Water for Long Ocean Kayak Trip

I am going to go from Galveston, TX to Miami, FL along the Gulf Coast Leaving in Aug or maybe a bit later. I was worried about water so I went to Amazon and look up water containers. They all seem to have a leak problems.

I was wondering if it is safe to take a few 2 litter plastic Soda bottles, say 10 bottles, filled with water with me, as if you suspend them upside down filled with liquid, they dont leak.

I wold also appreciate any other advice you all may have.

Is anyone else thinking of taking a trip like this?

Anyone doing the islands in Maine has to carry water, there is no water on most of them. I personally have mostly used water bladders like from Platypus, they collapse when empty to be flat so don’t take up space. And don’t roll around like a soda bottle does, I hate paddling hearing a bottle rolling around in the boat.

I don’t really understand why you think they need to be stored upside down. The other gear in the hatch with them should be in dry bags, or a good garbage bag, anyway.

There are rules for how much water per day to carry, usually around 2.7 liters.

Here is a link to the kind of water bladder I mean, lots of sources. The nice thing about these is that you can get a tube to run from it and stash them under the skirt or on a deck, then just sip as needed.

The other thing that helps is float bags, inflate them inside the bulkhead and stuff does not roll around.

In general I suggest you look first at paddling sites, like nrsweb.com, for gear rather than Amazon.

Pop bottles don’t lose their fizz in the fridge, so since they are airtight they ought to be watertight no problem. I’d trust them over most unopened bottled water bottles, although some brands are fairly sturdy. But you would need to stow them snugly so they don’t roll around and smash into things as you take on waves.

I use the Platypus for my water bottles, they are quality bottles.
Other choices (that I’ve used on long trips):

  • MSR drom bladders - many sizes, toughness
    I’ve used the 2, 4 and 10 liter ones. (REI has them)
  • 64oz Nalgene rectangular bottles
    I’ve used to store food, when food used up, replaced with water (during trip)

btw, maybe carry more that one kind for safety (redundancy) in case one type fails.

I would suggest for this item (& other items for your trip) to do a 1 week ‘shakedown’ trip to make sure you like your choice.
(for example: if you did decide on a round bottle, you would quickly discover how it rolls around on your shakedown trip)

I like the Dromedary water bladders but to buy several of them is expensive. Yes we have used 2 liter soda bottles in the kayaks for fresh water. But do tie string around the necks.When they get way up in the bow ( and they do fit well) they can get stuck there and it is hard to reach that far forward. It helps to have a length of something to encourage them to come out. With the constraints of a kayak we have never had rolling around problems. Its easy to nest them amongst your waterprotected or waterproof camping gear.
The quality of stuff on Amazon is often iffy. Anyone can sell anything and post a fake review,

As you are not paddling in a cool environment you should plan on more like 3.5 liters a day in your area. I have seen people run out in Florida in the Everglades back country. That is not a place you want to be desperate and it is nice to have some resources to lend someone a hand should that circumstance arise.

What might be more paramount is that you have a marine radio. That season of the year is sometimes a killer with hurricanes. Keep up to date

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I understand your budget savvy approach to water storage. While I agree with the bladder approach, I suggest you trial your idea on a few day trips and report back on impressions. If it works for you, then it is viable. I have used empty bulk wine bladders if you have access through personal consumption or through friends who favor those containers.

Wrong time of year for that trip per my experience paddling and camping the northern Gulf region. It is a much more pleasant paddle starting in Nov or even mid Oct. As mentioned by others, heat and the treat of hurricanes/tropical storms make your voyage much more precarious. And my personal favorite is the ever present mosquitoes & gnats at day break/sunset/night which make warm weather camping miserable along our Gulf Coast.

Brand name bladder products, like Dromedary and Playtpus, work very well and are reliable. The fact that they collapse down as the water is emptied is a big benefit for packing. And the fact they are flexible makes them easier to pack in smaller spaces, even when full. Given the length of the trip you are planning, spending the money for these products may be worth doing.

Using solid bottles, such as reusing soda bottles, would work to hold water. Cheap, effective, but likely won’t pack down well. If you go this route, you may want to look at other drink containers to see if they could be of a more beneficial size/shape than the standard soda bottle.

The quantity of water you need also seems to be in question, and that is mostly based on how often you think you can refill your bottles. You likely won;t find fresh water streams to filter water out of, so unless you get a desalinater, you will need to find fresh water sources at marinas, parks, and homes. About a gallon a day is what is generally recommended, but given the temps of the area you are at and how you likely wills sweat more to keep cool, you may need more.

I was thinking of starting in November, and doing short 2-3 days trips around Galveston for now. I was just frustrated about reading about bottles and canisters that leak. I did the 2litter soda bottle upside down for 3 days to make sure it didnt leak. I test everything before I do something. Saves me a bit of frustration. Sorry if there was confusion. I dont want to spend money on things that will fail me. I will look into Dromedary and Playtpus, thank you.

I was planning to take about 20-30 litters. About 40/60 lbs. 40lbs might be better. A liter of water is 2lbs. I was thinking 2L bottles. But will look into the playtpus and the other

I plan if I come across a river on the trip East I will see if I can go up them.

Anyone interested in going with me?

What will you be paddling & how many miles per day anticipated? Depending on my schedule, I may be able to join for about a few days to a week in the MS,AL,FL region.

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I will have a Oldtown Castine 145. I am not going to be pushing I am planning 6 months to get to Maine. I want to explore and say hello to people. Let me know when you might like to go on a trip.

When do you want to go to Maine? And where in Maine?

I spend time in the midcoast region every summer and there are others here with much more familiarity than me.

I am a little concerned about the 6 months if it counts from now because it puts you into November or so and some more difficult weather. That is about when the lobster folks start thinking about switching to their winter boat because of conditions. There is also the issue of water temperature, dry suit time which may not be something you have needed that far south.

I’ve used 2 L soda bottles many times on trips, my advice after paddling in Baja in the summer is to take twice as much water as you think you will need. Keep extras behind the seat and tied down. The bottles are actually easy to pack in hatches on the bottom on the keel, and then put gear on top, they stay in place, and give you some extra ballast low in the boat, and actually large tripper boats actually roll easier when loaded. I carried a large colappsing plastic container on the rear deck. In high heat and humidity I sweat like crazy. Rolling to cool off may not work where you are going. I always flip water onto myself a lot and let it evaporate and cool when paddling, I also take a hat I can soak in the water and evaporate, keeping your head cool will work like a radiator. Take a couple of two day test runs to see how your gear/clothing choices actually work.

Back to the rolling bottle thing.

They won’t roll around if you have a fair amount of camping gear in there with/on top of them.

They will roll around if you empty the boat out to set up a camp site and leave them without that kind of stuffing around them.

So it seems like you need two categories of container for a trip in that kind of heat. One would be the water containers that come out of the boat and stays at a camp site if you plan to stay put for a couple of days and explore an area. Doesn’t matter much what those are, soda bottle fine.

The other is water supplies that would go out with you for a day trip. The bladders like Platypus etc intended for that use might be a better idea for those days.

I agree that summer is the wrong time for such a trip. So how many days do you think you are going to go before resupply of fresh water. ? Is 20-30 liters just a wild eyed guess? Sounds like you have some more planning to do. A couple of 3 day trips will answer a lot of questions.

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Keep in touch. My Fall schedule for work gets crazy so I will not commit now. Touch base about a month before getting to the MS coast area and I will be able to plan better about joining you. Your open water legs will be challenging in a 14.5 foot kayak.

Also, unless something has recently changed that I don’t know about, the Chandeleur Islands in LA are closed to camping due to shoreline degradation from storms and sea bird habitat. And, that is about a 6 - 8 day paddle without water refill opportunity once you leave Venice LA. If going coastal/inshore route you will have better opportunities to refill/camp.

You must be kidding. Winter paddling is a whole different animal. Ever watch the Perfect Storm? You do not want to casually paddle in the Northeast between the end of October and the end of April.
Please make this a two stage trip.Plus your boat seems to not be as big as we recommend for these waters on the Atlantic. Gulf and Atlantic waters are very different.

I have alot of planning to todo. I think that planning when you know nothing is good. I want to learn to pack a kayak, roll it ect. I will make sure.

I plan to stay near shore 1-2 miles so I can talk to people but not run aground. Growing up during the summers in Maine, my grandfather took me sailing, and he said the tide can be several yards away from the beach at one time and touching another.

Celia what if I get a 2.5 Gallon jug and funnal and 4 or 5 2L bottles would that be better?

Hank I never heard of the Chandeleur islands.

ppine, your right 20-30 litters is a wild guess. I am learning. The 3 day trips will teach me more. I was hoping there would be instructors but most places here are close down still.

Kayamedic. I done winter camping. In New England / Maine. I also know the ocean along Maine coast dont ice up usually but the water is just above freezing. Something I learned about the Golf waters, they dont usually fall below 50. I have also camped in January just above Dallas for a month. So I know about the cold here in Texas. I plan to leave in December so that it will be early spring. I may goto LA for a few trips but no much further. I have been in the Water in January in both places, and I would much rather it be here rather then Up there.

I know I am learning alot right now from you, ppine, Hank and Celia. Thank You so much. Please keep the advice coming.

In general more smaller containers work out better in a kayak. Try the jug and see how it works l guess, honestly that size jug would not fit comfortably in my boats so l can’t judge.

The tide in Maine runs from 9 to 12 feet in the southern portions to 22 or so feet at the Bay of Fundy. I am a bit concerned about the lack of terminology you have around tides if you are talking about Maine. There are places where the tide can be a bit pushy and you need to have the habit of planning around that to maintain safety margins.

And for that water there is no way around a drysuit for most of the year. If you are just starting out that is a big chunk of change.

I also think that traveling a mile or two offshore solo is above what you will have the judgement to handle for a longer time than later this year. I have been paddling the same bay in Maine in a sea kayak for about 20 years, in the most reliable part of the season. And extraordinarily conservatively these days in term of conditions. But l still go out assuming l could get thrown a curve ball by Ma Nature that could use all the talents l have and then some.

Start by learning to roll and self rescue as soon as you can. That will shake out skills issues faster than anything. Look on the ACA site for local coaches, or call any local place even they are not obviously open. Might still be able to arrange some private lessons in basics.

Kruger & Landick did the section your are considering as a part of their 25,000 mile in 1980 - 1983. It is touched on in chapteers 4 & 5 here: https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Canoe-Challenge-Through-America/dp/0595335799

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