Sea Kayak Paddling Gear for a Multi-Day Expedition
In addition to the list of standard essential gear necessary for any kayak outing, an overnighter or multi-day expedition will require packing additional items to keep you supplied for the duration. Of course, the obvious items are food, water, tent, sleeping bag, and cook stove. However, as you may be operating further from civilization and home conveniences, a more comprehensive list will make your trip happier and more successful especially if any unforeseen problems or mishaps occur. On an extended trip, even small things can make a big difference.
Check on the specific camping regulations and available facilities for the area before heading out. Some parks have very strict rules regarding camping. During hot dry summer months, open fires may be banned or restricted to previously constructed fire pits or ovens. In some areas you may even be required to pack out ashes or prohibited from using driftwood, so it is vital to check for such rules before you go and pack accordingly.
Note: Some parks and conservations areas may have potable water supplies and garbage receptacles spaced along the route. Others will have no such facilities and may require you to pack all garbage out when you leave. These guidelines will affect your supply list.
Below are comprehensive lists of what Frontenac Outfitters deems important when taking a multi-day camping/paddling trip. With your storage capacity in mind, it is important to pack items that are compact or collapsible so as to fit into the hatches of your kayak. This may seem challenging and limiting but the equipment is certainly available (i.e. hardware stores, outfitter supply companies, army surplus stores).
Items for similar purposes should be packed together for convenience and ease of use. For instance, all the cooking equipment should be packed together not scattered throughout your gear; personal hygiene should be in one location; and first aid items should be together and easily reached in an emergency. Pack the kayak at home first to check that everything fits.
- Tarp (Ground Sheet) – minimum 10 ft x 12 ft or larger to cover tent and surrounding area from rain
- Sleeping bag
- 100 ft of nylon rope
- Garbage Bags
- Hatchet & Collapsible Saw
- Small Folding Shovel
- Flash Light
- Spare Batteries
- Toilet Paper
- Moist Towelettes
- Biodegradable Hand Soap
- Facecloth and hand towel
- Back Pack
- Other Personal Hygiene Items (Deodorant, Tooth Brush, Toothpaste, Hairbrush)
- Personal Medications
Before heading into a park or conservation area, first check on their local regulations regarding outdoor fires and cook stoves. This may very well affect what you pack for equipment and food. Do not wait till you are at the gate to check on these regulations.
- Small Stove with 2 Fuel Tanks
- Waterproof Matches & Lighter.
- Pots & Pans – Nesting Pots are best to reduce volume.
- Serving Utensils (Large Spoons, Ladle, Spatula, Tongs, Paring Knife, Large Knife)
- Bowls & Plates
- Dish Cloths & Towels.
- Steel Wool for pot cleaning
- Biodegradable Soap
- Aluminum Foil
- Salt, spices, Seasonings, Cooking oil
- Collapsible Water Jugs
- Water Filter
- Small bottle of Bleach Sanitizer.
- Bottle & Can Opener
- Food Logbook
It goes without saying that clothing should be stored in a dry-bag to keep them dry even if the seal on the storage compartment fails. Clothing should include items for hot and cold weather and also wet weather including:
- Long Pants
- Warm, Long Sleeve Shirt
- Warm, Long Sleeve Sweatshirt
- Warm Vest
- Hooded Raincoat
- Rain Pants
- Extra Socks
- Running Shoes or Hiking Shoes
- Heavy Duty Sandals
- Mylar Reflective Survival Blanket
- Cycling Gloves
Note: At some times of the year, and in some climates, additional items may be required above and beyond this list. During spring and fall, or in coastal ocean waters, you may need a wetsuit and neoprene gloves, boots and even a warmer hat. Pack for the worst weather so that when it happens, you will be safe and comfortable.
- Insect repellent
- Spare eyeglasses – your specs should be on a cord so they will not get lost
- Whistle – one for each camper including children
- Pen, Pencil, Marker, Note Book
- Pocket Survival Guide
- First Aid Kit
Note: The first aid kit should be readily available and its location known to all. It should be in a waterproof container. It should include lots of assorted bandages, disinfectant, antiseptic ointment, tweezers, painkillers such as Aspirin or Tylenol, antihistamine, sunscreen, lip balm, sunburn lotion, eye wash, anti-diarrhea tablets, laxatives, antacid tablets, cotton swabs, safety pins, large gauze bandage, large elastic bandage, and scissors.
- Waterproof Marine Chart
- Chart Ruler – for plotting courses & measuring distances
- Tide Table
- Marine Weather Forecast
- Marine Radio in waterproof bag
- GPS Receiver in waterproof bag
- Two Way Radios
- Signal Mirror
- Strobe Light
- Radar Reflectors
- Spare Batteries
- Air Horn
- Tow Rope
- Bilge Pump
- Absorbent Sponge
- Spare Paddle
Boat & Equipment Repair Kit
These items should be kept together in a readily available, water proof container that is easily identified and should include:
- Multi-Tool (Pliers, Wire Cutter, Screwdrivers, Knife, File)
- Utility Knife
- Epoxy Repair Kit (Resin, Hardener, Mixing Cups, Fabric, Rubber Gloves)
- Sandpaper – to clean area around patch & smoothing area after repair
- Alcohol Swabs – for cleaning area around repair
- Rope, Wire, Zip Ties, Twist Ties, Duct Tape, Hose Clamps – these come in handy to lash, bind, hold, bond, fasten, reinforce, etc…
- Glues for various equipment materials (Super Glue, Rubber Glue, Wood Glue, etc…)
- Safety Pins, Diaper Pins
- Sewing kit & Patches – for various fabrics such as nylon (tent), mosquito netting (tent screen), leather (gaskets), neoprene (spray skirt and wet suit)
- Various Equipment Fasteners (Nuts & Bolts, Washers, Gaskets,O-Rings, etc…)
Food items should be those compatible with lightweight, low impact camping. This means they do not require refrigeration or extensive preparation. Avoid potentially hazardous foods such as raw meats that will quickly spoil. Focus on high energy, dense foods that take up a small volume yet will satisfy. Pack emergency rations in case you become lost, marooned, delayed, without heat, or encounter others in that situation. As such, you should consider the following items to pack for your expedition:
- Energy Bars, Cereal Bars, Chocolate Bars
- Nuts, Dried Fruit, Trail Mix, Granola
- Apples, Bananas
- Carrots, Green Beans, Onions, Small Potatoes
- Bagels, Crackers, Peanut Butter
- Dried Meat
- Army MRE’s (Meal, Ready-to-Eat)
- Prepared Sandwiches
- Bottled Water, Fruit Juice, Sports Drinks
- Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate Mix
- Dried Soup Mix, Bouillon Cubes
- Eggs – Fresh or Hard-Boiled
- Canned Meat (Tuna, Chicken, Ham, Sardines)
- Canned Soup, Chowder, Stews
- Candy, Mints
Keep important personal documents and other items together in a safe, dry place so they will not be lost.
- Car Keys
- House Keys
- Cell Phone
The above lists may not be all that you will require and some of the items listed may be more than you require. You be the judge. They are listed as suggestions based on the experience of many well-travelled kayakers.
Note: It is highly recommended that inexperienced kayakers travel with more experienced ones for their first few extended trips. This will help build experience and skills.
For a printable copy of an Exhaustive List of Camping and Kayaking Items to include in a Kayak Expedition, follow this link: Canoe-Kayak-Camping-Checklist
Click here to get a Printable Copy of the Paddle Sport Float Plan