Boat Camping Basics for a Great Outdoor Adventure

Boat Camping Basics for a Great Outdoor Adventure

Boat camping. Popular for adventure-seekers and those who crave a remote and secluded experience, boat camping offers a natural solace of tranquility set in a remotely beautiful backdrop, unlike traditional camping. Instead of driving your car, truck, or camper to your destination, you get there by boat. It’s an opportunity to truly ‘get away from it all.’ It’s where adventure meets the great outdoors. 

What is Boat Camping?

Boat camping allows you to travel to areas you wouldn’t have access to on foot or by driving. You load up your boat with your necessary camping gear to reach your campsite destination. You can go to many areas, dock your boat, and spend the day exploring. You are sure to have a front-row seat to all that the outdoors offers -- from stunning sunrises to serene sunsets. You’re steps away from exploring endless waterways and taking on hiking trails.  

Experienced boat campers share that the destinations they have visited are some of the most beautiful in the country, as they offer travel to some of the most off-the-beaten trails and untouched areas.  

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Why is Boat Camping Popular?

It’s a way to really unplug since many of these destinations serve a dual purpose of camping and boating which means land and water. As you might imagine, the campsites are typically in less-traveled areas with fewer people and less noise. It also means you won’t be enjoying many of the amenities such as electrical hook-ups, bathrooms, showers, and fellowship with other campers.  
 
Boat camping allows you to reach areas you could not access by foot or vehicle. This type of camping is ideal for adventure seekers who want a unique experience rather than traditional camping at a campsite.  
 
The process is quite simple; you simply hop in a boat with your camping gear, food, cooler and other provisions for as long as you are planning to be gone. Your boat is your mode of transportation to your campsite destination.  
 
Who is boat camping for?  
 

  • Adventure seekers 
  • Anglers 
  • The camper who wants several campsite options

We’ve got some basic tips on how to boat camp. 

What to Consider When Planning a Boat Camping Trip

We’ve got some boat camping basics to consider when planning your adventure:  

Know Your Campsite

know your campsiteknow your campsite

You will want to determine where you will be camping. You’ll be spending most of your time outdoors, so you want to be familiar with the terrain and stay safe from the elements and the natural inhabitants, aka the wildlife whose terrain you will be occupying during your adventure. 
 
Determining your campsite will depend on the level of your boat camping experience.  
 
As a new boat camper, you may want to ease into this type of adventure and select a campsite that is not as primitive and remote. State parks are a good option as some are accessible by boat, have mooring areas and offer amenities found in a traditional campground such as electricity and bathrooms. 

Wherever you decide to boat camp, you will want to research the following before you head out on your journey:  
 

  • The type of terrain
  • What types of wildlife live in this location
  • How to best protect yourself (against said wildlife) 

Pre-Adventure To-Do List

As with any trip, you want a list of what you will need to prepare for before your adventure.  
 
We suggest the following:  
 
Check the weather forecast for the dates of your trip. You will not want to spend your time boat camping in the rain or wind.  
Make sure you know the timing of both high and low tides, if applicable.  
Prep your meals, if possible, before you leave so you can fully enjoy the boat camping experience. And we suggest using these perfectly portable products among your camping gear for your trip. 
If your boat camping adventure includes fishing, make sure you have the appropriate license(s) and or permits.  
Will there be a restroom where you are going? If not, you will want to plan to either bring a bucket and a shovel or have access to a portable toilet.  
 
 
When planning your trip details, we encourage you to arrive during daylight hours. You will want to have a clear view of your route and be aware of potential obstacles in the water and your campsite. 

boat camping packing listboat camping packing list

Boat Camping Packing List

Since you will be limited with space and don’t want to overload the boat or your back, you’ll want to be strategic about packing for your boat camping adventure. You will need to carry everything you put in the boat to and from the campsite.  
 
Efficiency and lightweight are important to keep in mind when preparing and packing for your boat camping experience.  
 
To make this easy, we’ve broken it down into categories:  

Boat/Gear Accessories:

  • Personal flotation device for everyone on the boat 
  • An anchor and lines 
  • First-aid kit
  • Tool kit 
  • Radio 
  • GPS
  • Fishing gear  

Boat Camping Gear:

Food/Drink:

  • Portable Grill 
  • Or, if using a campfire, starter fluid, matches 
  • Water bottles 
  • Pre-made meals
  • Cooler with ice brick
  • Dry food 
  • Plates and cookware 
  • Snacks   

Miscellaneous Boat Camping Supplies:

  • Toilet Paper
  • Sunscreen
  • Clothes 
  • Toiletries 
  • Hat
  • Bug spray
  • Rain gear
  • Towels
  • Portable shade 

Boat camping is the ideal way to escape from the daily grind, decompress and connect with nature on a deeper level. Experience the tranquility and beauty of the outdoors as you hop on a boat, canoe, or kayak that will take you to your campsite and spend several days exploring and marveling at simple living among some of the most spectacular areas throughout the country.