Packing list contents

I plan on doing a few 4-5 day trips this summer without a place to stop and purchase food, water or shelter. I have a 15ft kayak. What would your packing list consist of?

I am comfortable with roughing it, and staying in the field from my miltary time, but I would like to see what some of you experienced kayakers/campers/hikers would pack for such a trip.

If you’d care to take the time, please let me know what your packing list would include. All additional advice is welcome!


My List
My list is posted here:

I use this list for canoe and kayak trips. I’ve dropped the filter and use Aqua Mira now, and I’ve lightened a couple other items out of it.

Next year, I’m adding a Tarptent Double Rainbow, and dropping out the tarp and ground sheet. The fleece vest will also be replaced with a primaloft vest.

The mocs and rubbers get dropped for kayaking and are replaced with neo booties and crocs or sandals. Plus, I bring a wetsuit or drysuit. With the wetsuit, I pack my splash top.

much like backpacking…
…except that weight isn’t as much of an issue.

I just figure out what I would need for food and clothes, then add my standard camping gear (tent, cooking gear, sleeping bag, etc.).

I did a write up on my Blog about one overnight trip, and took that as a time to see how much stuff would fit inside my boat (a 17’ Necky Looksha IV). Picture of the contents are on

I did a 6 day self-supported group trip a few years back up in the San Juan Islands of Washington. Because the water there is salt water, and the islands too small to have fresh water sources, we had to carry our water also. All of us had boats about 17’, and we could fit everything we needed for this trip. If you have fresh water that you can filter, you can save a lot of space, so should easily be able to do your trip (may be a bit tight if you also have to carry all your water).

My list
Here is a link to a basic list that I modify depending on the particulars of the trip. For example, if the weather is hot, the long underwear and fleece is ommitted. If you are going to a place where no fire is allowed, you probably don’t need the saw. And so on.

One other thought is to use the list. We made a ten day trip in the north woods a few years back and forgot the first-aid kit and the stove. Both made it into the pile of gear but they both somehow avoided getting thrown in the truck in the mad rush to get going. Now I customize the list at the start and go over it at every break in transportation…when I leave the house, when I transfer gear to the shuttle, when the canoe is packed, etc.

~~Chip Walsh, Gambrills, MD

I am toying with
the idea of a BWCA this year, and I have to say that Bryan’s Nessmuking site is a great resouirce. I will not be as spare as he in my packing, but he has given me a goal to seek.

And he reinforced my decision to obtain a Magic.


My advice
Harry, I do long distance kayak trips and will respond to you or anyone personally. is my website with my last solo journey 851 miles 49 days. The blog and photo gallery follow my trip.

Unfortunately I only use a 12 foot rec kayak, Current Design Kestrel 120HV but I can carry enough food to last 26 days and fluids for 12 days. If you would like more info please contact me be e-mail

Otherwise have a great trip and listen to the water. Hopefully afterwards your will contact me and know what I meant by that remark.