Preparing for Your Kayak Camping Trip
Kayak camping is totally different from backpacking trips. Its preparation demands more caution keeping in mind the extent of water contact during the trip. The hatches of the boat are of interesting shape and there are limitations on how much to pack and what to place in the boat. It is important to load the boat with all the accessories before heading out for the trip.
Heavy items should occupy the bottom of the boat and close to the cockpit so that they stay away from the stern and the bow. The weight of the boat should be reasonably balanced between the front and back and between the left and right. Let us discuss another important point to consider while preparing for the kayak camping trip.
Preparing For The Kayak Camping Trip:
- Choosing the Destination
- Packing appropriately
- Loading the boat promptly
Choosing the Destination:
Picking up the right destination is important. It is not a wise choice to decide on the destination on the go with prior planning. This is because there are locations that may not allow a kayak. It may mandate to take prior permission to camp around the area while paddling from pertinent authorities. One should choose a destination that has a civilization nearby so as to take help in case of emergencies.
These are some important reasons why planning is important before setting out for the kayak trip. It is also convenient to check the weather reports before planning on the trip.
It is important to pack the kayak right depending on its load bearing capacity and depending on the number of co-kayakers in the boat. Storage space is limited even in the largest of kayaks and thus adequate planning should go into packing the right things. Essential things such as maps, navigation compass, additional pair of clothes, repair tools, first aid equipment, food, and drinks are the must to pack.
Loading the boat promptly:
Following the guidelines helps to paddle safety without having to worry about unexpected problems in the kayak boat. Some important tips for packing the kayak appropriately are,
- Heavier items should occupy the center of the kayak. And the lighter items should take their position closer to the stern or bow of the boat.
- Essential items such as food, water, first aid items should have a place within the reach of the arm so that the kayaker is able to reach them while paddling.
- Sensitive gear such as mobile phones, wallet, maps and a pair of clothing should be in the dry bags.
- Try not to clutter the deck of the boat with gear.
- Ensure that nothing falls off the kayak after packing by securing them appropriately.
Essential Gear For Kayak Camping Trip:
The most important gear for a kayak camping trip is the Kayak and the paddle. This depends on the number of kayakers and the type of water. Other important gears to hold are discussed here,
Deck Compass: Irrespective of backpacking on the dry land or on the waters, the camper needs to have a clear sense of direction. A navigation compass is a must and should have straps wand waterproofing. They should also be able to mount on the deck of the kayak be it kayaking on a foggy lake or an ocean.
Dry Pack: Dry clothing is a must of kayak camping as it helps to keep dry and warm. Also, wet clothes stick on to the skin dry salt soaked seaweeds and are itchy, heavy and uncomfortable. Dry packs with thermoplastic urethane with nylon encasing is best for both camping and paddling.
Bilge Pump: water can get into the hulk of the boat and create a dangerous situation. Also, the act of paddling can splash water into the boat. The bilge pump comes handy to extract at least half liter of water from the kayak in one move with its double action pump.
Kayak repair kit: This kit helps to repair a hole or a crack created in the boat because of a rock on the repair. It is possible to prepare a repair kit instantly using multi-use tools, sealant, static cord, bungee cords, duct tapes etc. All these are available easily in a local gear shop.
Waterproof Headlamp: Most of the kayak camps happen in the bright daylight and the campers are back home before the sunset. In case if it happens to stay in the site after dark, these headlamps come to lay. They help to paddle comfortably in the dark and are water resistant as well.
Water Resistant Sleeping Bags: They are easy to pack in the kayak and used for sleeping in the campsite. It maintains warmness and is still lightweight. Its outer nylon water resistant finish with down defender systems are likely to resist water even in wet conditions.
Lightweight Sleeping Pad: Inflatable sleeping pads are good for two reasons. One they are comfortable and lightweight and the second they can behave as lake floaty.
Multipurpose Tent: A good tent is good to use in backcountry camping and also during kayak camping. It packs easily and is lightweight as well. This comes handy for those kayak campers who wish to spend the night in the campground after a tiring day of kayaking.
Outdoor Water Filter: When the campers are out in kayak camping, they are surrounded by water, but it is not sterile. Packing a micro water filter is simple and essential for kayak camping trip. As the storage options are limited in the boat it is better to carry a filter rather than many bottles of water.
Camping Stove: A single burner camping stove is sturdy and compact. It is easy to pack and comes handy in preparing simple dishes in the campsite. For solo backpackers and kayak campers packing a cooking unit is a must.
Coolers: Coolers are not always the best of mobile cargo but are vital in keeping the perishables cold. They help to keep food and drinks fresh for days. If the kayak allows this additional load, then it is always good to pack the cooler.
Personal Floating Device: PFD is extremely important to ensure personal safety. They do have breathing mesh at the back. Thus they don’t rub against the seat and create so much heat. They are soft, flexible, lightweight and are a must safety gears to carry.
First-aid Kit: First Aid kits are a must irrespective of the type of outdoor activity. All basic equipment should be sealed in a waterproof bag for kayak camping. These include bandages, creams, gauze, and medication.
Personal Locator Beacon: They help to contact a friend for help when lost in the waters. With just a button press, signals are sent via satellite to the rescue team. SOS messages and the exact location of the victim is sent to the rescue team. They also float in the water and help to send SOS signals.
Sunscreen: Kayak camping allows exposing the skin to the harmful UV rays of the sun. A sunscreen with a high SPF is a must to carry for kayak camping.
Kayak camping is a little different from backpacking, for the reason that the camper will be surrounded by water most of the time. All of the gear should be water resistant or stored in water resistant bags for a successful trip. With proper precautions, proper gear and appropriate planning, kayak camping can be one of the most rewarding experience for any adventurer.