Planning an Overnight Inflatable Kayaking Trip

If you would like to take your inflatable kayaking experience to another level, an overnight trip can be a great adventure.

Overnight kayaking or canoeing trips can be a lot of fun with family and friends and you will likely come back with some amazing memories and stories to tell. However it is extremely important that you properly plan for such an excursion to make sure you have the essentials covered so that the trip goes smoothly.

Important things to consider for a multi-day kayaking trip

Once you have done one overnight kayaking trip you will have no problem planning more. It is just a matter of planning ahead, doing a little research and carefully packing the proper gear and supplies.

The last thing you want is to be far along your trip and suddenly realize that you left some important items at home. Below are some important questions to consider:

How much storage space do you have?

Paddling in a kayak or canoe always means you have limited storage space and often you have to get quite creative with your packing. You will have to store all your gear either in the storage compartment or in the bow and stern of your kayak.

It is often possible to pile gear on top of itself and tie it down with rope or bungees using the D-rings. Make sure everything you bring that should not get wet is stored in dry bags. Even if you are storing stuff inside the kayak, still put it in dry bags or dry boxes to make sure it stays safe and dry.

The fact that storage space is so limited means you have to be really organized and plan ahead for what you want to bring.

Do you have a map or GPS unit?

Depending on where you plan to go on your kayaking trip it may be really important to have a map or GPS unit along with you. It is easy to get confused with directions in open water and if you are out for longer than a simple day trip, you better know where you are going and how to get back!

Have you checked the weather?

Weather can change quickly. Know what you will be dealing with while on your paddling trip so you can plan accordingly.

Have you told someone where you are going?

Even if you are going with a few people, make sure to tell someone where you are going as well as when you expect to be back. This is the number one safety rule for any kayaking adventure.

How much weight can your inflatable kayak hold?

The amount of cargo capacity that your boat can safely carry will help determine how much you are able to bring along with you. Many inflatable kayaks can hold a lot of weight and still paddle well. Check the weight restrictions of your kayak model before you begin to plan for your trip.

Essential Camping Equipment Checklist

These are the essentials for camping while on an overnight paddling trip:

  1. tent
  2. tarp
  3. sleeping bag
  4. pillow
  5. flashlight
  6. knife
  7. matches
  8. blanket
  9. fire starter
  10. zip lock bags
  11. garbage bag
  12. dry storage box
  13. cell phone
  14. extra batteries
  15. backpack
  16. map
  17. water purifier or water tablets
  18. rope
  19. toilet paper
  20. food
Optional Camping Equipment
  1. sleeping pad
  2. camp chair
Essential Inflatable Kayaking Gear Checklist
  1. extra paddle
  2. pump
  3. repair kit
  4. PFD
  5. map/GPS
  6. rope
  7. whistle
  8. safety kit & first aid kit
  9. dry bags
  10. sunscreen
  11. chap stick
  12. sunglasses
  13. water shoes
  14. hat
  15. towel
  16. rain pants
  17. wind breaker / rain jacket
  18. non-cotton shirt
  19. extra pants or shorts
  20. clothes for layering
  21. hiking shoes
  22. cooler
  23. cookware
  24. water
  25. snacks
  26. ice packs

Extras you might want to bring along if you have room:

  • camera
  • binoculars
  • fishing gear
  • books
  • cards
  • music
  • journal

Basically you can bring as much gear and supplies as your kayak can fit and hold. Be aware of the weather and bring enough clothing options for different types if weather conditions for both day and night. There is nothing worse than having to paddle while cold and wet.

To find kayak models that work well for multi-day trips see our Top 5 Inflatable Kayak Reviews.


  1. Don Richardson says:

    These are very good tips. Tying down gear with bungees and ropes is a great idea – would’ve saved me some trouble on our last overnight kayak trip in the Shenandoah Valley! I found some other good tips here:

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