Wild camping kit list for sea kayakers

Equipment and kit list

Small dry bags are best

For most wild camping trips, and you will need to be self-sufficient for the duration of the trip. It is highly recommended that you practice packing  before your trip. Below is a list based on what I find works for me.

Dry Bags!

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 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 of clothing and are unsure, I like to leave my decision to the last minute and leave surplus gear behind in the car.
  • Large windproof cagoule for wearing at lunchtimes that can go over a buoyancy aid – yes even in summer!
  • Tent – this should at least 3 season rated to 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, packet rice, noodles, smash that takes very little water to cook, tinned fish, some fresh food for first few days. Porridge sachets, musli, powdered milk, custard, packet soups,  The supermarkets have very good, quality packet meals – look for the higher calorie ones, aim for minimum 400 calories for evening meal! Tea bags, hot chocolate, hydration tablets. Lay out the food for each day and be realistic about what you might eat.
  • Beer/wine – Cans are easier than bottles to transport when empty.
  • Lunch provisions: wraps, pittas, oatcakes, squeezy pate/cheese, crackers,  – avoid glass jars, chocolate, easy access snack bars. I pack my lunch food separately from my main meals
  • Lunch bag/box, water bottle, flask
  • Water bags / containers – 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. I usually allow around 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 ones are sufficient.
  • 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 carry a decent sized one but it doesn’t harm for group members to have your own 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

This excellent video from fellow kayak coach and guide Roddy McDowell which will show you  How to Pack a Sea Kayak.