The Ultimate Guide to Kayak Camping

Camping with a kayak opens up a world of adventure beyond the water. Gone are the days when larger motorized boats were the only option to explore remote places. Now, more and more people are turning to kayak camping as a way to reach inaccessible destinations. If you’re considering a kayak camping trip, this ultimate guide will provide you with all the tips, important information, and packing list you need to be prepared.

Why Choose Kayak Camping?

Discover Remote Places

One of the major advantages of kayak camping is the ability to explore remote areas that are otherwise inaccessible by foot or larger boats. Kayaks, with their streamlined design, can navigate narrower and shallower waters, opening up a world of hidden gems waiting to be explored. You can even set off without a specific destination in mind and let the wind or river guide you on an unpredictable adventure.

Combine Outdoor Activities and Stress Relief

Kayaking and camping are both known for their stress-relieving qualities. Being immersed in nature is a powerful way to reduce stress, and when combined with the low-impact exercise of kayaking, it provides a double dose of relaxation. The rhythmic motion of paddling releases endorphins and creates a sense of peace and tranquility.

Embrace a New Challenge

If you’re already skilled in kayaking and looking for a new challenge, kayak camping is the perfect option. It adds an extra level of difficulty by carrying additional gear and navigating rivers to find the ideal campsite. This combination of physical exertion and problem-solving can break the monotony of regular paddling and provide a fresh and exciting experience.

Further reading:  Kayaking with Cats: Discovering Adventure and Trust

A Family-Friendly Adventure

Both kayaking and camping are family-friendly activities, making kayak camping the perfect adventure for the whole family. It’s an opportunity to bond with your children and create lasting memories without the distractions of technology. Tandem kayaks are ideal for family camping trips, offering extra space for kids and additional gear.

Planning Your Trip

Before embarking on your overnight kayak camping trip, careful planning is essential. Start by selecting a shorter route with calm waters if you’re new to kayak camping. Gradually build up to longer trips as your skills and experience grow. Share your itinerary with a reliable friend or family member, ensuring someone knows your whereabouts in case of an emergency.

Checking the weather forecast is crucial for a successful camping trip. It’s best to check the weather leading up to your trip and again the morning before you depart. Optimal weather conditions make for a pleasant experience, while severe weather warrants postponing the trip. Regardless of the forecast, be prepared for all weather conditions by packing appropriate clothing and gear.

Gear Selection and Preparation

When selecting gear for your kayak camping trip, prioritize items that are lightweight, compact, and suitable for the weather conditions. Think minimalist packing, as space is limited in a kayak. Consider whether each item is truly necessary and if it contributes to your comfort and safety during the trip.

To help you prepare, here’s a checklist of essential gear for your kayak camping adventure:

Kayak, Shelter, and Survival Tools

  • Opt for a sit-on-top kayak with bungee storage at the front and back for better camping gear accommodation.
  • Choose a lightweight and waterproof tent, unless you’re comfortable sleeping under the stars.
  • Pack a sleeping bag appropriate for the outdoor temperatures you’ll encounter.
  • Prepare dry clothing and rain gear, anticipating unpredictable weather changes.
  • Carry a torch or headlamp for nighttime visibility.
  • Include a first aid kit for minor injuries.
  • Always wear a life jacket while kayaking.
  • Bring a survival knife or ax if you plan on creating a campfire.
  • Have a satellite phone for emergency communication.
  • Waterproof matches are essential for fire-starting.
Further reading:  Kayaking Adventures: Exploring the Water with Your Family

Cooking Equipment and Food

  • Use a portable camping stove or small portable BBQ for cooking.
  • Pack cooking utensils and cutlery for meal preparation.
  • Bring a cooler to keep food and drinks fresh.
  • Choose lightweight and calorie-dense food options suitable for camping.
  • Don’t forget tea, coffee, and a trusty water bottle.


  • Dry bags are a must for keeping your belongings dry and organized.
  • A power bank is useful for charging your electronic devices.
  • Bring litter bags to keep your campsite clean and separate dirty laundry.
  • Remember sunscreen and bug spray for protection against the elements.
  • Check your kayak for any damage before setting off.

Kayak Camping Tips

To make the most of your kayak camping adventure, here are some essential tips to keep in mind:

  1. If you’re new to kayak camping, consider joining experienced campers to learn from their expertise.
  2. Stay hydrated by packing plenty of water, keeping in mind your kayak’s load capacity.
  3. Remove your tent poles from their bag to save space and fit the tent into smaller areas.
  4. Pack extras of essential gear, such as matches, batteries, and food.
  5. Carry wet wipes and toilet paper for personal hygiene.
  6. Have backup campsite options in case your first choice is unsuitable.
  7. Learn safety and survival skills to handle emergencies.
  8. If you’re camping in bear country, store your food in a bear-proof container.
  9. Secure your kayak on land near your tent overnight.
  10. Organize your gear, placing items you may need during paddling on top for easy access.


Kayak camping offers a unique and adventurous way to experience the great outdoors. By carefully planning your trip, selecting the right gear, and following expert tips, you can embark on an unforgettable journey. From remote exploration to stress relief and family bonding, kayak camping provides a wide range of benefits. So pack your gear, set off on the water, and enjoy the serenity of nature on your next kayak camping adventure.

Further reading:  The Perfect Kayak for Adventures: Hobie Odyssey Tandem Kayak

Ready to start your kayak camping journey? Visit UpStreamPaddle for top-quality gear and expert advice to make your trip a success.


  1. Can I kayak camp in remote locations?
  2. What gear should I bring on a kayak camping trip?
  3. How do I distribute the weight of my gear in the kayak?
  4. How do I ensure my kayak is in good condition before the trip?
  5. What should I double-check before heading off on a kayak camping trip?