Camping and kayaking mixed together is one of the most exciting adventures that one can ask for, especially on the open water while enjoying the sunshine. The camping adventure gives you the unmatched experience away from the hectic life of the city. In fact, if you have already acquired a top kayak for camping, all you will need to do is pack your gear and paddle to a hidden destination to cool off your nerves in a special way.
So, how do you identify the best kayak that will be suitable for your camping needs? You don’t have to feel helpless when shopping for the right kayak for camping. Your search can be made easier if you know what to look for when choosing the best kayak for camping. To help you out, we review 5 of best kayaks for camping and completed a little guide that can help you in your search. Without further ado, come along and see what we have for you!
The Best Kayaks for Camping Trips are as follows:
- Eddyline Sitka Kayak-Pearl Red
- Wilderness System Tsunami 165 Ruddered Kayak
- Oru Kayak Bay ST Folding Kayak
- Riot Kayaks Edge 14.5 LV Flatwater Day Touring Kayak
- Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak
Table of Contents
What is Kayak Camping?
Kayak camping is where you use a kayak to get to your camping site. I like to equate it to car camping or backpacking, but out on the water. In this case, you paddle to your new campsites with all your gear and supplies in your kayak storage compartment.
Kayak Camping Tips
Having a successful kayak camping trip requires adequate planning, enough supplies, and staying safe. Here are some of the tips that will make your kayak camping experience worth remembering.
Adequately plan your camping trip
Before heading out on your maiden journey, you should be kayak camping with someone who has experience and learn from them. This is imperative for your safety and well being as there have been lots of cases throughout the world of inexperienced campers going missing because they did not have the proper knowledge available to them. You can start by choosing an easy route once you have as few practice trips with a professional, especially if it is your first time on a kayaking camping trip. You can pick a route through calm waters and a relaxing campsite. Don’t make a long first trip; it is advisable to have a one or two-night camping for your inaugural kayak camping.
Top 5 Best Kayaks for Camping Reviews
Going Kayak camping requires special skills, especially for multi- day paddling excursions. It’s a good idea to get a kayak that meets these skill sets in terms of storage, cargo and paddling capabilities. Below are the top rated kayaks for camping
1. Eddyline Sitka REI Kayak
If you want a kayak that can tackle some more open coastal conditions, then Eddyline Sitka might be what you are looking for as it is ideal for sea kayak camping. It is designed to offer safe passage even in the rough waters and winds that you might encounter on your way to the campsite. The kayak is great to play with, especially on calm water. Its pearl red color not only contributes to its aesthetic value but also is easy to spot by other water vessel users.
It features excellent hatches that are ideal for kayak camping. Both the front and the rear hatches provide a convenient compartment to store all your gear comfortably. These hatches are watertight, thus increasing your kayak’s buoyancy in case you capsize. Furthermore, there are other deck bungees that will give you more options for storing more gear.
It is made from high-quality materials that ensure it is not only durable but also watertight to deliver an excellent buoyancy even in the rough waters of the river, ocean, or sea. This means that you don’t have to worry about it getting broken by the rough waters that you might encounter on your way to your campsite.
The Eddyline Sitka is a mid-size kayak that is just 14-inches long. It comes with a keyhole cockpit that is ideal for small users. Moreover, it features a navigational rudder that delivers a straight tracking even in the rough waters. The drop down skeg, on the other hand, delivers a wider full range of hull performance.
It comes fitted with retractable carry handles that are ideal for securing your cargo well on your deck. Carrying ropes for securing your gear will be a thing of the past once you buy this kayak for your camping adventure.
It comes with one ergonomically designed seat that is adjustable to fit any body size. It is also made comfortable for longer paddles. It comes with an optional backrest and backband that are entirely interchangeable.
One thing I found appealing about the Eddyline Sitka is its maneuverability, which makes it great for exploring meandering rivers or even the small inlets along the coastline. I highly recommend this model to anyone willing to have a memorable kayak camping across rougher coastal conditions such as Vancouver Island.
- It is a high-quality and lightweight kayak
- It is a high-speed model, which means it is super-fast
- It is easy to paddle and maneuver even in the rough ocean waters and winds
- It comes with ample storage compartment for convenient storage of gear
- It has an ergonomically designed comfortable seat with optional backrest that is fully interchangeable
- It is red pearl, which makes it attractive and easy to spot
- It is highly priced
- It is meant for only one person
- Not the best for fishing
2. Wilderness System Tsunami 165 Ruddered Kayak
The Wilderness System Tsunami 165 is a redesigned model from Wilderness to make it better for kayak camping. Moreover, it has been redesigned to make it ideal for those paddlers who prefer agility to strength. Its redesigned shape, however, is only ideal for flat water kayaking and slow moving water. This means that it is not for use in ocean waters. This would make an idea lake kayak.
The aesthetics of this new redesigned Wilderness Tsunami enhances not only performance but also exploration with the latest deck lines. It mainly focuses on improving the paddlers camping experience. It features a mango color that enhances its esthetic appearance and safety standards. The fact that you cannot miss it even from miles away makes it safe because it is hard for other vessels on the water to hit it.
If you are planning for long distance kayak camping trips, then this might be the kayak to settle for. Basically, it was redesigned to handle long distance camping trips that might also take longer days. The kayak measures 16 feet and 6 inches, which makes it one of the longer kayaks that you will find in the market. With this length, you are bound to attain a higher speed as compared to what you are likely to attain in shorter sea kayaks. This makes it even more suitable for long distance camping. The kayak, however, weighs 66 pounds, which means that you should be a strong paddler, especially if you are bulking this kayak up with camping gear.
It comes with a modern design that is ideal for both mid-sized and large-sized paddlers. You can easily customize it to fit perfectly to your size and comfort. Being a long distance kayak, it comes fitted with one of the most comfortable seats that will ensure your comfort throughout your paddling journey to the campsite.
The Tsunami 165 comes with arced sidewalls that are responsible for increasing the volume above the waterline to ensure your confidence and stability is improved. Additionally, the longer waterline increases the kayak’s speed and paddling efficiency. It also comes fitted with a control rudder that improves its performance.
The storage compartments are very crucial when it comes to buying a kayak for camping purposes. This Tsunami 165 comes with enough storage spaces in its three hatches. All your essential gear can be carried comfortably in these hatches without leaving anything behind or fearing that you might compromise the kayak’s weight capacity.
- Comes with a control rudder for increased performance
- Arched sidewalls for increased stability
- Long enough for more storage compartments
- Higher weight capacity of up to 350 pounds for more gear
- Some users might find it too heavy at 66 pounds
- Offers an awkward shouldering
3. Oru Kayak Bay ST Folding Portable Lightweight Kayak
This model is an update of Oru’s original kayak. It is a 2017 model designed perfectly for easy assembly, improved comfort of use, and be more graceful as compared to the original. Its construction also makes stable enough to be used by newbies while it is designed to be longer and contoured to make it sporty and faster for professional kayakers. This model of kayak was originally pitched on Shark Tank.
It is made durable from custom polypropylene that is 10 years UV treated and has been rated 20.000 folds. Moreover, it has a warranty that certifies it free from defects in material or workmanship for up to one year from the date of its original shipping date.
Performance is among the things that the designers had in their minds. As such, it is specifically designed to be stable enough even in 2-3 foot waves. Nonetheless, you will experience some oppositional-steerage from the wave or wind, which is not only normal but also manageable. This means that even if you are a beginner, you can easily paddle this kayak comfortably through the rough water to your campsite.
It features plenty of storage compartments where you can keep your gear securely not only for day trips but also for short camping adventures. The compartments are located in the front and rear hatches that also come fitted with laces that keep your items securely in place.
One thing I really like about this kayak is the plenty of space that it comes with at the deck despite being a medium-sized kayak. This space allows you to paddle comfortably without straining as you feel the breeze running over the water. It makes an ideal backpacking kayak because it is able to fold up and take the form of a suitcase.
If you are looking for a lightweight kayak that you can carry easily using its bag, then this amazing kayak from Oru Kayak might be the right choice for you. However, you should be willing to spend more because it does not come cheaply.
- Features a great design that is easy to assemble
- It is comfortable because it comes with a cozily padded seat
- It is lightweight, which means that you can carry and store it easily
- It is stable and fast, which makes it ideal for both beginners and expert kayakers
- It is constructed to be durable with UV treated polypropylene
- It is very expensive
- It is a difficult kayak to enter
4. Riot Kayaks Edge 14.5 LV Flatwater Day Touring Kayak
This Riot Kayaks Edge 14.5 LV is ideal for people working with a tight budget because it is available in the market for a reasonable price. Its design makes it perfect for recreational activities and light touring purposes.
It features a slender bow with a slim deck profile that gives it a great forward thrust even with a little paddling effort. It also comes with a rudder for efficient paddling through the water in addition to providing a straight tracking performance. The tracking performance is also enhanced by the right amount of chine and keel that it comes with.
It features an advanced custom-fit seating system that not only brings comfort but also features an ergonomic design that allows it to accommodate different body sizes. Since it is a touring kayak, the seat must be comfortable enough to the user and not bring discomfort, especially when paddling over a long distance. It also comes fitted with adjustable and sliding foot braces that offer comfort when worn.
It comes with a bulkhead sealed front and rear compartments that are fitted with dual-density hatch cover for durability. The cover also make it water-tight. Both the front and the rear compartments provide an adequate storage space that enables you to keep more gear as compared to other kayaks of the same size.
It comes with yellow and orange colors with integrated reflective lifelines that make it more conspicuous when paddling among other vessels on the water. This minimizes the chances of being crushed into, which means that you remain safe throughout your touring adventures.
The kayak measures 14.5 feet by 22.5 inches by 12 inches and weighs 60 pounds, thus making it relatively heavier as compared to kayaks of the same measurements. Moreover, it comes with extra-features like a paddle hook drain plug and safety straps. The security bar also makes it one of the safest kayaks to use on a camping trip.
If safety is your major concern when it comes to shopping for the best kayak for camping, Riot Edge 14.5 LV Kayak could be an ideal option to pick. Besides being a safe kayak, its price tag is also friendly to most individuals.
- Comes with an adjustable sliding foot and integrated thigh braces
- Features reflective lifelines for safety
- Has a dual-density hatch cover for durability
- Comes with pilot rudder system for perfect tracking
- It is reasonably priced
- It is easy to paddle and maneuver with
- Poor customer services
- Not as long lasting as some of its competitors
- Quality of this kayak is a bit lower compared to some other kayak brands
5. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak
This 15-feet kayak from Advanced Elements comes with an open design deck that makes it easy to enter and exit from it. It is designed and constructed to accommodate two persons who can also paddle it comfortably. The open deck design can also be converted easily to a single or double deck in a matter of seconds. Once converted, the deck has d-rings and a mesh pocket with increased space for gear storage.
Unlike many inflatable kayaks, this one from Advanced Elements is designed to deliver the best performance. It comes with a multi-layer construction of material, thus making it very durable. It comes with rigid high-pressure floors that are made from Drop-stitch technology to ensure maximum durability. In fact, the three-layer material is extremely puncture resistant. Moreover, it features built-in aluminum ribs that define the bow and stern, thus improving the tracking performance which makes it a good kayak for camping and touring purposes.
The designers of this kayak understand how eager you are to embark on your camping adventure. For this reason, the kayak is easy to set up since it is pre assembled at the factory. You simply unfold, inflate it, and attach the seats. Once you load your gear, you are good to go.
It also features a comfortable seat that is highly supported and adjustable with a padded sitting area. This means that you can be sure to have a comfortable paddling even for long hours. You can also adjust the seat to three different locations conveniently to allow solo paddling or tandem.
It also comes fitted with paddle holders, skeg tracking fin, and Rip-stop fabric that enhances its performance. The molded low-profile rubber handles provide you with an easy boarding for younger individuals.
For cargo storage, it comes with rear and front cargo hatch that offers enough space for storing all your essential gear securely. It also comes fitted with deck lacers that provide easy access to the gear. It also comes with a carrying duffle bag among other accessories such as a repair kit, an owner’s manual, and two folding seats.
- Comes with comfortably padded and adjustable seats
- Comes with an integrated pressure relief valve in the floor
- It comes fitted with paddle holders for easy paddling
- It is easy to set up since it comes preassembled
- Constructed to last long with three layer material
- Greater tracking with built-in aluminum ribs that define stern and bow
- It is inflatable
- It is a bit heavy
Gather your gear and supplies
There are many things to pack for the trip. First, you must pack essentials ideal for the weather condition you anticipate and for the time you will be camping out. Creating a detailed checklist for everything you will need is vital so that you are sure to carry everything you will need. Moreover, the kind of kayak you will choose will influence the amount of gear you will carry since different kayaks are designed to have varying storage spaces.
Check List is in the below video
Arrange and pack your gear
After identifying everything you need for your trip, you need to organize all your supplies and pack them. I recommend that you organize your things in an orderly manner if you want the limited space you got in your kayak to be enough. Arrange your gear in different dry bags according to usage type. You can’t mix your kitchen stuff and clothing for instance. Additionally, have an empty backpack with you to ensure you have an easy way of transporting your gear from the kayak to the campsite.
Loading your Kayak
This is possibly one of the most important tasks to do before paddling to your campsite. A kayak loaded with gear requires different methods to handle as compared to an empty one. As a result, it is important that you distribute the weight properly in order to ease the kayak’s handling. Don’t exceed your kayak’s maximum capacity by carrying everything for your trip. Simply carry the most essentials. In most kayak camping situations you would be using a sit in kayak.
I recently wrote a Guest Post on Natpacker about kayak camping gear you will need to bring on with you when you set up camp. The following list is an excerpt of that kayak gear list that was posted..
- Kayak with all Hatches covered, rudder;
- Deck Compass;
- Paddle With Leash;
- Pocket Knife;
- Compact Compass;
- Back Up Paddle;
- Maps with Case;
- Tow Belt;
- Hydration Kit;
- Spray Skirt;
- Bilge Pump;
- Duct Tape;
- Cable and shackles for rudder repair.
IN THE DECK BAG
- Camera with batteries and memory cards;
- Water Proof Binoculars;
- Sunscreen and lip balms, advil.
IN THE DAY HATCH OF THE KAYAK
- Water Bottles;
- Food like Lunch;
- First Aid Kit;
- Flare or Emergence Strobe;
- Waterproof Headlamp;
- Small Towel;
- Toilet Paper;Hand Sanitiser;
- Cell phone.
PADDLING CLOTHING AND GEAR
- Synthetic underwear;
- Swim trunks;
- Long sleeve shirt;
- A few t-shirts;
- Water shoes;
- Synthetic socks;
SHELTER FOR OVERNIGHT
- Rain tarp;
- Sleeping pad and bag;
- Land clothes;
- Camp shirts;
- Long and short socks;
- Knee zip pants;
- Rain jacket;
- Trash bag for wet clothing.
- Food packed in dry bags;
- Compact gas stove;
- Can opener;
- Cookware (pots pans, pails);
- Bowls and dining utensils;
- Salt and pepper;
- Kitchen knife;
- Dish towel;
- Fire starter (lighters, waterproof matches);
- Ziplock bags for trash;
- Water jugs;
- Insect Repellent;
- Many different dry bags, garbage bags ziplock bags etc;
- Insect net;
- Ear plugs;
- Flashlight and batteries;
Carry your gear in both the rear and the front storage compartments of your kayak to ensure stability. Organize your luggage in a manner that those things that you will want to use while paddling are located near the surface for easy access.
Don’t embark on a camping trip with a kayak that you aren’t comfortable in. It is advisable to load up your kayak and take a short spin around to get familiar with the added weight. Moreover, get safety gear like a life jacket and always wear it regardless of the conditions.
Safety Tips for Kayaking
- Never drink and paddle
- Always wear a life-jacket whenever you are in the water
- Practice rolling over and getting back to your kayak
- Check the weather conditions before paddling away
Things to Consider When buying the Best Kayak for Camping
I recommend that you take your time to research and understand all the options available in the market before settling on any kayak for camping. When shopping, you have to consider the factors that define a great kayak. Here are some of the factors that determine the best kayak for camping.
Stability and Speed
For kayak camping trips you need to carry with you enough gear to last the duration of the trip. Regardless of how lightweight the gear will be, weight is going to add up once you load all the essentials. It is advisable, therefore, to classify the weight of your camping gear to ensure that you do not exceed the kayak’s weight capacity. This ensures you have a stable kayak as you paddle to your campsite. Additionally, you will want to move on the deck freely without the fear of tipping off.
It is important, however, to note that stability mostly comes at the expense of speed. If you are going to camp far away, therefore, you will need to strike a balance between speed and stability. While a longer kayak offers you speed and excellent tracking, a wider kayak, delivers stability. For camping trips along the coast sea/ touring kayaks are advisable to use while in slow moving rivers and lakes you can use a sit on top kayak. This is because sea kayaks can paddle in rougher conditions far better due to their slender shape. If you are doing a camping/ fishing trip on a big lake then a wider fishing kayak would better suit your needs.
If you pick a wider kayak over the longer one for your camping experience, you can add a rudder to improve your paddling performance while keeping your tracking straight and optimizing paddling efficiency.
An ideal kayak for camping adventures ought to have enough storage compartments on the deck and internally. For smaller gear, you can use the hatches where the items can easily fit in in addition to allowing you to remove them easily on arrival at the campsite. In the hull, you can store those items that you won’t need while paddling.
When it comes to bigger and bulkier luggage like a tent, you may consider using the rear storage compartment since you might need to use the things stored on the deck in the course of paddling. So you can see how important it is to get a kayak with a larger rear storage compartment as well as a larger front hatch. While you may not appreciate the essence of having a bigger space on the first camping adventure, you will definitely find it useful when planning to take your second kayak camping to the next level.
The durability of the kayak you intend to buy will solely depend on the type of material it is constructed from. Here are some of the materials used.
- Plastic: This is the most used material and can be either polyethylene or thermoformed ABS. The plastic material is often used to build kayaks due to its impact-resistant nature, is inexpensive, is lightweight, and is abrasion resistant.
- Composite: Composite materials used in the building of kayaks include Kevlar, carbon fiber, and fiberglass. Kayaks made from these materials are generally lightweight and high performing.
- Soft Shells: Kayaks made from soft shells are the inflatable and folding types. The softshell material often come from a durable fabric material.
When shopping for a camping kayak, consider choosing a kayak that is made from a strong and durable material that will also provide you with comfort for as many camping trips as possible.
Kayaks are available in different sizes and shapes, which are dependent on the intended use. Short sized kayaks tend to be easier to paddle and maneuver with, but they lack speed. Long kayaks, on the other hand, offer the best option when it comes to straight tracking across long trips. However, they can be a bit difficult to maneuver with.
A wide shaped kayak offers more stability as compared to a narrow one. The narrower a kayak is, however, the more stable it is when executing sharp turns and tackling tougher water conditions.
When it comes to depth, preference takes center stage. However, a deeper kayak will provide you with more storage space and be dryer. When a kayak is deep with tall sides, it tends to be slower in speed because it experiences more resistance from the wind.
Even though the kind of color a kayak comes with doesn’t affect its performance, it will affect its safety from other water vessels. Although this shouldn’t be the first consideration, it is important that you pick a kayak that can be spotted from a distance in case of emergency.
Budget is one of the deciding factors of the kind of kayak you purchase. This is because you will only get what you pay for. Different kayaks come with different prices that are mostly influenced by the brand and model. Most importantly, it is imperative that you choose a kayak that is right for your camping needs and be affordable.
Finding the best kayak for camping is not always a walk in the park for most people. Knowing what to look out for in a kayak, however, means that choosing the best kayak for your camping needs can be as easy as picking any kayak.
I believe that this review will enable you to settle on the right kayak on your own. If you still find the exercise difficult, you could pick Eddyline Samba Kayak-Pearl Red because it is the winner of this review. Besides providing you with enough storage compartments to carry your gear, it is also stable, easy to paddle, and durable enough to take you on many camping adventures. The kayak is simply a great all around kayak for camping excursions.