I love a good comparison (and I’m tempted to plot this one somehow). The orange dry bag (ft. in the center, top of the picture below) was essentially all I had when I started out swim camping, and eager to just get started ASAP, I wasn’t going to be picky when it came to configuring my raft. And 35L seemed fine! After all, the gear I had used for my ultramarathon had fit into a 25L backpack… so this should be enough, too, no?
the minimalist approach
– Water repellent bivy bag
– Sleeping bag (a big, warm, winter-suited one)
– Sleeping mat (ultralight version by Sea To Summit… not ideal for colder conditions, but good enough during the late spring/summer months)
– Squishable pot (from Sea To Summit) for cooking
– Gas stove (small 250ml version)
– One small towel
– 2L water bag (which I could only fill with 1L because that’s all that fit…)
– Emergency kit
– One powerbank
– The necessary cables to charge everything
– No extra change of clothes because not enough space
– Down jacket
This was the least I could pack to still make swimcamping possible. The kayak bag ultimately proved not 100% waterproof, because it sinks pretty low into the water. Advantage: you won’t be at the mercy of any off-shore winds, as the wind has less to grab on to. Disadvantage: if there’s even the tiniest bit of an opening…. Your gear WILL get wet. I could squish the water out of my down jacket after I arrived on the island.
So my two cents on this: if you’re going coastal, and need to factor in the wind potentially dragging you out to sea, then this kayak bag is worth a thought.
But do consider a larger size. And extra waterproof bags for your clothes and sleeping gear. I doubt you’ll regret it.
Here’s the checklist for you to download!
The Comfortable Approach
This approach requires something along the lines of a RuckRaft. More coming soon!