Things I Learned: Reflections on my Multi-Day Excursion

multi-day excursion, hudson, hudson river, hudson highlander, ian berger, paddlexaminer

What I learned paddling a multi-day excursion down the Hudson River

One of the things about a multi-day excursion is realizing the things you miscalculated, didn’t realize, or just plain screwed up.  I am enclosing a useful list of tips I learned during my voyage down the Hudson. Some of these are smack yourself in the head, obvious things. Some I had to figure out along the way. Please take my advice at your own risk.

  • Wear old, squishy shoes when your feet hurt. You will look dumb but feel good.
  • Have a small grab bag handy on top of your other bags with all the things you might need while you’re on the water: snacks, phone, tools, etc.
  • Phones need to be off during the day because battery life sucks.
  • In the beginning of the trip you will be very neat about hanging items off your dry bags. By the end, all you will care about is that they are attached.
  • The $12.99 solar phone chargers are worth much less than that. They get maybe a 30% charge for my iPhone after a full day charge.
  • On the other hand, a$12.99 waterproof flashlight was worth a lot more!
  • ¾ finger gloves aren’t enough. Get full-finger gloves for long trips.
  • You can get multiple blisters on one finger which can link up and form a ring-like, colony blister. Make sure to show your friends!
  • You will pack all the power bars and gorp you need, but after a day you will also want fat and salt. Make sure some of your day snacks are fatty and salty, not just sweet. Jerky is good, even veg jerky.
multi-day excursion, Hudson River, PaddleXaminer, hudson highlander
Pulling our craft onto a typical Hudson River beachhead.
  • You can do 20+ miles a day on a paddleboard, but it’s tough. If you want a more enjoyable trip, consider less. Or be a crazy like me. Your choice.
  • You can paddle over 30 miles a day under the right conditions. This is properly rewarded with hot pizza. I believe this is a law.
  • Kayaks are faster than paddleboards. This becomes a big deal on a long trip. A 14’ board is generally faster than a 12’6”, which might help when keeping up with kayaks.
  • Paddling at night feels very fast. Who cares if it isn’t.
  • You will drink about a gallon of water a day under strenuous paddling. Have a convenient water pack handy. Have a second water pack with a salty energy drink, or dissolve an electrolyte tablet into a water refill.
  • Paddling in the rain is great wearing an extra large rain jacket.
  • During a rainstorm you can slurp water off your sleeve. You will look weird, but it’s fun.
  • Solid water containers like a thermos are good for packing on a board, but mushy bags are much better for stuffing in a kayak.
  • Camp shower bladders hold a LOT of water.
  • Adhesive NSI tie-downs can detach. Trust me, especially if you use them with straps.
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Ian Berger
Ian Berger grew up in love with the ocean, so discovering stand up paddling was a bit of revelation. Once he bought his first paddleboard, he realized this was the sport for him. Ian Berger lives in Peekskill, NY with his wife Kirsten and three children. He teaches middle school English and drama, and also has a passion for writing, which he shares with his students. Every morning Ian wakes up to write — sometimes science fiction or comic Young Adult novels, sometimes plays, but very often about stand up paddling. The Hudson River is his home turf, and you can usually find him there when the weather is good.


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