Kayaking Gear

This page lists the gear I take on overnight kayak trips.  It's mainly here as a reminder list for me, but if it's useful for someone else, all the better!

With the exception of my obnoxiously large and bulky (but worth it!) sleeping pad, everything fits into three dry bags and a waist pack:

  • 13L dry bag - holds tent and ropes; fits inside kayak storage compartment

  • 35L dry bag - holds sleeping bag, sheet, and miscellaneous items; fits between feet and front of kayak

  • 22L backpack inside 40L dry bag - holds food and garbage; fits between feet and front of kayak; hung up at night

  • 10L waist pack - I keep my absolute essentials in a Mountain Equipment Co-op Pulse Waist Pack that I keep on at all times. I also use it to keep my camera attached to my body while I paddle.


  • Kayak - ClearWater Designs Inuvik. I love it!

  • Kayak skirt - I use a Nylon half-skirt. I'm not man enough for a full one.

  • Lifejacket with whistle - I always wear my lifejacket and am surprised how few others do.

  • Bailer

  • Waterproof flashlight

  • Heaving line

  • Kayak pump - I keep my pump attached to the front of the kayak by its rigging. It's useful not only in an emergency, but also to pump out water before portaging.


  • Tent - I have the L L Bean Microlight Solo and think it's great. It weighs next to nothing and is very easy to put up and take down. When it's hot, I put it up without the fly to get away from the bugs. At night, I use the fly.

  • Tent footprint - The footprint keeps the tent nice and clean (or as clean as one can expect in the wild).

  • Sleeping pad - I use an extra large Therm-a-Rest Luxury Base Camp pad. It's huge, bulky, but so totally worth it. I can sleep comfortably almost anywhere.

  • Sleeping bag - I have Mountain Equipment Co-op's Mirage sleeping bag. It's also fairly big, but it's rated to -5 degrees Celsius and when combined with a fleece sheet, it keeps me warm and toasty well below zero.

  • Sheet - I use a sheet between me and my sleeping pad. It keeps the pad cleaner and is more comfortable. If it's cold, I bring a fleece sheet, but that's pretty bulky. Otherwise, I take a basic bedsheet.

  • Ropes with pulley for hanging pack - I bought the pre-made double rope with pulley bag they sell in Ontario Provincial Park stores. Having the pulley pre-installed makes it easier to hang my food pack when good sideways branches are hard to find.


  • Tilley hat - Yeah, Tilleys aren't always a fashion statement but they're so darn good!

  • hiking boots - Since I took a spill into a rocky mud paddle while portaging (I'm glad nobody was there to see that!), I always wear my hiking boots on portages.

  • sandals - I wear my sandals around camp and on evening paddles. They protect my toes but I don't mind getting them completely wet.

  • rain pants

  • rain jacket

  • convertible pants

  • socks

  • underwear

  • T-shirts

  • long-sleeved shirt

  • bug shirt - Even when the bugs were awful, I've never actually used my bug shirt. It might not make the cut next trip.

Food & Water Preparation

  • Stove - I use the Jetboil Zip Personal Cooking System and love it. It's compact, lightweight, and it can boil half a litre of water in two minutes.

  • Stove fuel

  • Lighter

  • Utensils

  • Water bottles - I carry two 1L bottles, one with pure water and one with Nuun water.

  • Water filtration system - I use the Katadyn Hiker Pro. It's lightweight and it filters a litre of water in under a minute. I haven't gotten sick during or after any of my trips, so it must be doing its job!

Food & Water

  • Freeze-dried entrees - I like Mountain House's spaghetti with meat sauce, chili macaroni with beef, and lasagna with meat sauce.

  • Trail mix - I buy mine pre-made at the dollar store for $2 a bag.

  • Dried fruit - I take dried cranberries ($2 a bag at the dollar store) and/or dried apples from the bulk food store. I might try banana chips next time.

  • Granola bars

  • Nuun tablets - These make water taste better. I like lemon lime and grape flavour the best.


  • Toothbrush

  • Toothpaste

  • Deodorant

  • Biodegradable soap


  • Camera - I haven't had the courage to bring my main SLR or best lenses yet. Instead, I take my old SLR body and an 18-200mm lens. When in my kayak, I keep the nose of the lens in the water bottle holder of my waist pack. It keeps the camera from flopping around and hitting the sides of the boat.

  • Rope - for pulling and tying kayak

  • Garbage bags

  • Toilet paper

  • First-aid kit

  • Sunscreen

  • Headlight

  • Flint

  • Water purification tablets

  • Multi-tool

  • Knife

  • Duct tape

  • Waterproof matches

  • Bear spray - I sometimes don't bring my bear spray but when I do, I usually keep it in my pocket. The extra protection is hopefully never going to be necessary, but it's nice to know it's there!