A Three Part Series
How do you camp from a kayak you ask? Well I have a little bit of experience here. I spent 6 days sea kayaking along the coast of Baja a few years back and a couple of years before that I spent 15 days, albeit rafting, traveling 245 miles down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. These kinds of trips take a lot of planning and the logistics can be tricky to say the least, but these are the extremes. Realistically, what most of us do is drive to our State Park, local river or coastal refuge and spend a few days at ‘Base Camp’ while taking short jaunts out on the water either fishing, exercising, bird watching, or just sight-seeing from our yaks can canoes. For trips like these you really shouldn’t have to worry about packing light and tight since you’re probably car camping or at most hiking a few hundred yards from your vehicle to the campsite. There’s no shame in car camping, I imagine that 99% of the folks that camp, car camp. I could probably Google this and cite a source or two, but I’m sticking with my gut. So car camping and kayaking it is. There are probably a dozen items that every ‘car camper’ needs to make the outing easy and relaxing. Here’s my list and reasoning:
Tent: Save yourself some weight and expense and get a 3 season tent unless you know you are camping in the winter. The Kelty Yellowstone 4 is a great example of an inexpensive, easy to use, feature filled tent. One suggestion I have would be to make sure the tent has at about 30% more room than you think you need. In other words if you normally camp as a couple, get a 3 person tent. That way if the weather turns foul you can store you gear in it easily without cramping your space and since you aren’t hiking it very far the weight isn’t as big an issue. On an outing in the Cascade Mountains, during some really poor weather, I spent a day and a half in a 2 person tent with an over-sized tent-mate and 6 days worth of alpine gear. Not a lot of fun.
Back Pack: Many destinations that offer camping and kayaking also offer great day hikes. A small day pack or a hydration pack is a necessity. Something like the Camel Bak Rogue Hydration Pack is perfect for a short 1-3 hour hike. The Rogue holds 70L of water and has room for snacks and maybe rain gear. Need more space for more gear, check out something like the Kelty Red Wing 2650 Back Pack. The Red Wing offers enough capacity for longer day hikes and also has a reservoir sleeve so you can add a hydration bladder if you desire. While in The Grand, we hiked every day. My favorite pieces of gear were my water bottle and my CamelBak hydration pack. Make sure the pack is big enough to hold your rain gear.
Rain Gear: Even if you are in the warmer climates, you’ll still want a rain shell with you. Covering two or three miles in the rain whether on foot or in a kayak is a lot more tolerable with a light rain jacket on. Chances are you won’t use it, since most of us plan these trips when the weather look favorable….fair weather campers… but one unexpected downpour will convince you to always carry rain gear.
This is part one of a three part series. Look for part two in a couple of days. Comments are always welcome and encouraged or you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.