5 Things to Consider When Camping with a Kayak
Alex Hunt from kayakcritic.net was kind enough to offer us this guest post. He has some great information on his site. We were recently asked to help with one of his camp cooking blogs so we are glad to have the chance to accept a guest blog in response. With any luck we will seeing more of Alex, but until then enjoy the following.
Walt -Paddle NC
5 Things to Consider When Camping with a Kayak
Camping is a great way to relax, explore, and gain appreciation for the great outdoors. For paddlers,
kayak camping just means you are not done enjoying the outdoors after a few hours of paddling!
For one, it’s really not much different from backpacking, in that your capacity to carry gear is limited.
In many ways, kayak camping is actually easier, because you don’t actually have to carry all the gear,
so weight is not as much of an issue. That being said, space is definitely still limited, so keep that in
Whether you’re new to kayak camping or a seasoned veteran, we have compiled some useful kayak
camping tips to make your next trip a good one!
Plan Your Gear
Sit down with the people you are going camping with, and brainstorm ideas. Make a list of the gear
you need. Not an experienced camper? This list of camping essentials is a good place to start.
Make your own list, then eliminate things that aren’t essential or are inconvenient to transport on a
kayak. Tent, sleeping bag, cooking tools, food, etc – those are essentials. That portable DVD player?
Not so much…
Load Before You Leave!
Always, ALWAYS load up your kayak with all your gear before you actually head out the door of your
home. That way, you can make sure everything fits, and that the weight is evenly distributed. Place
heavy items on the bottom of the boat, as central as possible. Keep in mind that kayak hatches are
oddly shaped, so fitting everything in might be a challenge.
Some things can be strapped to the outside of the boat, but keep in mind that those things will get
wet. And, it will be hard to balance the weight of the boat if you strap things to the deck of the yak.
It’s best to fit everything in the hull, if possible.
Also – think about what items you might need to access while out on the water, or while en route to
your final destination. Certain things such as snacks, water, sunglasses, first aid kit, etc. should be
kept within reach, so you don’t have to dig through all your gear to find what you’re looking for.
Don’t Count on the “Waterproof” Label
Long story short… don’t trust waterproof hatches. Even if you’ve never had a problem with water
getting into your storage compartments, it’s always a possibility.
The last thing you want is to arrive at your destination with a hull full of soaking wet gear. Then again,
some things can get wet with no issue – things like tent poles, packaged foods, canned goods, etc. can
be placed wherever they fit, even if that’s in a place that will get wet.
Figure out what needs to stay dry, and protect those things. Sleeping bags, clothes, first aid kits, fire
starters, etc. are things that absolutely need to stay dry.
So how does one keep that important gear dry? Two words: dry bags.
Dry bags are the only way you can know for sure that your gear will arrive safe and dry.
Unfortunately, due to the size restrictions of kayak storage hulls, you really have to pay attention to
the size of the dry bag you use. Instead of buying one huge one, get 2 or 3 medium ones!
Other things that you want to keep dry but are less essential can simply be placed in trash bags, and
double bagged if necessary.
Hydration is More Than Just Water Bottles
Don’t forget to think about water. If you’re going to have access to fresh water, a water filter setup is
a good way to save room in your boat. But, if you’re camping in an area without a fresh water source,
you’re going to have to bring your own drinking water.
If your destination requires you to bring drinking water, think ahead and pack smart. Bottled water is
convenient, but it takes up a lot of space and creates a lot of unnecessary waste. It’s a good idea to
use water bags/bladders, because they are lightweight, reusable, and flexible – meaning they can be
squeezed into whatever empty space remains in your boat once it’s all packed up.
Food & Camping Meals
It’s important to bring enough food, but it’s also important to bring the right kinds of camping meals.
Especially if you plan on doing strenuous outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, etc. you need
adequate food to create adequate energy.
Proteins are essential. For short trips, you can safely bring fresh, frozen meat with you. It will take a
day or two to thaw, and until then it will stay at a safe temperature so you don’t have to worry about
refrigeration. After that first 2 days, canned meats are a good alternative.
Canned foods in general are a great thing to bring camping. They can get wet without issue – although
it’s a good idea to mark them with a waterproof marker, because labels can come off and leave you
with a bunch of mystery cans. Cans don’t need to be refrigerated, plus they can be crushed down to a
smaller size to make removing your waste easier.
Dried foods are also great! Things like dried vegetables, dried fruits, and dried meats (jerky) pack a
lot of nutrition into a small, lightweight package.
Hunting, fishing, and foraging can be a great way to supplement your diet while camping – but unless
you have full faith in your skills, don’t rely on it. It might seem like a good idea to go camping with
only a fishing pole, a bag of rice, and a rifle – but it’s really not.
Alex Hunt | kayakcritic.net