Packing for an overniter

I am doing my first overniter and I need help deciding how to take gear down on an Ocean Kayak. Do I take another tag along boat? How much gear is necessary, like first aid kits, flares, radio, sleeping bags, tent, and chairs. Ice chests will be a big thing and do I use dry Ice? I am going down Black Canyon below Hover Dam and camping at the Az. hot springs. I would apprecieate advice and suggestions. Thank You, Bratt


– Last Updated: Apr-10-07 6:27 PM EST –

(Amended...) Chairs and ice chests aren't necessary luxuries for an overnight and aren't likely to be an easy fit in a SOT. For an overnight, just stick anything perishable in the freezer the night before and by the time you are eating it for dinner it'll have safely thawed.

The only chair that we have found to work well with a kayak is the cover that converts something like a thermarest sleeping pad into a chair. But I've pretty much lost that in favor of a good rock or tree trunk, using the pad to sit on.

As to tow along boats - I don't know what conditions you are dealing with. But the general rule of thumb is to not tow anything in a kayak unless you have some real practice with managing it and a tow system that allows for quick release.

Packing for camping
If there are trees where you are going to camp you can consider a lightweight hammock in lieu of a chair. Consider the Byer Traveller - or make your own - directions at: You’ll probably find you need a lot less than you think. If you can have a fire, you don’t even need cooking supplies, just freeze your dinner in aluminum foil, wrap it up in your sleeping pad for insulation and throw it on some coals when ready to eat.

Black Canyon
Since you’re taking a SOT, I presume you are going with an outfitter and floating down from the launch point just below the dam, rather than padling upstream from Willow Beach. If you’re with friends you can divide the gear carrying chores (tent, stove, etc.). Don’t even think of towing another yak - it would be very ungainly and likely capsize you when it drifted past you in the current. The outfitter probably wouldn’t allow it anyway and rightly so. Since it’s just an overnite, you can both pare down your gear list and take a few luxury items. I use a Crazy Creek camp chair and my “ice chest” is one of the six-pack size soft sided coolers for small items. Any beverages you want to chill can be put in a net bag & hung in the river. Forget flares (there’s nobody to see them and the fire danger is high) or a radio (Black Canyon is a dead spot). If you Google Black Canyon you’ll find some outfitters who have suggested gear lists. Dry bag everything you don’t want wet. Keep your load light.

Hi Bratt

– Last Updated: Apr-10-07 9:51 AM EST –

Are you going with Daryl & Judy April 20? If so, you can likely co-op some cooking gear with them.

As for packing...
minimal stuff. Take a small tent, and pack it well in a dry bag or use one of those heavy duty giant ziplocks they sell now. In an Ocean Kayak, I don't foresee you having trouble with capsizes. Clothing and your sleeping bag, however, definitely use a dry bag. Nothing worse than wet clothes / bed. I've used those backpackers meals, but most of them taste bad. Easy fix is to buy a couple cans of stew or soup and heat them up. Luna Bars are great for breakfast, of course granola packs easily and so do bagels for that matter.

Any small camp stove is fine, and for a cooler, use a collapsible soft side one. I've taken a 12 pack size, frozen some water bottles for ice, and had sandwich meat stay just fine over night. No need for a radio or flares, but a good First Aid kit is a must have. If you have an old Nalgene bottle, you can put one together in that. I usually bring the snake bite kit into Black Canyon with me, but if you just stay aware of where you put your hands / feet when you hike, you'll be fine.

Bring all your water for the trip - there is no water source, unless you have a water filter. (Again, if Daryl's around, I'm sure he'll gladly fill your water bottles) :)

You'll have a great time! Don't forget your camera!


kayak ≠ NDK

the best paddle camping chair is
The sling chair:

But it wont fit into a typical Valley hatch:

So I split it in half, reconnect with dowels in camp:

You cant tell from the photo but when in the hatch is lies flat and takes of little space, what space it does take up is worthwhile for the comfort.

I sleep in a hammock and the sling chair is ever so sweet under the hammock and its fly.

Did you mean me?

– Last Updated: Apr-10-07 8:24 AM EST –

If you meant those charming NDK 10 inch rounds and my expectations, I know that there are boats that'll fit this stuff. We have two in the basement with oval hatches. And there are alternatives that fit thru the rounds if you want to get really creative - and more expensive.

I don't figure the options on a SOT are any better than in my NDK boat, at least from the overall storage space on Ocean SOT's I've seen.

Overall though, for someone in a SOT doing an overnight, already talking about having to maybe tow a boat for their gear... it seems a bit premature to start worrying about the super packable options. If they do enough camping they'll find their way to that stuff themselves. But for what appears to be a trip that is early along in their kayaking, it's an expensive experiment. And for the items mentioned, I've not found that they are necessary on an overnight camping trip.

Loading boats
If you have never been camping in your boat, I would suggest loading your boat at home first. When I got my new boat I took it to the lake and loaded it up and paddled around for a while.It’s nice knowing excactly what fits where and how the boat handles load to the gills before you are actualy on the trip.It also means you are not the one holding everyone up at the put-in.

Freeze Water Bottles
That way when they melt you can drink the water and it will be nice and cold.

Hey there Tracy! I am not going with them. I am taking Mike my husband for the first time (on his part, you know) and we are staying the nite. I want to pack a sleeping bag, tent, pillows and Ice chests,( bye the way that idea for freezing water bottles for ice is great!)those are a must. Do I take a tandem and pack gear that way cause it wont fit at all on a single, at least I might be wrong. Thanks for writing me, I should of talked to you guys, duh!LOL Me

SOT camping article
This article has pretty good info on camping out of an SOT.

That article was the bomb. Nice magazine. Perfect, thank you!

If you’ve never tried to pack a kayak before, try it at home first. You’ll be surprised with what will and will not fit. My M.O. is more along the lines of what Celia does for a trip, but everyone has different priorities. Trying it before you start the trip will be the best way of knowing for sure.

Good article…
and very timely for the spring and summer season!

Thank you for all the advise, folks! See you on the water.

Minimize, minimize, minimize
Definitely no tag along boat. If you can’t fit it in or on you boat, don’t take it.

Ditch the chairs, get a chair conversion kit for your thermarest, or just lean it up against a log or something.

Even on a one-nighter, you can eat pretty well with nonperishable items, so shouldn’t need an icechest. That water should be cold enough to cool down any drinks or anything, just hang it in a mesh bag.

If you REALLY want to bring perishable items, don’t bring an icechest, use a softsided cooler.

This would be my basic list for a trip like that:

Small, light, compact tent

Tent Footprint


Sleeping bag


Mess kit

Utensil kit

Water bottle

Water filter

Candle lantern


Disposable lighters

Latrine spade

Marine toilet paper

Biodegradable soap

First Aid Kit


A couple of pair river shorts


Water shoes

Smartwool socks

Pants for night

Fleece jacket




A flask of something nice

Lipton sides

Dry sausage

Hard cheese


Collapsible fishing rod

Little tackle box


Great resource

Great site by one of our frequent posters (Bryan).