Kayak Camping - packing the boat

I will be taking a week long river kayak camping trip this summer, and need some help. We will have to carry everything that we need for the week in the boats with us except extra water.

For those of you who have done this before, on average how much does your gear weigh. And do you evenly distribute the weight front and rear.

I will be using a 15’ Necky Looksha Sport without hatches. I went out and paddled with some sand bags today. Having no idea what the aprox. weight should be I put in about 36 pounds evenly distributed.

“Not Nice”, that was more like work than fun. I sure hope I won’t need this amount of weight.

If it makes a difference I’m about 5’2" and 160lbs now

with goal of weighing 145 at trip time.

Thanks for the help.

A good rule of thumb is
2:1 rear:front ratio for the gear. For 100 lbs of gear you want 66 behind and 34 in front. It is not critical to be exact and each kayak is slightly different. Normally it is recommended that the heaviest items go right behind your seat. However, if you are coming out more on the 1:1 ratio because of volume limits, you can somewhat compensate by putting the heaviest items farther back toward the stern and the heaviest items in the front as close to your feet as possible.

Remember that as you use up food and water you might need to rearrange items to keep the 2:1 balance.


About . . .
. . . 35 pounds of gear and 15 pounds of food.

Good Luck
if you can go for a week with just 36 lbs. of gear. When I go for that length of time, my stuff( tent, stove, fuel,axe, food, cooking gear, sleeping bag, water pump, etc., etc.) weighs around 125lbs more or less. Of course if you like to rough it??

I’m also planning
a week long trip this summer. I have most of my gear but I have the same question. I thought trying to split the weight between the bow & stern hatch with the heaviest gear nearest the cock pit.

My dilema is I would like to have another kayak to camp from. I demoed the Tempest 170, Zepher 16.0 Zephyr 15.5 pro, & a Perception Essense. The Essense will carry a lot of gear but I didn’t care for it. The Zephyr 16.0 on the other hand I loved, but not real sure how much gear it will carry. The Tempest was pretty good also. KK

Actually that is a couple of months . .
. . . with 35 pounds of gear. This doesn’t include boat stuff like paddles, bilge pump and float or stuff I am wearing like clothes and PFD. This is tent, bag, pad, cooking gear, binos, VHF radio, AM/FM radio, GPS, Katadyn filter, personal hygene, rain gear.

One word - canoe.

good luck
getting your load to 36lbs or 50 for that matter.

I ran trips in the San Juan’s in WA for a bunch of years and most of our kayaks carried between 100-150lbs. NOT a big deal. fresh food, Crazy Creek chairs, warm clothes for camp, dutch ovens, etc. and ALL this w/o resorting to a tandem or a (gasp) CAfreakiNOE! =:-0)

Yep on the Essence, Zephyr and Tempest. E if you have tons of gear, T for the mid weight packer and Z if you can skimp and go lite-weight.


4 words - invite a canoe along
"Oh, my, you have so much room in there - do you mind carrying this for me?"

If you are doing a river trip why the
extra water?

I guess it depends on the river.
When we kayaked the Green River in Utah we hauled ALL our water because the water there is “Too thick to drink, and too thin to plow.” That is rare.

We’ve been on trips 2-3 weeks where we just carried a 4 oz. Steripen purifier.

I would suggest trying to get the weight about the same between stern and bow, with any extra weight going into the stern. Keep the heaviest stuff low and up next to the bulkheads. You should also try and balance the weight within the bow and stern. I spent a whole day once leaning to port because I had too much weight on my starboard side.

I carry the same stuff in the same place each trip so that I know if something is missing and it makes repacking easier.

If you use the diminishing stuff as a guide (food, fuel, etc.) you can keep your loads balanced more easily.

The main rule? Paddle careful and have FUN!!

L sport is small

– Last Updated: Mar-09-09 1:05 AM EST –

I have a Looksha Sport, and have only done overnighters in it. Not a lot of space in it. Ive talked to others who have said the boats get bogged down pretty quick when loaded.

May be worth borrowing or renting a longer boat. Looksha 4 is basically the same boat, but 3 feet longer. I have used one for a 10 day trip, including having to carry a few day's worth of water.

In addition to what was said about how to split the weight front back, also keep in mind that more centered weight is better than at the ends. I keep the bulky/heavy items as close to where I sit as possible, and less bulky stuff (sleeping pads, sleeping bags, etc.) as close to the ends of the boat as possible.

Think of how a teeter-totter works
That 2:1 ratio that mjamja speaks of is based on the teeter-totter principle. The stuff you put in front of you is by necessity a lot farther from the centerpoint because it must be in front of your legs. On the other hand, stuff packed behind you can be quite close to the seat. On a teeter-totter, a light weight that’s far from center has the same effect as a heavy weight that’s close to center. You want your boat to be nearly level from front to back, and to do that, the lighter stuff in the bow (placed far from center) will counter-balance the heavy stuff in the rear (which is close to center).

Think like a backpacker
and you can get your gear down to 40 lbs.

Plus if you are in a group there are items you do not need to duplicate.

I go solo canoeing and plan 25 lbs of gear and 15 lb of consumables a week… Most of my trips are two weeks so thats 55 lbs.

With some advance thought you can filter silty waters though I have not been on the Green, just Arctic rivers with glacial silt. We never carried water.

Get the hatch covers.
Seriously, you are paddling a yak without the hatch covers? That hardly EVER works. Ok if you stay by shore. But you do want to keep that gear dry don’t you? If not OK. Now think, you do want to make it to your location without flooding, correct? One serious wave and it is all over without the hatch covers.

40# is doable
If you think like a backpacker, 40# is most certainly doable.

No hatches???
Don’t be stupid, get hatches…

40#, 50# 125#
Ok, then how do hikers do it with only a 20# pack?

Are we missing something???

hikers don’t take a damn dutch oven
Sometimes I guess we need reminders that (it seems) most kayakers are not also backpackers.

My tent, . . .
. . . 4’14", bag, pad, stuff sack, 3’12", cooking gear, 3’10", camera, 1’, personal hygene, 8", Goretex, 2’ = 15’12".

Y’all are carryin’ too much stuff.