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Kayak Camping

Kayak Camping is essentially the same thing as backpacking except that your kayak is your backpack and you have to worry a whole lot more about keeping your gear dry. Generally speaking, single kayaks have "not so dry" wells that equal a large backpack in terms of storage space while double kayaks tend not to have as much dry well storage space as you would like or need. In any event, you want to pack ONLY WHAT YOU NEED. Additionally, the "not so dry wells" have small openings, so you have to put your gear in small bags or dry bags (no backpacks) and you should pack only what you need. To add to the complexity, this is primitive camping so if you pack it in, you have to pack it out.

Another important factor to consider is how you will share gear. Given limited dry storage space, buddies and patrols should consider sharing tents, stoves, fuel and water storage so that less gear needs to be packed.

Essential Items for individual Scouts to Pack
  • Sleeping Bag - a 3 season bag is usually too hot in the summer. Consider bringing a sleeping bag liner or just a blanket.
  • Ground Pad - after the first 15 minutes of trying to sleep on sand, you will discover something important... sand feels harder than rock when you are trying to sleep on it! Bring a compact ground pad if you have it. If you don't, consider bringing your 3 season sleeping bag to sleep on top of.
  • Clothing - 1 change of clothes in the boat and 1 left behind in the car is generally sufficient for a 2 night trip. Remember, in water based activities, cotton is the enemy! Wear your bathing suit and pack a 2nd pair of long or zip-off nylon or polyester pants. A long sleeve synthetic shirt is also very nice and light poly socks — great to block bugs and sun. They dry much faster than cotton. You do not want to sleep in wet clothes. Even in warm weather, you will get chilled at night if you are wet. You should bring sleep shorts and T-shirt in a double zip lock bag
  • Water Shoes - close toed sandles, slip on water shoes or an old pair of sneakers are best. Crocs are not so good. A great combo — neoprene booties and strap on sandles guarantee the hottestankle tan in Raleigh! Whenever you paddle in salt water, you will be over or near Oyster beds. If you have to get out of your boat, you'll need protection for your feet. Some type shoe must be worn. Oyster shells are as sharp as razor blades.
  • Flashlight or head lamp - 99.99% of the time it gets dark at night. Enough said.
  • Mess kit - you will cook in patrols, but you'll need something to eat out of. A bowl, cup, and spoon is the minimum and may be best for space & weight.
  • Towell - this will be one of the most bulky items you'll pack and you will only have room for one, but its important! Keep it dry and out of the sand or you will be sorry! A pack towel, a hand towel, or an old thin towel will do.
  • Sunscreen - water reflects light, so you will be double exposed to the sun. Even in the spring and fall, sunburn is an issue when Kayaking.
  • Hat - (See Sunscreen)
  • Sunglasses (See Sunscreen)
  • Bug Spray - when camping on Barrier Islands or in Maritime forests, bugs are a major issue. Skeeters, horse flys, sand fleas and ants are the main concerns.
  • Water Bottle(s) - paddling is hot work. You will want at least 1 water bottle with you in your boat. Keep in mind also, that many barrier islands have no fresh water source so you'll need to bring plenty of water (3-4 liters per scout) and/or paddle to a fresh water source for refills. You should also consider wrapping a few layers of duct tape on your water bottle for general purpose use.
  • Toilettries - toothbrush, toothpaste and a travel pack sized roll of Toilet paper. We are back country camping. No bathrooms unless we paddle to them.
  • Personal First Aid Kit - Personal first aid supplies in a small flat zip lock bag to care for cuts, scrapes, and blisters.

Essential Items for buddies Pack
  • Tent - there isn't enough room in the Kayak for scouts to have their own tent, so sharing is essential. A 2-3 person tent, preferrably a light or ultra-light backpacking tent is ideal. This is not the place or time for that 6 person dome car camping tent! Tent space must be decided at the patrol meeting a few weeks before the trip.


Essential Items for the Troop or Patrols to Pack
  • Water Storage - water will be needed for cooking and drinking and if its hot out, scouts and scouters will consume a lot of it. Use water storage that collapses when emptied (e.g. MSR Dromadary or DromLite? bladders) if possible. Assume you will need 3-4 litres per day per person in warm weather (don't overlook personal water bottles in water calculations).
  • Stove(s) and fuel - backpacking style only. There just isn't room for that 3 burner coleman stove.
  • Cook Pots - again... backpacking style is best.
  • Matches - cheap matches double packed in 2 cheap zip-lock bags with waterproof matches as a backup (waterproof matches don't light easily wet or dry)
  • Extra Paddle(s) - if a paddle breaks, it will be hard to get all the boats back.
  • Throw bag(s) (Rescue ropes) - not required, but just good common sense. Have at least 1 throw bag for every 10 people on the trip and give them to the strongest swimmers (or BSA Lifeguards) to carry.
  • Maps - does this need an explanation?
  • Compass - does this need an explanation?
  • First Aid Kit - at least one complete first aid kit should be packed. Everyone should know which person/boat is responsibile for it. Choose a packable style.
  • Folding Saw (if driftwood fires are allowed at the campsite) - there is no room for an axe and driftwood doesn't automatically come in handy campfire sizes.
  • Fire Starters (if driftwood fires are allowed at the campsite) - driftwood makes a great campfire, but its REALLY hard to get a fire started.
  • Clorox Wips - used to clean up mess kits, pots and pans after meals

Optional Items to Pack
  • Deck of cards - never camp w/o them!
  • Pocket Knife - not really needed on a Kayak trip but if you really want to bring it, just remember to keep it dry.

Keeping your gear dry
There are tons of expensive dry sack gear options available, but unless you plan to kayak a lot, don't spend the money. If you really feel like you have to buy something, shop at either Great Outdoor Provision Company or REI and ask for advice on the most cost effecive options from a sales clerk that actually kayaks — OR — Walmart sells large yellow dry bags. Either way, you should be able to stay at or below ~$15. If you buy dry bags, plese write your name on the outside of your bags.
  • Caution: you probably be told to avoid stuff bags larger than 4L in size because they won't fit in the dry wells of your kayak. In reality, an 8L bag will fit fine in the dry well as long as you don't stuff it with 8L of stuff! The larger bags are more versatile and as long as you don't overpack then and you squeeze the air out, they fit fine.
  • Caution: avoid ultra light waterproof stuff bags. They are expensive, don't save enough weight to matter and are not waterproof no matter what anyone tells you.

Plastic bags are the low cost option of choice, but here are some tips you may not have thought of:
  • use heavy duty plastic bags. The seams on the lightweight bags leak
  • avoid bags with fancy seals or draw strings. They leak.
  • Zip lock bags are great, but avoid the ones that have the handy white zipper that slides across the top. They leak. Heavy Duty Double seal ziplocks w/o the white platic handle are best.
  • Use bags that are larger than the stuff you want to keep dry. Squeeze the air out, seal, roll the tops down multiple times and then secure the rolled tops with wire ties, light rope or duct tape.

Food
In case you haven't already figured this out, big coolers won't fit in a Kayak. Generally, you should not plan meal menus that require ingredients that must be kept on ice. If you must, pack a soft 6-pack cooler. It will be small enough and flexible enough to fit in the kayak dry wells.

You should repack food from bulky store packages into sizes that will pack in the kayak. Some foods can be precooked & frozen then heated or finished with other ingredients at the campsite.

Keep in mind also the limitations of your cooking gear: stove, pot size, frying pan, etc. Backpacking stoves are great for boiling water and that's really about it. Backpacking pots and frying pans usually only have capacity to serve 3-4 people at a time.

Some of the best meals are those that use dry or dehyradted foods soaked or boiled in water. For example: 1 Ooddles of Noodles, 1 Boullion cube, 1 vacume sealed bag of Starkist Chicken and assorted dried vegetables from Whole Foods makes a delicious meal for 3-4 people in about 7 minutes. Top it off with a package of Oreo Cookies and you have a scrumptious meal. You can feed a whole patrol with two pots of boiled water. Additional benefits that merit consideration:

  • fuel economy
  • excellent callorie to volume ratio
  • ingrediants pack small and do not require ice
  • you a lot of calories compared with the weight and size of the uncooked food
  • cleanup is really really simple

One final thought for meal cleanup... eat all the food you put in your bowl, use sea water and sand to clean your mess kits then wipe them down with Clorox Wipes. Just keep the wipes off your cotton clothes.


Created by System Administrator. Last Modification: Sunday 30 of November, 2008 11:26:41 CST by System Administrator.

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