10 Tips For Planning An Overnight Kayaking Trip


If you would like to take your kayaking experience to another level, an overnight Kayak camping trip is a great way to do it. You get to paddle further into the water and enjoy beautiful landscapes in remote places. However, such kayaking adventure calls for careful planning and preparation. After all, you will be spending the night out there. 

While the first trip is the most challenging to plan and execute, it’s also the most exciting. To help you out, here is our guide on how to plan an overnight kayak trip so everything goes smoothly.

1. Choose The Best Kayak For Camping Trips

First off, make sure the kayak you will be paddling is the best for overnight kayaking trips. A touring kayak is the best option as it has tons of storage room to store all the gear you will need including a tent, sleeping bag, clothes, water, and food. On top of this, it’s efficient and easy to paddle for a long distance and handles chop gracefully. 

2. Plan Your Trip – Map The Route and The Logistics

A smooth kayak camping trip requires that you plan the route and logistics. This involves researching potential camping sites and planning every detail from where you will go, where you will put in, where you will take out, and when you will be coming back.

3. Research The Weather and Water Conditions

Kayak camping in bad weather is not only unpleasant but also dangerous. Before you head out, research the weather and water conditions to expect. Doing this will help you determine what is in store for you and how to plan an overnight kayak trip for the conditions you will encounter.  

4. What To Pack For Kayak Camping Trips

Having the right gear is imperative to enjoying your kayaking overnight trip and being safe out there. Of course, the gear to pack will depend on whether you’re heading for an overnight kayaking trip or a multiday camping trip.

To ensure you don’t forget anything, you should make a kayak camping checklist and consult it as you pack. As a general guide, here is a list of what gear to pack for your overnight kayaking trip. You should, of course, tailor the list to the environment you will be paddling in and your style of kayaking and camping.

  • Kayaking Basics: Standard paddling clothes, dry/wet suit, paddle, and other basic kayak accessories.
  • Camping Gear: Tent and tarp, sleeping bag and pad or hammock kit if you prefer hammock camping, headlamp/lantern and a flashlight, stove and fuel, fire starter, mess kit, knife, eat ware, camp towels, biodegradable soap, and small ax or hatchet.
  • Personal Items: Comfortable and protective clothing and accessories for the elements you’ll be facing, wet clothes for paddling, dry clothes for camping, waterproof sunscreen, UV protective lip balm, waterproof notepad and pen, hand sanitizer, spare batteries, and USB and solar charger.
  • Food and Drinks: More than enough food for the duration of the trip, energy bars, gallons of water plus a filtration system or water purification tablets. A cooler to keep your raw food and beverages fresh and chilled.
  • Emergency Gear: Paddling life jacket, bear bags, small first-aid kit, multi-tool, duct tape, repair kit, bilge pump and sponge, paddle float, map and charts, compass, VHF marine radio, emergency strobe, whistle, signal flares, tow belt, thermometer, float bags, extra paddle, and paracord.
  • Leave No Trace Kit: National Park-approved Waste Bag (wag bag) and trash bags.
  • Optional Gear: Folding chair, small fishing kit, waterproof camera, and binoculars.

5. Pack Your Gear In Multiple Dry Bags


When it comes to fitting all the above items in your kayak, you will face one challenge: how to fit your gear in the narrow storage compartments. The solution is to use multiple small and medium dry bags instead of a few large bags. 

Not only is it easier to fit 35-65 liters dry bags in the kayak’s storage compartments, but it will also be easier to organize your gear for easy access. For ease of hauling the bags to and from the kayak to the campsite, you can bring along a large stuff sack or duffle bag. 

6. Spread The Weight Evenly On Your Kayak

Besides taking care not to overload your kayak beyond its weight capacity, you should make sure the weight is evenly distributed on the kayak. To accomplish this, pack everything low and centered and from side-to-side.

As for weight distribution, heavy items like food and water should be packed as close to the cockpit as possible and lighter yet bulky items like sleeping bags and clothing towards the end. 

7. Practice Paddling To Build Your Paddling Muscles

Paddling a loaded kayak is way harder than paddling an empty one. When loaded with heavy gear, the flotation line gets lower in the water, so it’s harder to pull on the blade and harder to roll the kayak if you flip.

Furthermore, going on a kayaking camping trip means you will paddle a heavy kayak over a long distance. This is why it’s important to practice paddling a loader kayak over long stretches. It will build your paddling muscles and endurance in readiness for the trip.

8. Let Someone Know Your Trip Plan

As a safety precaution, it’s important to let someone know where you are going as well as when you expect to be back. Print two copies of your route and logistics plan, take one copy with you and give a copy to a friend or family member. This is a vital safety rule for any kayaking adventure and this is why we can’t forget to mention it in our how to plan an overnight kayak trip guide.

9. Master Critical Kayaking Skills

Going on a camping and kayaking adventure means you will be paddling in remote areas and might be the only paddler on the water. Since anything can happen and cause your kayak to tip over, you should know how to wet exit a kayak, flip it back over, and re-enter.

10. Remember To Stay Warm Out There

This won’t be a problem in warm conditions or when paddling as you will be exerting yourself and generating heat. When paddling in frigid conditions or when you’re not active, however, you must dress warmly and avoid swimming in cold water. Thus, packing warm clothes and gear is a part of how to plan an overnight kayak trip guide.

Globo Surf Overview

If you’re a kayaking and camping enthusiast, there are few things as exciting as planning and executing a kayak camping adventure. If you’re planning your very first paddling and camping trip, the above tips on how to plan an overnight kayak trip should help you have fun and safe kayaking camping trips. Simply plan and prepare well for the trip, pack everything you will need, and abide by the safety precautions.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!