I have had a fair amount of folks ask me for advice or I have helped get started into kayak camping, and hope this thread can be helpful to someone getting started or mayhaps present something new or different to experienced kayak campers.
Some of the other TNT threads spill over into this one like first aid and survival gear. Mostly I want to get across that kayak camping can be relatively inexpensive and once you get started, you find things that work and don't work. Also, simple overnighters, which a majority of us do, have a different set of logistics involved than multi-day trips. We'll go over that too.
Remember--kayak camping is very seasonal and the gear/tactics change with the seasons and our wonderfully dynamic Texas weather.
A depends and begins with what paddlecraft vessel is going to be used for the trip. A canoe presents (almost) endless possibilities in packing and amount of gear to haul. Touring kayaks can have advantages as well. A lot of the wooden pirouges and other wood boats you see on the FW board is they are perfect for kayak camping. But the majority of kayak fisherman are in plastic SOT with a minority in Sit-ins. Some boats are more difficult to pack than others because of weight capacity and hatch size.
I'll present how-to with a 13 foot OK Prowler, an average kayak-fishing boat. Hopefully others on here can show the advantages of wooden pirouges, canoes, and hybrids like the Native Ultimate series.
Whether you are on an overnighter or a week-long trip, some equipment will go no matter what. Other stuff will change like food, water, and other specific items.
Pretty obvious stuff here.
Repair kit (good for multi-day trips without much public access)
Throw bag--good for groups (especially with newbies) and encounters with whitewater
Seat ( maybe an extra pad for long trips so the 'ol butt doesn't get sore)
Bowline--good for many uses-lining through shallows, tieing off boat to structure at camp in case of a water rise, getting hooks tuck into them
This will vary with your comfort level and what season it is (as well as potential weather changes like rain, cold fronts, wind)
Tent- I like one that breathes well in the hot summers and has a strong rain-fly that can handle storm. There are a lot of good three-season tents for reasonable prices, and often tent manufacturers will come out with new lines every year or so, and the perfectly ok old version goes on sale.
There are many excellent choices. I use a Mountain hardwear Meridian-2. A two-man tent that is perfect as a one-man for a tall guy with his gear.
Now others may want to consider being even more lightweight/spartan use a tarp (like YakinAg-tough dude) or a bivy sack, something worth considering for mild but not cold nights. Or even a hammock like Siler's.
Also get a ground cover or tarp to go under your tent--lots of rock and shells can wear out the tent floor.
Sleeping pad--I think (personally) this is a must. And this is one item I feel shouldn't be skimped on. Some good pads out there that are durable from rocks, shells, and the like. Size is also a factor. There are some luxury pads out there that you could throw your car keys under and sleep on the pad not knowing they are there, but can be bulky. There are also cheapo pads that don't do squat. I chose a pad that was durable, reputable, comfortable, and packs small and light. I use the Termarest proLite3. It's not cheap, but you get what you pay for in quality.
It's the small orange roll inside the dry bag here.
Sleeping bag--I use one in the winter. If it's above 50 I pack a light weight fleece blanket and then a waterproof thick camp blanket to go over that. Plus they pack small and light. For winter I use a zero degree bag. It's bulky but I got it cheap for under $50. Remember even though a bag is "rated" to a certain temp, go ahead and add 10-15 degrees and that's the temp you can be sure you are comfortably warm. Also a bivy sack is a good option here. I pack mine into a compression dry sack to get it down to a packable size.
Sleeping bag is a bulky 5lbs and the extra-tall version but it packs down nicely into a compression dry sack, left.
Folding camp chair-gotta have a place to sit after a hard day's paddle.
Spare clothes and seasonal clothes-I always take a change of clothes, even in summer. Never know when you may need a clean, dry change of clothes. Once got caught up in a bad squall line of storms and got drenched. It was late spring but I was shivering. Spare clothes made me warmer and feel like a new person.
Plus I hate going to sleep wet.
Also take along seasonal stuff-like a coat/jacket for cold nights, gloves, wool cap or ski mask, extra base layers--layers, layers, layers in the cold months. Waders or the like for paddling in cold water. Also a set of camp shoes or sandals are handy as well. *Also if drying wet shoes near a fire, watch them closely, might have melted a pair of my wife's shoes once. Avoid cotton clothes BTW. They take forever to dry and don't wick moisture well. There are multitudes of good outdoor clothes out there and not even going to get into the plusses and minuses of each type. Another campfire tip--I melted the pant leg cuff of a pair of good kayaking pants once by standing too close to a fire--polyester and nylon melt easy.
Clothes should pack tight into a dry bag as well.
All clothing, sleeping pad, and pillow are in bag on right.
Also don't forget raingear.
Pillow-I take along a small compressible pillow-whatever works for you. Spare clothes can double as a pillow too.
Dry bags/compression sacks--I love compression dry bags like shown above. They reduce space and keep your stuff dry. If you use trash bags---if you turtle, your stuff will get wet. Usually a 30L dry bag can hold most gear for an overnighter. I have smaller bags to hold random items because they pack easier into my hatch that way. Also, I have a huge NRS Big Bill dry bag when I'm lazy or taking a ton of gear along. It was designed with rafting outfitters in mind, but can hold enough gear for two or three folks.
Green bag shown here in tankwell.
Stove--another item with plenty of good choices. MSR, Coleman, Jetboil-are all great choices--choose based on how many you want to cook for, and how much room you have. I use an ultralight backpacker stove that is no bigger than the palm of my hand. It is made by Brunton, got it cheap at Cabela's (<$40) and uses variable size fuel canisters.
Cooking gear--plenty of cheap options here. I have foldable cookware and army surpluses usually have a bunch of pans and such. Last trip realized I needed a can opener for the fried corn--good thing somebody else brought it. Plan out what will be cooked and what utensils will be necessary.
If grilling, I suggest a grate for cooking over coals or charcoal briquettes--drfitwood smoked-meat isn't very tasty. Bowgarguide saw my grate recently and noted where I could cut it down for better packing.
Food--pack it light and tight. Doesn't mean you have to sacrifice quality.
Cut out extraneous packaging if it doesn't sacrifice freshness. Pre-cook, cut, dice, or mix anything you can beforehand. Strider showed us a handy way of pre-mixing eggs into a plastic spice bottle. Also pre-mix spices and the free fast food condiments are helpful too.
Water--muy importante. Pre-freeze as much as possible as this will double as "ice". For multi-day trips or just trying to be lightweight, I use a water filter. I use the katadyn hiker pro, but there are many other options too and all about the same price. You can cut pounds of water weight off with this.
Cooler--You want something that will keep things cool as long as you are on the water. Plus it helps to have something that fits your tankwell. I use all sorts of small coolers depending on what's going back there.
headlamps and spare batteries
lanterns-I rarely use them as I usually get enough light from campfire, stars, and moon, but they are helpful
shovel-foldable shovels are handy,especially if handling coals. For minor digging in sand, I use my paddle.
http://texaskayakfisherman.com/forum/vi ... +n+tactics
http://texaskayakfisherman.com/forum/vi ... +n+tactics
foldable hand saw- for trimming firewood
bandanna--1001 uses. nuff said.
Campfires and safety:
If in a no trace area, consder a fire pan.
I like to dig a small fire pit to self-contain the coals and still fashion it for air to feed the fire. I try to place it where the wind will blow ash into the river if possible and not on dry brush. As for starting a fire, I use a small bottle of vaseline and dryer lint.
It's a great lightweight option.
More effective is a roll of TP soaking in 90% rubbing alcohol inside a coffee or baby formula can. Helpful if tinder and kindling are wet.
I try to bring what is appropriate for what I'm fishing for (bass stuff?, catfish gear?) but minimizw what I can. I try to limit lures, rods, weights, and stuff I most likely won't use. Just fishing with lures? Maybe don't take as many. Not keeping fish? Leave the stringer. Not using live bait? Leave the bait bucket. Not using anchor? Leave that heavy thing at home, too. Brush clips are lightweight and more pertinent on rivers.
One thing about keeping fish. Ice chests are great. Dragging a stringer of fish for miles while trying to make up distance and time is tiresome and cuts down on speed immensely. Trust me, it stinks.
Of course rod holders. Keep rods at a low profile if dodging tree limbs.
Water is probably your biggest issue. Water filters can help solve that. Pre-freeze as much as you can. For food, dried foods pack light. Reduce cokes and beer if you need the space May consider a weather radio to keep track of weather changes. Mine has a dynamo if batteries run out.
For me this is inmportant as hatch options are limited. In a canoe it's more mkaing sure weight is distributed properly.
I shove the tent under the console.
You can stow away extra rods for later bank fishing, too.
Next goes in the camp chair.
Then a dry bag with survival gear and camp items.
Then dry bag with clothes and sleeping arrangements.
Note many little dry bags can be fit into little spaces as well.
One thing I'm working on is reducing the amount of fishing junk I take along. More room in the tankwell.
Deck bags can be handy too. Keep a rainjacket/poncho or map for easy access. I used one on the Devils for just that purpose.
Yellow bag on the bow.
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This is just a basic start. Please everybody expound on this and add what I forgot.