By JEKOSEN, Kite Flying Basics
Kite flying can sometimes bring the unexpected, which is why we recommend that you bring a kit with you every time you fly a kite. We've touched on this briefly in our previous articles, and we thought it would be great to put together an article dedicated to it.
Luggage bag or backpack?
Most people have a duffel bag or a backpack at home that just lies around. A bag like this can be very convenient to hold all your belongings.
Personally, we prefer a backpack because it leaves your hands free. But if you're just starting out in the world of kite flying and only have one duffel bag, that's fine too!
There are two key factors in choosing a backpack: size and fit. If you already have a backpack you're happy with, feel free to skip this step. However, if you need a little help choosing the right backpack for your kite trip, read on. Note: We are only discussing internal frame packs in this article because they are a very popular choice for most backpackers today. Outside frame enthusiasts will have to look elsewhere. No matter which bag you choose, if it is a used bag, be sure to check that the seams are still fastened together and that any zippers still work properly. You don't want the bag to fall apart at the worst possible moment, or for the zipper to not zip up properly.
Your backpack must be large enough to hold all your gear, but not so large that you carry unnecessary weight. Backpacks are measured in liters, and for overnight trips after kite flying, you'll need something in the range of 40 to 70 liters. The volume that works for you depends on your gear style (ultralight setups take up less space than more traditional gear) and the type of trip you like to take. Do you go out one night at a time for your kite university? Or will you be taking a lot of food with you on a week-long hike? Do you have snow camping? With a giant kite? If the answer is yes, you will need more space.
For the average backpacker, 45-65 liters is the ideal choice for most trips. These packs range in weight from 1 to 5 pounds, depending on whether you want something simple (read: no padding, fewer pockets) or something comfortable and functional. The smaller the package, the more important it is to pack it correctly; cushion bags are more forgiving and can prevent items from being easily pressed against your back. For most people, two to three pounds is a good range that provides a balance of weight and function.
A backpack is only as good as the comfort with which it is worn, and it starts with a proper fit. Most backpacks come in two or three sizes, indicating the length of the pack that fits your back. It's recommended that you visit your local outdoor store to get measured by a professional, but if you want to try it yourself, here's a video on how to do it. Always be sure to check the sizing of different brands, as they don't all follow the same system.
The store staff can also show you how to properly adjust the backpack straps, which is essential for assessing the fit. Here's how you can do it yourself.
Always begin by clipping and adjusting your waist belt. It should fit snugly over your hips - 80% of the pack's weight should be on your hips.
Grasp the end of the shoulder belt under your armpit and pull it down and off to tighten it. The straps should feel comfortable against your body, with no gap above your shoulders. But don't over-tighten them or you'll transfer too much weight from your hips to your shoulders and they'll start to hurt quickly.
Adjust the load lifting straps from the top of the pack to the shoulder straps. They should be placed at an angle of about 45°.
Clip and adjust the sternum strap, which should be about an inch below the clavicle. Give it enough tension so that it sits smoothly and flatly on your body, but not so tight that it restricts breathing.
Ideally, you can try on a few different weights and wear them in the store for a while. Be sure to watch out for any spots that rub against your body regularly - over time, they can become hot spots.
Mini First Aid Kit
A small first aid kit that can easily fit into a bag of your choice is a good idea. This is in case you or someone trips and falls and scrapes their knee or arm.
Make sure the first aid kit has the following essentials.
First aid kits are usually really helpful!
Assorted fabric bandages
Butterfly bandages/adhesive wound closure strips
Gauze pads (various sizes)
Non-adhesive sterile pads
Medical tape (minimum 1 inch wide)
Painkillers (i.e., ibuprofen)
Insect bites/itch relief treatment
Antihistamines for allergic reactions
Splitting (fine tip) tweezers
First aid manual or information card
Water bottle and snacks
It's easy to lose track of time when flying a kite. Remember to always stay hydrated, especially when you're in the sun without any shade.
It's also a good idea to pack some food as a snack. Examples of healthy snacks are.
Healthy snacks to take with you on kite flying trips
Fully cooked eggs
Healthy beef jerky/meat sticks
Trail mix (no candy)
These snacks are usually easy to pack. Be sure to keep them cool to prevent spoilage.
Assuming you will be flying kites that day, we have a list of items that will protect you from the sun. If possible, stay in the shade while flying kites to prevent heat stroke or sunburn.
Items to protect you from the sun include, but are not limited to
A wide-brimmed hat to protect your face and the back of your neck from the sun - a fisherman's hat is very useful!
Sunscreen that protects against UV-A and UV-B rays, SPF 30 or higher, and is waterproof (recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology)
Lightweight, long-sleeve shirts to protect your arms
Aloe vera gel or sunburn relief cream/gel
Tip: Sunscreen needs to be reapplied every 2 hours or after getting wet (i.e., sweating or swimming) to be effective.
A small, sharp folding knife with sheath
A small folding knife (with a protective sheath) can be used not only to cut crossed or tangled lines, but also to adjust kite accessories as needed.
You may want to check local laws regarding carrying a pocket knife, especially if it is not for work purposes.
Boundary tape/other materials for temporary tails
A less traditional material, boundary tape, also known as marker or surveyor's tape, is usually used by surveyors. However, they can easily be turned into tails in a pinch.
These tapes come in many bright colors, as well as different widths and lengths, and Flaggers tape can be found at hardware stores and is inexpensive.
You can also use these tapes to seal off areas for kite flying. Or, if you see a beginner or child's kite spinning or crashing a lot, you can help them balance their kite by adding some tape.
Also consider bringing in extra ribbon or material to make a tail, or tie things down securely when needed.
Extra reels/spools and kite lines
Children with wrapped handles
If you plan to fly different kites or compensate for changing winds, consider bringing extra kite lines of different weights.
This will also help if your kite line is accidentally cut or overstretched in flight and needs to be replaced. This way you won't need to shorten the time it takes to fly your kite.
If you have a splicing kit for your kite line, be sure to pack it. You may never know when a repair is needed right away.
Ropes or cords of any kind moving at high speeds through the air are dangerous. They can cut into the skin or cause burns, similar to rope burns.
Fingerless or otherwise, gloves can come in handy when handling and putting down kites, especially in strong wind conditions where gusts can make it difficult to hold the kite. Gloves provide protection for your hands and extra grip when handling kites.
A bunch of different climbing buckles.
Climbing buckles are useful in many ways - if you need to secure your kite to an anchor, or temporarily wrap it around an object, or secure two things together. Be sure to check how much weight each buckle can hold when you use it! We recommend bringing along a range of different options so you don't get stuck with more than one.
Take the family on a high-flying day out with JEKOSEN brand kites. Our colorful and fun kites offer fun for the whole family and make great gifts for the little ones. Capture the joys of childhood with JEKOSEN kites.