average cost on kayak camping trip

Average Cost on a Kayak Camping Trip and 9 Tips!

This article explains how much does it cost to go Kayak camping and I’ll give you 9 tips on kayak camping trip.

Planning a kayak camping trip? Be prepared to open your wallet. Adult campers spent an average of $546 on camping gear alone in 2016, according to the 2017 American Camper Report from Coleman Company, Inc. and The Outdoor Foundation. And when you factor in expenses for food, permits, and transportation, your camping budget could quickly go up in flames.

For outdoor lovers, there are few things as enjoyable and exciting as planning and executing 4-5 days excursions into the wild. There’s just something about camping out in nature, the idea of roughing it, and getting away from the hustle and bustle of our wireless world that brings out in us an overwhelming sense of adventure, peace, and serenity. Add to that paddling and you have a match made in heaven. 


How Much Does it Cost to Go Kayak Camping?

Let’s assume the following:

You have never gone on kayak camp before, but you want to get into it and make a few trips this summer.

  •         You own no camping gear, and you want to buy some.
  •         You are planning on taking three friends with you.
  •         You have agreed to split costs evenly.

Here are a few things are going to cost you some money.


Outdoor Classes

There are also outdoors classes that can teach you skills like fire-building, water safety, how to build a shelter, foraging, trapping, hunting, navigation, and survival skills.

These classes can be found all over the country, usually at local or state park districts, hunting clubs, and outdoor climbing facilities. REI, Bass Pro Shops, and other outdoor retailers offer workshops and classes for less than $100.

YouTube sometimes is a good teacher.



If you would like a nicer campground, paid campsites can have amenities such as fully electrified cabins with showers, running water, parking lots, and nearby stores.

Depending on your state, campgrounds can have fees as high as $35/night, so doing some research before you leave the house can help you and your camping buddies pick a great campsite. (See more: Tips for Choosing a Campsite)



If you don’t own a kayak, renting is significantly cheaper than buying.

How much cheaper renting is depends on the exact models and rental prices. On our kayaking excursion, it cost $39 to rent an Ocean Kayak Scrambler for 2 hours. Brand new this kayak retails for $495 and our own price report puts the used value at $346. Therefore you can rent this kayak for approximately 8% of the full retail price or 11% of the used price. The rental option puts the cost of kayaking into a much more manageable price range when just starting out.


Sleeping Bags

If you ever get sick of your blanket fort, a three-season bag rated for 30-40 degrees will do fine. If you get too hot, unzip the bag or lose a layer of clothing. Sleeping bags(VENTURE 4TH Backpacking Sleeping Bagshould not cost more than $50 each.


Extra Camping Accessories

This is where most people expend their budget once they have the essentials. Here are my picks for the best, lantern, flashlight, a multitool, a first aid kit, insect repellent. sun protection.

All the other fancy gear can be done without, but browsing for things and reading reviews never hurts. A camping radio, for example, is definitely not needed but can be a nice addition to your tent.


Sleeping Mat

If the ground under your tent is cold or wet, sleeping at night can be uncomfortable. A sleeping pad under your sleeping bag can be a lifesaver. Sleeping pads(Outdoorsman Lab Ultralight Sleeping Pad) should cost less than $40, especially if you buy used.


Camp Stove

If you bring imperishable food and don’t plan on cooking or using the fire pit, a camp stove (Solo Stove Titan) save your cooking pots and pans from getting charred in the fire. These should cost less than $80.


Camping Cookware

A pot, a skillet, a pair of tongs, and some forks or spoons to eat and you are ready to eat like a king, especially if you get sick of foil dinners. ( See more: 8 Awesome kayak Camping Food ideas! (with Recipe) )



Bring your own drinks in a cooler, especially if you are camping out in the summer heat. You can also use the cooler for bringing your trash home at the end of the camping trip. A cooler shouldn’t cost more than $30.



It really depends on your decision, you can bring some easy snack for a few meals to save money. I won’t recommend the first time kayak camper to do too much cooking.


If you know that you won’t be taking camping up as a lifelong hobby, renting equipment may be a cheaper alternative than buying. Most campsites offer rental equipment for modest fees.

Camping stores like REI have varying rates as well, but their rental charges for non-members are generally around $50 for two days of camping. That same tent can cost almost $300 in the store or six-weekend trips. Similar tents on eBay can cost half that price, however, making whether or not the investment in a tent depending on your summer plans. If you plan on going camping only once or twice a year, then renting your gear may be cheaper.


9 Tips for Getting Into Kayak Camping

Dry Hatches

Those compartments inside sea kayaks keep out most of the water if the boat capsizes, but not all. If you want to keep your gear dry, put it in dry bags inside the hatches. Things that absolutely need to stay dry, such as electronics and cameras, should go into dry boxes with 0-ring seals. (See more: Dry Bag Buyers Guide And My Top Picks)


Lots of Small Things Pack Easier

Don’t pile things in big dry bags as canoers and rafters do.

It’s far easier to cram gear in a kayak when it’s in lots of small dry bags (5-10 liters and smaller) than a few big ones. This lets you use the nearly infinite small spaces between items. Hard objects, like pots and pans and big dry boxes, are the hardest to pact so pack those first or find smaller versions.

Dry Bag by Podknox, on Flickr
Dry Bag” (CC BY 2.0)


Balance and Access

Just like a backpack, you’ll want to make sure your kayak floats evenly.

Too much weight in the ends will make it hard to turn. Balance fore and aft will make it paddle normally, instead of tilting to one side or wandering across the water like a drunk stumbling down the sidewalk. And think ahead about what you want access to easily: lunch, jacket, gloves, etc. and what you won’t need until camp.


Keep a Clean Deck

You’ll be tempted to strap lots of stuff to the deck. Don’t. Gear on the deck makes the kayak unstable, catches the wind, and complicates rescues. A frightening number of accidents and coast guard rescues involve paddlers who had mountains of gear strapped to the deck. Kayaks are designed to be paddled with gear inside, not on top.


Bring Less Than You Want

Kayaks can carry a lot—more than you need unless you’re heading out for weeks on end.

Resist the urge to bring firewood, tons of extra camp gear, or a bocce ball set. You’ll have to carry everything you bring up and down the beach twice every day You’re there to have fun, not to lug stuff back and forth.


Try Packing First

Try packing your gear in your backyard to make sure it fits. There’s nothing more embarrassing than being the guy everyone’s waiting for on the beach, only to have to ask your pals to bail you out by carrying your sleeping bag.


The Surface Moves

Unlike hiking or climbing, a kayak moves on a surface that’s always moving. Tides rise and drop, revealing hidden rocks and sucking away kayaks left unsecured overnight, and sometimes even swamping tents that are too low on the beach. Currents create a treadmill that can either stop your progress or speed you along Learn how to read tide and current tables.


Go Early and Watch the Weather

Wind is an equally big factor that applies far less when you’re backpacking. Learn the patterns and listen to the forecast. On the west coast, mostly sunny days will have a northwest wind that rises shortly after noon and builds in strength Don’t be caught unawares by this familiar pattern. (See more: Reading the weather) , and Kayaking forecast.


Know Your Route

It’s easy to get lost on the water.

Unlike hiking, where your perspective changes as you climb ridges, in a kayak you’re always about 3 feet off the water. Islands can look like peninsulas and bays disappear against vast shorelines Learn how to read a chart, which is different from a topographical map. And in the US, most chart data is free online.

Have Fun

There are few joys like traveling self-supported on the sea Don’t be surprised if you get hooked.



Hope you find this post helpful. If you find anything wrong or outdated, please leave your comment below. I’ll update it as soon as possible.

Thanks for reading, Happy kayaking.

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