Top 10 SUP Camping Tips
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
• Small dry bag
• Life jacket
• Raincoat or Poncho
• Cooking equipment
• Permits (if needed)
• Float Plan
• Spare Fin
• Spare Paddle
• SUP Repair Kit