Paddling down the river with friends on a kayak camping trip is a fantastic way to spend the day...or a few. At least until you’re just far enough from shore that the current is picking up and you realize that you forgot something crucial. Like bug spray. Or a sunscreen. Or the beer. Gulp.
Planning a multi-day kayaking expedition for multiple people can feel a little overwhelming if you don't have your kayak camping packing list on point. A little leg work up front, though can help you avoid catastrophes like sunburn, dehydration and being eaten alive by bugs. That way you can spend your time on the creek concentrating on how much fun you’re having and the memories you’re making.
Kayak Camping Gear Checklist
Prep For Any Weather
The first item on any kayak camping packing list worth its salt is the gear that will keep you dry. It's not only the river or lake you have to worry about, but also precipitation. Think waterproof camera, rain jacket, cover for your backpack, base layers, extra socks, an extra dry bag, a tarp, a fly for your tent or hammock, waterproof firestarter, etc.
Protect Your Bod
When you're prepping your kayak camping checklist, leave no nook or cranny unprotected. You'll need things like sunscreen, sunglasses, bug spray, baby wipes, toilet paper, poop shovel, feminine hygiene products, a hat, chapstick, deodorant, biodegradable soap, first aid kit, multitool or pocket knife, pepper spray or bear mace, sewing kit, NOAA radio, emergency flares, repair kit for your watercraft, water shoes, swimsuit, rash guard, etc.
Cozy From Creek to Campsite
It's easy to forget that the river is just part of your journey. Just as important to your kayak trip packing list as paddles, rope, and a dry suit are warm socks, a sleeping pad, tent, warm sleeping bag, headlamp, camp chair, trash bags, a blanket, lantern, essential oils, a book, board or lawn games, glow sticks, waterproof speakers, phone charger and battery pack, tent or gear patches, binoculars, disposable cameras, etc.
Eat Good When You ‘Yak Pack
One of the major advantages of camping via kayak or canoe over backpacking on land is that you don’t have to worry quite so much about weight as long as it’s distributed evenly.
That’s even more true when you have a CreekKooler floating behind you like your own little pantry and bar. Consider not just your basic menu of food, drinks, and extra water, but also everything you need to prep it, including a camp stove + fuel, lighter, water filters and extra containers, coffee or tea, ice depending on trip length, etc.
These are just the basics to get your list started. It's up to you, your friends, and what kind of 'yaks you have if you'll also want to bring things like fishing gear for kayaks, games to play at camp or on the water, adult beverages, rock climbing gear, etc. It's nice to know that you have the extra space to bring along extra fun, however, thanks to having your CreekKooler pull along cooler in tow.