First kayak camping trip next week!

So a couple of my very experienced kayaking and camping friends, who are also paddling in the Everglades Challenge (which they have both done multiple times) asked me to go on a 4 night training trip from Everglades City to Flamingo NEXT WEEK (Wednesday to Sunday). Mentally I was thinking we wouldn’t do a training trip for another month or so! I do have most of what I need but haven’t used most of it and have never packed a kayak. I’m going to make a list of what I think I’ll bring and run it by them (and probably everyone here) but thought I would throw it out to this knowledgeable group now.

Besides the obvious stuff (tent, food, sleeping bag, clothes etc), what other things do you find particularly helpful on a trip like this? What have you brought and totally didn’t need? Any handy tips and tricks would be great. I’m trying to make sure I don’t miss any of the small stuff.

I’m paddling a 19’, medium volume sea kayak with a day hatch, small round forward hatch and a large oval stern hatch. I will have a deck bag also.

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Practice packing in your backyard or garage two or three times before journeying to the launch location. That exercise will answer most of your questions.

PS - Paddling the Everglades area is on my bucket list. Where I paddle we do not have fresh water so we must carry our own. Check with your buddies, that may be the case for you also. I like 2 days extra water as a safety feature when salt water area paddle camping.

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Definitely no fresh water where we are going. I definitely want to make sure I have extra - how much water do you generally allow per day?

I don’t know what the weather will be, but I always carry a head net in my hat, and another in a pocket or deck bag when at the coast. A Thermacell, etc. is also advisable. You live in FL so You probably know this already. I like to have the weight behind me, and close to my feet in the front bulkhead. heavy is also best if low against the hull. The lighter stuff toward the ends.


Are you staying in chickees, or camping on the ground? Chickees will have fewer mosquitoes than the ground. I like to use flexible water sacks for carrying water, versus hard containers, fit low down better and when you have used the water fold away. Definitely be prepared for cold weather, long pants and jacket, sleeping bag. Also be prepared for noseeums with something to cover all exposed skin, dress socks for your ankles gloves for your hands, though if it is windy they will not be a problem. Spare paddle on the deck, just in case. Sunscreen and a good hat.


Definitely bringing a Thermacell but a net sounds like an inexpensive backup!

Not sure where we are staying just yet. Probably a mix of sites as it will be four nights. I live in Florida so quite familiar with how nasty the no see ums and mosquitoes can be! Weather looks quite benign right now, highs around 80 and lows in the low 60s, but I run cold so plan to have several extra layers.

Pro-tip: you can duct tape several containers of water together and fit them just past your foot rests inside the boat. Remember - heaviest items closest to the cockpit.
Sleeping is important and training for sleep while on a trip should not be overlooked. Practice sleeping with your kit. Hips get sore if not trained. Good pillow and sleep pad research is important.
My last trip I brought a stainless moka pot. Allowed for fresh, potent coffee in the mornings. When it’s time to get on the water you need to be ready to get on the water - morning constitutional complete!
Boat packing - general:
Remember to view the storage compartments of the boat in a fully spatial reference. There is a lot of space available in your boat if you leverage it. Bow to stern. Hull to deck. Small bags are best so that you can stuff them into cavities in the space. Practice is important - loading and unloading. You will be tired and a process will be familiar.
Zip-lock makes a lot of sizes of bags. I only recommend them if you will commit to re-using them. Easy dry bags.


Iron Bobs Tandem packing.

Kiwi Birds Gear

Very exciting Brodie! Rule 1 is you must post pictures!
I second the idea of doing some dry runs for packing, otherwise you’ll annoy yourself and everyone else at put in. I write on my dry bags with marker - hatch and sequence, so I don’t forget. Pointy ones at the ends :grinning: For the dry bags in the very tips, having some cord or strap attached makes it a lot easier to get them back out without “hatch diving”.
On non-summer (Texas) trips having dry socks and shoes at the end of the day’s paddle is a joy. In summer here I usually don’t bother. I’m sure you guys have the other obvious stuff covered. Duct tape, multi-tool, first aid, chargers for necessary devices, lights (I just got one of those Luci inflatable solar lights that someone posted about and I love it, btw).
I didn’t used to bother with a cooler, but, oh man, a beer or two is an extreme joy at the end of the day! And a chair, take a chair - you can get good ones that pack small.
One other thing I take is a big, strong “shopping bag” - I think mine is from Ikea. They fold up to nothing but allow you to carry a ton of bits and pieces to or from the boat in one trip.


Here’s how I packed for a similar trip in Georgian Bay. No portages so this is my “comfort” gear.

How do you get drinking water?

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Last time I was at Falimingo the skeeters in December ate us alive in the camp ground but not on the water. Skeeterrs live in grass too. Mangrove tunnels are buggy if you stop. Open water ok.

Everglade city to Flamingo can go along shore or through glades. Will depend on weather and camp reservations.

Water none there. None filterable either. You generally need a gallon per person per day. Do not put all your “eggs” in one basket. On the islands the raccoons will chew their way into your water jug to get the fresh water.

Don’t put a round water bottle in a compartment where it can roll around. Noise bothered me.

We often carry frozen food ,lasagna ,or steak, first day or two. Then dry later. Frozen keeps rest cold and thaws…reheat when thawed.

Canned fruit can be good liquid source but trash must be packed out.

Clothes…go light. Light weight multi-function and not many.

Chickees at islands are often real high off the water. Makes it difficult to get stuff off kayak. …and kayak onto platform. I like beach better. Consolidate stuff in bags no BIG but not small. But food in bags for each day. Organize stuff.

Ibuprofen … It helps me.

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It is easy to over pack a kayak.
Have you been backpacking much? Use the same mind set.
What you leave out is as important as what you bring.

Never have been backpacking or camping. I day paddle and sail. Totally new to all of this! Hence the minor panic with the short time frame.

I’d say from the camping aspect, priorities are water, food, warmth and sleep. The rest is optional. You’ll have a blast and may become addicted!

Tent…needs to be able to set up without staking
…needs to be “tied” to something …a wind defense
…needs real good mosquito screening
…dont leave canopy that covers ridge vent at home
…think back packing equipment

You have some, and they got experience in that area. Are you asking them these things?

Absolutely, but the more brains offering ideas, the better!

Again, I was asking more about the little things that are good to remember, or things that people have taken and really didn’t need. I have most of the big stuff, just trying to make sure I remember the little things that might make a big difference, especially since this is a multi day trip with no ability to resupply.

I used to do a lot of backpacking (and miss it!), some of it solo, so always carried everything I needed and didn’t often plan to share. However when you go with groups, there are some things that can make sense to plan to share. Tents are the big ones, if you are good enough friends and don’t have sleeping issues. I’m drawing a blank on other things at the moment.

I plan to kayak camp with the Cetus if I can talk my local paddling partner into it. He’s not much of a camping type, but I know he’d love it.

a good book to read on that ‘weather’ day you’ll be staying in your tent
(I say ‘good’, because on my first trip around Lake Superior, my book choice was not very good, but still better reading than the labels on miscellaneous gear)


Do you carry electronics?
I usually carry a camp light that’s also a battery pack.
Then I carry a few more and a little fan that can plug into them. Have slept many nights w/ that little fan above me in the hammock.

They’re also for charging my cell phone/map/GPS if needed.