How to Go Camping with Your Kayak: Tips and Tricks for a Successful Trip

Camping is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy nature. But what if you could take your camping experience to the next level? Kayak camping offers a unique opportunity to explore remote places that aren’t accessible by foot or larger boats. With a kayak, you can paddle to a secluded spot and set up camp in nature’s backyard.

Kayak camping may seem daunting at first, but with the right equipment and preparation, it can be a fun and rewarding experience. Choosing the right kayak is essential to ensure a comfortable and safe trip. There are many types of kayaks available, so it’s important to consider your overall goals for the trip to determine which kayak is right for you. Additionally, packing essentials for kayak camping is crucial to ensure you have everything you need for a successful trip.

Key Takeaways

  • Choosing the right kayak and packing essentials are crucial for a successful kayak camping trip.
  • Navigational skills and safety measures are important to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
  • Setting up camp in a remote location is a unique and rewarding experience that kayak camping offers.

Choosing the Right Kayak

Kayak camping requires a kayak that is reliable, comfortable, and spacious enough to store all of your gear. When selecting a kayak for camping, there are two main factors to consider: the type of kayak and the features that are important for your trip.

Factors to Consider

When choosing a kayak for camping, it is important to consider the type of water you will be paddling on and the length of your trip. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Stability: A stable kayak is essential for camping because it will allow you to move around and access your gear without tipping over. Look for a kayak with a wide base and a low center of gravity.
  • Storage Capacity: You will need a kayak with enough storage space to carry all of your camping gear, food, and water. Look for a kayak with ample storage space, including dry storage compartments and bungee cords for securing gear.
  • Weight Capacity: Make sure to choose a kayak with a weight capacity that is suitable for your body weight and the weight of your gear. Overloading a kayak can cause it to become unstable and difficult to paddle.
  • Maneuverability: Depending on the type of water you will be paddling on, you may need a kayak with skegs or rudders for better maneuverability.

Types of Kayaks

There are several types of kayaks to choose from, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are the three main types of kayaks for camping:

  1. Sit-on-top Kayaks: Sit-on-top kayaks are easy to get in and out of and are ideal for warm weather paddling. They are also self-bailing, which means that any water that gets into the kayak will drain out through scupper holes in the bottom. However, they are less stable than sit-in kayaks and can be more difficult to paddle in windy conditions.
  2. Sit-in Kayaks: Sit-in kayaks are more stable than sit-on-top kayaks and are better suited for cold weather paddling. They also offer more protection from the elements and are easier to paddle in windy conditions. However, they can be more difficult to get in and out of and can be more challenging to drain if they take on water.
  3. Inflatable Kayaks: Inflatable kayaks are lightweight and easy to transport, making them ideal for camping trips. They are also very stable and easy to paddle, even in choppy water. However, they are less durable than hard-shell kayaks and can be more challenging to repair if they get punctured.

When selecting a kayak for camping, it is important to choose one that fits your needs and skill level. Consider renting a few different types of kayaks before making a purchase to find the one that is best for you.

Packing Essentials for Kayak Camping

When it comes to kayak camping, packing efficiently and effectively is crucial to ensure a successful and comfortable trip. The following sub-sections provide a comprehensive list of essential gear, food, and water preparation tips to make your kayak camping experience a memorable one.

Gear Checklist

Before embarking on a kayak camping trip, it is important to ensure that you have all the necessary gear. Here is a checklist of essential items to bring on your kayak camping trip:

  • Kayak: Choose a kayak that is suitable for overnight trips. Sit-in kayaks with ample storage space are ideal for carrying gear.
  • Paddle: Bring a paddle that is lightweight and durable.
  • Life Jacket: A properly fitting life jacket is essential for safety on the water.
  • Dry Bags: Pack all water-sensitive gear in dry bags to keep them dry and safe.
  • Tent: Choose a lightweight and easy-to-set-up tent that fits in your kayak.
  • Sleeping Bag: Choose a sleeping bag that is appropriate for the expected temperature and pack it in a dry bag.
  • Sleeping Pad: A sleeping pad provides insulation and cushioning for a comfortable night’s sleep.
  • Cookware: Bring lightweight, compact cookware such as a camping stove, pot, and utensils.
  • Headlamp or Flashlight: A headlamp or flashlight is necessary for navigating in the dark.

Food and Water Preparation

Proper food and water preparation is essential for a successful kayak camping trip. Here are some tips to ensure that you have enough food and water:

  • Water: Bring enough water to last the duration of your trip. A general rule of thumb is to bring one gallon of water per person per day. Consider bringing a water filtration system to purify water from natural sources.
  • Food: Choose lightweight, non-perishable food that is easy to prepare. Some good options include dehydrated meals, energy bars, and nuts. Don’t forget to bring a compact stove and utensils for cooking.
  • Cooler: If you plan on bringing perishable food, consider bringing a small cooler with ice packs to keep food fresh.

By following these gear and food preparation tips, you can ensure a safe and comfortable kayak camping trip.

Navigational Skills for Kayak Camping

Kayak camping is an excellent way to explore remote areas that are inaccessible by larger motorized boats. However, for a successful kayak camping trip, it is essential to have a good understanding of navigational skills. This section will cover two important sub-sections to help you develop these skills.

Understanding Weather Patterns

Before embarking on a kayak camping trip, it is crucial to understand the local weather patterns. This knowledge can help you plan your trip accordingly and avoid unexpected weather changes that could put you in danger. The following are some essential weather-related considerations for kayak camping:

  • Check the weather forecast before leaving and plan accordingly.
  • Be aware of how the weather can impact the water conditions, such as wind, waves, and currents.
  • Bring proper clothing and gear to protect yourself from the elements.

Map Reading and Compass Skills

Map reading and compass skills are essential for any outdoor activity, including kayak camping. These skills can help you navigate through unfamiliar territory and find your way back to your starting point. Here are some tips for developing these skills:

  • Learn how to read a topographic map and understand its symbols and contour lines.
  • Familiarize yourself with a compass and how to use it to determine your direction of travel.
  • Practice using a map and compass together to navigate through different terrains.

By developing these navigational skills, you can have a safer and more enjoyable kayak camping trip.

Setting Up Camp

When it comes to kayak camping, setting up camp can be a bit different than traditional camping. Here are some tips to make the process smoother.

Finding the Perfect Spot

Finding the perfect spot to set up camp can make or break a kayak camping trip. Here are some things to consider when choosing a spot:

  • Accessibility: Make sure the spot is accessible by kayak and has a safe place to land.
  • Water Source: Look for a spot with access to fresh water, such as a nearby stream or lake.
  • Level Ground: Choose a spot with level ground to set up your tent and campsite.
  • Privacy: Consider the privacy of the spot. Is it secluded enough to give you some peace and quiet?
  • View: Look for a spot with a great view to enjoy while you’re camping.

Camp Setup Steps

Once you’ve found the perfect spot, it’s time to set up camp. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Clear the Area: Clear the area of any debris, rocks, or sticks that may be in the way.
  2. Set Up Your Tent: Set up your tent on level ground and make sure it’s secure.
  3. Create a Kitchen Area: Set up a kitchen area for cooking and food preparation. Use a table or flat surface to keep everything organized.
  4. Store Food Properly: Store food in a bear-resistant container or hang it from a tree to keep it away from wildlife.
  5. Create a Fire Pit: If fires are allowed, create a fire pit in a safe area away from your tent and kitchen area.
  6. Set Up Your Kayak: Set up your kayak in a safe spot near your campsite, so it’s ready to go when you are.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your campsite is safe, organized, and ready for a great kayak camping adventure.


My name is Evelyn and I started Camping The Camp to combine my love of the outdoors with my background in environmental science. I hope you’ll find helpful as you discover the joys of camping. It’s more than a weekend trip - it’s a chance to disconnect from devices, reconnect with loved ones, and make memories to last a lifetime

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