If you hanker after a remote adventure, sit on kayaking is difficult to beat. A kayak will give you the freedom to paddle in some of the world’s most stunning places. Sit-on kayaks, have plenty of space for stowing all your overnight essentials, including a tent, sleeping bag, camping stove, food, water and clothing. Here’s a few ideas and tips for those planning their first sit on kayak touring trip.

overnight kayaking

Planning, planning and more planning

Packing your sit on is a major part of the big adventure so make sure you plan ahead and have enough time to remember all the essentials, as well as
a few extra comforts (after all, you won’t need to carry your kit on your back like with backpacking so you could add in a book and a few cans of beer).

First up, ensure that you have a sit on kayak that will allow you to stow your entire kit list. Most sit-on kayaks, whether you buy or hire, have watertight storgae hatches, as well as places to put drybags on top of the boat, while firmly held in place by bungee. Drybags and dry boxes, as well as bags with zip locks, are vital for keeping everything dry. An assortment of sizes is useful. For example, you could keep everyday essentials such as map, compass, camera, sunglasses and sunscreen in a small dry-bag that is handy while you’re paddling.

If you have a spare paddle then take that and make sure your familiar with sit on kayak safety and self rescue technique if going solo (although we advise paddling with a friend or in a group).

And you’ll need a BA/PFD.

Clothing for a sit-on kayak expedition

Waterproof jacket: This could be kayaking specific or simply a good quality cag/wind breaker. A breathable waterproof jacket will ensure that when the going gets a bit sweaty you won’t end up soaked through.

Base layers: Several thinner layers are better than one thicker layer because the thinner layers trap warm air between them and make a more effective heating system for your body. Add layers or peel them off as you need to. Depending on the weather, pack a few breathable and a lightweight fleeces. Add in a warmer layer – such as a lightweight down or Pertex jacket – for evenings spent camping.

Something for your feet: This is about preference. Go for old trainers, or neoprene boots/socks.

Leg wear: Again this will be about preference and the weather conditions. Some paddlers prefer lightweight neoprene strides, while others go for fleece lined trousers. Add in waterproof trousers if you think you’ll need them.

A hat: Take a fleece or wool hat for colder days and a sun hat for sunny days.

Gloves: If you suffer with cold hands pack neoprene gloves or pogies.

Sunglasses: Don’t forget polarised glasses.

Add in: A small towel and basic toiletries, including a toothbrush and toothpaste.

Camping kit for a sit-on kayak trip

Tent or bivvy bag: You should go for a lightweight option and if there are two of you sharing a tent, let one person take the tent and the other carry the pegs and poles.

Sleeping bag and mat: Comfort is important for most people so pack a sleeping bag to suit the weather conditions and a sleeping mat, such as a Thermarest.

For cooking: Camping stove and gas, lighter, pans, bowls, cutlery, cup and your Swiss Army knife of similar. You could take camping specific food or pack lightweight foodstuffs, such as pasta, couscous and a packet of sauce. Weight is less important when compared to backpacking but it’s still important to remember that a heavy kayak will be less easy to manoeuvre. Still, a few treats could easily be squeezed in, such as beer and crisps!

Don’t forget: Drinking/cooking water.

Other camping essentials include: Head-torch, tide tables, map, compass and duct tape. (Duct tape is one of the most useful and versatile pieces of kayaking kit that you can take with you on your overnight kayak expedition).

GPS: Many paddlers will now make use of a GPS gadget for navigation but you can’t rely on this and so it is vital that you know how to use tide tables, a map and compass for accurate navigation. If you have a waterproof case for your smart phone, and are confident with it not getting water logged, then it’s useful to have it along with you. At the very least a cheap mobile would be a good idea.

First aid kit: Painkillers of some kind, such as Ibuprofen, bandage, plasters, antiseptic cream, seasickness pills, iodine solution, Imodium (or similar).

Sunscreen and SPF lip balm: Even if it is forecast to be overcast during your trip it’s surprising how much sun glare can affect paddlers while out on the water.

Overnight sit on kayak touring trips - essential kit 3

Other useful items: Action camera (GoPro, SJ4000, Contour are brands Sitons has tried a like) binoculars, fishing gear, snorkel gear, extra batteries, backpack and walking shoes or boots (if you fancy heading off for a short hike when you reach dry land), water purifier or water tablets as back-up for bottled water supplies and rope for tying up your boat if you can’t land the boat.