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Packing for the Ultimate SUP Trip

As we enter mid-August and the nights are still drawn out, the sunsets are still burning orange, some of us might be thinking about going out for an overnight SUP trip. Whether that’s on the river or the ocean, a SUP tour can be an incredibly unique way of seeing the natural world as the SUP can gain access to places that might be impossible on foot, and with the added different perspective to kayaking due to standing upright. A self-supported overnight trip is an amazing experience, just yourself, maybe some friends and the bare necessitates; simplicity is key, both with transport and kit, and you don’t have to be Chris Bertish to enjoy a couple of nights under the stars.

In the following feature, we will go through some key pieces of kit you should pack for your next adventure.

Dry bags

We will start with the most crucial kit of all; roll top dry bags. Be sure yours is waterproof as some leak. This will be what you stow all the kit in to stay nice and dry, and no-one wants to bed down in a soggy sleeping bag.

Get some Dyneema/Paracord/slings to strap your gear down, and keep the weight as central as possible. Making the board easier to manoeuvre, you could use the kit in the middle as a sort of saddle for those drop to the knees moments.

Forty Winks

You will want to sleep comfortably for all the paddling the following day.
We have heard some people have had a fantastic night’s sleep in the open air directly on the SUP itself while on land. Due to British inclement weather, we would advise bringing a small, lightweight tent or at least a bivouac system (Tarp and a bivvi bag) so the weather cannot spoil a good trip.
A sleeping bag is a must-have, so bring a synthetic fill as it will still provide some warmth if it gets wet where as a down bag will not.
And as for a roll mat, we will leave that to you. We suggest trying a night on the SUP in your kitchen or garden and see how it feels, then pad as necessary.

 Here’s a checklist for you to refer to:

  • Lightweight tent (If multiple people are staying in one tent, split the poles and sheets up to spread the weight)
  • Bivouac system (Tarp/Basha, bivvi bag)
  • Roll mat (optional)
  • Synthetic sleeping bag

Layering

Wetsuit or not, you are going to want something to sleep in and chill around camp after a solid day of paddling. We advise a three-layer system and some shoes; mid weights for drying off and setting up camp; base layer on both legs and torso for if the night gets chilly, and waterproofs for that British summer. Maybe throw in a woolly hat just in case the temperature drops low in the evening or you’re sleeping in a valley.

 Here’s a useful checklist to use:

  • Wetsuit (optional)
  • Mid layer practical trousers
  • Mid layer sweater/fleece
  • Base layer T-shirt
  • Base layer (merino) long sleeve
  • Base layer (merino) Long-johns
  • Socks (Merino)
  • Shoes/Boots/Sandals/Flip-flops
  • Waterproofs, top and bottoms.

Food

Go as extravagant or as alpine as you like with this one. A 30-litre cooler full of BBQ goods for the fire or sachets of dehydrated space food, this really is down to your personal preference and how much weight you are willing to carry. Bring a small gas stove if there is no camp ground to legally have a fire on. And don’t forget a pot or mess tin to cook in, and a spork!

We advise going half way and getting some wet, boil in the bag food pouches. These remain fairly lightweight, easy to prepare (just boil in water) and easy to dispose of the rubbish.

Things you’ll need to remember to pack:

  • Food
  • Gas stove/spare gas
  • Lighter/matches/striker
  • Spork

 Always stick with the leave no trace ethos, if you can carry it in full, you can carry it out empty. Just be aware you might need a watertight bag or bucket to store rubbish.

Water

Keeping hydrated is super important. At least two litres of water a day is required for the inactive, so plenty should be drunk on your adventure, so either bring bottles of waters onto your board, or if you know your route has fresh water available, we advise bringing a portable water filter. Some are straw-shaped, so you can drink straight from the river you’re paddling on or a stream near your camp.

There are other options like the use of water purifying tablets and iodine, or simply boil it, which kills 100% of bacteria and protozoa.

Your handy checklist to remember:

  • 2 litres of water per person, per day.
  • Portable water filter
  • Water purifying tablets/iodine

Safety

We won’t get into detail here but having a few preliminary items could make or break a trip. It’s always better to have and not need, than need and not have.

Below is a suggestive list of what you might need to help you out in any a sticky spot: 

  • Buoyancy Aid
  • Signal mirror/light/mini flares
  • Itinerary, leave one with a friend/spouse and one under your car seat
  • Tide times/heights, for ocean travel
  • Navigation, compass, map
  • Spare matches/lighter
  • Knife/multi-tool
  • Radios, for those in groups
  • VHF/weather radio, for long days in inclement weather spots
  • Mobile phone in waterproof bag
  • Wrist watch
  • Headlamp, spare batteries
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Whistle
  • Throw rope
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun cream
  • Lip balm
  • Water treatment tablets/halogens
  • Energy food (bars, gels, trail mix)
  • Electrolyte drinks powder.

Hygiene

Keep those teeth and armpits clean! For multiple day trips, we suggest not bringing more than one spare pair of anything as you can always rotate through washing and drying; just like food, this is all personal preference on weight.

 A basic hygiene checklist for you:

  • Toilet roll/sanitary wipes (you know why)
  • Sanitation trowel for digging and covering your morning hole.
  • Toothbrush/Paste
  • Anti-bacterial micro towel

Repair

In case of a puncture in your inflatable SUP or a ding in your Epoxy board, bringing a repair kit can help you out of a potentially miserable situation.

Take care!

 Remember to bring:

  • Epoxy SUP resin
  • PVC repair kit

So take care and have fun out there!

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