Multiday Sea Kayaking

ArticleJune 21, 2011

Okay, so you really want to get into sea kayaking. And, although your excitement is at its peak, you’re not quite ready to circumnavigate Iceland. If a month-long paddling trip is still not in the cards, but a day trip is just too short, it may be time to plan a multiday trip. But before you get started, it’s a good idea to figure out what you’ll need for your excursion.

First, aside from your boat, paddle, sprayskirt and life jacket, you’ll need camping stuff. A sleeping bag, sleeping pad, tent, stove, matches and lighter, pots and pans, utensils—and, of course, enough food—all are basics needed for an extended trip.

A reusable water bottle or two, as well as a good filter (some types actually screw on to the water bottle) also make for a refreshing and fully-hydrated paddle trip. Another option is a hydration pack that attaches to a life jacket.

As far as safety equipment goes, accessories like a flashlight, first-aid kit, and strobe light are essential for a complete touring safety kit, especially in big, open water. You might also consider taking a deck-mounted compass, paddle float, extra paddle, a paddle leash (even if you don’t plan on capsizing or losing your primary paddle) and possibly a short-wave radio (depending on the distance you plan to paddle, the geographical location, and your familiarity with the route).

And of course you’ll want suitable bags for storing and protecting your food and gear. Dry bags are a nice way to keep essentials dry. (Keep in mind that the hatch of your kayak won’t keep water out completely.) Dry bags come in a range of sizes and types, depending on your selection of gear.

Last, but not least, appropriate paddling apparel is a must for even the most adventurous multiday sea kayaker. Keeping both air and water temperatures in mind, consider including the following: a drysuit, drytop, dry pants, wetsuit, breathable touring jacket (with or without hood, weather depending), neoprene gloves and suitable footwear. As with most outdoor sports, layering is the name of the game for kayaking.

So now you’ve purchased and packed your gear in your boat, and you’re ready to tackle several days on the water. Have you forgotten anything? You can always bring a deck of cards, that good book you’ve been itchin’ to read, or even the latest NRS catalog. The sky’s the limit—or is it the water?

For more information on how to pack for multiday paddling trips, take a look at the NRS Gear Checklists. They can be opened either in printable PDF format or in Microsoft Excel, where you can customize them to fit your own gear package. Happy touring—have fun and be safe!