This instructable will give you step by step information on preping a day- touring kayak for a trip. I have been paddling for almost 5 years now, and just upgraded my Victory Blast to an Equinox 124.(the shorter version of a Future Beach Patriot) I bought it at Costco for $330 dollars.
Step 1: Packing Survival Equipment
When kayaking anywhere, it is always good to pack basic survival equipment in case of an emergency. For this, you should pack an L.E.D. flashlight, a basic first-aid kit, a knife, a multi-use tool, and hand sanitizer (for washing your hand before you eat anything). All of these supplies should be stowed in a small water-tight container. The container should be stored within close reach of the paddler at all times. I always keep this secured under the front bungees.
Step 2: Water Bailing and Anchoring Kit
When kayaking in a large body of water for more that a few hours, you will eventually want to pull over to a shore and take a bathroom or lunch break. While not in kayak, you will obviously need to anchor the kayak to something to keep it from drifting away. I find that the best way to do this is by taking a 50 foot long cord and tying it to a small grappling hook (I bought one at Dick's Sporting Goods for ten dollars.). When you are out of the kayak, keeping the rope tied to the kayak and the hook caught on a tree or root, will keep your kayak anchored. The best place for this to be stored is the rear bulkhead.
Also, when kayaking your kayak will always end up with about a cup of two of water in it after the first couple of hours. It is not mandatory, but always a good idea to have a boat sponge and water pump in the rear bulkhead at all times.
Step 3: Water and Food.
If you are kayaking for 3 to 5 hours, two water bottles should be plenty of water. However, if you are paddling for more than five hours, you should take a large canteen as well as the two water bottles. If the water bottles are kept on top of the kayak, it is a good idea to invest in BPA free stainless steel bottles. When a plastic water bottle is in the sun, after an hour or two, it will begin to release nasty chemicals into the water which are bad for humans.
For lunch, you should pack it in a small lunchbox. Do not use a paper bag if your lunch has to stay refrigerated. I always keep my lunch in the front bulkhead.
Step 4: Storage of Electronic Devices
If you are carying any electronic device onboard with you in the cockpit, you will need to store them in a dry bag. You may also store them in a water tight container, but they are more difficult to keep in the cockpit.
Step 5: PFD, Spray Skirt and Clothing
When paddling, one of the most important pieces of equipment to have is a PFD. You should always wear one regardless of whether or not you are a good swimmer. Make sure that you have the proper type of vest for your type of paddling.
Another important piece of equipment is a spray skirt. Although it may not be mandatory in all paddling situations, it is still good to wear one in order to keep the sun off of your legs. What type of spray skirt you need depends on what type of paddling you will be doing. For rougher conditions, you might want a nylon, neoprene mix. For calmer paddling where water may splash over the deck only a couple of times, you may want only a nylon spray skirt. When purchasing a spray skirt, it is very important to buy the right size for your cockpit and test it before you go down to the water. It should be easy to put on but tight enough to keep the water out.
Also, you will always want to wear proper clothing. For warm conditions, I prefer to wear comfortable gym shorts and an underarmor tee shirt incase of rain. In cooler conditions though, I wear jeans and a long sleeved tee shirt under a light coat. If wearing cotton, it is always a good idea to wear a water proof paddling coat over it.
Step 6: Conclusion
Hopefully after reading this instructable, you will have a bit of a better idea on how to prepare your day touring kayak for water. Remember, if you are planning on ocean kayaking or paddling for multiple days, your packing list will vary. Also, remember that having even the best equipment will be of no help to you if you don't know how to use it.