Nelson Camping Trip

Base campI took advantage of this beautiful long weekend to go camping and kayaking in Nelson, BC with my friend Lisa and her dog Ellie. Nelson is located in the Selkirk Mountains on the West Arm of Kootenay Lake in the Southern Interior of BC.

Nelson is a real “hippie” town complete with many old and new hippies, great food, a funky vibe and all the outdoor recreation you can imagine. I have kayaked on Kootenay Lake several times in the past and never get tired of the stunning scenery and relaxing atmosphere.

I loaded up the trunk of my car with my Sea Eagle FastTrack, my paddling gear and all my camping supplies and headed out for the 4.5 hour drive into the mountains.

For this trip we decided to camp in the Kootenay Creek Provincial Park which is right next to the lake and surrounded by tons of hiking trails. As our little trip was a semi last minute decision we had not booked a camping spot and once we arrived we quickly realized that most camp grounds were fully booked for the long weekend. However we lucked out with the Kootenay Creek Provincial Park as they had some overflow sites available that were quite nice.

The day I left was sunny and hot in the Okanagan where I live but when we arrived in Nelson it was pouring rain with thunder and lightening… not my ideal camping conditions. However the following three days were absolutely gorgeous and perfect kayaking weather.

Ellie’s first Kayaking Trip

Saturday morning we brought the FastTrack down to the water and pumped it up. Ellie (the dog) has experience riding in a canoe but has never been in a kayak. This was going to be Ellie’s first outing in an inflatable kayak and we were testing out a new Ruff Wear dog PFD on her. Ellie is not a real swimmer – at least not yet. However she was very comfortable in her new red PFD and she looked gorgeous. She hopped into the kayak with no problems.

Lisa was going to sit in the front seat and we had put down a couple of towels for Ellie to lie on up front. However once we got paddling all she wanted to do was sit in Lisa’s lap. Ellie is a lab mix and sitting in Lisa’s lap meant that Lisa could barely paddle. Therefore the first kayak trip ended up with me paddling the two of them around the lake while Ellie got comfortable with the kayak.

The second time we took Ellie in the inflatable kayak, Lisa paddled the FastTrack solo which gave Ellie much more room to manoeuver and consequently she seemed to be far more comfortable. That time she seemed very confident and sat up front as navigator.

The third time we went out Ellie found a way to lay half way on Lisa’s lap and half way on her towels which worked out okay as at least Lisa could still paddle.

I think over time Ellie would get more comfortable and just lay down up front.  However after three outings we came to the conclusion that if you have a large dog and want to bring her out kayaking with two people you might be wise to look at the three person Sea Eagle FastTrack 485 as opposed to a tandem kayak.  It  would provide far more room and comfort for all three of you.

Advantages of Camping with an Inflatable Kayak

Having the inflatable kayak along for the trip was really great. It allowed us to easily enjoy the water at any time we wanted and while others went out to rent a kayak or canoe, we simple inflated our kayak and started paddling. If you leave it inflated at your campsite it can also make a great lounging spot for sitting and reading a book or chilling out!

While out on the water I noticed in the distance someone else paddling an inflatable kayak. It was yellow and looked very much like the Airis kayaks. As I got closer I saw that it was the Airis Play and it looked fantastic in the water. I wanted to go talk to the woman who was kayaking in it but she had pulled up to a boat launch and disappeared by the time I got close. It was nice to see others enjoying the convenience of an inflatable kayak.

All in all the camping trip was a great success and a lot of fun! I would highly recommend bringing an inflatable kayak along for any camping trip. Now I just have to hose out my FastTrack as it is full of Ellie’s dog hair… she is a real shedder!!

View more pics of our camping trip on Flickr.

To find inflatable kayaks that are perfect for camping see our Top 5 Inflatable Kayak Reviews.

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