The Ultimate Packing List For Kayak Camping Gear

The Ultimate Packing List For Kayak Camping Gear

Abigail ScottByAbigail Scott
Updated on 9/29/2022

Organizing a kayak camping trip has the potential to develop into a living nightmare for several reasons:

You have finally arrived at your destination after paddling for several hours, after spending a significant amount of time trying to compile a list, obtaining camping equipment, and packing it. Only to realize that you did not bring insect repellent or a flashlight.

Oh, by the way, it happened to one of my friends.

In any case, I've put together this kayak camping gear checklist so that you won't forget anything important and may have an enjoyable, hassle-free experience while kayak camping. I have provided you with a list broken down into categories for ease of use. Inside each type, you will find all of the fundamentals and necessities and a few supplemental items for a cozy evening beneath the stars.

So, to prepare for your next kayak camping trip, what do you need to bring? Let's look at this article and see what we find out!

Kayaking Essentials

When getting ready for kayak camping trips, one of the first things to think about is what you'll need for the kayak journey itself, which is one of the most apparent needs.

To put it another way, before we get to the "camping" bit, let's analyze the "kayak" component in more detail.

1. Kayak (No Kidding)

Wilderness Systems Tsunami 145 | Sit Inside Touring Kayak

First things first, you'll need some watercraft like a kayak. Yes, I could make out some people saying, "Thank you, Captain Obvious."

In all seriousness, if you plan to go kayak camping, you'll want to be sure the kayak you choose has all the necessary accessories. Because you need that additional space for gear to utilize in setting up camp, a recreational kayak will probably not cut it for you as a mode of transportation.

A touring kayak is your best option in this situation. Compared to conventional kayaks, it provides a higher degree of comfort thanks to its increased storage capacity and adaptability to a broader range of environmental factors.

The Wilderness Systems TSUNAMI 145 comes highly recommended in my book.

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It can carry a massive 350 pounds and features a large amount of storage space designated explicitly for goods, including two mesh gear pockets, two water-resistant hatches, and a holder for a water bottle.

Because it is one of the largest Tsunami kayaks, it can accommodate varying heights and weights of paddlers. In addition to that, it includes footrests that can be adjusted with ease and a very comfy seat.

However, I do have some further touring kayak recommendations here.

2. Emergency Paddle

Emergency Paddle

Second, you need a paddle that you can use in an emergency.

It's not a joke, but you don't want to find yourself in the middle of a creek without a paddle.

Seriously, assuming that you already have your preferred kayak paddle on board – if you don't, you can check out my assessment of the best kayak paddles - you'll need a reliable backup in case something happens to your primary one.

The perfect emergency paddle is compact and easy to transport. The Emergency Telescoping Paddle is the product that comes highly recommended by me:

Attwood Emergency Orange Telescoping Paddles
Light weight
Value for money

This lightweight paddle measures 42 inches but folds down to only 20 inches in length, and it has an aluminum shaft that is resistant to corrosion. Because it is bright orange and floats, it is an excellent choice for use as an emergency paddle. Furthermore, it is nearly hard to misplace it because of its buoyancy.

3. Bilge Pump

kayak Bilge Pump

There is one thing that you can count on for sure if you go kayaking, and that is the presence of unwanted water. Even if the water is still and there is no sign of precipitation, even if you paddle with extreme caution, even if you never manage to capsize your kayak, it will eventually become a problem.

A bilge pump is used for this purpose on boats.

It is a tiny gadget that has been created to effectively remove water from your cockpit while you are still seated in your kayak, regardless of where you are positioned.

Quite convenient, huh?

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My experience has shown that the Best Marine Bilge Pump for Kayaks is by far the best bilge pump I've ever used.

The resiliency of the two-foot-long hose that may attach to either end of your yak surprised and impressed me. In addition, it has a flow rate of five gallons per minute, which means that it will quickly remove any water from your kayak.

4. Kayak Seat

kayak seat

Even though you've only been paddling for an hour, the pain in your lower back is already starting to become unbearable. The pain is excruciating and radiates down your spine with each stroke.

Where does the blame lie?

A kayak seat that is not comfy.

Putting aside concerns about discomfort, you can't sweep the risks associated with bad sitting posture under the rug. It will strain your muscles and joints, eventually leading to persistent pain in your neck, back, and shoulders.

It would be best if you prepared to spend a significant amount of time seated. It would be best if you acquired a seat for your kayak that is not only comfortable for your enjoyment but also ergonomic for your health.

I recommend the Leader Accessories Deluxe Padded Kayak Seat to sit comfortably in your kayak.

Leader Deluxe Padded Kayak Seat Fishing with Storage Bag
Easy to install
Pain relief

It has a breathable 21D polyester exterior that – well, let me say that it justifies the "Deluxe" part of the name. It is made of EVA foam, which provides fantastic support, and has a supportive shell that offers excellent support.

5. Dry Bags

kayak Dry Bags

Dry bags are another essential item that should be included in your kayak camping gear.

They are the secret to preserving the dryness of your most essential belongings, such as your wallet, electronic devices, gadgets, and maps, as well as your clothing, food, and sunscreen - in short, anything that isn't thrilled about being combined with water.

I recommend stocking up on various dry bags because they are available in a wide range of forms and dimensions.

The ideal illustration of this may be seen in the 5 Pack Multi-Color Waterproof Dry Sacks:

5 Pack Multicolour Waterproof Dry Sacks, Lightweight Dry Bags
Light weight
Value for money
Water resistance

They are available in five distinct sizes, with capacities ranging from 1.5 to 6 liters, enabling you to store virtually anything in one of these containers. Most significantly, because the dry bags are made of polyester material that has been reinforced with a waterproof PU covering, you may have peace of mind knowing that they live up to their name.

6. Repair Kit

camping Repair Kit

Your camping to-do list most likely does not include the item "repair your damaged kayak," but regrettably, accidents can and do occur. The underbelly of your kayak is susceptible to damage from rocky shorelines and transportation, including dents, gouges, scratches, and holes.

So, how can you put a stop to it? What about the dependable duct tape, for example?

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According to urban mythology, it has the power to solve any problem.

The answer to your question is yes; something as basic as duct tape might be adequate to prevent water from entering your cherished vessel.

Kayak Sinking - Emergency Repair to fix Kayak Leak

However, duct tape is merely a short-term solution to the problem. It would be best if you used something more professional, like this plastic boat repair kit, to apply a layer of epoxy and stop the damage from getting any worse.

However, keep in mind:

There will be some cracks you won't be able to fix on your own. If you discover a significant leak and these two easy remedies cannot resolve the issue, you should always seek assistance.

Camping Essentials

kayak Camping Essentials

Now that we have figured out the necessities for paddling a kayak, it is time to make a camping packing list.

Irrespective of whether you are going day-camping or Overlanding, there are a few things you will need to bring with you, and I have listed those things below. They focus primarily on matters of ease and protection from the elements, which are, as previously mentioned, the two most essential components of an enjoyable camping experience.

1. Tent

Camping Tent

A high-quality tent is a single piece of camping gear that has the potential to and actually will have the most significant impact during a kayaking trip. How do you choose which one is "just right" for you to purchase?

The ease with which the tent can be erected is one of the first things I would evaluate. A handbook that misleads its readers by stating that the assembly would take only five minutes when it will take close to an hour and cause headaches is not one of my favorites.

In this respect, the Nemo Firefly 2-Person Backpacking Tent lives up to my expectations:

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The entire process was simplified by the use of webbing and poles that were color-coded. Additionally, it is long-lasting, has adequate ventilation, and offers sufficient space for you and your tent-mate.

A hammock is an ideal choice for shelter if you'd rather spend the night with nothing but yourself and the stars above you. Despite this, you should never leave home without a backup plan for shelter, such as a tarp. The forces of nature are capricious; one moment, it could be sweltering hot, and the next, you could be bracing yourself for a torrential deluge.

P.S. Don't forget to set up your tent as soon as you arrive so that you don't have to do it in the dark; you'll thank me later for the reminder.

2. Camp Chair

Camping Chair

Paddling the kayak itself is, without a doubt, my favorite aspect of kayak camping.

But if I had to choose, I'd say that coming in a close second would be the moment when I rest in my camp chair next to the fire.

Because of its versatility and high level of comfort, the Cliq Camping Chair comes highly recommended by me.

Cliq Camping Chair - Most Funded Portable Chair
Light weight
Easy to fold
Value for money

It takes less than a minute to fold into the size of a bottle and then unfold back into its original shape. Even more so, the construction is made of aircraft-grade aluminum and features double seams, which translates to durability. Additionally, the weight capacity of this product is 300 pounds.

Did I mention that the chair is available in four styles, each of which is very modern?

Although I don't place a high priority on fashion, it never hurts to have something appealing to look at, especially if it's important to you.

3. Sleeping Gear

Sleeping Gear

Tent camping is a beautiful way to get back in touch with Mother Nature, but let's be honest here:

Spending the night on the cold ground can make you feel sluggish.

Your sleeping gear will come in handy at this point. I am adamant about this and will continue to preach it no matter what: camping in a kayak does not have to be an uncomfortable experience.

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To put this argument to bed, let me run off the list of necessities for a restful night's sleep that you'll require:

  • Because it has a winter temperature rating, the TETON Sports 101R Celsius XXL -18C/0F is an excellent choice for a sleeping bag. This means that it will keep you warm and give you a nice place to retreat when the temperature drops. And if things get too hot, it's simple to unzip and let some air in as necessary. Additionally, the padding material, SuperLoft Elite, makes for a very comfortable experience.
  • Sleeping Pad: This will shield you from the chilly ground and all the creepy crawlers that would like to be a part of your tent crew. The Sleeping Camping Sleeping Pad accomplishes the difficult task of striking an appropriate mix between durability, comfort, and an affordable price.

While doing it, you might also consider purchasing a pillow that is both comfortable and inflated, like the Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Pillow. This should be done in conjunction with your sleeping bag and pad.

4. Headlamp Or Another Type Of Flashlight


A campground's lack of readily available illumination is not one of its strong points. And I don't think I must stress the importance of this, but the last thing you want to do is be abandoned in the dark by yourself, and you want to prevent this at all costs.

While this reason, a flashlight, such as the GearLight LED Tactical Flashlight S1000, is an essential piece of equipment for camping.

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You also have the option of using a headlamp, also sometimes referred to as a headtorch, and it will free up your hands so you can participate in other campsite activities. The GearLight LED Head Lamp, which has a runtime of more than 10 hours and a headband that can be adjusted to fit your head, comes highly recommended by me.

Camping Tools And Other Equipment

Camping Tools & Gadgets

If I were forced to summarise the following category using only one word, I would say:


These camping tools and accessories can help you stay safe and make the most of your vacation to get the most out of it.

1. Multi-Tool


Knife check. Screwdriver check. Opener for bottles; that's a check. Or, you may integrate all those functions into a single instrument, which would be referred to as a multi-tool.

It has many possible uses and is a fantastic space saver, both of which are essential qualities in kayak camping equipment.

The RoverTac Multitool combines as many as 14 different tools in one convenient package: pliers, a bottle opener, a saw, a hammer, a knife, and a file. In addition to that, a nylon pouch is included.

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This ensures that you will have everything you require at your disposal, whether you are chopping wood, erecting a tent, or repairing one of your electronic devices. And when it's time to crack open a cold one, you'll look like a total badass using this supercharged bottle opener.

However, make sure you don't drink and paddle!

2. Water Filter

Water Filter

When going on a camping vacation in a kayak, it is vitally necessary to bring along some clean water. This is especially true if you want to spare yourself the anguish of contracting a horrible stomach parasite.

The vast majority of the time, there will be resupply places available. However, what happens if there aren't any?

A water filter is the most effective method that one might use to obtain clean water for drinking. Due to its portability and high level of performance, the FS-TFC Portable Reverse Osmosis Water Filter is the best option available.

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You should also bring purification pills because they are a rapid solution for treating contaminated water. These tablets work by releasing chlorine and destroying most microorganisms in the water.

In addition to keeping yourself hydrated, you'll need water to maintain proper personal hygiene, clean dishes, and cook. Additionally, transporting water can be pretty taxing:

The weight of one gallon of water is approximately 8.34 pounds!

3. Power Bank

Portable Generator

I get that this goal is to disconnect from contemporary technology, but you don't want to be cut off from your electronic gadgets, do you? In a critical situation, having a phone that is fully charged (or any other battery-operated communication device) could save your life.

If you intend to spend numerous days kayak camping, you should bring a power bank or, even better, a generator to keep all of your electronic devices wholly charged.

The 300W Solar Generator FlashFish is an all-around option that is suitable for any circumstance, including the following:

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Because it is solar-powered and packs enough power to charge virtually any electronic gadget – including your smartphone, camera, GPS device, or head torch – it makes for the ideal portable power station.

Camping Safety Equipment

Camping Safety Equipment

1. Kayak GPS

Kayak GPS

I am conscious that we live in an era in which we can accomplish almost anything by using the portable digital assistants that are our smartphones. I know that, and I can't possibly be THAT old.

But for every situation in which you find your smartphone useful while wandering through the streets of your town, there is an equal but opposite scenario - one in which it is not nearly as helpful while you are outside in the natural environment. I'm not talking about the park down the street; I'm talking about wilderness places wholly removed from human habitation.

A kayak-specific global positioning system (GPS) device, such as the Garmin GPSMAP 64s, is essential.

Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S. 100K with High-Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver
Quality of material
Battery life
User interface
Touch Screen

It combines GPS and GLONASS for increased precision, has a waterproof grade of IPX7, has a battery life of 16 hours, and comes preloaded with TOPO US 100K maps. Additionally, you have the option of using either disposable or rechargeable batteries.

Check out this roundup of the best kayak GPS devices while you're here for further recommendations!

2. VHF Radio

VHF radio

Everything I discussed earlier regarding mobile phones and GPS gadgets also applies to VHF radios. You are welcome to bring your phone, but that does not mean you can afford to ignore how critical it is to have a real VHF radio onboard.

When you require assistance from the outside immediately, there is no substitute for a maritime radio.

Having said all of that, I'd like to provide a recommendation for the Waterproof Handheld 2-Way VHF Marine Radio by Uniden, model number MHS75. Or, if money is not an issue, you may invest in a satellite phone.

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However, suppose you are considering purchasing a VHF radio. In that case, you should spend some time learning how to operate it correctly, and you should also ensure that you are familiar with the Mayday and Pan-Pan emergency protocols for VHF radios.

Do you wish to acquire additional information regarding maritime radios and walkie-talkies? Then look no further than my in-depth analysis to locate the walkie-talkie that will serve your needs best.

3. Maps

In general, it is highly recommended that you carefully plan every aspect of your kayaking journey, from the starting and ending sites to alternate routes and rest stops. You must be sure that you are well-prepared because navigating an unfamiliar river, let alone open waters, can be challenging.

To make it even more difficult for you, you must simultaneously arrange your paddling and hiking routes before you set off. I don't know about you, but I believe that having a map would be of great assistance in this kind of situation.

How to Use a Compass

Oh, and while you're at it, you might want to look into purchasing a compass for your kayak. Now is the time to brush up on your navigational skills if you feel like they've gotten rusty.

4. First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit

I don't care how careful you are or how you've never had an accident when kayaking or camping – or anywhere else, for that matter. I don't want to hear about it, and I strongly suspect I have already been exposed to all of that information.

I may have been guilty of making similar "excuses" for not always bringing a first aid kit with me.

But at the time, I was much younger. And now that I'm older and wiser, I know better than that, which is why I'm telling you this:

You must carry a first aid kit at all times.

I believe that Adventure Medical Kits are the best option for you to take. It is easy to carry, impervious to water, and stocked with everything you need to treat allergies, inflammation, and discomfort, including antiseptic wipes and bandages for cleaning and healing tiny wounds. It is lightweight and it is water resistant.

Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight Watertight
Light weight
Value for money
For traveling
Water resistance

5. The Emergency Signaling Beacon

Emergency Beacon

An emergency beacon is something more that you might want to think about bringing along on your camping trip in your kayak, seeing as how we are already discussing potential dangerous situations.

While you are out on the water, you may attach this portable device to your flotation device (PFD), and when you are hiking, you can attach it to your backpack. What is its function? Sending out a signal of distress will assist search and rescue teams in locating you if your life is in imminent danger.

I would suggest the ACR ResQLink 400 as a dependable option for an emergency beacon if you are shopping for one.

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It has a multi-functional clip, an integrated LED strobe, and a fantastic battery life. It boasts three levels of combined signal technology: a 406 MHz signal, GPS positioning, and 121.5 MHz homing capability. Additionally, it has good battery life. Oh, and did I mention that it's buoyant?

6. Spray For Bears

Bear Spray

If you are going to spend the night in the woods in an area frequented by black bears or grizzlies, I hope I don't have to remind you how important it is to carry bear spray with you at all times. I don't think so either.

The UDAP Bear Spray is a fantastic option to go with. It doesn't surprise me that this bear deterrent spray is the best on the market, given that it was developed by someone who survived a bear assault in the first place.

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It shoots out a forceful jet of highly concentrated pepper spray, producing a dense fog rather than a narrow stream, making the protective barrier significantly more effective.

Now, if only someone could come up with something comparable for sharks.

Kayak Camping Clothing

It might be challenging to determine what clothing is appropriate for kayaking and dress for the water rather than worrying about the weather. But how does one decide what to wear while kayak camping?

That is going to require some advanced-level strategic planning.

Do you need to wear something appropriate for the water? The weather, as well as the time of year? What about the topography of the area?

Try – each of the options mentioned above.

1. Dry Clothing 

Do you recall what I mentioned earlier about dry bags being an essential kit for a successful camping trip in a kayak?

You can't have dry clothing without a dry bag, so I sincerely hope you take my advice to heart because you can't have dry clothes without a dry bag. Not in a kayak, anyway.

I mean, I sincerely hope that neither you nor your cargo will be forced to take an unscheduled dip in the water, but you can never be too sure. Things can go wrong, kayaks can flip over, and you can count on getting wet at some point.

What Kinds of Clothes Are Ideal for Backpacking Journeys—and Which Should Be Avoided?

What Are the Best (and Worst) Clothes to Wear on Backpacking Trips?

Just in case, you should bring some spare clothes and store them in a waterproof bag.

A good rule of thumb when packing your kayaking equipment is to include an extra t-shirt. T-shirts can be used in a variety of ways, including as pillows, towels, hats, and so on.

2. Water Shoes

Water Shoes

You will spend a significant chunk of the day sitting on your behind, whether in the kayak or by the campfire. Yes, this is going to happen. However, this does not imply that the shoes one wears are unimportant.

If anything, I'd say that this makes it even more necessary to locate shoes that won't let you down, both in and out of the water, and that's a lot considering how crucial it already was. They should be pliable enough to be used in the cockpit but sturdy enough to withstand the rocky beaches' rigors.

The Mares 2mm Neoprene Non-Slip Rubber Sole Boot is a pair of water shoes that is an example of footwear that fulfills this definition.

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However, these are not the only choices available to you. The compilation of the best kayak shoes I've reviewed also includes some high-quality recommendations.

3. Drysuit


It would be foolish not to wear an additional layer of protection if you knew there was a possibility that you would be paddling in weather with temperatures lower than sixty degrees. And this is where a drysuit, specifically designed for kayaking, comes into play:

Gaskets that are watertight around the neck, ankles, and wrists, in addition to waterproof but breathable textiles, will keep the moisture out and keep you dry. However, how warm you stay depends on the layers of clothing you wear underneath, so it is essential to select your base layers carefully.

At this point, I would recommend that you get the Kokatat Hydrus 3L Meridian Dry Suit. It is constructed out of a patented three-layer fabric that performs on par with that of Gore-Tex at a far more affordable price.

On the other hand, I have compiled a list of the top kayaking drysuits where you may find plenty of different possibilities.

4. Wet Weather Gear

Wet Weather Gear

Paddling is one of your hobbies, so I'm sure you don't mind being wet. Even if you have double-checked the weather forecast and are confident there is no likelihood of precipitation; it is still a good idea to get ready for a rain shower that comes out of nowhere.

When it comes to nature, you never know.

Therefore, prepare room in one of your dry bags for a raincoat and a pair of rain pants. You will be shielded from the elements from head to toe by the FROGG TOGGS Men's Classic All-Sport Waterproof Breathable Rain Suit, which is an excellent choice because it allows for adequate ventilation while still protecting from the wind and rain.

When it comes to clothing appropriate for damp weather, this is your best option.

5. Hat

columbia unisex-adult bora bora booney

Okay, people, repeat after me:

Protecting yourself from the sun is essential.

This indicates that you should bring sunscreen with a sufficient SPF and apply it as frequently as possible. However, if you want to keep your head secure, you should probably wear a hat, and it's your best bet.

When I looked around earlier, I came across this Columbia Unisex Bora Bora Booney and thought, "This would be perfect for kayak camping!"

columbia unisex-adult bora bora booney
Light weight
Sun protection
For working out


It is constructed out of a material known as Omni-Shade, which is a UV-absorbent yarn woven into a tight weave. This material blocks both UVA and UVB radiation. Even if it starts to become windy, the hat won't blow off your head since it is made of excellent material at wicking away moisture, and it also has an adjustable cord that will hold it in place.

Camping Wash & Sanitary Items

Shaving with axe

I don't want to pry into your hygiene, and I'd rather not if you get my drift – but what are some of the steps you take to ensure that you maintain a high level of personal cleanliness while you're moving? And I hope you have one of these for the sake of the other individuals who are going to go kayak camping with you.

I don't mean to be impolite in any way.

The fact of the matter is, though, that after a day of paddling, with a little bit of hiking added, you will most likely be left smelling like something other than roses. Even if you don't consider the social component, it's probably a good idea to attempt to maintain cleanliness when you're out in the wilderness because it's better for your health.

You understand what I mean, even though "clean" is a relative phrase when you're outside in the natural world.

1. Personal Hygiene Items

Now, your selections of go-to hygiene items can differ depending on the length of your vacation and other factors like that; nonetheless, necessities are called essentials for a reason – they are important, and they get the job done.

How to Keep Clean while Camping

The following items are absolute necessities:

  • Toilet Paper - I believe that this one does not require any explanation. To ensure that the toilet paper does not become wet, I recommend storing it in a Ziploc bag. You could, in theory, make do with leaves, but in my opinion, paper towels are an absolute requirement.
  • Toilet Bags: If you plan on using a portable toilet (or even just a bucket; I won't judge), you'll need to bring some toilet bags. After you have attended to business when nature requires it of you, bury the sack in the ground; it's as easy as that. In addition to being biodegradable and compostable, the Trail Essentials Toilet Bags come packaged in a convenient carrying box.
  • Towel for camping While camping is all about bringing only the bare necessities, one thing that a paddler should never be without is a trustworthy microfiber towel. The Rainleaf Microfiber Towel is an excellent option because of its exceptional absorption capacity and quick drying time.
  • Washbag: "unscented" and "biodegradable" are two essential characteristics of the items that you should keep in mind when deciding what to put inside your washbag. I recommend that you carry some wet wipes, a toothbrush and toothpaste (or a bottle of mouthwash in a travel size), biodegradable body wash or soap, and unscented hand sanitizer with you.

2. Sun Cream

Sun Cream

Even though I've already covered the significance of wearing sun protection, I don't mind going over it again. It is essential, even though you may enjoy spending time in the sun.

Believe me when I say my favorite way to spend a bright afternoon is outside in the fresh air. As long as I'm going to be in an environment where I'm going to be exposed to UV rays, however, this does not mean that I won't be applying sunscreen frequently - say, every couple of hours or so.

Therefore, I recommend always having a bottle of water-resistant sunscreen available; Coppertone Pure Simple Baby SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion appears to be an ideal choice in this regard.

Coppertone Pure and Simple SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion, Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen,Hypoallergenic, Body Sunscreen, 6 Oz
Sun protection
Water resistance
For sensitive skin
Easy to spread

In addition to being hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and free of potentially harmful additives, the formulation protects against the sun's broad-spectrum UV rays.

3. Bug Spray

Bug Spray

If you neglect to bring bug repellent, you may be forced to spend hours itching and scratching your skin in frustration. Doesn't that have a beautiful ring to it?

I did not anticipate that happening.

The fact is, a bothersome itching sensation is not the only potential risk. Zika, Chikungunya, Dengue, and West Nile viruses are all serious illnesses, and they are all passed on to humans by the bites of infected mosquitoes.

The Repel Sportsmen Max Formula is a relatively safe bet, so I recommend it. The formulation containing 40 percent DEET offers protection that is effective for a more extended period, warding off mosquitoes, fleas, biting flies, gnats, ticks, and any other insects that may be following you.

Kayak Camping Kitchen – Camp Cooking Gear

Kayak Camping Kitchen

preparing food in the great outdoors with a camp stove

You can't say you've been on a genuine camping trip until you've finished your dinner while sitting next to a bonfire at night. Okay? Okay.

1. Cooking Stove For Camping

A portable camping stove is one of the essential pieces of equipment one may have in terms of cooking. You will require one to either heat up some food or bring some water to a boil.

A camp stove with two burners is a common and popular choice among backpackers; nevertheless, I believe such a device would be overkill for kayak camping. Therefore, I propose you use the more compact option, an efficient single-burner camping stove. One example of such a camping stove is the Jetboil Flash Cooking System.

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A Step-by-Step Guide to Lighting Your Jetboil Stove

How to Ignite Your Jetboil Stove

It weighs only 13.9 ounces and has a boil time of 100 seconds. It also has a cooking cup that is one liter in capacity, an igniter that is activated by pressing a button, and an insulating cozy with a color-changing heat indicator.

Now, you need some cooking vessels, and I'll go over those in a second. Other than that, you should be good to go.

2. Travel BBQ

Travel BBQ

After a strenuous day spent paddling, how about a barbecue back at the campsite? Where do I make my registration?

I know that a good number of campgrounds already have grill grates, but if there is one thing that I have learned, it is that in most cases, the quality of these grates is less than optimal. For this reason, rather than relying on the fact that a barbecue grate will be present and ready for use, I recommend packing your portable grill while you are barbecuing on the go.

To keep things straightforward, you may invest in a portable grill that can be set up directly on top of the fire pit. Or, if you want to go all out, you might invest in a portable charcoal barbecue, which happens to be my recommendation.

Check out the Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill if the second option seems more appealing to you. Even though it is not as portable or lightweight as the other option (it weighs more than 13 pounds), I recommend getting it if you have enough space in your kayak to accommodate it.

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A word of caution: open fires are prohibited at many National Lakeshore campgrounds, such as those located at the Great Lakes; thus, before packing your barbecue, check if this is the case.

3. Cooking Utensils

Cooking Utensils

You will need some utensils unless you don't mind eating with your hands, which, while I'll agree it can be convenient at times, can also be messy. Now, you could settle for using a standard "spork," a combination of a spoon and a fork, and call it a day. This would be the most straightforward option.

On the other hand, I thought you might also find a few other pieces of cookware handy. Therefore, I decided to do some research and came across this helpful Bulin Camping Cookware Kit.

Bulin 24/13/11/8/4 PCS Camping Cookware Mess Kit Nonstick
Light weight
Easy to clean
Value for money

A rice spoon, a soup spoon, a kettle, a frying pan, and two pots with lids are included, as well as a cleaning sponge, a set of four bowls, two plates, and one rice ladle, and one soup spoon. All of the cookware is constructed of anodized aluminum. The fact that the many components can be nested within one another saves a significant amount of storage space, which is undoubtedly the best feature of the set.

4. Mess Kit

Mess Kit

When you forget to bring some items with you on a camping trip, you might not realize how important they are until you find yourself in a precarious situation without them. A mess kit is one illustration that springs to mind while thinking about this topic.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a mess kit is a collection of the most fundamental pieces of cookware and utensils required to prepare and eat an important meal while backpacking or camping.

My current go-to camping mess kit is the UCO 6-Piece Camping Mess Kit.

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This six-piece mess kit is straightforward, compact, and reasonably priced. It comes with a collapsible cup, a plate, a bowl, a fork, a spoon with an attached knife, and a rope for keeping the kit safe.

I'm telling you, you won't need anything else to prepare a meal to eat on the road with this.

5. Washing Set

Washing Set

Now, which one of you will take care of washing the dishes?

It is helpful to have a washing set, such as the Tiawudi 2 Pack Collapsible Sink, on hand for whoever is given the responsibility of cleaning up after everyone else.

The washing set comes with two washbasins made of thermoplastic rubber and can be collapsed for storage. These washbasins do not contain BPA. One can be used for cleaning the dishes, while the other can be used to store the ones that have been cleaned; however, this is only a suggestion. Both backpacks have a capacity of 8.5 liters and compress down to a height of only 2 inches when not in use.

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You'll be all set if you complement this with a cleaning sponge taken from your collection of culinary equipment.

6. Cooler


I think a cooler is necessary for any adventure, whether on foot or in a kayak. It is highly recommended for kayak fishing trips, kayak touring trips, and kayak camping trips.

That is to say; you require a method for maintaining the freshness of your food and the temperature of your beverages. And when bringing along a portable mini-fridge is not an option, a kayak cooler is the best thing to consider.

However, make sure you pick wisely.

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A kayak cooler's effectiveness for camping depends on its capacity, ability to keep ice, and waterproof construction. To continue this train of thought, the Igloo 25-Quarts BMX Cooler will be more than adequate for most weekend camping trips.

7. A lighter, Some Kindling, And Matches That Are Resistant To Moisture

It is impossible to have your evening meal close to a campfire if there is not, in fact, a campfire there. Because of this, you will need to bring along some means to create a fire in addition to your other supplies.

How to Start a Fire at a Campsite

How to light a campfire

Listed below are some ideas to consider:

  • A lighter, especially one that is built for use in outdoor environments and is resistant to water and wind, such as this electric rechargeable more lightweight from LCFUN
  • Sparkers, such as this set of one hundred fire-starting cubes, are available.
  • Matches that are impervious to water, such as Coghlan's 940BP Waterproof Matches

Oh, and to add one more point:

Be watchful that the fire at your campsite doesn't go out of control. Keep the fire under control, and when you are through, ensure that it is extinguished and spread the ashes once they have cooled.

8. Litter Bags

Are you familiar with the principles of the Leave No Trace program? Even though there are seven of them, the overarching code of wilderness ethics is to have as little of an effect as possible on the natural environment whenever one spends time in the great outdoors.

In addition, one of these seven guiding principles is to dispose of waste appropriately.

That means you must dispose of discarded food, goods that aren't reusable, and any other rubbish responsibly. If you bring anything to the campground with you, you must remember to pack it up and take it with you when you leave.

In addition, you will require a lot of litter bags to do what you set out to do.

Kayak Camping Packing List: Final Thoughts

You no longer need to spend hours agonizing about what camping gear to bring for your kayak. Or, what is it that stands out as the most significant omission?

This kayak camping gear list will provide a smooth vacation, whether you are a first-timer or a seasoned expert-level enthusiast. Call it a kayak camping checklist1 if you will.

It's the perfect compromise for your next outing to camp by the water:

It goes through all of the fundamentals and a few things that will make your kayak camping experience a little bit more "luxurious" and entertaining.

This kayak camping checklist includes everything to ensure that you are well-prepared for kayak camping. Of course, you can always add – or remove – items to adapt to your individual needs, but this kayak camping checklist has everything to ensure that you are well-prepared.