Camping equipment for kayaking expeditions: What should you take?

Oct 20, 2022 BY Paul McWilliams

These days people go camping with air beds, picnic tables, ovens, and even TVs. All that’s well and good if you’ve got a car to carry it all. But if you’re heading out on a kayaking camping trip, you’re limited to taking just the bare essentials. Camping equipment for kayaking expeditions is solely to keep you warm, dry and alive. Anything else is an extravagance.

Camping equipment for kayaking expeditions flickr image by Mary Fairchild

Of course, there are supported kayaking holidays where a crew vehicle or boat will carry much of your gear. But if you’re going out alone, you’ll have no such luxury. Every extra ounce will weigh the boat down and require hauling in and out the water. So, here’s our quick guide to your essential kit for a self-paddled excursion.

Camping equipment for kayaking expeditions

Before we start, however, we should point out that most of the camping equipment for kayaking expeditions will have to be kept dry (lighting a fire with wet matches is never fun). So, you must ensure all your gear is safely stored in waterproof bags. A dry box for electronic items like phones and navigation systems is also recommended.


Kayaking is not quite as restrictive as backpacking but only allows you a little more room for manoeuvre. Once you’re in the kayak there won’t be much room left for gear. So, a lightweight and small tent is essential such as the range offered by e-outdoor. Depending on the size of your group, a small, good quality one or two man tent will only weigh one or two kilos. You can also split the load if you’re sharing a tent with a companion. (Although not all trips will require tents, depending on the weather.)

The same goes for your sleeping bag. According to the conditions and season, a light bag with compression sack will take up little room. However, a sleeping matt is usually bulkier. This might seem like an unnecessary item but ask anyone who’s slept directly on the floor and they’ll tell you it’s worthwhile.

Camping equipment for kayaking expeditions flickr image by Mary Fairchild


Unless you enjoy cold food after a hard day on the water, you’ll need to bring a small camping stove. A hot meal, tea or coffee is also a great way of lifting the mood should spirits be low. Emergency food stocks and handy snacks like energy bars always come in useful. And try to plan your meals before you set off as you can’t afford to run out of food in the wilderness.

These days freeze dried meals have come a long way from pot noddles. We recommend you check out the range of gourmet meals by Fuizion, they are very tasty, light weight and not to0 expensive – you can read a review here.


Accidents happen, as does sunburn and chaffing. That’s why you need a fully-stocked first aid kit on any expedition. Some spare warm and dry clothes are also an essential in case of emergencies. Bring plenty of drinking water too, as you never know how hard it might be to find a source while you’re out in the wild. You’ll also need a flashlight and some form or communication, if possible.

Camping equipment for kayaking expeditions flickr image by Mary Fairchild

Essentially, the key to packing camping equipment for kayaking expeditions is common sense. Think about your destination, the conditions, the duration and any eventualities you might encounter – and pack accordingly. Keep items small, lightweight and well organised, and remember to try and balance the boat when loading up. Put all the heavy objects in the bow and you’ll soon know about it.


Camping, Canoeing, Kayaking

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