At some point you will start wondering why paddling needs to be just for an afternoon and you begin thinking why not paddle then camp.
Planning an overnight kayak trip involves research, conversation, and packing. Ensuring you are properly packed (i.e. read minimal/light) before you leave is crucial.
Protect all your gear from the elements. Store all your stuff in dry bags – they are your best friend as they protect your camping and electronic gear. Water will get everywhere- don’t take any chances!
You’ll probably find it easier to use lots of smaller dry bags instead of a few larger bags, to better adapt to the oddly-shaped interior of most kayaks. Your bags should be colour coded for organisation. Get lightweight bags with an internal rubberised waterproof coating.
While they may not be great when it comes to punctures (you need to take care!), these bags easily slide past one another when jammed into a cargo compartment, making packing more efficient. As you close each dry bag, be sure to squeeze out as much air as possible before rolling down the neck seal, to conserve precious space inside your compartments.
Keep Your Balance
Heavier items like food and water should be packed near the middle of your kayak, preferably just behind the rear bulkhead, while lighter, bulky items like sleeping bags and clothing get packed toward the ends. Everything should be packed low and centred from side-to-side, to keep your kayak stable and balanced.
Paddling Gear to Match the Conditions
It is surprising how often people leave without knowing the conditions. Check this out and speak with the locals! Reading a map is one thing – getting local intelligence on tide changes, eddies and quick tips really helps.
Check for any books on local waters- you will learn so much by reading and can often apply some of this to other stretches that are less well known!
Think about the chances of losing a paddle, being attacked by a world of mosquitoes all day long, etc. Trust me- camping then paddling near mangroves has a downside if not prepared…
Here’s an example packing list:
• Synthetic Undershorts, 3 Pair
• Synthetic Fleece Long Underwear PJs: Fleece, Sleeping Socks
• Camp Shirts, 2
• Waterproof-Breathable Rain Jacket
• Para Kito Insect Repellent
• Waterproof Headlamp
• small towel
• Multi-Tool (a saviour)
• Food (lightweight- forget about cans as much as you can)
• fast boiling stove
• Cookware (small as possible)
• 8 litres of water (soft carry case)
• Eatware (foldable)
• Firestarting Sticks, Lighter
• Tent: Be sure it packs down to a manageable size to fit in your canoe or kayak. You can sometimes separate into smaller parts if you have enough dry bags.
• Sleeping bag: The sleeping bag should be chosen based on the weather conditions.