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Backcountry Camping on a Paddle Board

I recently went on my first backcountry camping trip on a paddle board with my two friends, Bridgid and Davey; here are the top 5 things I learned.

Top 5 Things I Learned on my First Backcountry Camping Trip on a Paddle Board

1.  Type of Board

  • iSUPs are easy to transport into the backcountry. They are also more durable, especially for portaging or in shallow waters with obstacles like rocks and logs.
  • Larger boards are best.  Your board will perform differently with added weight and a larger board offers more stability. Check the weight capacity of the board you plan to use.
  • Front and back tie downs are key for easily securing all your items but also for best weight distribution and balance.
  • I paddled the Red Paddle Co Voyager 13’2 and it worked like a dream!
Three paddle boarding at a backcountry camp site

2. Start Small

  • Keep it a short and simple route for your first time.  Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
  • We stuck to a 5-6km paddle from the launch to our campsite with no portages.
  • Remember you’ll be slower than a two-person canoe or kayak and weather can play a bigger role when paddling on a SUP.  Know how to read the wind.

3. Waterproofing & Securing

  • All of your gear sits out in the open so it needs to be properly secured and in dry bags. I used the 60L Red Paddle Co. Kit Bag for the majority of my things and it worked very well. I also used the Red Paddle Co Waterproof Backpack on the front of my board for easy access to snacks and other items. Use ‘PaddleAdventurer’ for 10% off all Red Paddle Co Boards and Gear. See YouTube video for Waterproof Backpack details.
  • Use larger strapping or bungees and carabiners; not just the bungees that come on your board. It’s also a good idea to bring a few extra.
  • L’il Sucker drink holder works well to keep your water bottle or thermos handy and you hydrated. Use code ‘PaddleAdventurer’ for 15% off or buy on Amazon.

    4. Ease of a Paddle Board

    • It was way easier to quickly take out a paddle board for a day adventure or for a swim in the lake (our campsite had loads of leeches).
    • Paddle boards are much easier to get on and off of, making it a great portable swimming dock.
    Swimming beside a fully loaded paddle board

    5. It Was Easy!

    • Bridgid and Davey had never gone SUP camping and they are both beginner paddle boarders who didn’t have any issues.
    • I didn’t feel sluggish or off balance with a fully loaded paddle board and the entire experience was easier than I expected.
    Sunrise paddle in Algonquin Park

    Three paddle boarders going backcountry camping

    Taking paddle boards on our backcountry camping trip was a wonderful experience.

    Standing gives you a different and better point of view of the water and wildlife and it was amazing being able to quickly take the boards out for an afternoon swim or sunset paddle.

    I can’t wait to do it again!

    * Please always practice Leave No Trace when exploring out in nature

    Have you ever gone backcountry camping with your paddle board? Leave a comment below.

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