Wild camping kit list for sea kayakers

Equipment and kit list

Small dry bags are best
Packing a sea kayak takes skill, patience and practice

For most wild camping trips, and you will need to be self-sufficient for the duration of the trip.

It is recommended that all kit be packed into small dry-bags (about 3-5litres) for going into your kayak hatches. Size does matter!

Dry bags are easily available by brands such as Alpkit, Exped, Lomo.

If you haven’t camped from a kayak I would be delighted to help and advise. 

  • All personal kayaking equipment – including boat, paddles, buoyancy aid and spray deck – unless you have arranged to hire
  • All personal clothing for kayaking – if you have a choice, you can decide at the last minute and any surplus gear left in your car.
  • Large windproof cagoule for wearing at lunchtimes that can go over a buoyancy aid
  • Tent – this should be able to withstand unpredictable Scottish weather conditions
  • Sleeping bag – appropriate for the time of year. Your sleeping bag should have an indicated comfort temperature on it so you can check it’s suitable. Make sure you can pack it small enough to fit in your boat
  • Sleeping mat – well insulated and packable.
  • Stove, fuel & lighter/matches, plus spare lighter
  • A cooking pot & cutlery, plates and a mug
  • Food – pasta, microwave rice, noodles, smash that takes very little water to cook. Porridge sachets, musli, powdered milk, custard, cup a soups,  The supermarkets have very good, quality packet meals – look for the higher calorie ones! Tea bags, hot chocolate, hydration tablets.
  • Beer/wine – the only thing you can sensibly fit in the nose of your boat! Cans are better when empty.
  • Lunch provisions, chocolate, easy access snack bars. Squeezy pate/cheese, crackers, wraps, pittas – avoid glass jars.
  • Lunch bag/box, water bottle, flask
  • Water – depending on where we make camp there might not be an option to refill water bottles, so make sure you have enough drinking water for at least 2 days’ paddling plus anything you might need for cooking, hot drinks etc. I usually allow around 2-3 litres per day. Ortlieb or MSR make very good robust water bags which are ideal.
  • Spare dry clothes and a very small camping towel – buy one and cut it in half?
  • Warm clothes for wearing round camp
  • Wind / waterproofs for wearing around camp – lightweight
  • Shoes appropriate for wearing round a wild campsite. Ideally these are waterproof with good soles if we go for a walk. Sometimes Crocs are good as an extra.
  • Personal toiletries: Ensure any soap is safe for using in the wild. Baby wipes are useful for “washing”. Toilet roll .
  • Any personal medication, contact lenses, etc.
  • Personal first aid kit – as a guide I take a decent sized one but it doesn’t harm to have a small supply of painkillers, anti-histamine, Sea sickness tablets.
  • Midge repellent and midge head net – essential!
  • Several small rubbish bags – we aim to Leave no Trace
  • Camera – waterproof
  • Money – card and a decent amount of cash just in case
  • Swimming trunks/costume – optional!
  • Maps – OS 1:50000 – if you like to use one

There’s an excellent YouTube video from fellow kayak coach and guide Roddy McDowell which might help you on How to Pack a Sea Kayak.

It is highly recommended that you practice at least once.