Tips for Kayaking Far from Home

If kayaking is your favorite pastime, you know how liberating and exciting it feels to be paddling through the water. But kayaking can also feel like a daunting task for first-timers or those who are not familiar with kayak navigation. Here are some tips for kayakers that camp far from home.


The kayak compass is a must-have item for kayakers that camp far from home. A kayak compass will help you navigate the open water by determining your direction in relation to magnetic North, using either True or Magnetic Headings. The most accurate way to find these headings is with a kayak compass. It would be difficult (if not impossible) to use map reading skills without one if you are kayaking in an unfamiliar area and happen upon trouble – like getting lost – due to adverse weather conditions such as fog or strong currents pushing against your boat’s progress on lakes and rivers. If you’re ever faced with this type of situation, steer towards shore until you can see clearly again!

Life Jacket

A kayaker should also always carry a kayak life jacket with them. It will provide buoyancy and protect you if your kayak flips over into the water, as well as give you valuable time to reorient yourself when needed. Remember that it is illegal (and unsafe) for kayakers or canoeists to wear any type of footwear while on their boat.


A compass can be used in conjunction with other navigation equipment such as GPS units, but must be set correctly before use! A kayaker’s compass should always point north – this means magnetic North not true North eastwardly towards the Earth’s poles! You can tell which direction Magnetic North is by using an analog clock face: 12 o’clock represents true East; three o’clock indicates South; six o’clock represents true West; nine o’clock represent Magnetic North.

Be Mindful of the Surroundings

When kayaking, always be mindful of your surroundings and keep a close eye on the water in front of you for obstacles such as waves or logs, but also stay vigilant to make sure that the coast is not drawing too near so as to avoid any potential beach landing mishaps! Remember to consult maps before setting out – cell phones are unreliable when there’s no reception available!

Plan Ahead

Be sure that if you need help while kayaking, it’s important to know how long it will take emergency crews to reach you. The time varies depending on location and conditions. Plan ahead with this information in mind by carrying appropriate equipment for sea sickness or other injury.

If you kayak in areas with lots of hills or where the water is full of obstacles such as rocks, it can be difficult to stay on course. The only way this becomes easier is through experience and knowledge! Google Maps will show your elevation which will assist you when kayaking, but if that’s not an option then a compass may need to come into play. Make sure your kayak magnetic compass is mounted correctly! Make use of landmarks and other natural features so that no matter how lost you are, at least there’s something close by for reference points! Remember the cardinal directions: north (N), south (S), east (E) west (W). One important kayaking tip is to kayak with a group.

Pack food

Pack food that doesn’t require cooking and is easily digestible! A kayaking trip can be exhausting, so it’s important to keep your energy levels up. Trail mix, granola bars, cheese sticks and cereal are all great snacks for kayakers. Avoid packing anything too salty or fatty as these foods will make you thirsty – we’ll talk more about hydration later in this post. If you’re camping on a lake with plenty of fish nearby then don’t forget the fishing pole! Just because there are no good restaurants near your camp site doesn’t mean there aren’t any good fisherman at your campsite for dinner time 🙂

Keep an eye on the weather

When you’re kayaking, keep an eye on the weather! Predicting kayak weather is a tough business, but there are some things you can watch out for. If the wind changes direction or speed that’s one sign that something may be coming. You might want to pack an emergency poncho if your kayaking trip leads you into more rainy climates and always keep rain jackets on hand so they’re accessible when needed!

If it starts raining while kayaking then pay close attention to how long it lasts – sudden downpours aren’t uncommon with kayaks because of all the water surrounding them! Be sure not to let a little bit of water ruin your whole day though; most kayakers have waterproof bags in their boats that will protect valuables like electronics from moisture damage until they dry out.

Be aware of currents when paddling 

Be aware of currents when paddling – they can carry you in unexpected directions or even away from shore if there’s no wind to steer by. For kayakers with kids, it’s a good idea to have some sort of lifeline.

Camping from kayaks is about more than just providing shelter and food for the night; these days kayak camping trips often involve activities like fishing or water sports. Make sure you’re equipped! Keep in mind that kayaking does require preparation – this means carrying enough provisions to survive on your own if necessary as well as keeping safety gear at hand in case things go wrong while out on the water.

While there are kayakes designed specifically for camping, most kayaks will work fine as long as they come with an anchor system that can be used when you need to stop paddling temporarily so you don’t get too tired before finding a campsite.

Use dry bags to keep things dry if possible 

Dry bags can be a life saver as it will help you keep your gadgets and cloths dry. If kayaking near water or on a rainy day, always store your phones and tablets in dry bags. You can also buy waterproof cases for your sunglasses if you usually forget to bring them with you when kayaking.

Posted by
Arthur G. Moore

Arthur G. Moore is a veteran paddler. He has over 10 years of whitewater kayaking experience in his kitty. When he was young, he used to love kayaking in rapid III and rapid IV but as time went on, he decided to concentrate mainly on covering long distances on a standard touring kayak. He is currently working as a senior editor for Kayak Manual.

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