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Kayak Camping: The Ultimate Hybrid Adventure 

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The last two to three years have seen all outdoor activities surge in popularity. Fed up from being locked down and restricted from traveling, millions bought bicycles or started to hike. The popularity of recreational fishing rose, and so did kayaking and camping.

The 2022 Camping Report discovered that around 8.3 million people camped in the States for the first time in 2021. And the pastime is attracting more diverse people than ever before. Millions of individuals and families also took to the World’s waterways in canoes and kayaks.

Hiking, kayaking, and camping offer unique ways to enjoy the great outdoors, and they give people access to nature in ways that traveling by car or staying in a hotel can’t replicate.

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What are the appeals of combining kayaking with camping?

Anyone who has taken their kayak on a few expeditions will understand the available possibilities. Kayaks allow anyone to reach areas that are normally inaccessible, they can be used for casual paddling or more demanding adventures involving rapids and the sea, and they can be combined with other activities.

Kayak fishing is growing in popularity now, but perhaps kayak camping is the ultimate hybrid adventure.

kayak camping hacks
Combining kayaking and camping

There are thousands of rivers throughout the World, so kayakers are never short of waterways or places to paddle and explore. Anyone interested in kayak camping can use the World’s waterways to traverse cities, countries, and even continents.

Preparing a kayak camping gear list is essential though, and it should be lightweight but contain all the vital accessories including safety equipment.

How do you prepare for a kayak camping trip?

A short overnight camping trip isn’t going to take too much preparation, but you should still take proper care as kayaking always has some risks. The longer the expedition, the more care you should take, especially if you are kayak camping alone.

Plan a route

Work out the best way to get to your final destination. Check the map you are using is up to date, and that the waterways are viable options for your journey. Take some form of GPS device as part of your equipment along with a smartphone for communication if you should run into trouble.

Inform others of your itinerary

Whenever you go kayak camping you must tell others where you are heading, and when you should return.

Understand the weather

If you are taking your kayak across open water, a clear understanding of the weather is vital for safety.

Research campsites and safe areas for wild camping

If you want to enjoy your kayak camping adventure, then planning ahead will give you some peace of mind. Paddling around in the dark, looking for a suitable place to pitch a tent, will be no fun.

Choose the right kayak

Your kayak must be suitable for the camping trip you are making. Depending on your travel plans, a touring kayak or a sea kayak will be the most likely options. Lightweight camping equipment is essential, but the kayak must be suitable for carrying what you need.

Is kayak camping a sustainable way to travel?

kayak camping for beginners
Kayak camping in a sustainable way

Kayaking allows people to get off the beaten track, and while travelling through Europe can seem a daunting task it is possible and could be a great adventure. But, your kayak camping trip mustn’t impact the environment.

Kayaks are human-powered, therefore there is no risk of pollution from oil or grease, but you still have responsibilities to ensure your camping trip is eco-friendly.

  • Leave no trace
  • Avoid plastics
  • Don’t litter
  • Don’t bury food waste
  • Use the material for campfires that is on the ground
  • Use solar power
  • Spend money locally
  • Rent camping equipment

You can research eco-friendly campsites beforehand, and if possible rent camping equipment. This helps to put money back into local community projects and reduces your packing.

If it’s wild camping you are looking for then ensure you leave no trace. Don’t litter or bury any waste, including food scraps. Take all your rubbish, and use solar chargers instead of batteries.

While your kayak camping trip should be fun, there can be dangers. According to British Canoeing, there are now 1.9 million people in the UK enjoying the waterways in kayaks and canoes, but cuts, bruises, collisions, and even hypothermia are risks for kayakers.

Is kayak camping safe?

kayak camping alone
Kayak camping alone

Designated campsites should generally be safe, but there are some risks with wild camping, and kayaking itself.

If you are going wild camping alone then it would be advisable to check in with someone at each of your pitstops. Wild camping lets you get far closer to nature than a campsite with a clubhouse and hot water showers will, but it is a good idea to keep in contact with someone responsible.

There are ways to feel safe when camping alone, and taking some form of entertainment will help. Load your phone with some music to help you relax, and pack essential supplies for peace of mind. A first aid kit is vital for any kayak camping trip, as is a flashlight, matches, a knife, and, ideally a rugged smartphone that can take a knock or two.

Follow standard kayaking and camping safety precautions; your trip should be unproblematic. It would be wise to experience wild camping on a smaller scale to gain experience before trying to traverse the whole of Germany. Take your kayak and camp out for a maximum of one or two nights first.


Kayak camping brings together two of the most popular activities across the World, and at the same time opens up countless travel opportunities.

Kayaking lets people reach remote areas that are less travelled, and you can combine your trip with wild camping to return to nature. Safety is paramount, but you can still enjoy the outdoors while staying safe by following accepted guidelines and packing vital equipment.

Build up your experience first with a small kayak camping trip, then follow up with more ambitious journeys.


kayak camping - ultimate hybrid adventure

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