Planning a Multi-day Sea Kayaking Trip

Planning a Multi-day Sea Kayaking Trip

How to plan a Multi-day Overnight Sea Kayaking Trip

So you have decided you want to go on a multi-day kayaking trip! Now where to start? Planning a kayaking trip for several days can be daunting and can feel overwhelming. However, preparing for a trip can create excitement and anticipation for your upcoming adventure. It is often half the fun of getting away. It is also imperative to plan so you and the group are fully prepared once on the water.


If this is your first multi-day overnight kayaking trip or if you are a beginner paddler, you may want to consider an area with minimal dangers. Consider the Gulf Islands, the Broken Group Islands or the San Juan Islands in Washington State. Avoid areas with exposed and rugged coastlines or surf launches/landings. Research locations which are protected by the land, with minimal strong currents, short ocean crossings and numerous camping and picnic options. Connect and talk with other paddlers with experience in the area to find the best kayaking route. When you have picked a location, contact local kayaking companies in the area to inquire about possible routes, read paddle guides, and check out online forums and posts about the area.


multi-day kayak trip planning

Where will we go?      Photo by Rebecca Grim


This topic can often be overlooked but it is important to establish an intention, or focus with yourself or the team with whom you will be spending several days. Questions to consider: How many nautical miles will be kayaked in a day? Will there be time to hike and explore on land? Is there interest in setting up a base camp for a couple of days? What time of day will the group be launching/landing? Will there be a team leader or will decisions be made by the group? All these questions should be discussed before getting on the water to prevent any confusion –  or friction.

multi day group kayak trips


There is nothing more frustrating than arriving at camp and realizing the tarp was forgotten, or even worse, discovering the coffee press was left behind! Make a list of all the gear and assign items to individuals; everyone should have a copy. Review the list together as a group, double check, then triple check to be sure all the gear is accounted for. Everything that is not on your body should be packed into dry bags or waterproof bags. It is safe to assume that everything will get wet.

multi day kayak trip gear


Cooking and dehydrating your own camp meals is one of the most affordable options and allows you to make exactly what you want. You can read more about dehydrating food here. The other option is pre-packaged meals. Everything from apple crisp to burrito veggies bowls can be found conveniently packaged in individual meals.

It is guaranteed you will eat more than planned so generously sized portions and extra snacks are always welcomed. A benefit to kayaking is all the space in the boat; bring luxury food such as fresh fruit and veggies. Pack at least an extra day or two of food for an emergency.

dehydrated food for kayaking



Planning your kayaking route is essential, even if you do not end up following it exactly. It is also a good idea to have a “Plan B”. Injuries can happen, weather may change and the team’s energy levels can increase or decrease. Never push yourself or the team to paddle further,  and always have some flexibility on the return date. When you plan the route, each day should include the predicted weather, paddling distance, tide times, currents, beaches for breaks, camp locations and freshwater sources.

After finalizing your route, create a “trip plan” and give it to a friend. The plan should include: where and when you launch out, kayaking route, team member’s names and contact, where you plan to camp each night, what date you plan on arriving back, contact number and boat descriptions.

kayak trip planning

Always leave a trip plan with someone at home.

The more you plan your multi-day kayaking camping trips, the easier and faster it becomes, which will encourage you to get out on the water more!

Let us know in the comments below your favourite multi-day paddling trip to go on?

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