Written by Hailey Hirst
Are you ready to take your camping adventures to the next level? If so, then it’s time to consider paddle board camping, the perfect fusion of stand up paddle boarding and backpacking. Picture this: gliding across calm waters, surrounded by nature, and pitching your tent in secluded spots that are only accessible by water. Whether you’re an experienced camper or a beginner looking for a unique outdoor experience, SUP camping is an exciting way to beat the summer heat.
Planning Your SUP Camping Adventure
Finding the Perfect Location
Finding the ideal spot for SUP camping is crucial. Look for a lake with calm waters and little wind, as it will make your paddle boarding experience much easier. Checking the weather conditions and water level is essential to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. If an ocean coast is more appealing to you, be sure to research surf conditions and be aware of currents and tides.
Choosing the Right Route
When planning your paddle board camping trip, choose a route that matches your paddling ability. Beginners should opt for shorter distances, while more experienced paddlers may venture out on longer expeditions. Remember, the goal is to enjoy the journey and find hidden gems tucked away in nature.
Where to Camp
Finding the perfect camping spot is as important as the journey itself. Look for public lands where camping is allowed or consider staying at established campgrounds. Utilize maps and local websites to determine the best places to park, put in, and camp. When SUP camping, it’s essential to practice Leave No Trace principles and be mindful of the environment. Respect nature and choose a campsite that minimizes your impact on the surroundings.
Choosing the Right Gear
Selecting the Best Board
Choosing the right paddle board is crucial for a successful SUP camping trip. Wider boards offer more stability, making them ideal for beginners. There are two main types of boards: inflatable and solid. Inflatable boards are lightweight, easy to store, and convenient for transport. On the other hand, solid boards provide better performance in the water, offering speed and maneuverability. Opt for a medium-length board, between 10-12 feet, as it is versatile and suitable for most SUP camping adventures.
Essential Gear to Pack
To ensure a comfortable and safe experience, pack the following essentials:
- Two large 65L dry bags for your gear
- One small 4L dry bag for quick-access items and emergency supplies
- Straps to secure your bags to the board
- Two-person tent
- Sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and camp pillows
- Solar camp lights and a headlamp
- Camping stove, cookware, and biodegradable soap
- Food, water filter, and water bottles
- Tools, including a multi-tool, board patch kit, survival kit, and first aid kit
- Map or GPS for navigation
- Proper clothing, hat, sunscreen, and personal flotation device (PFD)
Remember, it’s always better to be over-prepared than underprepared. Make sure to check the weather forecast before packing and adjust accordingly.
Embarking on Your SUP Camping Adventure
As you set off on your paddle board camping journey, keep these safety tips in mind:
- Always wear your personal flotation device (PFD)
- Use an ankle leash to secure yourself to the board
- Apply sunscreen generously, especially if you anticipate spending hours in the sun
- Carry enough food and water to sustain yourself throughout the activity and overnight
- Pack a small bag with emergency essentials that are securely attached to your board
Unleash Your Adventurous Spirit
SUP camping offers a unique perspective of both above and below the water’s surface. As you glide across the tranquil waters, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the landscape and the hidden treasures it holds. Unlike other forms of water travel, paddle boarding keeps you upright and constantly engaged, testing your balance and awareness.
My first experience with SUP camping was a success. Despite having little prior paddling experience, I felt capable and confident once we hit the water. Standing on the water, able to peer into the depths of nature, I realized the beauty of exploring places inaccessible on foot. I’m already dreaming of embarking on a multi-day trip, discovering the wonders beyond each forested cove.
Are you ready to embark on your own SUP camping adventure? Take some time to prepare, select the right gear, and plan your route. Whether you’re gliding on a calm lake or paddling along a coastal shoreline, paddle board camping will captivate your spirit of adventure. So grab your gear, head out onto the water, and let the wonders of nature unfold before you.
Note: This article is not sponsored in any way, but it does include affiliate links. If you purchase an item, She-Explores gets a small commission (4 – 8%), which doesn’t change the price of the product for you, but helps keep She-Explores going.
Do you have any SUP tips or camping stories to share? Comment below!
Hailey Hirst is the Digital Content Editor for She Explores and a multi-passionate creative who thrives on the often-overlooked details. She lives in Kelowna, British Columbia. Find her on Instagram.