What Equipment to Pack for A Kayaking Camping Trip

What Equipment to Pack for A Kayaking Camping Trip

We’ve all been there, packing for a camping trip; this is by far the most stressful packing experience. If you have not experienced this maddening task, trying to remember if you packed the barbeque utensils or enough socks to last you a lifetime, doing it for the first time is challenging.

Camping and kayaking are two of the most freeing adventures out there! Living in the wild for a few days with nothing but nature around you can be very relaxing. When you put these two experiences together, you are left with the most amazing adventure there is. However, when combining camping and kayaking into one trip, this can be even more difficult to pack for.

camping and kayaking
Before you start to pack, a detailed plan of your trip is necessary to have. Knowing where you are going and what the climate is like is very important! Depending on how far you are traveling, the more equipment you’ll need to bring.

Paddling down the river during the day and laying back by the fire at night sounds like a dream vacation if you ask me! Here are a few tips to make your packing experience a little less stressful!

What Equipment Should You Bring?

When packing for a kayaking camping trip it is easy to over pack. To make it easier, I always say, think like a backpacker! These two adventures are very similar regarding the equipment you’ll be needing and using.

Camping Gear

  • Sleeping bag
  • Compact stove and fuel
  • Kitchen kit (pans, mugs, cutlery, etc.)
  • Headlamp
  • Food
  • Toiletries
  • Purification system
  • Water storage
  • Bag for garbage

Wearable Gear

  • Thermal layers
  • Dry layers for camp & sleeping
  • Wetsuit or dry suit
  • Rain jacket and pants
  • Waterproof footwear and sandals
  • Waterproof gloves
  • Swimsuits
  • Thermal socks
  • Bag for dirty or wet clothes

Safety Gear

  • Tarp for shelter
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Knife
  • Whistle
  • Personal Flotation Device
  • Communication device
  • GPS 
  • Backup equipment and parts
  • Small sewing kit
  • Duct tape 
  • Zip ties


  • Water bottle
  • Lighters
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Any camping or travel permits

Now depending on the type of kayaking camping trip, either sea-kayaking or river kayaking, you will need to bring specific gear with you. This will include helmets, maps, radio and more.

camping and kayaking trips

How to Organize Your Gear in The Most Efficient Way

This is all about personal preference, everyone has their own way of packing! But if you've never done it before here are some helpful tips;

  1. Pack all your equipment, clothes and necessities in their own dry bags; this keeps everything organized in your kayak and will save you time when looking for one specific item.
  2. Label your bags and keep a list of everything that is in each bag; yes, this is very time consuming but trust me, you’ll be thankful you took the time to organize yourself!
  3. Every kayak that you’ll look at has a maximum weight that you can bring so be cautious of what you have; if you don't need it don't bring it.
  4. When loading your boat with your gear, light items should be packed at the front and back of the kayak while the heavier items are in the middle; anything important should be packed within arm's reach.

Now, I know this is all very nerve-wracking but just think of all the fun and freedom you're going to have on this amazing kayaking camping trip! Yes, packing is daunting, but it is all totally worth it. Just remember to bring all your kayaking equipment!