How do I plan an overnight kayak?

William Adams
 min read

Kayak camping seems like a great adventure for you. But you are a plus-size beginner with no experience and are struggling with several questions, including the following: “How do I plan an overnight kayak?”.

How do I plan an overnight kayakWe’re here to make sure you enjoy it to the max!

The ability to find good camping sites is possibly the most crucial skill for satisfying kayaking since you will probably spend more time in camp than you do on the water.

This is extremely important if your trip lasts for several days with different camps involved.

Note: It is evident that choosing the right kayak is also of great importance.

Do you weigh a bit more than the average person and wish to carry camping equipment in your kayak as well? Then take a look at our Best kayak with large carrying capacity guide.

How do I plan an overnight kayak? Introduction

Isn’t it easy to picture a sandy beach, your tent pitched on a grassy spot with splendid views, under a shady tree with water, from the comfort of your living room?

It’s not impossible to find the whole enchilada, but it’s rare.

In extreme circumstances, you may just find a place that allows you land, and that’s it.

Most of your camps will be somewhere in between.

Knowing how to discover the best campgrounds will add to the adventure and enjoyment of your expeditions.

2 crucial components of a camping site: How do I plan an overnight kayak

The very first essential element of a campground is someplace to land your boat.

It must have easy access to shore so you can carry off your equipment safely.

After that, you need to have a reasonably level spot large enough to pitch your tent.

So at the very minimum, you need a place to sleep safely, and if there’s more space to put out your portable stove and have a rest, then that’s great.

Try to find a place that doesn’t mean you need to lug your equipment too far and make sure you can keep an eye on your kayak.

You don’t want any unpleasant surprises.

If you’re stuck and night is falling, then you you may need to accept what you can get.

Tips on how to camp while kayaking

If, for example, the place you’ve found means that you need to carry your equipment for, say, a hundred yards, then it’s not ideal.

But you’ll have to make your peace with it if there’s nothing better.

If you find an excellent location to land and an appropriate place close by to pitch your camping tent, you’re in business.

Other amenities, such as space, shade, access to running water and a view, won’t always be an option.

Good characteristics of a camping site to look out for

Sometimes you’ll find a great location to land, but the coast is too high (or brushy or rocky) to pitch your tent.

Search inland for an appropriate spot for your camping tent if you want to stop for a while.

Your best bet would be little knolls, where a gentle, convex surface area usually shows that there is a flat place at the top for your tent.

You’ll also want to look out for ridges or points pointing out into the water.

Such landforms offer convex surfaces that blend gradually into the water, providing small flat locations.

If they seem to be covered with plants, you should find a wider space on top where you can camp.

In a densely plant-covered country, large trees typically provide so much shade that scant foliage grows below.

If this is an ample enough space, and acceptably level, you’ve found a camping area.

Watch out for flash floods, mud and slippery landing areas on a slope

Many campsites lie in coves and at the heads of bays because water and waves generally push the bottom of inlets to form beaches and gentler slopes.

You’ll want to be careful: If there is any possibility of a flash flood, discard it. You need to find camping spots on high ground.

You may spot an idyllic camping area without a landing place in some cases.

Many landing sites are mud paths or beach gravel on a slope that is doable, with space in between rocks to steer your boat.

Many paddlers actually leave their boats between boulders while stepping in water or onto a slippery surface and at the same time trying to keep their vessel from being bashed against the rocks.

Such landings are dangerous and must be avoided if the coast is steep or the waves are high.

If you can manage to dock and the site is tempting enough, then it’s your call.

There are also obligatory campgrounds

Some well-managed waterways, such as popular locations in National Parks, will specify which camping areas can be availed of.

You should be well prepared for the journey and consider what sort of camping sites you’re using; any deviation from your plans must be considered only in the direst situations.

One benefit of this system is that you will constantly have a camping area no matter what, and you’ll know its location in advance.

These sites also minimize any adverse effects of camping (Learn more about it in our article that deals with the question What impacts does kayaking have on the environment?).

And these obligatory camping places also offer basic structures such as docks, tables, and (most important) toilets.

There’s a trade-off between independence, experience and privacy if you choose this sort of kayaking.

Conditions often force you to seek camp before envisaged.

Health problems, fatigue, weather, or darkness can make it essential to discover a place to land: This will ideally be a suitable camping location.

How do I plan an overnight kayak? Last piece of advice

When the weather is brilliant, the water is calm, and it’s still early in the day, you can take your time in selecting the right spot.

If appealing locations are few and far between, you can always paddle on until you’re ready to call it a day.

If your intention is to paddle a number of hours or miles, stay flexible.

That “ideal” site might come along an hour before you planned to stop.

Take it unless you understand where the following site is located.

Final tip: Read our related article What should I pack for an overnight kayak? and prepare yourself in the best possible way for your multi-day kayak adventure!

About William Adams

I’m an engineer and a happy plus-size individual myself. I love to blog online if I can have a positive impact on the lives of others. I help other plus-size people with in-depth product guides to make shopping for products and services less stressful in their busy lives. Read More