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Five Tips for Boat Camping

Follow these tips for making your next boat camping trip a success.

April 28, 2010
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Every camping trip is a learning experience, and this one ranked as one where I could stand to learn a lot. Here are five things I’ll do differently the next time I go boat camping.

[1] Double-check the packing list. Getting wet wood to burn wouldn’t have been an issue had I remembered to bring aboard one key item: a portable propane grill. It would have made cooking a lot easier at the campsite. I had the spare tank with me and … the grill? Never made it aboard.

[2] Allow for a weather day. I should have scheduled an extra day on either end of the trip to account for any unexpected weather, which in this case showed with a vengeance. A day after calling it quits, the local weather was 58 degrees and sunny.

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[3] Store supplies off the boat. This is especially true when the boat is sitting on the trailer under the waterlogged sky. Unless it’s shrink-wrapped, any boat is going to be vulnerable to the elements. On this trip, all the stuff stowed under my trailering canvas got soaked.

[4] Leave a float plan. I made the decision to go but, because of the spontaneity, didn’t tell anyone where I was launching and when I expected to be back. Had anything gone wrong, I could have been stuck for hours. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary offers a free float-plan download at floatplancentral.org.

[5] Keep the camera handy. By burying the digital on the bottom of the gear bag, I missed out on way too many photo opportunities with bald eagles.

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