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10 Tips for First Time Kayak Camping

by Karen Ung

Today’s story on first time kayak camping is a guest blog post by my friend Christina Scheuermann, Camper Christina. Enjoy!

Kayak camping is awesome! Over the last few years, I have gone on several kayak camping trips, and it is now my favorite form of camping. Here are ten helpful tips I’ve picked up along the way that will help if you are just starting out:

  1. Pack everything in waterproof bags – absolutely everything, even if it goes in a dry hatch -because chances are, at some point, your dry hatch will not be dry. 
    Kayak Camping - Play Outside Guide
    Kayak Camping Setup
    Image Credit: Christina Scheuermann, Camper Christina
  2. Pack everything in small bags. Never use a 60L drybag for example, unless you are using a kayak with an open cockpit. You have little hatches that fit lots of little things but not many big things, so small bags make the most of the cargo space you have! 
  3. Bring big tote bags with you (Ikea bags work awesome). When you arrive at the boat launch and have to bring all those little bags to the boat, to the site from the shore, on a portage, or back to the car, those big bags hold all the little bags and make it easier to carry them. 
  4. Bring a few garbage bags. At some point, no matter how careful you are, your seat will most likely get wet. Having some form of plastic or something waterproof to put on your seat to sit on, will keep your bum dry and keep you comfortable while paddling. 
  5. Flip your boat over at night, to avoid having to use the garbage bag,… see last tip above. Also, pull it up way up from shore, along with the paddles. You never want to wake up to find your kayak missing from where you left it, or, not have a paddle to propel your boat with. 
    Kayak Camping - Play Outside Guide
    Pull your kayak and paddle way up on shore.
    Image Credit: Christina Scheuermann, Camper Christina
  6. Use carabiners and clips. Make sure if you put things like your water bottles in the deck bungees that you also carabiner it to the boat or tie it, clip it in, etc. I have many a time gone to grab something else, or bumped the bottle somehow and had it fall into the water. Everything should always be attached to the boat securely somehow just in case.
  7. Never underestimate the weather. Be prepared for anything and you will (usually) be okay. See “waterproof everything” above as well. 😉
  8. Get training. The best thing I ever did was go for my Level 1 Sea Kayaking Certification. It actually prompted me to get my level 2, but level 1 made a huge difference. The skills I learned gave me so much more confidence, and to me, that is priceless. 
  9. Always wear your PFD! I used to be one of the cool kids and paddle in my bikini top, not wanting to get tan lines from my life jacket. After Level 1 training, and seeing and hearing all the things that can go wrong, it just doesn’t make sense not to wear your life jacket. Wear a PFD and wear it properly. It could save your life, or the person you’re with if you need to help him/her. 
  10. Start small. Take your time and don’t do any crazy trips with portages and huge distances. Get used to what you are doing one step at a time and learn as you go. Read blogs, books, watch videos, get training and most importantly, have fun! 
Kayak Camping - Play Outside Guide
Always wear a PFD and lash everything down!
Image Credit: Christina Scheuermann, Camper Christina

About the Author

Christina, also known as Camper Christina, was born and raised in Southern Ontario, but moved to Muskoka to be closer to the places she adventures in. Her greatest passion is exploring new places and writing about them. Some of her favourite hobbies are hiking, camping, kayaking, canoeing, snowshoeing, skating, photography and blogging.

Read more about Christina and her adventures at CamperChristina.com.

Find her on Twitter: @christinascheu, Instagram: @camperchristina, and Facebook: @camperchristina.

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