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Packing a Kayak for Camping

Learn how to pack for kayak camping with the help of Blain’s Farm & Fleet.

Camping and kayaking are two activities that are staples of summer. Getting outdoors, enjoying everything that Mother Nature has to offer. But what if you combine them? Kayak camping is a great way to camp in remote places that may not be accessible other than by boat. Or you can even use it as an excuse to extend your paddling trip. Of course, there are some packing tips to keep in mind. Learn about packing a kayak for camping with the help of Blain’s Farm & Fleet.

Packing a Kayak for Camping
Kayak camping is a great way to camp in remote places that may not be accessible other than by boat. Learn how to pack your kayak with Blain’s Farm & Fleet..

Pack Light

The key to packing your kayak is keeping it as light as possible. Know the weight capacity of your kayak, and keep your own weight in mind. If you’ve ever gone backpack camping, think of packing your kayak in a similar way – only bring the essentials. It’s not like car camping. You’ll need to leave big coolers, lawn games, grills, Dutch ovens and other large camping gear at home.

Use Odd Sizes to Your Advantage

Another part of packing a kayak for camping is using all the odd spaces to your advantage. Use smaller dry bags and zipper storage bags to store your supplies, instead of using bulky camping bags. Even if your kayak has waterproof hatches you’ll still want to use dry bags for items that you don’t want to get wet, such as clothing, fire starting gear, your sleeping bag and a first aid kit. Bags should have designated uses – one for clothes, one for food, etc. It’ll help you keep organized and quickly get to the gear you need. It’s a good idea to do a trial run of packing your kayak – this way you know what will and won’t fit. Remember that less is always best for kayak camping.

Maintain Balance

Above all else, make sure your kayak is packed for even weight distribution. To get the best (and safest) performance, your kayak needs to keep balanced in the water. Put heavy items at the bottom of the kayak and closer to the cockpit – away from the stern and bow. It’s also important to keep the weight balanced from left to right, and front to back. For example, pack food and water toward the middle, and keep lighter items like sleeping bags and clothes at the ends of the kayak.

What to Pack in Your Kayak

As said above, packing a kayak for camping is similar to backpacking. Here’s a general list of gear you’ll want to bring, divided by dry bag. Of course, it can vary depending on where you’re going, and how long your trip will be.

Kayak SuppliesFirst-Aid BagClothing BagSleep & Rest BagElectronics BagFood & Basecamp Bag
Emergency PaddleCompassRain Shell and PantsOne Person TentFlashlightFood and Snacks
PDF/ Life JacketEmergency BlanketSynthetic Base Layer, Socks and Swim GearSleeping BagMaps and GuidesWater Filter
Sunscreen, Sunglasses and HatFirst Aid KitDry, Synthetic Layers for SleepingSleeping PadBatteriesUtensils
Kayak and PaddlePersonal Hygiene ProductsSocks and UnderwearPillowAny Other ElectronicsSmall Camp Stove

Kayak camping gives you the freedom to explore a whole new area of your favorite river or lake. For more kayaking and camping tips, visit our Camping and Boats & Boating blogs.


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