Category: Kayaking

Multi-Day Kayak Camping and Packing Your Gear the Right Way

You’ve come to love your kayak and wish to take your adventures to the next level- overnight or even multiple nights.

– But how do you camp from a kayak?
– What gear to you need?
– How will you pack it?

These are but some of the questions that you think of as hurdles. Do not worry, it’s not as hard as you think.

Water Backpacking vs Backpacking

When it comes down to it kayak camping is very similar to backpack camping. You are limited to what you can carry, need to be prepared for the unexpected and will be moving from point A to point B under your own power.

The difference is you will not be physically carrying everything on your back, your kayak can usually carry more (and heavier) gear than your pack and travel will be faster.

But there are still limitations

Your kayak is probably equipped with at least one, and most likely several, waterproof hatches. These will be you first limiting factor.

First, they are NOT waterproof. Even the best design will eventually fail, and gear will get wet. This means EVERYTHING must be stored in waterproof dry bags.

Second, the hatches all have covers, and the size of these covers is you next limitation- you can only take items which will fit into the compartment opening.

Thirdly, although you may have plenty of deck space it is not always conducive to storage. While some small, lightweight items may be stored on deck you must be careful not to adversely impacting the kayak’s stability. Plus, anything on deck must be stored in dry bags and lashed down.

Packing for Your Trip

The first rule of packing your kayak is to practice before your trip. Not only will this allow you to make sure everything will fit but figure out where/how it will fit. After practicing your packing, it’s important you practice handling the loaded kayak as well.

But how will you pack the kayak?

  • Heavy items should be packed around the cockpit. This will be the easiest way to prevent unbalanced change in weight.
  • Items you will need in frequently or while traveling should be stored closest to hatch cover or in on deck storage.
  • Emergency items – First aid kit, PFD, lights etc. should be either worn or stored where immediately available, usually within reach.
  • Try to avoid storing anything in the cockpit itself
  • Instead of tying items to the deck consider using carabiners.
  • Bring along a few tote bags which can be easily folded for storage but provide plenty of space when opened. They will be useful when moving smaller dry bags to campsite at night.

These are but a few of the tips and tricks that can help you make your first kayak camping trip a success. For additional information check out the YouTube video below.

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