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How to perfectly plan a kayak camping trip

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Whether you are a complete novice or a professional kayaker, the planning and preparation phase is of utmost importance. 

If you and your family are always up for an adventure, a kayak camping trip can be a memorable experience for you. However, you must plan for your trip in advance to enjoy your time and ensure your safety. Whether you are a complete novice or a professional kayaker, the planning and preparation phase is of utmost importance. Follow these steps to plan a perfect kayak camping trip.

Step 1: Choose an optimum location
This can be accomplished by studying the type of water for kayaking and the camping location you are interested in.

● Type of water
Your first kayaking experience will primarily depend on the type of water you choose to paddle on. For beginners, the best type is flat water as it provides enough stability. After you gain some experience, you can switch to whitewater or open water.

● Camping location
Gather information about some lakes, rivers, and camping locations in your vicinity. Prepare a list and compare the distance and safety by checking online reviews and taking recommendations from your friends and family. If you choose a remote location, you must learn more about your site’s access points to exit during an emergency.

Step 2: Gather your tools and gear
Without the right tools and gear, your kayak camping experience will turn into a major failure. You need the right kind of camping, kayaking, and safety gear to experience a hassle-free camping trip.

● Camping gear
While you do need necessary camping gear, you must pack light to make your journey smoother. Some necessary camping tools and gear include:

  • A tent
  • Poop trowel
  • Sleeping bag
  • A few dry bags
  • Toiletries
  • Stove
  • Drinking and cleaning water
  • A flashlight
  • Matches or a lighter
  • Rain gear
  • Camping clothes

If you have a medical condition or are prone to sudden allergic reactions, carry your medicines as well.

● Kayaking gear
Needless to say, the first thing you need is a strong and durable kayak. You don’t have to break the bank to find a good kayak, though; if you look online, you will find the best fishing kayak under 1000 dollars that will fit your budget. Aside from the cost, you should consider other necessary aspects such as the kayak’s length, size, and style, as well as the type of water you will be paddling on. If you are a beginner who is looking for something stable, recreational kayaks can be the ideal choice for you. You can also consider touring or whitewater kayaks, depending on the storage space you have and the type of water you will be paddling on. Apart from a strong kayak, you will also need a paddle to row your kayak. When choosing a paddle, pay attention to factors like weight, quality, durability, paddle length, blade shape, and feathering angle. If you are a beginner, pick a lightweight paddle that is typically made of carbon fiber or composite laminates.

● Safety equipment
Carry a first aid kit with enough medicines, band-aids, and ointment to treat accidents or injuries. If the location is remote or within the woods, carry a mosquito repellant to avoid bites. Apart from this, carry a map and a compass to mark your direction. If you are planning to stay overnight in the camp area, do not forget to carry a flashlight.

Step 3: Check LNT paddling guidelines in your zone
LNT, or Leave No Trace paddling guidelines, refer to a set of seven principles curated for paddlers and campers to have a safe and enjoyable camping experience while preserving the camping spot. Basically, these seven principles aim to help travelers make their trips as eco-friendly as possible, and they are as follows:

  1. Plan ahead and prepare for your trip.
  2. Make sure that your camping location and surface is durable.
  3. Dispose of waste in proper spots.
  4. Do not touch or take what you find.
  5. Burn out the campfire completely before you leave the site.
  6. Protect and respect wildlife.
  7. Respect other visitors and be considerate of them.

Step 4: Pack enough food
If you wish to stay more than one day at the camping site, you must pack enough food, especially if the location is remote. Most people underestimate the amount of food they pack on trips. Since kayaking is an intense activity that will drain your energy, you will get hungrier and will need more food than you usually eat. It is wiser to pack more food for your trip. Pack several high-calorie snacks such as crackers, chocolates, nuts, nut butter, Fritos, energy bars, olive oil, and cookies to eat whenever you feel hungry. If you have the luxury, carry your barbecue grill to cook hamburgers by the lake.

Step 5: Calculate your paddling mileage
If you are a beginner, you must calculate the number of miles you can paddle in a day. Since kayaking is a tiring activity, stick to the recommended mileage without getting too ambitious. If you are planning a trip for two or more days, it is wiser to follow the mileage plan. To calculate your daily mileage, consider the type of water body and its current. Look at this chart and determine the type of water body and its current to calculate your paddling mileage:

  • Flat water with no current: 10 to 15 miles
  • Open water with normal current: 10 to 15 miles
  • Flatwater, river: 15 or more miles
  • Whitewater: Consult a professional kayaker or a guide

Even though beginner paddlers can travel more than 15 to 20 miles a day, it is wiser to start with shorter distances and increase your distance with experience.


Photo by Snapwire from Pexels

Step 6: Prepare your vehicle
Lastly, prepare your vehicle and fill enough fuel to reach your destination and back. The last thing you want is a broken car midway to ruin your trip. Get it professionally checked for any faults and flat tires. Keep a toolkit handy and learn how to change a flat tire, especially if you are planning to visit a remote area that will not have any mechanics nearby. Make sure that your partner, friends, or the people accompanying you on the trip know how to drive a car to have a backup. Check and mark accessible gas stations near your camping location.

These simple steps will ensure that you spend an unforgettable kayaking and camping trip with your friends and family. By following this step-by-step guide, you will not only experience a memorable kayaking trip but will also ensure the safety of your companions. With these tips in mind, you should now be ready to plan your next kayak camping trip. 


Main photo by Uriel Castellanos from Pexels

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