Skills: Overnight SUP Trips
The feeling of paddling on an empty lake, stroking past herons, hawks and songbirds down a river or navigating a quiet stretch of coastline are all amplified if you’re camping. All possible off your SUP. Not all of us can paddle around glaciers or circumnavigate islands, but getting away is essential for your head space. A weekend trip—all your gear packed onboard—will leave you recharged come Monday. And it’s surprisingly easy. –WT
Get the right board. Overlooking this simple fact could sink your trip. First, make sure your board is stable and can handle your weight plus 50 pounds. Second, think about the distance you’ll cover. Are you just crossing a lake to camp and fish or will you be paddling 10 to 15 miles a day? For one you’ll want a floating dock, the latter and you’ll need some displacement. Companies like Tahoe SUP, Riviera Paddlesurf and Imagine all have options. These boards come with strap attachments and are designed with heavy loads in mind. A 14-foot downwind board or bigger, longboard outline could suffice.
Pack light. The reason is two-fold: First, more weight equals less stability and more paddling difficulty. Second, you have to pack in dry bags. Check the weather. No rain in the forecast? Forget the tent (bring an emergency tarp). One pair of non-paddling clothes. Whiskey instead of beer. You get the picture.
Do a dry run. Stuff everything into your drybags (heavy camp stuff goes on the bottom with light oft-accessed gear on top) and load on your board. Is the load secure enough to handle rough water? Is it balanced correctly? Does your board trim well? Know before you go.
Think about size. One big dry bag and one small one. One for camp stuff (big) and one for things you need during the day like a camera, sunscreen, maps and granola bars (small).
Communicate. Let someone know the plan. You’ve heard stories: hunters with broken ankles, families stranded only two miles from civilization, Aaron Ralston and his now-missing arm. Things can and do go wrong. Leave a detailed plan and carry a SPOT device. It’s worth it.
Start small. If you haven’t paddled 15 miles in a day, don’t try it on your first trip. Start by finding a remote campsite across a broad expanse of water like a lake or river. Five miles can tucker you out. Trust us.
Eat well. If you can fish, fish. If you can’t you don’t have to eat freeze-dried food. Cooking outdoors is one of camping’s great joys. See sidebar for a delicious recipe.
Think about water. Where will you get it? Do you need to carry it with you? Lightweight filters are easy to pack but you need fresh water to use them.
Can of Coconut Milk
Packaged Cous Cous
Fresh fish (or frozen)
-In one pan add coconut milk and curry powder and heat. Add fish when boiling and cook. In a pot cook cous cous with oil and spice pack. Mix and enjoy.
Beginner Packing List
Big dry bag
Small dry bag
Light insulated jacket
First aid kit
Sun cure resin (dings happen)
This article originally ran in our Winter 2013 issue as “The Weekend Excursion.”
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