Saturday, July 08, 2017

The Ultimate Kayaking Packing List

How to pack 101
As I left for my trip today Jez asked me if he could have my packing list to help him make sure he didn't forgot anything for his trip to the USA this weekend and it got me thinking. Traveling all over the world as much as I do the number of times I write and rewrite packing lists is insane and every time it seems to be almost identical. So I thought it was time to write it down and post it online so that not only only me and Jez but also anyone everyone else who travels to paddle could also potentially use it to help make traveling that little bit easier.

Throw back to flying to Nepal in 2004 with only
one 23kg item allowance

My Packing List

Wallet (money, credit card, cash, drivers licence)


Visas (if applicable)

Travel insurance documents

Car rentals paperwork

Accommodation paperwork and arrival address details (needed when you arrive at customs in a lot of countries)

Mobile phone and charger

Computer and charger

Camera and charger and sd cards

Go pro and charger

Hard drive and USB stick

Adapter plugs for international countries 

Boat and boat bag

Paddles x 1-2 and bag

Helmet, nose clip and earplugs

Cagdecks/ Drydecks (or Cags/Drytops and decks/skirts) long sleeve and short sleeve

BA / PFD, whistle and river knife 

Dry trousers


Sling and Throw line 

First aid kit 

Duck tape 

Shorts x 2-3

Fleece/paddling tops x 2-3

Sports bras / bikini / swimming costumes x 2
Roof rack strap

Waterproof jacket

Down jacket


Flip flops

T-shirts x 5-6

Hoody x 1-2

Jeans/trousers/pants x 1-2

Shorts x 2-3


Pants/Underwear x 8-12

Socks x 3-4

Bras x 2

Sports Bra

Towels x 1-2

Shampoo, conditioner, shower gel


Toothbrush and toothpaste 



Paracetamol / Ibroprofen


Other Toiletries 

Any personal medicines 

 Cold water paddling additions…

Dry suit 

Skull cap

Extra fleeces 

Gloves / poggies


Extra boats - Squirt Boat / Creek Boat / Carbon Play Boat
Hand paddles
Extra Pfd - Play boating / river rescue vest

Boat lock and padlock

Yoga mat

Foam Roller

Camp Chair


Lacrosse ball for trigger massage, massage lotion 

Repair kit
Pin kit

Googles (squirt boat)
Books, Kindle, iPads


Generally I pack it all into a one large lightweight travel bag on wheels and my boat bag. Max 23kg / 50lbs each. Then I carry a personal small backpack with my computer, camera etc. I also pack a spare small (wet boating) kit bag in my boat so I can separate my gear when on the road.

Flying back from Germany

Where possible I travel with just two check in items putting my paddles inside my boat if there splits or if there not taping them in their bag to my boat bag so it counts as just 1 piece. Occasionally an airline will allow you to pack them separately in the paddle bag and as they only weigh a couple of kilos they might let them on for no or little extra charge. Remember to say their ski's especially if the airlines not kayak friendly see my flying with a kayak blog. I just travelled today with my split paddles for free as part of my hand luggage, as my small personal carry on item. When the lady ask I said it was the equivalent of my small musical instrument allowance.

My two piece splits have been an awesome addition to my international travel kit
Transiting through Dallas Airport with my carry on!

Top Tips

1. Always travel with a water bottle. All airports have filtered water available for free inside the terminals. So empty your water bottle before you go through security then refill it for free before you airs your plane. Saves money and the oceans.

2. Travel with spare underwear, shorts and a t-shirts in your hand luggage and a toothbrush and toothpaste and baby wipes. This means that if your bags or flights get delayed and you end up with an unexpected night without all your gear your comfy and clean.

3. On long haul flights or massive trips find the airports showers and freshen up between flights. In Singapore airport find and jump in the swimming pool its worth it.

4. If your short on space / weight either wear more layers as you check in and go through customs and carry and extra bag inside your back pack to put it in when your on the plane or try and work out what heavy / bulky items you can easily and reasonably cheaply buy (shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, books) when you arrive at your destination.

So much sports equipment so little space

Sometimes you have lots of space

Packing doesn't have to be for flying
Taking only what you need can make a trip way more fun

Obviously the list will change a little trip to trip and person to person depending on where your going, the weather, length of trip and your paddling goals but I hope that this can be of help as a starting point and general guide.

Enjoy your paddling adventures around the world.

Happy Packing

Claire O

Having the right gear in the right place... priceless