Personal Challenge: How to pack for a kayaking overnight or multi-day trip

October 25, 2022

Tips and tricks to help you be more prepared for your first overnight kayaking trip!
Personal Challenge: How to pack for a kayaking overnight or multi day


Thinking about launching your first ever overnight kayaking trip? There’s nothing quite as satisfying as paddling all day, circumnavigating an island, or exploring the perimeter of a large body of water, and then, late in the day, sussing out a remote and beautiful place to lay your head for the night. Watching the setting sun, cooking a simple meal, foraging for treasures like shells and wildflowers from your momentary campsite home are just some of the uncomplicated pleasures that will accompany your first multi-day paddle adventure. 

But what should you pack? If it’s your first time and you are unsure, here’s a quick and dirty list of what to bring along. Just the basics.



On water and camp attire

  • Non-cotton base layers for paddling - in case the sun is more intense than you planned and sunscreen isn’t cutting it. It’s nice to have long sleeve layers for arms and legs for a manual, physical sun barrier. Lightweight rash guards/water shirts can accomplish this well. For example, Eddyline Sunset Logo Water Shirt - Black - eddylinekayaks.
  • Base layers for camp - cotton preferred. For me, whatever I wear in camp once off the water, I like it to be breathable and comfortable.
  • Quick-drying board shorts or swimsuit for paddling 
  • Chacos, Astral’s or an alternative water shoe, plus a separate shoe for camp
  • Consider sandals for in camp
  • A pair of socks 
  • A baseball or sun hat
  • Sunglasses and croakies


Optional: Sarong, neck gaiter, paddle gloves 

Note: I like to pack just enough clothing to have a paddling outfit and a camp outfit, and not much more. 

For camp

  • Sleeping bag and pad - put each in a separate dry bag
  • A tent or shelter (or sleep under the stars)
  • Bathroom bag (with accessible non-toxic mineral sunscreen)
  • A flashlight or head lamp 
  • Dining components - a mug, bowl and spoon
  • A lightweight water filter or pack all the water necessary for the entire trip (even if you pack all the water you think you'll need, a filter is always a good back-up to have)
  • A cook stove or, grab a meal to go that won’t spoil - keep it easy and simple for this first outing. 

Paddle equipment 

  • Individual dry bags for food and camp essentials - only use 10-15 liter bags so that each will fit with ease in your kayak’s hatches
  • Easy access water storage (a bottle, bladder or hydro flask)
  • An emergency repair kit with duct tape, seam seal, zip ties and manufacture-specific spare parts for your paddle, boat and other essentials
  • A paddle
  • An Eddyline touring kayak like the Sitka series, the Fathom or Whisper
  • A type 3 Personal Flotation Device


Optional: Spray skirt, camera or smart phone for photos 

Safety Gear

This is a list of safety paddle equipment which may or maynot be necessary on your excursion. If you don’t know what each of the below items is and used for, it would be wise to do a quick investigation of each to better judge weather to bring it. 

  • Bilge pump and paddle float
  • Compass & map
  • Knife
  • Whistle
  • Throw rope
  • First aid kit
  • PLB (personal locator beacon) or other satellite communication device
  • GPS
  • Bear spray, bear bag or canister
  • WAG or waste bags for number two


Other equipment and logistics to consider 

  • A map of the transect you wish to navigate
  • Check and recheck weather and water conditions
  • Call land managers that maintain close tabs on the water way to inquire about hazards or other concerning factors 
  • Secure all necessary permitting 
  • Check water flow gages and do comprehensive online research about the area you plan to paddle 
  • Practice leave no trace


Why not give an overnight a try? If you forget something - you’ll only be without it for 24 hours. After your first overnight, build up from there. Try a two-nighter and so on. Happy paddling!