Five Essentials of Packing
By Gearlab Outdoors
Packing for kayaking trips takes practice. The followings are some packing tips to make the multi-day paddling trip safer and more enjoyable:
Safety is the absolute top priority. Safety equipment need to be easily accessed when the unexpected happens. Some Safety equipment could be secured on the kayak, some on the paddler. For example, Paddle Float, Pump, and spare paddles should be secured on the deck. When the vessel is capsized, they could be easily reached and to recover the kayak. Walkie-talkie, whistle, signal lights, and other personal safety items should be secured on the PFD for quick access.
The essentials for long distance paddling also need to be easily accessible, such as water and energy bars/gels, should all be stored in front hatch or deck bag. Keep the stuff that will not be used during paddling in the front or rear cabin.
It is very important to maintain the balance of the kayak when fully packed. An unstable kayak affects control, performance, and most importantly safety.
An easy way to check a kayak’s balance is to observe how it floats. When seeing the vessel tilting from one side to another, front heavy or back heavy, rearrange the packed items to distribute weight until the kayak is visually balanced from all orientations.
Cabin space in a kayak is quite limited, try to compress luggage as much as possible to make sure that all essential items could be carried. Compressed luggage would also eliminate loose items moving around inside the bags and cabins, making noises and affecting the balance of the kayak.
All items in and on a kayak would get wet, even when stored in front and rear cabin. Make sure that the items need to stay dry are stored in securely fastened Dry Bags or other waterproof containers. Place the bags/containers in the front or rear cabin to reduce the chance of contacting water.
5. Everything Inside
Other than the necessities, the kayak’s exterior must be cleared. When there are stuff packed on front and rear deck, it would get in the way of paddling stroke motion, and increase wind resistance. It would also take away the required space when trying to recover a capsized kayak. Last but not least, check the what to bring list to make sure everything could fit in the kayak.