This article was written by Connor, one of our founding editors. Connor is a full-time travel and lifestyle photographer with extensive experience in the outdoors industry.
There are two types of packers in the world: minimalists and those who want to take everything.
Unfortunately for those who want to take everything, there is pretty limited space on a kayak. In part, this makes the packing process a bit easier but you do need to whittle down a big list into the essentials.
A minimalist point of view is good as you’ll never be lugging heavy bags around and weighing your kayak down. That said, you’re at far greater risk of missing something crucially important from your packing list.
In this guide, we’re aiming to cover absolutely anything you could ever need on a kayaking day trip.
Unofficial disclaimer: don’t blame us if your favorite tin of beans isn’t included. You’ve still got free will, right?
Have you heard of the ‘Ten Essentials’ principle? Essentially, it is a term coined by a mountaineering group and it is considered to be the absolute minimum you should take on a camping/backpacking trip. Although it’s geared towards backpackers, the key ‘systems’ (as they’re referred to) can be applied to any outdoor expedition.
Here are the 10 essentials with a kayaker’s slant on them:
Although the Ten Essentials covers a wide range of important items, it isn’t super kayak focused. So, we’re going to go a bit more in-depth and take a look at exactly what you’ll when it comes to your kayak.
• Paddle (and spare?)
• A PFD per person (and spare?)
• Paddle leash
• Paddle float
• Bailer or similar
This comes under the ‘insulation’ category of the Ten Essentials, but we believe the potential list is long. Kayaking really requires a specific set of clothing and you won’t get away with what you’d take on a camping or backpacking trip.
We briefly mentioned some of them before, but here’s our extended list.
• Neoprene footwear
• Synthetic gloves
• Long-sleeved shirt
• Paddling gloves
• Rain jacket
• Rash vest
• Moisture-wicking clothing
For some reason, there are the same few items that are the most easily forgotten. It’s the same every single time. No matter how prepared you are, they’re forgotten. Here they are on a list to minimize the risk of forgetting them!
• Identification cards
• Insect repellent
• Sanitary and toilet products
• Pen and paper