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Sup camping trips are a relatively inexpensive way of adding another dimension to your stand up paddle boarding experience. Whether you plan to go on an overnight camping trip, a weekend camping trip or go touring for a week (or even more), all you need to do is pack your gear on your paddle board and off you go. You get to experience more of what the outdoors has to offer while also participating in favourite activity.
Here at Water Sports Planet we love the freedom that paddle boarding gives you and we love the ability to roam where you desire once you are out on the water. However, we are also know that when it comes to camping trips planning and preparation are the key to a successful and enjoyable trip.
It is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret. Here are our Top 10 SUP Camping Tips to ensure you get the most out of your paddle board trip.
1. Start Small
We recommend your start with an overnight camping trip for your first outing as this will give you a taste of what it is like. It will also give you the opportunity to test out your board, your gear and your skills. You will be able to figure out what is working for you, what is not working for you and what you need to change. Then try a weekend trip and apply the same learning. After this you will a lot more prepared for longer tours.
2. Keep an Eye on the Weather
Plan your trip for when there is a better chance of good weather. Then keep updated on the forecasted weather conditions as you get nearer the date of your trip. The weather plays a big part in how much you will enjoy your camping trip and it’s not as much fun if it’s raining and windy or if you have to fight against big waves and strong currents. Consider postponing your trip if you need to.
3. The Right SUP Board
Your SUP board will need to handle the extra weight of the camping gear in addition to you and be stable while doing so. Longer, broader boards are your best option (ideally a 12 to 14 foot board). If you currently have a shorter board and your trip is over a short distance then, as long as it is stable with you and your gear, use that rather than buy a new board and find out that you don’t like SUP camping. Hiring a board is a good option if it is available.
You will need a board which has strap points at the front and rear as this will allow you to distribute the weight of your gear more evenly. If your board doesn’t have strap points then you can buy suction strap points to add to your board – we would only recommend this for short trips as having a board with built in strap points is much more durable and secure for longer trips.
4. How to Pack Your SUP Board
First of all you want pack light which means breaking it down to the essentials. Secondly you want to distribute the weight of your gear evenly on your board. This means having half the weight on the front of your board and half the weight on the back of your board where possible. We recommend using dry bags to make sure your gear stays dry. One large dry bag and one small dry bag will normally be enough.
It’s better to pack cans rather than bottles and it’s better to pack boxes rather than cans. As you should be working on the ‘leave no trace camping’ principle, you will be carrying out all of your garbage. Crushing cans after you use them will save space and boxes are good because you can burn them in your camp fire or flatten them and carry them out.
5. Plan Your Food
The more you paddle the more calories you will burn so take into consideration the distance you intend to travel when looking at how much food to take. Dried foods are popular as they are light, easy to pack and easy to cook but there are plenty of alternatives.
Taking tinned meats and either fresh or tinned vegetables will allow you to make a nice stew or soup. For overnight trips you can take frozen meat as it will defrost while you are travelling. A great tip we learned years ago is to use a waterproof marker to write the contents on tins in case the label gets wet or comes off.
6. Plan Your Water
We all know how important water is so make sure you have a plan for keeping hydrated. Is there water available at your camping location? Do you need to take water with you? You can get lightweight water filters which are easy to use but you will need to ensure there is a fresh water source near your destination.
7. Test Pack Your Board
Once you have got all your gear then you need to do a test pack of your board to make you can fit everything on and that you can distribute the weight evenly. If you are going with other people then you can share equipment amongst you which helps with the whole weight distribution.
Also think about peoples size, weight and ability – some people may be stronger paddlers and therefore may be able to carry a bit more weight. Test pack in your yard at first as this will give you the opportunity to move things around.
8. Have a Dry Run
Once you have done a test pack then it’s time to do a dry run and get your fully loaded board onto the water to see if it floats ok. It will also give you some experience of how your board handles with the added weight.
9. Have a Float Plan
Float plans are a list of where you are going, when you are going, when you will return, what board you are paddling and who you are with. All you have to do is write down all the relevant details and give it to a trusted person, someone who will take action if you do not check in with them when you return or at set any times you may have agreed. You can download this float plan from the United States Coast Guard – USCG Float Plan.
10. SUP Camping Gear List
We like to work on the principle of it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. This is why we have included things like a spare paddle which can be easily strapped to your board, especially if you get something like a 3 piece travel SUP paddle.
• Tent or Hammock
• Sleeping bag
• Large dry bag
• Smaller dry bag
• Life jacket
• Raincoat or Poncho
• Cooking equipment
• Permits (if needed)
• Float Plan
• Spare Fin
• Spare Paddle
• SUP Repair Kit
Stand Up Paddle Board – 4 Golden Rules
Stand up paddle boarding is no different to other sports and activities – taking time to learn the right technique will pay dividends for you. The right technique will make it easier to paddle, will allow you to paddle for longer and, as you will get less fatigued, it will keep you safer. Mistakes often happen when you are exhausted and your concentration lapses.
To help you learn the right techniques for stand up paddle boarding we have 4 golden rules which, when followed correctly, will ensure you have an easier and more enjoyable time on the water. These golden rules will give you a great foundation for everything you do on your SUP.
First Golden Rule – It’s All About Position
Establishing the correct position on your paddle board will really help you use your core muscles for paddling, instead of your arms (more on that later). In turn, this helps reduce the risk of a back injury and makes each stroke you make more effective. It goes like this – bend your knees slightly and keep your back straight. Bending your knees allows your legs to act as shock absorbers which helps you immensely in keeping your balance.
Second Golden Rule – Plant Your Blade
OK, so it’s not just plant your SUP blade in the water. It’s making sure you plant your blade all the way in to the water. Why? Because when it is fully planted in the water you get the maximum amount of power from your blade with each stroke. It also means you have an additional point of contact with the water and this helps keep you more stable.
Third Golden Rule – It’s All About the Core
Why is it so important to use your core muscles while paddle boarding? Because your core muscles are the biggest source of power in your body and when you use your core it means you can paddle for longer and further. If you don’t use your core to paddle then you will be using your arms, a common mistake when you are starting to stand up paddle board.
As your arms are not as strong as your core, you will get tired quicker. When you are using you core you will find it is easier to keep the paddle shaft at the right angle which again will help you get more out of each stroke.
Fourth Golden Rule – Be Quiet
Well you can talk but try and keep your SUP board quiet. What do we mean by keeping your paddle board quiet? This is about keeping your board level on the water with neither the front nor the back being raised into the air. Keeping your board level will help it move through the water easier, this is usually achieved by using your feet and legs to keep the board stable as you paddle.
There you go, four simple rules to help you get the most out of stand up paddle boarding. Don’t just take our word for it, try these techniques for yourself next time you are in your SUP and see what results you get.
When you consider how much you spend on your stand up paddle board it makes sense that should take care of it. Keeping your SUP in good condition will keep it performing as it should be. It will last longer and means you will spend less on replacement parts. Ultimately it means you will save money.
Rinse Your Board After Use
I know, you might be a bit tired from all that paddling or you are a bit pushed for time as you spent a little longer on the water than you planned. Taking just a few minutes to rinse your paddle board after you use it is quick and easy and will wash off any salt, grime or boat fuel which may have been in the water. Giving it a quick dry is also a good idea, particularly if it is sunny where you are.
Keep Your SUP out of The Sun
Exposing your SUP to direct sunlight can lead to your board overheating which can cause cracking and splitting. In addition to that the UV rays will cause your board to become discoloured. If you can’t put it in the shade then take a paddle board bag with you to put it in. Board bags are usually reflective on the outside and help protect you board from the sun’s harmful rays. However, make sure your board is dry before you put it in your bag as a wet board will create moisture which can create problems with the epoxy shell.
It’s Time to Clean Your SUP
Your SUP board needs a regular clean, we would recommend you clean it every month. Blue Goo from ONIT Pro has always served me well. It removes the toughest dirt, grime, stains, scuff marks, minor scratches, oxidation and salt build-up. If you are going to store your board for any length of time then we recommend you clean it before you put it into storage.
Check your Stand Up Paddle Board for Damage
We recommend you check your board for damage after every paddle. That way you will pick up on the small, minor scratches and cracks before they turn into a bigger problem for you. For minor scratches and cracks you will be able to repair them yourself as it is relatively easy to do. Ding Dough by Surftech is easy to use and cheap to buy.
If you don’t check your board and therefore don’t spot these minor issues then they can turn into bigger issues and you will need to have it repaired professionally which is obviously going to cost you more of your hard earned dollars. Spend a little time to check and repair your board will save you money in the long run.
Remember to Clean the Fins
As you know all, stand up paddle board fins are removable so when you clean your board it is good practice to also clean the fin and the fin box. Getting all the dirt, sand and other debris out of your fin box will make it easier to remove and attach your fin. Yes, I know it’s another job but do this regularly and it will just take you a couple of minutes.