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Any kayak campers out there?

After being a backpacker for many years, I discovered the joys of kayak camping about two years ago. Kayaks seem to be ideal as a camping platform, allowing you to explore while still lugging almost all the comforts of home. I love the fact that I can bring along luxury/comfort items without the weight penalties associated with backpacking.

I'd love to hear about some of your kayak camping adventures!

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Re: Any kayak campers out there?

Oh me me me!!! I love kayak or canoe camping! It is probably my favorite form of multi-day trip. Back in my youth I was a trip guide for a camp and I've been on too many to count. And the AuSable River in northern Michigan was always high on my list of favorite places to go and relax on the water. Here is a pic from one of my favorite little paddle in sites in the Huron-Manistee National Forest!

 

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The campground is tucked away in a silent stand of massive old growth pines. Perfection! Do you have a favorite place to paddle camp?

At REI, we believe a life outdoors is a life well-lived.
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Re: Any kayak campers out there?

@REI-RachelL and @Sweet-Tater I love kayaking and camping, but have never done a kayak-camping trip before. Assuming I have all the general items needed for backpacking (stove, sleep system, first aid, etc), what extras should you bring for kayak camping (dry bags, etc.)? Thanks! I've backpacked the Huron-Manistee as well and am also a big fan of the area!

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Re: Any kayak campers out there?

Hey there @katieedwards!

How exciting that you're getting into kayak camping! If you love kayaking and camping separately, just wait for the magic of doing them all in one! Where are you thinking of paddling for your first trip?

Since you have the kayak set-up and you've got the backpacking set-up, then the first thing you need is the right mix of dry bags to get your gear into your kayak! It's a mix of your kayak and personal preference when it comes to dry bag sizing, but I find that I like several smaller (30L or less) bags that are really easy to get in and out of hatches. If you're a checklist kind of person, check out this REI Expert Advice article for a full kayak camping packing list! 

Depending on where and how you currently paddle, you may not have a water safety kit yet. You'll need different things if you're on a river, lake, or ocean, but things like a safety whistle and a more robust first aid kit in a waterproof case are must haves for any body of water. For river trip, I also really like my waterproof map case

Now the other best thing about kayak camping compared to backpacking is no weight limits - so start dreaming! What are the things you've always wanted in the back country, cause now you get them! I always pack my hammock and UL chair, plus fun campsite lighting. Unless you've got long portages, bring all your campy creature comforts

What about you @Sweet-Tater? Do you have any favorite must packs?

Happy paddling,
Rachel

At REI, we believe a life outdoors is a life well-lived.
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Re: Any kayak campers out there?

I LOVE kayak camping!!  Most of my trips have been in northern California, but I did a few when I lived in New Hampshire as well.  Some of the reservoirs and bays in northern California have "boat-in-only campsites," which is such a neat concept.  It's fun to pull up your kayak and have a fire ring and level campsite, with no cars and RVs around.  Enjoy your adventures!

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Re: Any kayak campers out there?

Most of my kayaking and kayak camping has been in the islands of Channel Islands National Park.  It is an excellent way to explore the largest islands.

You definitely need dry bags,as mentioned earlier.  Total gear weight is much less of an issue, compared to backpacking.  Consider a synthetic fill sleeping bag, rather than a down bag..  It will handle the damp environment much better.

I would recommend gas canister stoves, rather than liquid fuel stoves.  In enclosed cargo spaces, gasoline or alcohol create problems you would rather not confront.

Gear organization is important.  heavier items, like water, should be close to the center (balance point ) of your craft, with lighter items more distant.

Best wishes for happy landings and launches!!

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Re: Any kayak campers out there?

This is all great information.  I too camp and kayak, but have always done so independently of one-another, but have been considering a kayak camping trip.  Living near the Chesapeake Bay provides me all sorts of waterways to explore.

Thanks everyone for inspiring me!

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