How to Do Kayak Camping Right
Kayak camping keeps you off your feet and offers a chance to escape it all
Plan (way) aheadCheck the park web site for permitting information—most spots require permits for kayak camping, but some also require general camping and boat-in permits. Reserve early. At popular sites like Tomales Bay, reservations open up six months in advance. If there are no permits left, check for guided group kayak camping trips, which may still have availability.
Find your kayakMost popular kayak camping areas have a rental outfitter nearby. Reserve ahead, and expect to pay $100 to $150 a night for single and double kayaks, respectively.
Most kayaks don’t include a lot of storage. Pack accordingly: Essentials include a puffer vest with waterproof shell, hat, quick-dry clothing, headlamp, lightweight tent, sleeping bag, backpacking stove, food (pack in dry bags), and water. If there’s no potable H2O at your site, you’ll have to haul all of your own (1 gallon per person, per day). Finding it hard to pack light? Some kayak outfitters will motor out extra gear for you. GEAR: Sealline Baja Dry Bag, from $18.
Chart a course
Check your local outfitter’s website for a map of launch sites and beaches so that you can plan your route. If you’re going on water with a current or waves, the rental shop will prep you on how to handle them before they’ll let you go out on your own.