Figure on bringing whatever camping gear you normally bring on camping trips. Keep in mind you will have space constraints as everything will need to fit in your canoe or kayak. Be sure to keep things dry by using dry bags, garbage bags, zip locks, and dry boxes.
You don’t need every single thing on this list!
Tent: Be sure it packs down to a manageable size to fit in your canoe or kayak.
Sleeping bag: The sleeping bag should be chosen based on the weather conditions.
Sleeping Pad: Bring a sleeping pad purely for comfort.
Camp Pillow: Bring a camp pillow purely for comfort.
Camp Chair: Camp chairs are not a necessity but if there’s room they sure beat a log.
Flashlight: A headlamp is preferable to a flashlight.
Multipurpose Knife with tools: I’d never go camping without one.
Thermal Safety Blanket: It’s always good to be prepared for a wet sleeping bag.
Matches: Waterproof matches can be found any place camping gear is sold.
Lighter: Bring a lighter in addition to matches.
Garbage Bags: These are the poor mans dry bags. Also useful to throw away your trash.
Dry Storage Box: These boxes are great to keep cell phones and GPS units safe and dry.
Extra batteries: Bring extra batteries for every electronic device you have.
Cell Phone: Cell phones should be brought in case of emergency.
Backpack: Depending on where you are paddling, you may want to get out and hike.
Maps: Have good maps of the area.
Compass: It would be a good idea to know how to use one also.
Water Purifier or Water Tablets: This is a backup to the water you’ll be bringing. Relying on a filter is generally not recommended due to high water particulate clogging filters.
Duct Tape: This implement really needs no explanation.
GPS: Know where you are, how far you’ve gone, and how to get to safety at all times.
Rope: You may need to tie your boat to shore or your tent at times.
First Aid Kit: If you bring a prepackaged one, make sure it has everything you need.
Sun block: You can get burned even on an overcast day.
Mosquito Spray: You will NOT regret bringing this.
Chap Stick: Keep your lips healthy while on the water.
Toilet Paper: Roll some up and put it in Ziploc baggies unless you’d rather use leaves.
Toiletry Bag: Fill it with whatever you personally need.
Be sure to pack clothes for the type of conditions you will be facing during the day, the night, and on the water. You will need to pack things so that they stay dry.
Shoes for water: You should have shoes or closed-toe sandals. I’m personally a big fan of crocs.
Bathing Suit: Bring a bathing suit to paddle in or to wear while swimming.
Towel: Towels are great for drying things off.
Sunglasses: Polarized sunglasses are great while on the water.
Hat: Keep the sun off of your face with a hat.
Wind Breaker: Even warm days can feel cool on the water. It should be waterproof.
Rain Pants: A rainy day can make for a miserable paddle. Alternatively, PONCHOS!
Undergarments: Bring extra socks and underwear.
Non-Cotton Shirt: Polypropylene thermal wear is a good idea if the nights get cold.
Extra Pants or Shorts: It’s always good to have a change of clothes when on the water.
Warm Clothes: Be sure to dress for the time of year and have clothes to sleep in.
Hiking Shoes: Good shoes are important if you want to hike but generally not necessary on the sand and water.
Cooking and Food
Cooler: The more insulated the better.
Ice: The amount of ice needed is in direct proportion to how expensive your cooler was. (Frozen milk jugs are great!)
Stove: Unless you don’t need to cook or heat up coffee.
Cookware: Determine what you need based on the items you’ll be heating up.
1-2 Gallons of Water per person per day: Water is used for drinking and other things like brushing one’s teeth.
Dry food Bars: Plenty of Power Bars, Boulder Bars, and Granola Bars will get you through the trip.
Meals: Plan enough food for every meal.
Bring just about anything else you can think of to enhance your enjoyment of your surroundings and your trip.