Kayak camping provides just the right amount of up time after put-in to a much needed downtime at your campsite later that night. A trip lasting for 3 or more days is the most perfect natural recharge your body and mind are looking for.
For starters, the boat needs to be the recreational type with access to bow and stern. Closed-cockpit models only provide for small storage, which works for an overnight trip, just not any longer.
Understanding how the Kayak is to be packed, will help you decide between necessary and luxury items. Generally, slightly more weight will be behind the cockpit than the bow, with the heavier items as close to the seat as possible. Understanding these guidelines, you already know to stow your clothes in one end and sleeping bag and pad in the other. One of the most important and common sense practices of packing is placing heaviest items on the bottom with lighter dry bags on top. The final tip is that the boat has to be loaded evenly from side to side. Fail to follow this rule and you will be fighting the steering during the entire trip.
Assume that everything you bring will get wet and go get a range sizes of dry bags to pack your items away in. Two long narrow bags are good to cover the bow and stern while one or two wide flat bags should suffice for the remainder of the light items. The items that you will take are similar to those on the Canoe Camping checklist. Taking only what is necessary.
If you insist on taking your own water, look for the camel or collapsible type water bags. One of the best alternatives to bringing along water at all is a portable water filter that will provide all the water you would need very quickly. That first cup of coffee first thing in the morning is mandatory, at least for some of us.
Since you are packing in similar style to a backpacker, the food you take along should not need refrigeration. If you get lucky, the river being traveled is calm and mountain cold, tethering food items off the side is always an option. Otherwise, plan your meals ahead of time, prepackage them in small bags or containers clearly marked on when they are to be used. Another option, if you will be near towns, is to do as Backpackers do and mail yourself food (general delivery). The Campers Recipes page will give you ideas on what to bring.
Now that you know what you are bringing, pre-pack it away in such a
manner that everything will fit tightly and will not shift around
during the trip. It is a good idea to try this before leaving the house
first to fine tune the final list of items taken.
Most of the Kayak Camping information above on this page came from kayak camping enthusiasts we have met during our camping trips.
If you have any questions, email us using the Contact Us button on this page.