Cross Country Kayaking Guide

It is not necessary to be a superman to perform a cross country kayak. You can get your cross country adventure started with the proper preparation and mindset. If you love kayaking and have been contemplating going on a cross country trip, this article is a comprehensive guide on how to prepare for such a journey and some tips for during.

I’ve already written a guide on how to prepare for a long distance kayaking trip, however this guide is more specifically for cross country kayaking.

Interestingly, we will provide relevant tips on how you can safely complete the trip. In addition, you’ll need to learn about the essential items you need for this adventure. Kayaking is an exciting way to spend some quality time during your vacation. Are you ready for this cross country kayak guide? Let’s get started.

Man prepared to kayak cross country

Cross Country Kayaking during winter

Not everyone will wait for the winter to pass before embarking on a cross-country trip. You’ll need to plan if you’re planning yours during the winter. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind as you progress in your kayaking.

Get your boots on

During the winter, your feet are often the first to become frostbitten. Because of this, it is essential to take care of your feet. As a result of their thickness, boots come in helpful in this situation. The thickness of a kayak should be between five and seven millimeters.

Ensure your comfort by staying warm

In addition to covering your feet, which are the most vulnerable to weather, you should also cover your head. During the colder months of the year, you have a wide variety of clothing options to choose from.

You should keep your distance from the water’s edge

Whether you’re kayaking in the dead of winter or the height of summer, this is a general rule to adhere to. However, being near the coast necessitates extra caution. In addition, if you’re kayaking in a group, you’ll need to be visible to everyone else. The environment can sometimes be challenging to comprehend, so keep near the shorelines.

A word of caution: stay away from river bends where the wind may not blow in your favor. The blow can be devastating, especially if you lack the stamina to paddle.

Get dressed in layers

Dressing in layers is another approach to dodge the weather. It’s not just for kayaking; you can use it for snow skiing, skiing, and cross-country skiing in the winter. Prepare for your kayaking adventure with appropriate clothing that will both protect you from the elements and keep you warm. There are low-cost winter kayaking outfits available, so you don’t have to go crazy.

Keep a floatation device on hand at all times

Regardless of the length of the journey, always wear a floating gadget for your protection. Kayaking accidents can be avoided if you have a floating gadget. If you were wearing a life jacket, you might be able to survive a kayak capsize.

For more information on what equipment to bring kayaking, you should check out out my ultimate kayaking checklist which explains what you should bring on your adventure.

Never take this for granted, especially for your cross country kayaking. Peradventure, things didn’t go as you planned. Your floatation devices can help you remain safe pending when you get help.

Tips to have a successful cross country kayaking

Nobody ever starts a journey and wants it to become a failure. I don’t think that will be your mission embarking on a cross-country kayaking. Do you consider starting a journey and ending it midway as a success? Completing your cross country kayaking is very important as it will boost your morale and ability to go on a longer distance.

However, to accomplish your cross country mission, there are essential things to consider. Several factors can influence or impact the outcome of your kayaking. Let’s explore some tips to help you achieve your goals when going on a cross-country ride.

Pick the right team

Cross country kayak can be fun when you are kayaking with a team or group. While you can go alone for 10 days, that will be different if you are with someone else. The right team will influence your kayaking as you might find pleasure in going the extra mile even if you are tired.

For instance, if you are kayaking a distance of 6,000 miles, you have to be prepared. While you might paddle and rest for a while if you are alone, that will be different if you are with a team as you can take interval rest as others kayak.

The objective is to accomplish the task, so you have to select individuals who are passionate about kayaking. As already stated, whoever you choose for this adventure can impact your cross country kayaking negatively or positively.

In addition, you need to understand each other’s weaknesses and strengths. You can initially opt for a little distance test to ascertain your skills and ability to navigate through tricky waters. You won’t want to go on a cross-country trip with someone who you haven’t kayak with before.

Gear Up

Peradventure your journey will take over 60 days; you must plan adequately. You don’t have to go overboard here; you can use the same gear you use during a weekend trip. You would need your essential clothing, paddles, stove, tent, post set, etc. We will explore common items you need for your cross-country ride towards the end of this article.

Fueling your engine

Here, it would depend on the particular kayak you are using. If your kayak is using the engine, you might want to plan to fuel the engine and take additional supplies if you run out of fuel. Even if you might kayak with paddles, an engine minimizes the distance.

Keep an adventurous spirit

You are not going for a 2-day adventure, so you must prep your mind. It’s a cross country trip and not just a trip within your city. No need to speed up things; a paddle stroke at a time will get the job done. Don’t stress yourself. Live in the moment as you kayak through the way.

Stay flexible

Things might not go as planned when embarking on a cross-country kayaking. Therefore, you have to remain flexible for any unforeseen circumstances. At times, bad weather might change the course of things even when you didn’t expect a change in the weather condition. Adaptability is an important trait that every kayaker should imbibe. It’s a long journey; there isn’t any need to stress yourself as it will affect your goal.

What to carry for cross country kayak

Your cross country kayak may take longer than expected. In this situation, your planning is crucial. As you spend nights away from home, you’ll need to bring a few items with you. Typically, you’d pack the essentials like a survival kit, an emergency shelter, a paddle, and navigational aids.

I thought it would be useful to mention that I’ve also recently written a guide on what to bring for an overnight kayaking trip. I recommend you give that a read too.

Let’s have a look at some essential items to pack for cross country kayaking.


You don’t want to skimp on your tent and sleeping arrangements. It makes no difference if you have a fancier tent; you should ensure it doesn’t take up too much room. The tent should not weigh more than 1.5 kilograms. When purchasing a high-quality tent, you can select various lightweight single-person-to-team tents.

Bag for sleeping

You’ll need a dry sleeping bag because damp sleeping bags are useless. You might choose a synthetic bag to keep you warm even in wet conditions. Furthermore, when packed, they are lighter and smaller. When planning a cross-country journey, consider that space and weight are critical. You can also use a lightweight matt to keep yourself comfy.


When kayaking, you can’t count on clear evenings. As a result, having a light or a torch with extra batteries can be helpful. In addition, you don’t want to depend on the moonlight.

Energy and food

The current can be an issue while going on a lengthy kayaking journey. So you’ll need all of your energy. You’ll need roughly 10,000 calories if you kayak for more than eight hours. You can eat foods that are high in calories. Freeze-dried meat is a fantastic alternative to consider if you have access to freshwater. You can also bring food that doesn’t need to be refrigerated.

If you’re not sure what food to bring on your trip, you should check out my article on kayak camping food ideas. There I talk about my favorite meals and snacks for kayak camping.


Since you will be kayaking for several days and weeks, you’ll need a burner to cook a hot dinner. While you can sometimes consume cold food, lightweight camp stoves are available to heat your food. Make sure you have matches, a lighter, or a flint spark lighter.


When packing for a lengthy journey, it’s crucial to have a variety of clothes. Before you seek your camp clothes, get your land gear. After a day of riding, you must change your clothes. Using the same damp cloth all day doesn’t help. You must relax, and investing in a decent relaxation cloth is critical. You can get yourself ready for the next day with the appropriate cloth arrangement.


Kayaking across continents does not necessitate you having superhuman abilities. If you have the right mindset and are passionate about kayaking, you can paddle your way through several countries. However, as you decide to embark on this journey, we have shared a vital tip to complete your mission. In addition, ensure you don’t take your personal security for granted. Enjoy your cross country kayak experience!

Vanessa Hopkins

Hi, I'm Vanessa. Long-time kayaker who's proud to be part of this community. I strive to provide our visitors with insightful guides with the aim to improve their kayaking experience. I've been working with SunshineKayaking for over 5 years, providing world-class services.

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