kayak camping

Can anyone give me a couple suggestions for books on kayak camping. Thanks

as a book lover
I’m not sure books are the best option. There are books that discuss this in a chapter or two, but there are many more blogs that give much more detail and are fun to read. Look for Justine Curgenven, Freya Hoffmeister, Greg Stamer, and for mere mortals, trip reports on Pnet.

Also, ask specific questions…lots of opinions and experience here.


Equipment list for 7 day trip
Here is an equipment list for one of my week-long trips when I was circumnavigating the Chesapeake Bay. This was an early October trip, so a full dry suit or wet suit wasn’t needed because the water was still warm. I don’t know of any specific books, but this may start the thinking process:

Kayak and paddling gear

 Epic 18X Sport

 Seals Extreme Tour 1.7 spray skirt

 Yakpads seat cushion (bottom only)

 Epic Active Tour Euro carbon paddle

 Epic Mid-wing carbon paddle

 Stohiquist semi-dry top for bad weather

 Paddle gloves

 Paddle boots


 Garmin 76CXs GPS with Chesapeake Bay Blue Charts

 Compass mounted on front deck

 Set of Chesapeake Bay marine maps (waterproof)


 Emergency contact info in my life jacket pocket

 Rope

 Bilge pump (repair)

 Paddle float and stirrup


 Icom IC-M34 floating VHF Radio and charger

 Cell phone and extra battery and charger

 Flare gun

 Horn

 PFD with attached knife

 First Aid Kit

 Paddle leash


 One gallon water bladder

 4 – one-liter bottles

 Water filter

 Water purification tablets (in case of pump failure)


 Screwdriver and wrench to fit kayak hardware

 Duck tape

 Air mattress repair kit

 Light rope


 Sleeping bag (40 degree bag)

 Air mattress (light backpacker model)

 Ultra light ¾ Therm-a-Rest pad (relaxing along the way)

 Stuff sack for pillow

 Tent (Hilleberg Una – 4 pounds)


 Whisper light cook stove (5 oz)

 Fuel bottles

 Matches

 Fry Pan (lightweight backpacker’s) and pad to clean it

 Cup

 Fork

 Spatula

Food and supplies

 Cooking oil for fish

 Spices for fish

 Food bag for each day (1 pound of food per day – same as backpacking)


 2 White long sleeve paddle shirts (UV protection, quick dry)

 2 short sleeve paddle shirts (UV protection, quick dry)

 Paddle shorts

 Long pants (insect proof pack pants)

 Fleece tops

 Long sleeve bug shirt

 Large-brimmed paddle hat (sun protection)

 Baseball cap

 Lightweight rain top and pants

 balaclava


 3- piece St. Croix carbon fiber pole with case

 Shimano Sedona 4000 reel with braided line

 Extra braided line

 Removable rod mount on rear deck

 Bait artificial (crab, shrimp, mullet)

 Bait rigs, jig heads, and lures

 Deck bag for fishing gear (can be stowed when not in use)

 MD and VA saltwater fishing licenses

 Fillet knife

Toilet kit

 Vitamins and meds

 Toothbrush and toothpaste

 Biodegradable liquid soap

 Small quick dry backpacker towel

 Razor and small metal mirror (also for signaling)

 Paper towels (4 squares per day – multi-purpose)


 Insect repellent

 Sunscreen

 2 – pair sunglasses

 Dozen AA batteries for electronics

 i-Pod and earphones (2 pair) plus auxiliary battery pack and waterproof Otter Box case

 Waterproof headlamp

 Cash, credit card, driver’s license

 Dry bags (2 tapered for bow and stern, plus 4 others)

 Pentax Optio W-60 waterproof camera and spare battery

 Extra pocket knife

sample gear list from Sea Kayaker

Check “agree to terms” before trying to download

how did that pack down?
I’m not questioning your choices, just interested in how that went in that boat. Did you have any external storage devices?

Ryan L.

Re sample gear list from Sea kayaker
Nice thing to have - except it needs to be updated. Film for the camera is no longer needed. Solar panel for recharging i-pod, i-phone, i-pad etc is not included.

That’s actually not that much
His boat can pack A LOT of stuff!!!

One of my camping buddies paddles a similar boat (QCC 700) and he can carry much more than I do in my Nordkapp

yeah i know
My wording was bad. I’m familiar with the epic and the qcc. I have a 500. I was just wondering how the fit worked for him, not if it would actually fit.

Ryan L.

Great resource
There are plenty of good articles right here on Paddling.net:


Here’s my own kayak-camping packing list:


Good luck!


Backpacking in a boat
Kayak camping is basically backpacking in a boat. Backpacking books, magazines, and forums can teach you about equipment and camping skills.

Draw up a packing list and after each trip go over it carefully, deleting what you didn’t use and adding items you wished you had brought.

You should be able to get a book on canoe camping at a bookstore.

There are many books on kayak camping/touring, I must have read them all! Years ago when I bought my first touring kayak. Having gone from a SOT for weekend trips I was looking for creative ways to pack the boat, gear suggestions, etc.

I picked up a copy of, Complete sea kayak touring by Johnathan Hanson and enjoyed reading it plus learned a few new tricks. It’s an older book but still relevant just not in terms of “new gear”. I have many other books but the pictures and manner in which the info was presented made it enjoyable to read.

More like backpacking than canoeing
One trick I’d like to add is to inflate float bags over the top of your loaded items to keep them low and in place during rough water and surf. This greatly adds to the boat stability.

I’d stay away from the canoe camping books as my canoes in the past carried as much as my car could and paddled well with a load.

A book I like for backing packing is “Backpacking - One step at a time”. I’m sure there are many great backpacking books. The basics are to back small and light so it fits in the hatches and paddles well.

It is and it isn’t
A kayak camper’s needs are different. FrankNC’s tip below is precisely the kind of trick-of-the-trade or “institutional memory” that I value. In a word, I would never carry on my back what I carry in my boat, and I take it for a reason. Because the two are different. But there is a lot of overlap, you’re right. One difference that comes to mind in the Northwest: the logistics of camping on sand.

Float bags?!
If you have space to fit inflatable float bags over your gear, you’re simply not bringing enough stuff!

As for stability, try lining the bottom of your hatches with bottles of beer and Scotch whiskey before packing the camping gear on top–this will offer a lower center-of-gravity, as well as improving your mood at the end of a long paddling day.

Good luck!



Two favorites are
"The Complete Sea Kayaker’s Handbook" by Shelley Johnson, and “Complete Sea Kayak Touring” by Jonathon Hanson. Gear has changed a lot since they were written, but both are great books. Stoves, tents, etc are a lot lighter; more people use dehydrated food; many people use tarps or hammocks instead of tents. Packing is simpler and the load is just a bit lighter these days.

If you can backpack…
You can kayak camp!

not much difference! Though we paddlers temnd to think like car-campers instead of backpackers!

I watched a young woman ask “I’m a backpacker, can i kayak camp?”

I asked, “What’s your base weight?”

“About 22#”

Easy! You can fit you entire gear in that 12’ kayak and have room for more food and luxuries."

I would suggest that you get a good water filter though! Save weight and bulk.

And invest in decent dry-bags of differnt sizes. Purge-valves are wonderful!

Ignore most of what you read. I find most of the books are written by people who never actually did it!

And many of the websites are done by people who never thought things through. Like packingt heir tent in the far bow so they have to unload everything in the rain and mud just to set up their tent.

I even take my B&N Nook e-reader though I am looking into a solar recharger for it.

Hmmm, never seen a book specific to that
But there are lots of general sea kayaking books that have a chapter about kayak camping. It ain’t rocket science.

Not exactly like backpacking, because instead of everything going into one big bag, you want to divide and conquer into smaller waterproof dry bags. Otherwise, the stuff won’t fit in your hatches, as you probably already know.

Also, the weight distribution is obviously different! You have to load for trim as well as logical access (like don’t stuff the sleeping bag on top of emergency gear). Slippery nylon or polyester bags make loading easier than PVC or its current substitute.

Another difference is that for kayaks you are more concerned with compactness than weight.

Practice with some test runs on day trips near home. You’re going to end up tweaking your load placement, so might as well do it before a big trip.

A principle common to both kayak camping and other self-propelled camping: Make equipment do double- or triple-duty whenever possible.

Backpacking teaches simplicity. Living simply in the outdoors allows you to focus on what counts, like the beauty around you.

My kayak (125 litres) can hold about twice or so what my backpack holds (55 litres). That implies medium-weight backpacking equipment plus a few luxury items you wouldn’t take backpacking, like a folding seat, saw, wood carrier, and real food versus dehydrated.

I don’t find my camping needs are much different whether backpacking or kayaking. Many backpackers camp on sand.

My main point is that kayak camping isn’t all that complicated. It never occurred to me to read a book about it. Some tips:

Research your location well.

Check the weather carefully.

Pare down your packing list as much as possible.

Include emergency food.

Be prepared for rain and cold.

Launch at sunrise or after 5:00 p.m. if you don’t enjoy wind.

Be prepared for any animals in your area (e.g., bring a bear bag)

Load kayak. Paddle to site. Set up tent. That’s about it.

Two different styles of kayak camping: set up a base camp and do day trips from there, or move from site to site.

solar charger
When you find that solar charger, I would like to know what you chose. I am looking for one too.

kayak camping
Thanks for all the input. You’ve given me enough info I shouldn’t have as much trouble planing a trip.