How To Pack A Kayak For Overnight Trips

Kayaking is one of the most popular outdoor activities, and for a good reason. It’s a great way to explore the outdoors, get some exercise, and enjoy the scenery. When you’re planning an overnight kayaking trip, there are a few things you need to do to make sure you’re prepared.

Packing for an overnight kayaking trip can be tricky- you want to make sure you have everything you need, but you also don’t want to weigh yourself down. If you are a first-timer, don’t worry, we are here to help!

This blog post will give you all the tips and tricks you need to know about packing a kayak for an overnight trip.

Man kayaking with camping gear

Tips For Preparing Your Kayak For Overnight Trips

Before you start packing your kayak, there are a few things you need to do first. Just like how you check your car before you go on a long road trip, it is important to check the condition of your kayak before you set out on an overnight trip.

Here are some tips:

  • Inspect the exterior of your kayak for any cracks or damages. If you spot any issues, take the time to make repairs before you go on the trip. This will help prevent any accidents or injuries while you’re out on the water.
  • Make sure all of your kayak’s moving parts are in good working order. This includes the rudder, pedals, and any other moving parts that help you steer and move through the water. By checking these before you head out, you can make sure that you’re not going to have any mechanical issues while on the water.
  • Test your kayak’s buoyancy by filling up your water bottles and placing them in different spots along the deck of the boat. If all of your water bottles are floating, then it means that there is enough buoyancy in your kayak to keep you afloat in case of an emergency.
  • Pay close attention to the weather forecast before you leave for your trip. If the forecast calls for high winds or severe weather, it is best to postpone your trip until the conditions are more favorable.

Lastly, research the area you’ll be kayaking in and plan your route. This is especially important if it’s your first time going on an overnight kayaking trip, as it will help you make sure that you’re prepared for anything that may come your way.

By being aware of the potential hazards in the area, and planning a safe route will help ensure your safety while out on the water. Also, knowing the area, you will be kayaking in can help you pack for your trip and make sure that you carry everything you need.

By following these tips, you can be sure that your kayak is in good condition and ready for an overnight trip. Now that you’ve checked the condition of your kayak, it’s time to start packing!

If you intend to kayak during in the dark then I’d highly recommend that you check out my guide in which I discuss the legal requirements of kayaking after dark, as well as some tips and tricks.

How to pack a Kayak for overnight trips

1. Choose a suitable kayak. It’s important to choose the right kind of kayak for your overnight trip. This will help you to stay comfortable and safe during your trip. There are many different types of kayaks available on the market, so it’s important to do some research before you make your purchase.

You’ll need to decide what kind of kayaking you want to do- are you interested in fishing? Touring? Whitewater kayaking? Once you’ve decided on the type of kayaking you want to do, you can start looking at different kayaks.

What To Look For In A Kayak For Overnight Trips:

Size: Kayaks come in many different sizes and shapes, so it’s important to choose one that will be comfortable for you.

You’ll want to make sure the kayak is big enough to accommodate all of your gear but also small enough that you can paddle comfortably. For overnight trips, we recommend choosing a kayak that is at least 10 feet long.

Weight: The weight of the kayak is also an important consideration. You’ll want to make sure the kayak is light enough that you can easily carry it to the water and paddle it comfortably. However, you’ll also want to make sure the kayak is durable enough to support all of your gear.

Accessories: Many kayaks come with a variety of accessories, including paddles and storage compartments. These can be very helpful for overnight trips, so you’ll want to look for a kayak that comes with some or all of these accessories.

Price: Some kayaks cost as little as a few hundred dollars while others may cost several thousand. It’s important to set a budget before you start shopping so that you can narrow down your options. This way, you can find the perfect kayak for your overnight trip without breaking the bank.

2. Make a packing list. This is an essential step in packing for any trip, but it’s especially important when you’re kayaking. By making a list of everything you’ll need for your trip, you can ensure that you don’t forget anything.

You’ll want to make sure that all of the gear you pack fits in your kayak, so you’ll also want to plan out how and where you will store each item.

Some important items to include on your packing list are:

  • Sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Water bottles and hydration packs
  • Rain gear
  • Knife or hatchet
  • Tarp and tent stakes
  • Insect repellent
  • Sleeping bag and sleeping pad

3. Pack your gear. Next, it’s time to start packing your kayaking gear. This can be tricky- you’ll want to make sure you bring everything you need without overweighing the kayak or overloading yourself down.

When you’re packing for a kayaking trip, it’s important to keep all of your gear nice and dry. To do this, we recommend using waterproof bags or containers- these can be anything from plastic storage bins to dry bags.

By keeping your gear dry, you can avoid any problems that might arise from wet gear, such as mildew or rust.

Tips For Packing For Overnight Trips

 Start by loading in the heaviest items first. This includes your tent and sleeping bag, as well as any other bulky or heavy items. Make sure these items are evenly distributed throughout the kayak so that it remains balanced. This will also help to prevent the kayak from tipping over.

Next, add in your food and water. These items should be placed in waterproof bags to protect them from the elements. You’ll also want to make sure you have enough food and water for your entire trip.

After the heavy items and food, start loading in your other gear. This can include things like clothing, camping supplies, first aid kits, and waterproof bags for electronics.

You’ll want to pack these items loosely so that they don’t take up too much room but are still easy to access while you’re on the water. However, do not pack anything too valuable or delicate in these bags as they could get damaged.

Finally, add in your personal items. This can include things like sunscreen, insect repellent, hats, and sunglasses. You’ll want to make sure you have everything you need to stay comfortable during your trip.

4. Secure your gear. Once you’ve packed your gear, it’s important to make sure everything is properly secured. This will help prevent your gear from shifting around while you’re on the water and also protect the contents of your kayak.

An improperly secured kayak could cause you to tip over and potentially get injured. So, make sure to secure all of your gear before heading out on your trip.

Some tips for securing your gear include:

• Using straps or bungees to secure your gear. These are a great way to keep items in place but also make it easy to access them while you’re on the water. You may want to use a combination of straps and bungees for the best results.

• Adding weights to your kayak. This can include things like sandbags, rocks, or other heavy items that you can use to secure your gear in place. Just be sure not to add too much weight, as this could cause your kayak to tip over.

5. Cover your kayak. Once you’ve packed and secured your gear, it’s time to cover your kayak. This will help protect your gear from the sun and other elements while you’re on the water.

You can use a variety of different materials to cover your kayak, including tarps, blankets, or even plastic bags. Just be sure to choose a material that is thick and durable enough to withstand wind, rain, and other elements during your trip.

In addition to protecting your gear, covering your kayak can also help prevent it from getting scratched or damaged while you’re on the water. This can help ensure that your kayak has a long lifespan and continues to work well even after multiple trips.

Lastlybefore you head out on your trip, make sure you have everything you need. This includes any permits or licenses that may be required.

You should also familiarize yourself with the kayak and practice using it in calm waters before heading out on your trip. This will help you to stay safe and prepared during your trip.

Safety Gear Needed For Overnight Kayak Packing

Just as when you go on any type of outdoor adventure, safety should be your number one priority when packing for an overnight kayak trip.

By making sure you have the right safety gear and equipment, you can stay safe on the water while enjoying your time outdoors.

Some of the most important items to pack include:

A life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD). This is a must when kayaking, as it will help keep you safe in case of an emergency. You should always wear your PFD while on the water and make sure it fits properly.

A whistle. This can be used to signal for help in case of an emergency. Carrying a whistle will help you to stay safe and make sure that you can get help quickly if needed. Also, adding a whistle to your packing list will not take up too much space in your kayak.

A flashlight. This is another important item to pack, as it can be used for signaling or to help you see in the dark. Carrying a flashlight will help you to stay safe and make sure that you can get help quickly if needed.

A first-aid kit. This is a must for any type of outdoor adventure, as it can be used to treat minor injuries. Make sure your first-aid kit is stocked with all the essentials, such as bandages, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers.

A map and compass. These are essential items to have when going on an overnight kayak trip. Having a good map will help you find your way around while having a compass can help ensure that you don’t get lost in the first place.

A form of communication. This can be a phone, walkie-talkie, or even a flare gun. Having a way to communicate with the outside world can help you stay safe in case of an emergency.

Food and water. Packing enough food and water is essential for any overnight trip. Make sure to pack enough food and water to last you for the duration of your trip. If possible, try to choose foods that are lightweight and easy to store while they will also provide you with plenty of energy.


Packing for an overnight kayak trip can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. As exciting as it is to plan an overnight kayaking trip, it can be a little daunting to think about all of the planning and preparation that goes into it. But by following the tips listed above and making sure you have the right gear and equipment, you can pack your kayak for an overnight trip with ease. Just be sure to take your time, plan ahead, and most importantly, have fun!

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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