As any kayaker will know, all the excitement and pumping adrenaline can get exhausting after a few hours, especially if the weather is miserable or you’ve taken a swim or two!
If you have any experience of River Leading or being an Assistant Kayaker with a Uni Club or another newbie-focused group of paddlers, you’ll also know that it’s important to keep your group’s morale and energy levels up; the former can be done through a good blend of encouragement, trust building and a healthy dose of awesomely awful jokes (Tom Parker has that last one nailed), but when it comes to the latter, apart from ensuring your group have had a hearty breakfast, what else can you do?
A picnic on the banks of the Tryweryn.
River Snacks are the key! In this blog post, I’ll discuss the pros and cons of a few tasty morsels that have graced my BA pockets over the years…
Per 100g: Energy (kJ) 1685, Energy (kcal) 404, Protein 7.0, Carbohydrate 38.5, Fat 23.7
This was a common thing to see paddlers pull out in a plastic zip-lock bag when I started kayaking, possibly due to it being popular with hikers (as the name suggests) and these generally being the sorts of people who would also go paddling. Trail Mix offers a reasonable amount of short and long-term energy, but there’s a moderate choking risk and a high risk of allergies being a problem if you’re offering it out to others. It’s also a bit tricky to eat on the river, involving a lot of eating off your hands which isn’t great in the mucky and germ-filled environments kayaking involves!
Per 100g: Energy (kJ) 2130, Energy (kcal) 509, Protein 9.4, Carbohydrate 54.5, Fat 28.2
I hadn’t heard of these at all until a friend suggested them on a recent paddling trip, but they’re pretty good! Sesame Snaps offer more long and short-term energy than Trail Mix, taste a bit sweeter so work better as comfort food, and come in a pretty waterproof and robust packet that should cope with being bashed around in your BA. Unfortunately, a lot of people with nut allergies are also allergic to sesame seeds, so it’s worth checking with your group before offering these out.
Per 100g: Energy (kJ) 2147, Energy (kcal) 513, Protein 5.1, Carbohydrate 61.1, Fat 27.1
Penguin Bars are my go-to snack; they’re yummy, easy and cheap to get hold of, robust and some of them even feature a picture of a kayaking penguin on the front! They (and other similar biscuits) also offer more long and short-term energy than both Trail Mix and Sesame Snaps, and you can easily pop a handful in the pocket of your BA. The only disadvantage with Penguin Bars is that their packets aren’t completely waterproof, and if you leave them in your BA for a few days they can get soggy and the chocolate discoloured, making them a little less appealing.
I haven’t made any mention of energy, recovery or protein bars as these can be quite expensive, however if you’re after any of these just for yourself then it’s worth looking at something like Battle Oats. Whatever you eat on the river, make sure to eat it in an eddy so you don’t spot an unexpected Grade VI and choke!
What’s your favourite eddy snack?