Thursday, September 23, 2010


If you are a rock climber, the question you get asked is, "How do you get the rope up there". If you are a long distance paddler the question you get asked is "How do you get all that stuff into a kayak". I think it is one of the easier things to do. Small bags are easier to pack than big ones, but as I have said before I am organizationally challenged. So I tend use 20 liter, 10 liter and a single 5 liter. I am a big fan of dry bags, but for my kitchen bag I use a small duffel with a heavy duty plastic bag inside of it. I find it easier to root around for the things I am looking for.

Their are a couple of basic principles:

If you may need it during your paddle, it goes in the cockpit or directly under a hatch opening.

Keep heavy things - water - centered. In general try and balance the load inside the boat.

Fill in the gaps. Don't give away space by not using it. watch what your doing, and don't leave gaps. Which means, a lot of the time, the most important thing to pay attention to is the bow and stern. Fill in those pointy gaps. I am continually toying with buying a tapered dry bag that fits my bow or stern, but I haven't made that leap yet.

Some people will say that you can trim the boat for particular situations by adjusting where weight in the boat is the heaviest. For instance, adding more weight in the bow paddling into a cornering wind, so the bow locks into the water and tracks better. I don't like this idea, as situations change, and it doesn't make sense to then repack your kayak.

Below I have two videos. A straight 'this is packing a kayak' and an uncut - but sped up - packing the boat. In total it took me a little over ten minutes to pack my kayak. I think in general it takes people longer than that, but I have a fairly solid system. As I have said continually, practice makes everything easier. I like to pack a kayak before a trip, just to make sure that it all fits.

Packing from Paddling Otaku on Vimeo.

packfast from Paddling Otaku on Vimeo.