How to Pack a Sea Kayak

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Fitting camping gear, food, clothing and paddling gear can seem daunting. Here are a few tips for getting gear packing into a sea kayak.

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Step 1: Gather Gear Next to the Kayak

It's best to pack lots of small and medium dry bags so that there is a variety of bags to pack into the sea kayak.
Ensure that all gear is in a dry bag if it needs to stay dry. Best barrels should be lined with a plastic bag. Sleeping bag and sleep mats should also have a waterproof stuff sac or lined with plastic.

Step 2: Pack Gear Efficiently

Place long items at the tip and tail and of the kayak.
Big items such as bear barrels and tents should be placed in next and then pack smaller dry bags and items around them.
Tip: leave the stings faced towards you for easy removal.
Remembering what you've put where is tricky but very helpful for quickly accessing what you need as well as re-packing your kayak later in the trip.

Step 3: Extra Storage Space

Depending on your kayak and leg length, you may be able to store items between your legs.
In this image, a camp chair and bear barrel are in front of the foot pedals.
Another great storage spot is behind the kayak seat. These items are likely to get a bit wet so make sure they are either able to get wet or have a good dry bag.

Step 4: Close Up and Leave Stuff Handy

Seal up the hatches! Make sure they aren't bursting (because the neoprene cover won't be able to keep water out).
A big bag for hauling gear to and from the kayak is recommended (ikea bags are great for this). Leave that bag near the top since you'll unload into it.
Leave the things out that you'll want throughout the day (i.e. Snacks, water, rain gear, bear spray, lip balm, sun screen, hat, sunglasses). Put these items in a deck bag or dry bag.
Have a safe and fun trip!

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    4 Discussions

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    vbardauskas

    3 months ago

    because of safety, newer place luggage in between your legs. It will block legs if kayak flip ower and paddler needs quickly to slip off kayak

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    Lorddrake

    3 years ago

    someone spent a lot of time playing tetris when they were younger :)

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    josh

    3 years ago

    A helpful tip is to bring some trash bags the can double as emergency rain jacket trash hauling and can be used as a way to keep things dry in the case of a dry bag failure

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    seamster

    3 years ago

    Excellent tips, thanks for sharing! :)