Kayaking Packing List: What to Bring on a Kayak Camping Trip

Everything you need to take on multi-day kayaking adventure!

family kayaking, Broken Group Islands, Canada, kayaking, British Columbia

Getting prepared for a kayak camping trip can be a little… shall we say… arduous? We prepped for weeks for our five-day, four-night adventure in the Broken Group Islands in Canada.

Because I love lists, I put together this complete list of everything we took on our kayak camping trip. Maybe it will make your own trip prep a little bit easier!

In the Broken Group Islands, there is no running water, so you need to boat in all your drinking, cooking and washing water. See our Vegan Kayaking Meal Plan for details on the food and water we brought.

Read our full guide to planning a kayaking trip to the Broken Group Islands

Kayaking Equipment List for Your Kayak Camping Adventure

Kayak Camping Bags to Pack Your Gear

Packing for a kayaking trip can be tricky because, though a sea kayak holds quite a lot, the hatches are relatively small. Be sure to pack in small, waterproof bags that can easily squeeze inside the hatches!

This section lists the bags we used to pack all our gear for two people.

2 x 10L dry bags (clothes and personal items)
1 x 5L dry bag as deck bag
1 box heavy duty freezer bags (food)

1 x small Ortlieb front roller waterproof bike pannier (camp kitchen)
(Note: We packed in this because we had it on hand from our 2-year cycling trip. It has a 25L capacity. Substitute any waterproof bag that will hold your stove, pots, plates etc)

1 x 32 L dry bag (tent, sleeping bags, and sleep pads)
1 x foldable day pack
3 x large cloth grocery bags (for transporting food)

Personal Items

Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera, spare camera batteries, memory cards
iPhone with PocketEarth app for navigation
UV lip balm
Pain reliever
Insect repellent


Since the weather can be unpredictable, especially on Vancouver Island’s West Coast, it’s hard to know exactly what to wear for kayaking. The answer is to bring lots of layers and hope it never gets cold enough that you need to wear it all at once!

This list is for one person, we each brought all of these items. That is, I brought 4 t-shirts and so did Stephen.

Light long-sleeve shirt
4 x T-shirts
2 x Shorts
2 x Socks
Long pants (water resistant)
Long pants (for camp)
3 x Underwear
2 x Sports bras
Synthetic fleece jacket
KEEN sandals or hiking/running shoes
Water shoes or flip flops
Rain jacket
Sun hat / baseball cap
Gloves for kayaking (I used my bicycle gloves)

family kayaking, Broken Group Islands, Canada, kayaking, British Columbia

Kayak Camping Gear

We used the same camping gear as we took on our 2-year round the world bicycle trip. We love it and it’s still going strong through all our adventures!

Big Agnes Copper Spur Ul3 Tent w/ Ground Cloth
2 x Big Agnes sleeping bag
2 x Big Agnes sleeping pad
2 x Silk sleeping bag liner
Therm-a-rest compressible camping pillow
Duct tape
2 x Petzl Headlamps

Trangia on the beach.

For Our Kayak Camping Kitchen

Trangia stove with cooking pots (we LOVE this stove)
Stove fuel
Lighters & matches
2 x Camping plates
2 x Bamboo cutlery sets
Can opener
Salt and pepper, spices
Kitchen knife
Swiss Army knife
Cutting board
Dish towel
Scrubby, pot scraper (we used sea water and sand to scrub out pots, no dish soap)
Hand sanitizer
3 x personal water bottles
2 x small tupperware containers for lunches / leftovers
Coffee stuff (beans, hand grinder, cloth filter, pour over funnel, coffee cup – yes, Stephen is a coffee nerd)


Kayak with all hatch covers, kayak life jacket, spare paddles, paddle floats etc (all provided by the kayak rental company)

Safety and Navigation

Most of these items were brought by other members of our party and shared between us
Deck compass
Cell phone
VHF marine radio
Emergency strobe
First-aid kit
Maps, charts, guidebook excerpts

This article on Backcountry has some excellent advice and tips for packing a kayak.  

A kayak camping trip can be an amazing experience. It can also be really hard to prepare for! Here's a complete kayak camping list to help you get ready!

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