“No matter what the question is, kayaking is always the answer!”
Getting ready to go on your annual kayak and camping trip this summer? Camping on a shore after a fun day of kayaking gives a sense of freedom that a very few outdoor activities can offer.
Just letting yourself paddle down a stream on your kayak and ending the day watching the sunset sitting on a camp on the banks of a river is an experience that everybody should have at least once in a lifetime!
Once you set your days aside and booked the trip, there is the part of any getaway that most of us dread, which is packing. Getting your gear and supplies together for a kayak and camping trip is understandably more complex and needs a lot more focus and planning than, let’s say, packing for a staycation in a hotel. What you pack and how you pack them can surely make or break your experience.
In this article, we are focusing on one of the most important items that you carry – the dry bag/s.
What is a dry bag and why do you need it?
To put it simply, a dry bag is a storage bag that is made from a waterproof material. It is used to store all the items that you need to keep away from water which simply surrounds you and gets everywhere when you are doing a water activity such as kayaking. Many people tend to underestimate the importance of their dry bags, but a properly packed dry bag can considerably improve the quality and the comfort of your kayaking trip.
Dry bags are very simple in design. They usually come in a cylinder shape with an opening which can be secured with a drawstring. The string comes with a buckle that can be securely fastened once all the items are in, and many popular manufacturers of dry bags claim up to 99.9% level of waterproofness for the dry bag once it is properly closed and fastened.
Following are some of the different types of dry bags you can see in the market.
- Barrel/Cylinder dry bags
- Rucksack dry bags
- Motorcycle dry bags
- Holdall dry bags
- Dry bum and mobile bags
The bags come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can choose your best dry bags according to your requirement. Using smaller dry bags for electronic devices that go on a bigger dry bag after is a common way of doubling up the safety for the electronic valuables that you carry in your kayaking trips.
The size of the dry bag is very important since it should be able to since it should not disrupt your kayaking experience by being too bulky, but still being able to store all your important items. A good size for a dry bag is somewhere in between 8 liters to 15 liters, which is not too bulky but big enough to store a considerable amount of supplies. Anything bigger would be difficult to fit into a hatch, causing practical problems. Kayaking is, after all, about freedom and your oversized dry bag should not stand in the middle of it.
What goes in the dry bag?
Your dry bag is where you store everything that requires a waterproof environment. If you are going on a multi-day kayak and camping trip, you are most likely to require more than one dry bag. There are four main categories of items that go into your dry bag. You can use this as a rule of thumb which is to add at least two items of each of these categories.
- Safety items
- Health and Hygiene items
- Repair tools
- Food and drinks
- Everyday valuables
The safety items category includes products such as a mirror or a whistle to make signals in case you face an accident which requires you to make any signals to a rescue party. You can never be too prepared when going on an adventure.
The second category mentioned above contains probably the most important items in your dry bag. Health and hygiene always come first when anybody is going on an outdoor adventure. This includes items such as your medicine, a first aid kit, and hygiene products. As an added note, do not forget to take your doses of medicine in a timely manner, without getting sidetracked by the joy and adventure of kayaking.
When you get on to the kayak and start paddling down the river or the stream, you are setting yourself to be very resourceful and skilled. If your kayak starts having problems or temporary breakdown for some reason, you need to be able to fix it and paddle on. These tools include essentials for a quick fix such as duct tape, a multi-tool/pocket knife and simple the things that will help you mend something quickly.
Food and drinks for kayaking trips should always be simple and durable. You can catch some fresh fish for an added experience, but make sure you keep some protein bars, jerky, nuts and a few other snacks in handy in your dry bag since paddling for long can be tiring. If you have kayaked at least once before, then you know the value of one simple water bottle in your dry bag, especially in the summer.
The practical items category includes everything valuable that you need to carry with you that was not mentioned above. These include your keys, cash, electronic devices, power banks and chargers, cameras, a lighter and a blanket for the particularly cold days that you are camping outside!
How to pack your dry bag?
Now that you know what to back in your dry bag, it is important that you know about the most effective ways to pack them into the bag. For better convenience, you can get separate bags for the categories mentioned above. This way it is easy for you to reach them when needed.
You can bundle them up in small/medium Holdall type off dry bags and ideally put them all together in a larger kayak style dry bag for a more complete packing attempt. When it comes to packing your food, try to separate them into the portions that you will be having – breakfast, lunch dinner – rather than packing them as individual items. This will save you a lot of time and effort when you are in less than ideal environments out there kayaking.
Proper preparation for your upcoming trip is the key to making sure that you have a smooth and comfortable sail. Packing your dry bag suitably will take a major burden off your head in your planning process for an upcoming kayak and camping trip. It is easy to forget things when you are simply relying on your mind to remember everything.
Take a pen and a paper and write down everything that you need to pack in your dry bag, and tick them off as you go. Once you have all the items together, try putting all the items into your main dry bag and see if it all fits at least a few days ahead of the trip. If it does, you are ready to take on your best kayak and camping trip yet. Enjoy!