How To

How to Prepare for a Weekend Kayak Camping Trip

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Before you embark on your kayak camping trip, you've got to pack wisely and pack the essentials.

Unlike a traditional backpacking trip, a lack of packing space when kayak camping may be the biggest challenge. Although it seems easier to stuff all your gear into a kayak rather than carrying the weight on your back, the awkward shape of the kayak is often what creates problems. Efficient packing can eliminate or at least assist in decreasing potential flaws that could arise during a beginning kayak camping expedition.

It’s advised to pack your kayak with all supplies at least several days before your trip to make sure everything fits, and if it does not, this will give you enough time to prioritize your essential gear. Keep in mind that proper weight distribution of supplies in your kayak is crucial and if not done properly, will most likely be noticeable and affect your balance once you’re out on the water. Packing in a logical manner is well worth the time and can negatively affect the trip if not accurately executed.

Make sure all hatch covers for the kayak are attached or packed as well as a paddle leash, which will ensure you will not lose your paddle as long as it is correctly connected. Bring a spare paddle if you find it necessary, but keep in mind bringing a light load of gear is desired. Depending on the difficulty of the waters traveled during your trip, you may want to invest in a spray skirt, which is designed to keep excess water from ending up in the cockpit of the kayak as well as on the lower half of your body. It is worn around the waist and is most often made of elastic that will connect to the opening of the kayak. If you tip or water gets into the kayak, a bilge pump will be needed to rid the extra water from the inside. Another method is by using a sponge and bailer.

The weather, water traveled, and temperature of the water will determine what clothing is necessary, so pack warmer clothes, a bathing suit, or wet suit based on your specific trip. Food packed is also going to depend on the length of the trip, but more is safer than less, even if it’s somewhat heavier to transport.

For the camping portion of the trip, make sure to pack a ground tarp, tent, sleeping bag, and rain tarp. Cooking is essential and is one of the most common areas in which gear is forgotten. A complete compilation of supplies is listed below, but make sure to pack any additional personal items including medications and a well-rounded first aid kit.

Essential gear list:

  • Kayak
  • Hatch covers
  • Paddle (extra if needed)
  • Paddle leash
  • Paddle float
  • Bilge pump/sponge and bailer
  • Tow belt
  • First aid kit
  • Signal flares
  • Tent, stakes, ground tarp, rain tarp
  • Sleeping bag
  • Bear-bagging kit
  • Paddle clothing/bathing suit
  • Compass
  • Water bottles
  • Food
  • Trash bags/Ziplocs
  • Toilet kit/trowel
  • Towel
  • Bug spray
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Swiss Army Knife
  • Flashlight/extra batteries
  • Stove, fuel, lighters, pot with handle, towel
  • Utensils, water for cleaning, dish soap, sponge

Image from stevecadman on the flickr Creative Commons

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