Bluegrass Canoe and Kayak Group Message Board › Kayaking and kayak camping checklist

Kayaking and kayak camping checklist

Don Perkins
user 13711758
Nicholasville, KY
Post #: 103
Here's my list for what to take on a self-supported flatwater kayak camping trip. Many more on on web sites and in backpacking books. If there is a support boat along (john boat, raft, canoe) you may be able to take a lot more stuff Check out this list for canoe camping:­

1. Everyday kayaking gear

  • Kayak
  • PFD
  • Paddle
  • Water shoes w/o laces or straps to get caught on footpegs
  • Emergency whistle
  • Throw/tow rope (at least some in the group)
  • For potentially rough, open water – on deck, paddle float and bilge pump – sprayskirt, sponge, and paddle leash
  • Hat/cap
  • Sunscreen
  • Chapstick or lip balm
  • Sunglasses w/retainer
  • Car key (not fob)
  • Small wallet, a little money including change, id, ICE notification info, maybe a credit card
  • Drinking water
  • Maps, if needed, waterproof or in map case, compass, watch
  • Snacks and/or lunch
  • Hand sanitizer, small pen-type or wipes
  • River/rescue knife or multi-purpose tool
  • Emergency kit in very small dry bag– small first aid kit, emergency (space) blanket, fire starter kit, small LED headlamp/flashlight, water purification tablets – helps to add waterproof bandages or liquid bandage, and skin glue to the first aid kit - have at least one emergency kit in the group
  • Paddling clothes for the conditions (could include swim suit, rash guard, thermal layer(s), splash top, dry top, dry pants, farmer john wet suit, dry suit, wool socks)
  • Pogies, if going to be cold
  • Tape – gorilla or duct to repair holes in boats, tents, etc. - wrapped onto itself or around paddle if waterproof
  • Marine radio – if in an area you need it – only one per group needed
  • Optional – camera, cellphone, small binoculars. hiking or marine style GPS or GPS logger, SPOT messenger, paddling gloves

2. Drink

  • Water filter or purifier – ceramic, UV (have extra batteries or a crank model), or other very safe type (can be group supplied)
  • Nalgene bottle or whatever the purifier needs
  • Optional – water flavoring packets, tea bags, instant or real coffee, hot chocolate
  • Optional – bourbon or other high alcohol content beverage, maybe wine in bota bag

3. Food/Cooking

  • If no support boats, rafts, or canoes in the group that can carry a cooler, enough breakfasts, lunches, dinners for the trip + a couple extra out of the following suggestions

    • breakfast: instant oatmeal/grits/farina (maybe 2 packages per meal), freeze-dried meals, fruits, fruit cups, dried fruits
    • lunch: prepackaged lunches, freeze-dried meals, fruits, fruit cups, dried fruits, canned fish/oysters, peanut butter, deviled ham, Vienna sausages
    • dinner: freeze-dried meals, canned or packaged chicken or tuna with packaged pastas, rices, or beans, fruit, fruit cups, dried fruits
    • Snacks/dessert – gorp, granola bars, beef jerky, candy bars (all best in per meal vacuum-sealed bags so don't have to be in dry bags)

  • Backpacking stove and fuel to heat water or cook whatever you bring – JetBoil-type for just heating water, or white gas/propane/alcohol stove for cooking food
  • Pan, if needed
  • Coffee press, if needed
  • Bowl
  • Eating/stirring utensil(s) (sporks are great)
  • Camp soap (is biodegradable and fragrance free)
  • Trash bag
  • Optional – small backpacking kitchen kit (salt, pepper, spices, oil, utensils, sponge)
  • Optional – collapsible bucket for hauling water
  • Optional – can opener if needed

4. Shelter/Sleeping

  • Small 1 to 1.5 man tent (unless sharing), poles, rain fly, stakes
  • Ground cloth to fit tent
  • Sleeping pad – up to you to make the size/comfort trade-off – needs to be closed cell foam and/or air because you're not going to put in a dry bag
  • Sleeping bag (need several for different temperature ranges) – need to be very small and compact (those with compression sacks help) – prefer synthetic unless you are absolutely sure you can keep down dry
  • Compressible camp pillow, or something to make a pillow out of with clothes.
  • Minimalists may want a sleeping hammock instead if trees are available. Or just a tarp/ground cloth instead of a tent

5. Clothing

  • Extra paddling clothes appropriate to temps and conditions possibly including non-cotton thermal layers
  • Dry camp clothes - possibly another set of thermal layers and outer fleece layer, underwear, convertible pants, lightweight non-cotton T's, wool socks, toboggan hat, gloves
  • Rain gear – rain pants/jacket or poncho
  • Sandals, camp shoes, or even hiking shoes if any opportunity to hike
  • Bandannas

6. Hygiene/personal items

  • Trowel
  • TP and/or wet wipes
  • Toothbrush, travel size toothpaste, floss and mouthwash
  • Pack towel
  • Comb
  • Ear plugs
  • Any medications you are taking regularly, plus allergy, pain, heartburn remedies just in case
  • Should let the trip leader(s) know if you have any major medical problems (especially diabetes, severe allergies, heart condition, asthma, bleeding disorder, seizure disorder, etc.) and have supplies you need (insulin, EpiPen+benadryl, inhaler)
  • Travel size deodorant
  • Feminine hygiene supplies if needed
  • Put smaller items together in a zip-lock or two

7. Other camp and comfort needs

  • Camping permit(s), if needed
  • Small camp chair or backpacking chair/seat (strap to back deck if won't fit inside)
  • LED headlamp
  • Insect repellent and/or citronella candles
  • Radio with weather radio (at least one in the group)
  • Spare batteries for lamps, radios
  • Waterproof matches, small butane lighter
  • Small diameter rope for clothesline, to hang a food bag, or other uses
  • Put the smaller items together in a zip-lock
  • Mesh laundry bag to take gear to/from the camp site
  • Mosquito head net if in an area that warrants it
  • Bear resistant container to store food and anything with an odor if in an area that requires it
  • See whatever room you have left and bring whatever makes you comfortable or feel prepared (day hammock, fishing gear/license, cards, games, books, pin kit)

8. Dry bags

  • Day use dry bag(s) for snacks, electronics, optical items, wallet
  • Smallest dry bag that will fit the sleeping bag
  • Smallest dry bag that will fit the tent minus the poles/stakes (some say don't bother trying to keep the tent dry at all)
  • Several small 5 to 10L dry bags for clothes, food, hygiene, pillow, camp/comfort items that can't get wet – try to keep as much out of dry bags as possible. Don't try using less and larger dry bags. Makes it harder to pack the kayak.

Pack items ahead of time and fit into kayak – shuffle to fit, throw out luxury items as necessary or obtain smaller gear. Add select luxury items if you have more room. Try finding small things to fit in the front of the bow and rear of the stern. Keep heavy items low and in the center of the kayak. Keep the emergency kit and items you need during the day in the day hatch or within easy reach.

Have containers to separate items that go into each hatch (front, day, rear) in your vehicle so the kayak is easy to pack when reaching the put-in. Can place select items behind seat, in front of feet, or on the deck.

Optional items to pack in your vehicle:

  • Kayak cart
  • Change of clothes
  • Towels
  • Cooler with food, drink, and ice
  • A more complete first aid kit

A former member
Post #: 4
That's a great list.
In cooler weather I take a compressible down jacket, I use it in a medium dry bag as a pillow.
Always great when you can make one object serves more than one function.
If you are doing open water crossings , or are on a large lake, flares might be a good addition.

When you are picking food for kayak camping you don't have to pay as much attention to weight as you do size.
Think about compact calorie rich food, more calories than normal.
Don Perkins
user 13711758
Nicholasville, KY
Post #: 104
Didn't want to mention flares, or guns. Should be handled about the same. Should only be in your PFD and not stored in your kayak. Flares have a high failure rate, so you need to carry more than one, and you need to know how to use them safely. Should let the trip leader know if you have either.
A former member
Post #: 5
The trip leader should be the one carrying the flares, as well as a more extensive first aid kit.
Don Perkins
user 13711758
Nicholasville, KY
Post #: 106
I've been refining the list along and along with small changes. One thing I use that I forgot to put on originally, and wanted to mention specifically, is a big mesh laundry bag. There is often a little walk from where you park your kayak to your camp site. You can put most of the gear you will need for camp in the bag and make less trips back and forth to the kayak in the evening when setting up, and in the morning after breaking camp. Can also use when originally packing the kayak at the put-in. I, however, usually load the kayak at the car and use my kayak cart to take the whole thing down the ramp.
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