Kayak camping is the ultimate twist of adventure to spice up your camping game. Paddling to your camp site challenges you to pack light and efficiently while taking you off manmade trails and onto a nearby flowing river.

Take the opportunity to spend hot summer camping trips on a kayak with unlimited opportunities to cool off at any minute! Are you ready to take your camping experience to the next level?

Here are our top 3 tips when selecting a kayak for camping!

1. Balance Stability and Speed

Kayak camping requires you to pack a solid amount of gear. No matter how lightweight your gear may be, the weight will add up. We recommend logging the weight of your kayak camping gear to assure you won’t exceed the kayaks capacity.

This point drives home the importance to have a stable kayak for camping. With the added weight of your gear, you still want to be able to move freely around the deck of the kayak without the fear of tipping the boat.

As you may know, added stability often comes at the cost of speed.If your kayak camping trips consist of double-digit-mile days, we recommend searching for a balance of stability and speed. A longer kayak helps with speed and tracking while a wider kayak will ultimately be more stable.

Tip: Adding a rudder to a wider kayak will help it’s paddling performance, keeping you tracking straight and maximizing your paddling efficiency.

“With the added weight of your gear, you still want to be able to move freely around the deck of the kayak without the fear of tipping the boat.”

2. Storage Options

The ideal kayak for camping will have adequate storage options both on the deck of the boat as well as internally. Utilize the hatches for smaller items that will fit through the opening and will be easy to remove later on. The gear stored in the hull should consist of items that you won’t use during the paddle.

While bulkier items like your tent may have to go on/in the rear tank well of your kayak, most of the gear stored on the deck should be items that you will use during a day of paddling. Look for a kayak with a large rear tank well and a large front hatch. While you may not use all the space, having the option for more gear will keep you from being held back when you want to take kayak camping to the next level with a big trip.

Tip: Check out our blog on “How to Pack Your Kayak for Camping”! 

3. Durability

A lighter weight plastic may make for easier transportation and paddling, however, that same plastic may not necessarily be as durable as traditional, heavier plastics.

When kayak camping, you may encounter a situation that could force you to portage for a stretch, meaning you would have to drag your boat through rocks and debris. Minor scratches and rash will not harm the kayak, and the added security of having a strong and durable boat will provide you comfort on these kind of camping trips.

Tip: Inspect the hull of your kayak before and after each camping trip. Search for any cracks or severe scratches that could lead to a leak.


Kayak camping can be one of the most thrilling experiences for any adventure seeker, avid camper, or anyone who wants to move on from car camping but isn’t ready for the hiking trails. Plan your trip thoroughly, make sure you have the right kayak and pack it properly.

And don’t forget the PFD!