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What to Bring on a Kayaking Trip

Planning on taking your kayak out for some extended time on the water? Then a little bit of preparation can go a long way to ensuring a memorable time. Whether you are going out for the day or planning on camping under the stars, it is important to pack wisely.

General List

  • Kayak - Not to state the obvious, but it is obviously important to bring your kayak. But more than that, the type of kayak you have will lend itself to particular activities, so know what you are paddling so you can anticipate challenges, pack for the weight limit, and plan your trip accordingly.
  • Safety Equipment
    • PFD (personal flotation device, never leave without it)
    • Spare paddle
    • Bow line/rope/paracord
    • Paddle float/rescue gear (and the knowledge of kayak self-rescue techniques)
    • Bilge pump / bailer / sponge
    • Cockpit cover
    • First aid kit
    • Repair kit
    • Minitool kit
    • Sewing Kit
    • Duct tape
  • Tent/Shelter (if overnight)
    • Can be a 1-2 person tent with tent fly and bug screen/ventilation
    • Or a minimalist tarp/lean-to
  • Sleep system/sleeping bag (again, if staying overnight)
    • A good three-season sleeping bag gives you options (rated to 10* below expected temperatures is ideal)
    • Considered a bag liner to add warmth or as a cooler option in warmer weather
  • Clothing (undergarments, pants, shirts, socks, footwear, hands/head)
    • Layering is key to anticipating a myriad of conditions.
    • Start at your feet and move up thinking about everything you will put on your body so you don’t forget anything.
    • And don’t forget your hands and head. Paddling gloves can be extremely helpful and sunglasses and hats can provide protection and warmth.
  • Personal Hygiene
    • No one wants to plan on using leaves, even if they are plentiful.
    • A short list should include TP, toothbrush/paste, soap, & deodorant
    • However, be aware of scents that can attract pests.
  • Food/Water
    • Planning your meals and equipment needed to cook them is important.
    • Pack enough water for the duration of your trip or consider investing in water filtration options to make your own fresh water.

Activity Specific List

If you have a specific goal for your trip, make sure to plan for that as well. Are you fishing? Photographing? Meditating/Journaling? Make sure you include this extra weight in your plans as well.

  • Fishing
    • Rod
    • Bait
    • Tackle box
  • Photography
    • Camera
    • Bag/lenses
    • Tripod
    • Extra batteries
  • Al Fresco Dining
    • Cooler
    • pots/pans
    • Ingredients
  • Retreat
    • Journal
    • Books
    • Yoga mat

There is one other item you must take care of before you launch on your kayaking trip, and it isn’t something to pack, but rather something to leave behind. Make sure to leave a plan of your trip with someone back home. It is important that you have someone looking out for you in case of an emergency.

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