The Canoe & Kayak team captures an introductory kayak adventure in the golden Pacific backwaters of coastal Southern California to spell out everything that a first-time paddler needs to know in order to launch a flatwater paddling trip of his or her own.

Once you’ve picked the right type of touring kayak (Click HERE to watch Episode 1: Make Your Pick), learned how to load and secure your boat to your car for transport (in Episode 2), plus the finer points of launching your kayak (in Episode 3), as well as steering-stroke basics (in Episode 4), you should keep the bigger picture of your group’s overall safety in mind. Episode Five covers checking weather conditions and your route, plus checking that you’ve got the right gear, including considerations for outerwear, footwear, life jackets, and other accessories.

— Watch the entire NEED TO KNOW series.