Kayak Camping In Summer

can be an incredible outdoor adventure. In this article, you will learn about the benefits of kayak camping, essential gear to bring, and tips for a successful trip. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced kayaker, this guide will help you make the most of your summer camping experience on the water. So grab your paddle, pack your tent, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable kayak camping trip this summer!

Planning for Kayak Camping

Choosing the right location

When planning for a kayak camping trip in the summer, one of the first steps is to choose the right location. Consider factors such as the accessibility of the location, the availability of amenities like restrooms, and the specific activities you’re interested in. Look for places that offer scenic beauty, calm waters, and a peaceful atmosphere. Research different camping spots and read reviews from other campers to find the perfect location for your summer adventure.

Checking weather conditions

Before setting off on your kayak camping trip, it’s important to check the weather conditions. Summer can bring unpredictable weather, so stay updated with the latest forecasts. Look for any potential storms or high winds that could affect your journey. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so if the weather looks questionable, consider postponing your trip or choosing a different location where the conditions are more favorable.

Packing essential gear

When it comes to kayak camping, packing the right gear is crucial. Ensure you have all the essentials like a kayak, paddle, life jacket, tent, sleeping bag, and cooking equipment. Additionally, pack sunscreen, bug spray, a first aid kit, a map, and a compass. Don’t forget to bring enough food and water for the duration of your trip. It’s also recommended to pack extra clothing in case of unexpected changes in weather conditions. Take the time to create a checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything important.

Preparing Your Kayak

Performing a safety check

Before hitting the water, it’s essential to perform a safety check on your kayak. Ensure that it is in good working condition and free from any damages or leaks. Check that all the accessories are securely attached and functioning properly. It’s also important to test your paddle and make sure it is the correct size for your height and paddling style. By performing a thorough safety check, you can prevent any potential accidents or issues during your kayak camping trip.

Installing necessary equipment

Once your kayak is in good shape, it’s time to install the necessary equipment. Attach any additional accessories such as a kayak anchor, deck bag, or a kayak sail depending on your needs and preferences. Make sure everything is securely fastened and easily accessible. Installing the right equipment will enhance your overall experience and make your kayak camping trip more enjoyable.

Securing camping gear

When kayak camping, you have limited space to store your camping gear. It’s important to secure your gear properly to prevent it from moving around or falling into the water. Use dry bags or waterproof containers to store your belongings and make sure they are properly sealed. Additionally, consider using bungee cords or straps to secure larger items like tents or sleeping bags to your kayak. By properly securing your camping gear, you can ensure that it stays dry and easily accessible throughout your trip.

Navigating the Waterways

Understanding water currents

Before setting out on the water, take the time to understand the water currents of the area you’ll be kayaking in. Different bodies of water have varying currents, and it’s important to know how they might affect your kayaking experience. Learn about tidal currents, river currents, and lake currents in the area. Understanding these currents will help you plan your route and navigate the waterways more efficiently.

Navigating around obstacles

During your kayak camping trip, you may encounter obstacles such as rocks, fallen trees, or shallow waters. It’s important to know how to navigate around these obstacles safely. Take the time to study your surroundings and plan your route accordingly. If you come across an obstacle, assess the situation and determine the safest way to maneuver around it. Always prioritize safety and caution when navigating through unfamiliar waters.

Using a map and compass

While many people rely on GPS devices or smartphone apps for navigation, it’s always a good idea to have a physical map and compass as a backup. Technology can fail, especially in areas with poor reception. Familiarize yourself with the map of the area and make note of any landmarks or key points. Use a compass to determine your direction and keep track of your progress. Being able to navigate using a map and compass will give you peace of mind and ensure a successful kayak camping trip.

Setting Up Camp

Finding a suitable campsite

After a day of kayaking, it’s time to set up camp for the night. Look for a suitable campsite that offers a safe and comfortable environment. Choose a spot that is level and free from any potential hazards such as rocks or unstable terrain. Consider the proximity to water sources for cooking and cleaning purposes. Take the time to explore the area and find a campsite that allows you to fully immerse yourself in the surrounding natural beauty.

Pitching a tent

Pitching a tent is an essential part of setting up camp. Choose a tent that is lightweight and easy to set up. Look for a flat area with soft soil or grass to pitch your tent. Clear the area of any debris or sharp objects that could damage the tent. Follow the instructions provided with your tent to ensure it is set up correctly. Make sure all the stakes are securely fastened and the rainfly is properly attached. A properly pitched tent will provide shelter and comfort throughout your kayak camping trip.

Building a safe campfire

Building a campfire can enhance the camping experience, but it’s important to do it safely and responsibly. Check with the campground or local authorities regarding any fire restrictions or regulations. Choose a safe location for your campfire, away from any flammable materials like dry grass or overhanging tree branches. Clear a circle around the fire pit and surround it with rocks for added safety. Always keep a water source nearby to extinguish the fire when needed. Enjoy the warmth and ambiance of a campfire while practicing fire safety to protect yourself and the environment.

Exploring the Surroundings

Hiking scenic trails

One of the highlights of kayak camping in the summer is the opportunity to explore the surroundings on foot. Many camping spots offer scenic trails that wind through forests, meadows, or along the waterfront. Take the time to go hiking and discover the beauty of the area. Pack a daypack with essentials like water, snacks, a map, and a camera. Immerse yourself in nature and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the wilderness.

Fishing in nearby waters

If you enjoy fishing, kayak camping in the summer is the perfect time to cast your line. Research the local fishing regulations and obtain the necessary permits. Bring along your fishing gear and try your luck in the nearby waters. Whether you’re fishing for dinner or catch and release, fishing can be a relaxing and rewarding activity during your kayak camping trip. Remember to practice catch and release and respect the ecosystems you’re fishing in.

Spotting wildlife

The natural beauty of kayak camping in the summer often attracts a variety of wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for animals like deer, birds, and even bears. Binoculars can come in handy for spotting wildlife from a distance. Remember to observe wildlife from a safe distance and avoid disturbing their natural behavior. Appreciate the diversity of wildlife around you and consider yourself fortunate to witness them in their natural habitats.

Enjoying Water Activities

Swimming in the lake

One of the perks of kayak camping in the summer is the opportunity to swim in the lake. After a long day of paddling, take a refreshing dip in the cool water. Choose a safe swimming spot away from boat traffic or strong currents. Remember to assess the water conditions and always swim within your abilities. Enjoy the feeling of weightlessness as you glide through the water and cool off from the summer heat.

Snorkeling in clear waters

If you’re looking for a more immersive water activity, consider snorkeling in clear waters. Many kayak camping spots offer crystal clear lakes or rivers with abundant underwater life. Pack a snorkeling mask and explore the underwater world below the surface. Swim alongside fish, admire colorful corals, and discover other aquatic wonders. Snorkeling is a great way to connect with nature and explore the hidden treasures of the water.

Paddling to hidden coves

Another exciting water activity during kayak camping is paddling to hidden coves or secluded areas. Use your kayak to discover hidden gems that are only accessible by water. Explore winding waterways, navigate through narrow channels, and uncover untouched landscapes. Paddling to hidden coves can give you a sense of adventure and the opportunity to discover unique environments that not many people get to experience.

Preparing Meals

Choosing easy-to-cook meals

When it comes to preparing meals during kayak camping, simplicity is key. Choose easy-to-cook meals that require minimal preparation and cooking time. Opt for lightweight and non-perishable foods like dehydrated meals, instant noodles, or canned goods. Consider bringing fresh fruits and vegetables that can withstand a few days without refrigeration. Plan your meals ahead of time and portion them out in individual bags or containers for easy access and minimal waste.

Using portable cooking equipment

Having the right cooking equipment can make meal preparation much easier while kayak camping. Invest in portable cooking equipment like a camping stove or a portable grill. These lightweight and compact options can be easily transported in your kayak. Bring along pots, pans, and utensils that are suitable for outdoor cooking. Remember to pack fuel canisters or charcoal depending on your chosen cooking method. With the right cooking equipment, you can enjoy delicious meals even in the wilderness.

Storing food safely

Proper food storage is crucial during kayak camping to prevent spoilage and attract unwanted wildlife. Use waterproof containers or dry bags to store your food and keep them away from your sleeping area. Hang food bags from trees or use bear canisters if necessary. Always practice responsible food storage to minimize the impact on the environment and avoid encounters with wildlife. Be mindful of leaving food scraps or wrappers behind and dispose of them properly.

Staying Safe

Wearing a life jacket

Safety should always be a priority when engaging in any water activity, including kayak camping. Make sure to wear a properly fitted life jacket at all times while kayaking. Even if you’re a confident swimmer, unexpected accidents can happen, and a life jacket can be a lifesaver. Choose a life jacket that is suitable for kayaking and provides the necessary buoyancy and comfort. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Taking precautions against sunburn

The summer sun can be harsh, and prolonged exposure can result in sunburn. When kayak camping, take precautions against harmful UV rays. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and lightweight, long-sleeved clothing to protect your skin. Apply sunscreen with a high SPF regularly, especially on exposed areas like your face and arms. Stay hydrated and seek shade during the hottest parts of the day to minimize the risk of sunburn and heat-related illnesses.

Knowing basic first aid

Accidents can happen even in the great outdoors, so it’s important to be prepared. Before embarking on your kayak camping trip, refresh your knowledge of basic first aid techniques. Pack a first aid kit that includes essentials like bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any necessary medications. Familiarize yourself with basic first aid procedures for common injuries like cuts, burns, or sprains. Being prepared and knowledgeable can help you handle minor injuries and provide aid to yourself or others in case of emergencies.

Respecting the Environment

Practicing Leave No Trace principles

When kayak camping, it’s vital to practice Leave No Trace principles to minimize the impact on the environment. Leave No Trace means leaving the natural areas you visit in the same or better condition than when you arrived. Respect the wilderness by following the principles of packing out what you pack in, disposing of waste properly, and leaving natural and cultural artifacts undisturbed. By practicing Leave No Trace, you help preserve the beauty of nature for future generations to enjoy.

Minimizing campsite impact

When setting up camp, be mindful of your surroundings and minimize your campsite impact. Avoid trampling vegetation and stay on designated paths or areas. Do not disturb or damage natural features like rocks or trees. Use established fire rings or stoves instead of creating new ones. Leave the campsite as you found it, or preferably cleaner, to ensure that others can enjoy the same experience in the future.

Properly disposing of waste

Proper waste disposal is crucial during kayak camping to protect the environment and wildlife. Pack out all your trash and dispose of it in designated trash bins or recycling facilities. Avoid leaving any traces of your visit behind, including food scraps, wrappers, or personal care items. If nature calls, use designated restrooms or practice proper burying techniques for human waste. Always leave the wilderness pristine and undisturbed for others to appreciate.


Kayak camping in the summer offers a unique and rewarding experience for outdoor enthusiasts. From planning your trip to exploring the surroundings, there are plenty of opportunities to connect with nature and create lasting memories. By following the outlined steps and embracing the friendly tone of voice, you can ensure a safe, enjoyable, and eco-friendly kayak camping adventure. Reflect on the adventure, and start planning future kayak camping trips to continue exploring the wonders of the great outdoors.


  • William Grello

    I'm William an outdoor enthusiast who grew up hiking and camping in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. At greatopenoutdoors.com, I aim to inspire and help you by providing valuable insights and tips on making the most out of your outdoor adventures.

    wtgrello@gmail.com Grello William

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