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.


  1. Wow - that is a BOATLOAD of stuff. Heh.

    Actually, I'm amazed how much you get IN there.

  2. Saw a couple of water bottles but where did you put the water for the trip or do you always pruify your drinking and cooking water?

    How many day trip was this?

    How much weight do you think went forward and aft?

  3. there were a couple of water bottles, but they were just for incidental use. The black bag, and the red bag that I dropped on the ground around the 40 second mark of the first video were water. The black one was 2.5 gallons, the red was 1 gallon, plus 2 liters in my PFD. This was a two week trip. I try and start with a fair amount of water, but I will filter water as needed, or use rain water. I would guess this was about 70 pounds of gear.

    Good questions though. thanks.


  4. Oh geeze... you have a tonne of space in there! From what I can tell, it's a Delta 17... I can fit in the stern hatch of the Delta 17 :P

    I recommend the tapered dry bags. I use a 20L (my largest drybag by far) for the bulk of my clothing. The one I have (Seal Line Kodiak) has a valve at the end, which isn't as good as a compression sac, but it works. I manage to squish out most of the air. When I'm packing, the taper gets shoved up into my bow, since I have the skeg box in the stern (my tent poles, air mattress, and fuel bottle all fit behind the skegbox of my Avocet LV).

    All this talk of packing makes me want to brave the rain and go camping :D