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How to Pack Your Paddle Board for a Touring Trip

Updated: Mar 9, 2023

Heading out on a paddle boarding trip soon and feeling overwhelmed with all the items you need to bring and how you are going to pack it all? Be sure to read our how-to pack for an overnight trip post here first and then come back here to learn how to load your paddle board for overnight SUP adventures.

Get started with this great video >> How to Pack for Paddle Touring

Understand Weight Capacity

For overnight trips, you have to consider the weight capacity of your board. The weight capacity is how much weight your board can safely hold including you and all the gear. Most SUP boards can hold 200-300 lbs and some as much as 500 lbs. It's important to check with the manufacturer of your board to determine exactly what your board can hold.

Distribute the Weight

Similar to sea kayaking, the gear weight needs to be placed in strategic locations for weight distribution and accessibility. More than likely you are going to have;

  1. A large dry bag which you will open in the evening only. We recommend a 60-litre dry bag; having too much space is always better than not having enough! The large dry bag should be packed with all items not needed for paddling during the day, like your sleeping stuff, kitchen and food, and spare clothes.

  2. A medium dry bag with your snacks, your emergency kit and your additional layers spot.

  3. A small dry bag with everything else you need which can easily be accessible.

A SUP board should be packed and loaded like you would a canoe or kayak. It’s important to have the weight balanced evenly side-to-side and spread across the front and the back. We recommend having slightly less weight at the front. You want to make sure your board doesn’t lean from one side so be aware to place all the heavier items over the centre line.

In the beginning, we used to do practice packs and see how our dry bags and gear would fit. It’s good to find out what best works for you and then over time, you will get quicker and quicker as you get your system down. PLUS you will learn to pack less. Do you really need those three pairs of shoes?....

Tie Downs & Bungees

When loading everything onto your board it is important to consider what attachment points you have on your paddle board and how much you will be able to attach to them. It’s always useful to have some extra bungee cords, cords and carabiners readily available in case you need to add more or create your own tie-down system. Some boards have ‘D’ rings at the back which you can use to attach additional straps to allow you to load more gear.

Not all boards have front and back bungees, so packing your gear at the front of the board may mean you have to stand slightly further back on your board for balance. Alternatively, you can get straps that wrap around the full board, this may affect the glide of your board on long trips and cause pulling to one side.

Some boards allow you to attach a cooler on the back of your board. Try to balance the weight of the cooler by strapping the additional items you are bringing with you at the front of your board. The better you are able to balance the items on the front and back of the board, the more stable you will be on the water.

Packing Odd Sized Items

Air Pumps

Try to pack your manual air pump in its own dry bag. However, if you are unable to, before re-pumping your board, make sure that there is no water in the line. Electric pumps are not going to be ideal for these types of trips as they are heavy and you may not have access to electricity to pump up your board.

Water Bladders/ Bottles

One great idea is to have a water bladder because you can attach it to your board and sip easily from the hose when needed instead of taking out your whole water bottle. Water bladders also tend to hold more water as they typically can hold 1.5-3L of water. If you are going to a remote area, don’t forget water tablets or a portable water filter for your bottle such as this one from Grayl.

Spare Paddle

Take your spare paddle, break it down, lash it together and tuck it in under your back bungees. It never hurts to add a redundant line to ensure your spare paddle can't get away!

We hope this has helped you get ready for your paddle boarding touring adventures. Check out our packing lists above on what to bring, our blog on Packing a SUP board for an overnight trip and contact us if you have any more questions, let's talk!

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