suggested buying guide websites.

Little tips in the right hand corner are helpful.  Also included are a glossary, books and DVD suggestions for skills development.  Kayak and accessory repair is discussed.  Also, kayaking games, and even life jackets for your pet, called “puppy PFD’s”!  How to store your boat when the season’s over are discussed as well.

Check out the authors’ blog at for up-to-date information and tips.

One good website for useful kayak buying tips suggested in the book and by my kayaking buddy is

Authors Bill and Mary Burnham also suggest The American Canoe Association at for canoe and kayaking classes.

A Few Notable Titles:

Simple Kayak Navigation:  Practical Piloting for the Passionate Paddler by Ray Killen (2006). Learn how to read charts, understand buoys, use a compass.  It has an entire chapter on setting up and navigating with a global positioning system (GPS).  I liked Chapter 5 “Navigating in Wind and Fog”.  Could have used this information a couple summers ago when I got caught in fog (not for too long, thankfully) and returned to see a concerned parent standing on the porch awaiting my arrival.  Oopsies…  You’ll also learn how to find your way back by calculating how many feet you’re travelling per minute.  Nifty, huh?

Kayaking edited by Pamela Dillon and Jeremy Oyen (2009). From the American Canoe Association.  Discusses all kayaking conditions, including white water!  Shows you how to get in shape for kayaking.  Includes great pictures on how to do many maneuvers.  Includes DVD!

The Essentials of Kayaking by Ben Lowry (2010) DVD  Let a kayaking coach help you select the proper kayak equipment!

Have fun out there, but be safe!

Amy H

Librarian I

Tags: ·····