How to Prepare for an Overnight Kayaking Trip

An overnight kayak trip allows you to escape and spend some much needed time surrounded by nature. While it is somewhat similar to backpacking, there are a few things you’ll want to do to prepare for a successful trip. Whether this is your first overnight kayak trip or you are ready to try a multiday excursion, read on for some guidance on how to take your adventures to the next level.

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Tips to Keep in Mind Before Your Kayak Camping Trip

If this is your first time planing an overnight kayak trip, you might want to consider a guided tour with a group or stick to a popular route with established campgrounds. It will be just as fun and allow you to connect with others while having a clear direction and plan to follow.

If you are kayaking alone, be sure to:

  • Plan where you will camp. Since you most likely will pass through some private property, make sure you know exactly where you can stop and camp.
  • Check the weather. Weather conditions can change fast, and rivers can rise or even flood. Look ahead at the forecast and have a way to check the weather throughout your trip, so nothing unexpected occurs.
  • Tell family and friends about your trip. As a safety precaution, make sure others know when you are leaving, where you plan to go and when you expect to come back.

What to Pack for Your Overnight Kayaking Trip

If you’re interested in exploring a longer stretch of water or combining kayaking with a bit of backpacking, overnight kayaking trips typically use very similar gear to backpacking. The one key difference is that you must protect your gear from moisture. While you can store a few things in your kayak hatch, it’s safer to pack your items in dry bags. 

Plan on bringing the following for your overnight kayak trip:

  • Kayak, extra paddle and life jacket
  • Tent or shelter 
  • Sleeping bag
  • Clothes and toiletries 
  • Food and water (and a water filtration system in case you run out of water)
  • Fire starter, stove or cooking kit 
  • Map (in case you lose phone reception)
  • First-aid kit, hand sanitizer and sunscreen

Once you pack your items in dry bags, distribute the weight evenly between your kayak’s bow and stern. Ideally, you want to get the weight as low and centered as possible. 

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